Finding a good hike is as easy as walking out the door at Rising Wolf Ranch. Many people enjoy walking along the private gravel road that leads from the highway into the ranch, or exploring along the banks of the river on the property. But the ranch can also be the starting place for some longer hikes into the surrounding forest service land and wilderness areas.
Some of our favorite hikes from the ranch include:
Saw Mill Flats
An easy 2 mile hike through meadows and forest takes you to an open field on Forest Service land suitable for a nice picnic. The river bordering the area runs through a rocky crevice creating a beautiful water fall effect. There are many scenic views of the Glacier National Park Mountains on this hike. Beautiful wildflowers carpet the open areas, and you may even find some wild strawberries, thimbleberries, or huckleberries along the way.
Fence Line Hike
From the ranch, hike a trail that goes up and follows the fence line. This trail is a footpath worn from the many times the fence has to be repaired. Hikers can start getting an idea of the vast size of the Rising Wolf Ranch property. There are many beautiful views, and hikers can see some of the less traveled areas of the ranch.
Summit Trail Head to the Ranch
More experienced hikers will enjoy a one-way hike from Summit Trail Head, West from the ranch on Route 2. This hike requires a river crossing, so it is best to carry a pair of water shoes. The first part of the trail can be muddy in early summer. The trail then brings hikers to Saw Mill Flats (see above,) a good place for a rest or lunch. Travel the trail back from Saw Mill Flats to the ranch, where you can “set awhile” on the porch and talk about all you have seen.
Ghost House Loop
Start off with a short hike to an old, abandoned cabin, and then continue along the trail for several views of the property’s beautiful river. There are many nice places here to sit on a log or boulder for a little quiet time. More than half way around the loop, you can see the old polo fields across the river. Then continue on the loop through the woods and back to the ranch. This hike is relatively short, but the trail is in the process of being broken and you make have to search to pick it up again.
Any visitor to the ranch will want to spend some time hiking in Glacier National Park. Here are some of our favorite hikes in the park.
Two Medicine Hike and Boat Ride
About 30 minutes from the ranch, the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park is one of our favorite places to hike. This area provides something for hikers at every level. In addition, a boat tour takes hikers to the far end of Two Medicine Lake which is a good starting point for many hikes.
Twin Falls Hike:
Kids (and those with less energy) can enjoy the boat ride to the far end of the lake, then a short (less than 1 mile) hike to Twin Falls. If it’s hot, you’ll find it necessary to take off your shoes and step into the pool coming off the falls. This is an easy, well maintained trail. When your hike is over, it’s just a short wait for the next boat to take you back to the General Store for some shopping and refreshments.
For a longer hike, skip the return boat ride and hike back along this beautiful lakeside hike. The trail runs completely around the lake. You can just skip the boat ride altogether and maximize your workout. This trail is moderate with few changes in elevation.
Upper Two Medicine:
From the boat dock and Twin Falls trail, take the turnoff to the Upper Two Medicine Lake. Just over 2 miles one way, this trail has an elevation gain of 350 feet. It leads to the beautiful glacier fed lake. You might even see a Moose in one of the small pools along the way.
Scenic Point to East Glacier Lodge
This strenuous 10 mile hike is not to be missed by any experienced hikers. The trail head is just off the road leading to Two Medicine Lake. Hikers start the day off with a 2,350 foot elevation gain in the first 3 miles. Stopping to rest at Scenic Point, hikers can view the surrounding country without obstructions. Hikers pass the tree line for an alpine hike across rocky terrain. Then it’s all downhill (mostly) for the remaining 6 miles, as hikers continue down through several vegetation zones. The trail ends near historic East Glacier Lodge. Most groups make it to the bar just in time for Happy Hour!
St. Mary and Virginia Falls
The trail head for this hike is just off the “Going to the Sun” road. It is about a 1.5 hour drive to the starting point, yet it is one of the most popular hikes for guests and their children. The first portion of the trail passes through a beautiful pine forest, with small springs and streams. Just as the kids start asking “Are we there yet?”, the trail arrives at St. Mary Falls (less than one mile.) Walking across the bridge, hikers can see the powerful, glacier blue water falling almost in front of them. Clever parents will actually say this hike has three falls, as there is a beautiful rocky cascade in between St. Mary and Virginia Falls. After a stop to look at the cascades and climb some rocks, it’s pretty easy to finish off the distance to Virginia Falls. Hikers can go right to the edge of a pool where the water spills down from a high cliff. The cool spray from the water is an experience that kids of any age will enjoy.
Visit the parks website for a complete list of hikes: