The Scenic Point Trail
The Scenic Point Trail in Glacier National Park is a splendid hiking
trail. The trail travels through extensive open areas, providing stunning
views of the mountains in the Two Medicine Area. It also has beautiful
views of Two Medicine Lake and Lower
Two Medicine Lake. Use of the Scenic Point Trail is relatively light
by Glacier Park standards - more popular trailheads are found just up
the road at Two Medicine Lake.
The Scenic Point Trail begins just a half-mile away from the end of
the road that leads up to Two Medicine Lake. The trail is more than 10
miles long, as it travels all the way to East Glacier. However, much
of the trails length is outside the park boundary and receives little
use. Most of the use on the Scenic Point Trail, which is not a lot, is
hiking up to the beautiful views around Scenic Point, a rocky, grassy
mound that sits at 7500 feet, more than 2400 vertical feet above the
Two Medicine Valley. The distance from the trailhead up to Scenic Point
is 3.1 miles.
The trail cuts through some forest and is basically flat for the first
half mile up to Appistoki Falls. Beginning at the falls, the Scenic Point
Trail emerges into open country and begins a steady climb up to Scenic
Point. For the next 1.5 miles or so the trail switchbacks up the steep
mountainside, providing stunning views of Two Medicine Lake, Mt. Henry,
Rising Wolf Mountain and Appistoki Peak. Except for a brief stint through
a stunted wind-blow pine forest, the trail is entirely in the open.
After two miles, the Scenic Point Trail hits the ridge that leads over
to Scenic Point. Once on the ridge, a hiker is rewarded with tremendous
views of the prairie that stretches to the east as far as the eye can
see. Beautiful views of Lower Two Medicine Lake are also provided.
Once on the ridge, the Scenic Point Trail rises steeply for a couple
hundred feet before traversing over a VERY steep mountainside. Snow has
a tendency to accumulate, and stick, on the trail in this section. The
ever-constant wind drives the snow over the small peak above the trail
and deposits it on the trail. And since the trail lies on the north side
of this small peak, it is slow to melt. It is highly recommended that
if snow is on this section of trail to bypass it by hiking up to the
small peak above the trail. The hike up to this small peak is only 300
vertical feet or so and quite likely will save you from a 2000 vertical
foot fall down to the Two Medicine Valley below. Once on this small peak,
you can easily work your way back down to the trail.
After the trail passes this traverse across the mountain, the Scenic
Point Trail emerges onto a broad, rolling plateau. The plateau has extensive
grass and is very rocky. A tree is nowhere to be found, either. Look
for the small signpost about a half-mile from the traverse that points
the way up to Scenic Point. A number of small points on this plateau
exist, with the tallest being Scenic Point. The point just east of Scenic
Point actually offers better views, despite being somewhat lower in elevation.
Past Scenic Point, the trail begins to lose elevation on its way down
to East Glacier. As it passes through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation,
a tribal recreational use permit will be needed to hike the remainder
of the trail.
Generally, as the Scenic Point Trail lies on the east side of Glacier
National Park, high winds are the norm. As a result, any hiker should
bring warm clothing and a very good windbreaker. Sustained winds of 30mph
or more are common once on the ridge leading up to Scenic Point. There
is also no water found anywhere near Scenic Point, so bring all that
you need for the hike.
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
Boots : Buyers guide to getting the
right boot for hiking
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