The trailhead for the Gunsight Pass trail to Sperry Chalet is on the east side of the road. Distance: 7.6 - 8.2 miles RT from Sperry Chalet or Campground The mileage in the description assumes you are starting at the junction. All Rights Reserved. During my last hike a large herd of Mountain Goats were reclining on the ledges above the pass. The trail starts in Glacier Basin, a scenic gem clad in emerald green meadows and surrounded by a dramatic cirque adorned with waterfalls. Scenic Drives to Do in Glacier … Below the glacier several meltwater ponds, feeding meltwater to the waterfalls spills down the slopes of Avalanche Basin, lie along a rock plateau. Typically in the morning, when people are checking out, you should be able to find a space. The scenery is nonstop and the views simply breathtaking. Advanced reservations are required for both the Chalet and the campground. Find a parking spot along the road and then walk the rest of the distance up the road to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Beyond the falls the trail climbs around the head of the basin. Although it is only 7 miles (11 km) round-trip from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier, the trail is quite steep, rising 1,600 feet (490 m) in just 2.5 miles (4.0 km). When you are done taking in the scene retrace your steps, enjoying the gorgeous views all over again on the return journey. Unlike the more famous Grinnell Glacier, Sperry Glacier is high above the lakes it feeds, so no icebergs form. Here a stunning panorama of Glacier’s high peaks towering above Avalanche Basin, the Logan Pass area and beyond fills the skyline to the north. At the first intersection turn left on the road that runs parallel to the front of the Lodge. There are two standard approaches and both start at the Sperry Chalet Trailhead across from Lake McDonald Lodge. Gunsight Mountain (9,258-ft.) towers above the ice field to the west. Crossing Sperry Glacier was one of the highlights of the 19-mile traverse. They are 8 or 9 miles distant by trail from the Glacier Hotel at Lake McDonald. Day hikes from this spot are plenty and spectacular. The hike to the Sperry Glacier is an extremely long day hike, covering 18.4 miles and climbing over 4,800-ft. Only extremely fit, well acclimated hikers should attempt the trail as a day hike. The path now traverses shelf high above the west and north sides of the lake. Getting to the base of this peak is not easy and requires some hiking. Sights: Head to the bottom of Sperry Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in Glacier National Park. Maximum Elevation: 8,025-ft. The Sperry Action Fund was established by the Glacier Conservancy to cover the cost of both immediate known needs and possible future needs specifically related to work at the chalet. The Akaiyan Falls spills over rock slabs to the right (east) of the trail. Mount Oberlin is a "friendly" Glacier National Park peak. The moderate-sized glacier can be reached by foot or on horseback, rising to an elevation of around 7,800 feet. The climb is readily-enough done in half a day (actually, less), making for a good "light" day between more strenuous outings, or it can be done when inclement wea… The glacier is slightly less than 10 miles, by trail, from the McDonald Hotel near the upper end of Lake McDonald. Edwards Mountain looms above the basin to the west. Sperry Chalet was completed in 1913 for the Great Northern Railway as one of many grand hotels and chalets after Glacier National Park was … Turn right at the junction with the Apgar Visitor Center to stay on Going-to-the-Sun Road and continue along the road for 8.9 miles. You'll be finishing this hike with a total elevation gain of about 5,000 feet. Two beautiful little lakes lie high up on the mountain side at the end of the Sperry Glacier trail. Sperry Glacier occupies a broad, shallow cirque situated just beneath and west of the Continental Divide in the Lewis Mountain Range of Glacier National Park, Montana. Lake McDonald Lodge (mile 20.0) From the overlook views extend northeast across the icy expanse. This page shows the elevation/altitude information of Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA, including elevation map, topographic map, narometric pressure, longitude and latitude. In hiker lingo, a “traverse” is a longer point-to-point journey that often involves a significant amount of off-trail hiking over steep rocky slopes and/or bush-whacking. The route is in the vicinity of 20 miles (32 km) and is quite strenuous. Each lake has an area of from 10 to 20 acres. The Sperry Glacier Basin is one of the most incredible and diverse landscapes in Glacier National Park. From there, the route descends into Floral Park, and after a careful traverse across the bottom of the glacier, the hiker can exit the area via Comeau Pass and can descend down to the Going-to-the-Sun Road near Lake McDonald. This tool allows you to look up elevation data by searching address or clicking on a live google map. As you climb, turn around for views of Great Northern Mountain and Mount Grant to the south. A steel cable along the steps provides a level of security when the steps are covered in snow/ice. This is a highly scenic area with waterfalls spills down the steep cliffs above the trail. After 1.5 miles and over 1,000-ft. of elevation gain the trail crosses the Akaiyan Creek near the top of the headwall and then traverses a boulder strewn shelf to the east of the falls. It begins at the Sperry Trailhead, located directly across the street from the lake McDonald Lodge. 2005 measurements of the surface area of the glacier resulted in an estimated area of 216 acres (0.87 km2), whereas the glacier is estimated to have covered an area of 930 acres (3.8 km2) at the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-19th century. Reach Comeau Pass (8,025-ft.) at 2.85 miles. From the Sperry Chalet or Campground. Pass the Sperry Headwall and Little Matterhorn as you make your way to Comeau pass, which offers majestic views of the remote peaks in the Livingston Range. Region Information: The glaciers in this state are found in the western mountain ranges, the eastern most of which are the Crazy Mountains. Glacier National Park, near West Glacier in Glacier Natl Park, MT. Mere mortals will want to stay at the Sperry Chalet (once it reopens) or the Sperry campground and then dedicate the next day to enjoying this extraordinary area. This road also includes parking for the Lake McDonald Lodge and the trailhead. Beyond the crossing the trail ascends along the west side of the upper basin on moderately-steep to steep grades. Elevation Gain: 4,835-ft. Elevation Gain: 150 feet; Difficulty: Easy; Trail Type: Loop; Sperry Chalet Trail Don’t expect to get any views before arriving at the Sperry Chalet, but it’s a challenging hike and there’s a campground at the trail’s end where you can stay for a real adventure. Glacier Natl Park, MT. Distance: 7.6 miles (round trip) to Sperry Glacier; Elevation: 3,190-ft. at Trailhead 8,025-ft. at Sperry Glacier; Elevation Gain: 1,605-ft. to Sperry Glacier ; Difficulty: strenuous; More Hikes in: West Glacier / Glacier … If 17.5 miles seems a little long for a day hike, you can look into staying over at the Sperry Chalet (reservations required). Waterfalls tumble down the high ledge above the north side of the lake. In season this section of the trail is lined with pretty wildflowers. Waterfalls cascade down ledges, fed by meltwater from permanent snowfields clinging to the rugged peaks rimming the basin. Please remember they are wild animal and keep your distance. Above the lake waterfalls on the inlet stream tumble down rock ledges. Sperry Glacier Trail Length:4 miles. Soon the trail starts ascending the slopes along the east side of the basin, crossing a large talus field and then a creek below lovely Feather Woman Falls at 0.4 miles. The first 5.8 miles of the hike follows the Gunsight Pass trail to the junction with the Sperry Glacier trail. Sperry Glacier, with an area of approximately 215 acres, is one of 25 remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park, MT. Along the way the trail climbs a few stone ledges. Sperry Glacier, Lewis Range, 1981. On the evening of August 31, 2017, the Sprague Fire burned the dormitory building at the Sperry Chalet Complex. In the upper basin the path ascends rocky meadows, talus slopes and rock ledges, traveling by beautiful Feather Woman Lake and Akaiyan Lake, nestled in rocky bowls. Starting Elevation: 6,420-ft. (at junction) Sperry Chalet is no ordinary lodge for your vacation to Glacier National Park.The historic lodges-Lake McDonald Lodge, East Glacier Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, The Belton Chalet, The Prince of Wales Hotel (actually in Waterton, Alberta, Canada)-are incredible in their own way, but Sperry Chalet stands apart from the rest of them-even from Granite Park Chalet, Sperry’s sister chalet. To the north are more great views of the high peaks first seen from Comeau Pass. The glacier was named for doctor Lyman Beecher Sperry, who in 1894 reasoned that the glacier was the cause of the cloudiness of the water in Avalanche Lake. The weather in Glacier is temperate and unpredictable. The hike to Sperry Chalet and Campground is one of the more popular backcountry hikes in Glacier National Park, and for good reason. A few extremely fit and well acclimated hikers reach the Sperry Glacier on a day hike starting at the Gunsight trailhead near Lake McDonald Lodge. It requires a full day to summit and return without camping overnight. The better option is to score one of the coveted rooms at the Sperry Chalet or a site at the Sperry Campground, hike to the Chalet/Campground on the first day and then visit the Sperry Glacier later that afternoon or the next morning. [4] Like all other glaciers in the park, Sperry has significantly retreated, though it leaves many minor glacial features, including large moraines and streams and lakes colored a milky aqua from glacial flour. [3] Although many geologic features of Glacier National Park were formed during the much longer period of glaciation ending over 10,000 years ago, Sperry Glacier — like all the glaciers in the park today — is a product of the recent Little Ice Age, the period of cooler average temperatures starting in about the 13th century and concluding in the mid-19th century. As you proceed northeast views open to Mount Vaught, McPartland Mountain and Heavens Peak to the west. 5,000 foot elevation gain to reach a view of Sperry Glacier Sperry Glacier is the park's most studied glacier The historic Sperry Chaletis often used as a rest stop on this hike With binoculars and a map you can get a good view of Sperry Glacier's headwall from the Hidden Lake Overlook. You are now only 6 miles from Lake McDonald Lodge. Closer at hand Edwards Mountain rises above the basin to the west. Here the trail travels through a landscape of rock outcropping and small alpine meadows. Note: The Sperry Glacier junction with the Gunsight Pass trail is 0.4 miles below Sperry Chalet and 0.7 miles below the Sperry Campground. From the shelf enjoy great view of Lincoln Peak and the high summits to the southwest of the Park including Mount Penrose, Great Bear Mountain and Triangle Peak. Sperry Chalet is one of Glacier’s historic treasures. Sperry Chalet. The route takes the hiker along the entire western edge of Hidden Lake before climbing upward along Bearhat Mountain and crossing the westernmost tip of the Dragon's Tail. Following the rock cairns and other trail markers will ensure the best footing and easiest routes. Elevation Gain: 5400 ft. by Sperry trail to Comeau Pass. The elevation gained from the Chalet is 1,600 vertical feet. Specs: 4.5-mile round-trip hike with a modest 730 feet of elevation gain. Total miles for the day was 10.46 miles. Moderate but sustained elevation gain through shady forest gets you to incredible overlooks and a campground on the rim of a mountainside. MANY GLACIER — When the mountains are your art ... he made cyanotypes at the edge of Sperry Glacier during a solo hike of the Floral Park Traverse. © To the northeast Fusillade Mountain rises beyond the Gunsight Mountain ridge. Enjoy one of several day hike destinations from the chalet, keeping watch for wildlife such as mountain goats. This northeast facing glacier is wider than it is long relative to its flow direction and spans about 300 m in elevation with a … Paul Cararra, US Geological Survey: W elcome to the Glaciers of Montana website. Carefully cross the Going-to-the-Sun Road using the crosswalk. Hikers often spend the night at Sperry Chalet or its neighboring campground before undertaking the hike to Sperry Glacier. It is a winter-accumulation glacier, as more snow falls during the winter than is lost during the summer. Trailhead Elevation: 3,190-ft Traverse: travel across or through. Watch for mountain goats in the upper basin. GNP contains Sperry Glacier … A short distance beyond take your next left on a one-way road heading back to the Going-to-the-Sun road. Add the appropriate mileage if starting from the Chalet or the Campground. This pass provided additional impressive scenery of Lake McDonald and the Sperry Chalet. To Sperry Glacier. Bathrooms are available in the Lake McDonald Lodge area. The Glacier National Park Conservancy is currently holding the $1.2 M property insurance reimbursement for the rebuild of the dormitory facility. Here views stretch across the icy expanse of the Sperry Glacier. The path ends at the Sperry Glacier Overlook. It was built in 1913 by railroad tycoon James J. Hill and his son Louis. The elevation of the one highest is about 7,800 feet; the other lake is about 75 feet lower. Date: August 9, 2019 Author: bigskywalker 3 Comments. At 2.8 miles reach a steep set of rock steps chiseled into the cliff below the pass. Below the glacier are a number of meltwater ponds that feed waterfalls in Avalanche Basin. The hike is 3.5 miles to Comeau Pass (and another 1500 ft of elevation gain), but the scenery is well worth the effort. See the Sperry Chalet trail description for more information about the section of the hike. Sperry Glacier is located 25 miles south of the border between the United States and Canada, in Montana’s Glacier National Park. At 3.4 miles the trail reaches a stake marking the end of the route and the Sperry Glacier Overlook. The trail to the Sperry Glacier, Chalet and campground starts at the Gunsight Pass Trailhead, located across from the Lake McDonald Lodge on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (see driving directions below). At 2.4 miles the trail reaches the next tier of the upper basin where Akaiyan Lake lies cradled in a rocky bowl. The first stage is hike to the Sperry Chalet and spend the night, and the next morning head out early and hike the Sperry Glacier Trail for 2.5 miles to the Sperry Glacier. The glacier lost almost 35 percent of its surface area between 1966 and 2005. Invisible from the rocky slopes below, a series of glacial cirques with streams, waterfalls and lakes reflecting snow fields and mountain peaks leads to a steep and narrow stone staircase cut into the stone ridge of Comeau Pass . For the more adventurous hiker, the glacier and the surrounding area known as Floral Park can be reached via a long day hike starting from Logan Pass. At 0.7 miles the path crosses the Akaiyan Creek and then ascends the basin’s western wall on long switchback through meadows and talus. James was responsible for creating the Great Northern Railway, which was a major developer of Glacier National Park’s facilities in the early 1900s. The evenings are usually cool and the buildings are not heated, so you'll need something warm for evenings and mornings. Maximum Elevation: 8,025-ft. From the Sperry Chalet, there is a very enjoyable day hike opportunity to Sperry Glacier. The moderate-sized glacier can be reached by foot or on horseback, rising to an elevation of around 7,800 feet. Whichever option you choose, you will be greatly rewarded. The climb through the upper basin leads to a stone stairway chiseled in the basin’s headwall. likely because of variations in glacier geom-etry, elevation, ice thickness, wind effects on snow, snow avalanches (fig. [2] The glacier is named for Lyman B. Sperry, a professor from Oberlin College, who in 1895 participated in an expedition to explore the geography and map the region where the glacier is located. This will mean that you'll be cutting the climb up to the pass to a 1500' elevation gain from the Chalet. Reaching the glacier itself involves crossing a wide rock scrabble, snow fields, and the technically challenging glacial moraine. At the top of the stairs is Comeau Pass where an incredible panoramic view unfolds of the high peaks rising around Avalanche Basin, the Logan Pass area and beyond. The view from the top of the steps is panoramic, encompassing Mount Brown, Edwards Mountain, and Little Matterhorn. This is truly an amazing hike. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Fed by waterfalls that spill off of the Sperry Glacier, Avalanche Lake is an excellent place to enjoy a picnic and a leisurely summer afternoon. From West Glacier, MT: From the junction of US-2 and the Going-to-the-Sun Road, turn northwest on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and follow the road 2.0 miles. The crossing is just above a small falls. Elevation: 1500 ft. elevation gain. [5], List of glaciers in Glacier National Park (U.S.), "Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park", "Sperry Glacier, USGS Lake McDonald East (MT) Topo Map",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 September 2019, at 20:34. The historic Sperry Chalet is an icon of Glacier National Park, and is a special bonus along the Gunsight Pass Trail. Along the way the path climbs a few rock ledges. 4), and shading (Florentine and others, 2018). Cross Feather Woman Lake’s outlet stream at 2.0 miles. Depending on the time of year you will likely cross a few lingering snow fields on the climb. From the pass a boot-beaten route, marked with cairns and stakes, heads northeast through permanent snowfields. A crosswalk across the road signals the beginning of the Gunsight Pass/Sperry Chalet Trail on the right (east). Bring your binoculars and map to ensure the best view of this iconic glacier. Ranger-led hikes are available, starting at the chalet. Sperry Glacier is a glacier on the north slopes of Gunsight Mountain west of the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. Sperry Chalet; General information; Status: Rebuilding: Elevation: 6,560 ft (2,000 m) Owner: National Park Service It is accessible by horse travel for 9 miles, to an approximate elevation of 7,800 feet, and from this point by a well-marked foot trail. Gunsight Mountain towers above the ice field to the west. A good trail climbs from the lower basin to the upper basin. At 1.75 miles the trail again ascends, reaching the top of the headwall and the upper basin at 1.9 miles. The climb is accompanied by fine views of Feather Woman Falls and Lincoln Peak. Alternative take the shuttle bus from the Apgar Visitor Center, a better option during the height of the summer when parking is limited. At the pass a sign indicated that the Sperry Glacier is 0.6 miles further. Annual mass balance measurements began in 2005. At 2.6 miles the trail starts the steep ascent up switchbacks to Comeau Pass. Jackson Glacier Overlook to Sperry Campground is a 26.4 mile out and back trail located near Siyeh Bend, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. To the north are more great views of the high peaks around the Logan Pass area and beyond. As you climb enjoy views of a waterfall plunging down the sheer cliffs below the pass. It was a special treat to run into a Mountain Goat giving himself a dust bath in the middle of the trail just below the summit of the pass. The trail is accessible (though sometimes covered in snow) year-round because the trailhead lies in the lower elevation area of the park. Easily accessed, easily climbed—along with Divide Mountain, probably one of the two easiest ascents in the park—yet with a grand view from the top, it makes an ideal introduction to GNP mountains. The historic Sperry Chalet is always a welcome treat along the Gunsight Pass Trail in Glacier National Park. Visible peaks include Bearhat Mountain, Mount Cannon, Clements Mountain, Reynolds Mountain, Pollack Mountain, the Bishops Cap and Mount Gould, to name a few. Sperry Glacier was chosen as the benchmark glacier for the glacier monitoring studies, due to the combination of its topographic characteristics, historic data, and access. Once one of the largest glaciers in the park, the surface area of Sperry Glacier has retreated 75 percent since the mid-19th century. There is a large elevation change between terminus and … A short walk beyond the pass leads to the ice expanse of Sperry Glacier. Although it is only 7 miles (11 km) round-trip from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier, the trail is quite steep, rising 1,600 feet (490 m) in just 2.5 miles (4.0 km). WOW! How Is the U.S. Geological Survey Assessing Glacier Ice Mass? Take the next left on an unmarked one-way road with a small wood building at the corner. The hike from the Chalet or the campground is a 7.6- to 8.2-mile RT hike gaining 1,605-ft. With the 1,339 ft of elevation gain taken care of at Lincoln Pass, it was "downhill" over 4,000ft to the trailhead at Lake McDonald. Below you are fine views of Akaiyan and Feather Woman Lakes set against backdrop of the high peaks to the southwest. Edwards Mountain rises to the west. The path to the glacier heads northeast across the broad pass and then descend about 50-ft. to a cairned/boot-beaten path across permanent snowfields. ... the trip gains 4,000 feet of elevation … At 1.1 miles the grade steepens as the path climbs short steep switchbacks. Read Full Description. Temperatures in July and August vary from 29 to 80 degrees F at chalet elevations (6500 feet). Along this road you will find parking for the Lake McDonald Lodge and the trailhead. A view of Sperry Glacier can also be obtained via a very challenging 8.5 mile one-way hike with a 5,000 foot elevation gain from Lake McDonald Lodge. Sperry Chalet is located in the west side of Glacier Park, with trail access points from Lake McDonald Lodge and Gunsight Pass Trail. The concessioner for Sperry Chalet maintained property insurance at the contract-specified IRV amount of $1.2 M which will be available to rebuild the Sperry dormitory building. Check the Glacier National Park and Sperry Chalet website for the most up-to-date information. Invisible from the rocky slopes below, a series of glacial cirques with streams, waterfalls and lakes reflecting snow fields and mountain peaks leads to a steep and narrow stone staircase cut into the stone ridge of Comeau Pass. Elevation Gain: 1,605-ft. From the Gunsight Pass Trailhead near Lake McDonald Lodge, Distance: 18.4 miles RT Distance: 7.6 - 8.2 miles RT from Sperry Chalet or Campground Starting Elevation: 6,420-ft. (at junction) Maximum Elevation: 8,025-ft. Elevation Gain: 1,605-ft. From the Gunsight Pass Trailhead near Lake McDonald Lodge The parking lots around the Lake McDonald Lodge can be very congested. They are habituated to hikers and are easy to photograph. From the junction of the Gunsight Pass and Sperry Glacier trails, follow the Sperry Glacier trail as it travels through trees and then meadows along the east side of Glacier Basin. Soon views open to a beautiful Feather Woman Lake (7,538-ft.). Flat rocks place along the broad crossing help keep your feet dry.