Crown of the Continent – Part 3

On our third day at Glacier National Park, we explored Two Medicine, a section of the park I had been dying to explore since the trip planning began nearly 2 years ago. Known for its great trails and amazing waterfalls, I knew that I couldn’t miss exploring this wonderful spot. Two Medicine is on the southeast side of the park and boasts one of the scariest roads that we drove on. Thanks to David for braving those narrow roads with no guard rails. FYI: All of the windy roads in this park are very slow going. Be prepared to spend a decent amount of time in the car. 

When we finally passed through the Two Medicine entrance we pulled off at the Running Eagle Falls Trailhead. A short 0.5 mile trail leads to a beautiful waterfall that magnificently cuts its way through a huge rock wall. The climber inside me was dying to scale the rocks to see the other side.

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After exploring until our hearts were content we headed to our destination for the day, the Two Medicine South Shore Trailhead.

We parked the Yaris right in front of the Two Medicine Lake, one of the smaller but nonetheless picturesque lakes in the park.

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A sign at the top of the South Shore trailhead warned us that the North Shore section of the trail was closed due to recent bear activity. We had planned to hike around the entire lake but decided to simply hike as far as we could. There was no way we were going to tangle with any bears. With only 10 bear-related deaths in 100 years, Glacier park rangers do a fantastic job of watching the bear population and warning visitors. Bear spray in hand (ALWAYS carry bear spray in this park), we set out on the hike ready to see some beautiful sights.

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Eyes peeled for wildlife, we were first greeted by a grouse and her babies. Little things skittering about the trail, we couldn’t help but snap a photo of this sweet family.

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July was the best month to visit this park. Not only were the park’s 1,132 plant species in full bloom, the park’s 200 waterfalls were flowing abundantly with beautiful, crisp water. Astor Falls was no exception. Featuring several tiers with flat rocks, this waterfall is great for climbing — the perfect spot for our lunch.

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Our guidebook actually told us to skip these falls. Only 0.2 miles off trail, we decided to see for ourselves. Silly book could not have been more wrong.

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A short climb up from Astor Falls gave us a  fantastic view of Rising Wolf, Sinopah, Teepee, and Never Laughs Mountains. We began our hike on the other side of the lake in the photo below.

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Continuing over a one person bridge we were well on our way to our turnaround point — Rockwell Falls.

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DSCF1695If the water weren’t freezing I think we all would have jumped in. After approximately 6-7 miles of walking and lots of climbing we were happy to take a break, grab a snack, and bask in the cool mist rising from this spectacular fall.

DSCF1696Not for long. David’s brother could not sit still after seeing 2 people climbing higher up. Of course we had to see more. New life motto: Unless it’s dangerous, climbing is always worth it. Our new view was so completely magnificent, I couldn’t decide which way to look. Waterfall or mountains, waterfall, mountains?

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The sun was falling so we unhappily turned away from one of my new favorite places on earth and made the 5 mile hike back to the car and eventually our beds. Our bodies were very tired after the long day.

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At about 12 miles, this is the perfect day hike for those that enjoy waterfalls, exploring off trail, and climbing to see the best views.

Stay tuned to see our final day in the park!

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