“Rimmed with richly colored red rocks and vibrant moss”
St. Mary’s Falls is a fantastic destination for hikers. Rimmed with richly colored red rocks and vibrant moss, this treasure is a recreational high point for hikers within the east side of the park. The upper section of the falls makes a dramatic entrance by tumbling through a narrow slot then terminating against the south wall. Soon after is the main falls which makes a clean leap from its colorful surroundings. Take notice of the color of the water as it swirls downstream. It is a brilliant turquoise green with a hint of blue. This is due to glacial sediments mixing with snow and glacial melt. A little further downstream the river empties into St. Mary’s Lake. There are various tour boat rides on this lake that can extend your hiking and camping experiences. Be sure to check the local schedules for this service. The falls trailhead is just under a mile west of Sunrift Gorge and is located on the south side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This is a 0.8 mile hike with an elevation drop of 150 feet. If you have the time and energy, be sure to check out Virginia and Deadwood Falls. They are both within short hiking distances from St Mary’s Falls. In 1921, work began on Going-to-the-Sun Road, an automobile route that would connect Lake west Glacier to Logan Pass, over the Continental Divide and then on to St. Mary Lake. By 1932, after years of grueling labor carving the highway from the mighty Garden Wall cliffs, the road was finally finished. Its engineers rejected the typical multiple switchbacks road style (common in the Alps of Europe), instead they designed a route requiring only two major turns.
Spectacular falls, and a reasonably easy hike. My young kids ran most of the way there and back.
It is possible to visit all four falls on a hike. However, two of the falls are unnamed. So, if you don't see a sign indicating what fall you're at, just keep going. Many hikers complain that they've turned around when they reached Baring Falls because they think it's St. Mary Falls, and you'd be disappointed to miss out on St. Mary Falls because they really are amazing.
Pro Tip: Virginia Falls is significantly taller than the other waterfalls. So, entering near Baring Falls will take you past 5 waterfalls.
Plenty of spots for pictures along the hike.
Beautiful falls and not a hard hike for kids. My 8, 6, and 4 year old daughters did great on this hike. We got an early start which really helped eliminate lots of crowds.
A great short hike among the many stops along awesome Going-to-the-Sun road
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St. Mary Falls
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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