Otokomi Lake in Glacier National Park

Otokomi Lake Glacier

One of the little known hikes in Glacier National Park is to Otokomi Lake.  The lake is a low-elevation cirque lake, nestled again reddish mountains. This is a great place to see various terrain as you hike your way up the 5 miles to the lake.

Start at the Rising Sun Motel parking lot.  Find this east of the continental divide off of the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park.  St. Mary Lake is across the street from the motel lot. Here you can also find food, supplies, and a gift shop.  Depending on the time of year, remember that it can get hot during the middle of the day, so plan your start time accordingly.

The trail ascends over 1,800 ft and is pretty much uphill the whole way.  Highest elevation is over 6,000 ft, so not for the beginner or those with breathing problems.  A portion of the hike is along Rose Creek. Lots of waterfalls and even places to rest and take a dip - yes, it is cold, but refreshing.  Some of the trail goes through forest that was burned during the Reynolds Fire. This provides great views of St. Mary Lake. The top of the trail is in open terrain, with great views.  You will be right in the middle of the mountains of Glacier National Park. Don’t forget to look around and be amazed at the view.

Wildflowers are in abundance along the trail.  Look for paintbrush, asters, lupin, monkey flower and fireweed.  Thimbleberry is also in abundance. Look for berries in August.

For some it is not possible to do the entire 10 miles round trip hike.  If you just get to the creek and find the areas to sit by the water and take a dip, it is worth it.  There are not many people on the trail, even in high season.

As always, ask your B&B professional where you are staying about the best time to depart from your inn to get into the park and hit the trail.  They keep their ear to the latest news about entry to the park and accessibility to trails