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My Life Outdoors

Baring Falls and St. Mary Falls – Glacier National Park

We were looking for a short hike that my parents and children could go on. We had spent the night on the east side of Glacier National park and had seen signs for “Sun Point” and “Sunrift Gorge” just off Going to the Sun Road. We were intrigued and decided to go see what it was, maybe a suitable place for a picnic.

View of St. Mary Lake from Sun Point

What we found was a short hike to three different waterfalls. It was only three miles to the furthest waterfall (Virginia Falls), and only 0.7 miles to the closest (Baring Falls). We decided to eat our picnic in the parking lot and then head off to see the waterfalls.

Just a short distance from the parking lot is Sun Point, the former location of Sun Point Chalet. Here a large metal plaque points out different mountains and other views. My family and I stopped to take in the many views from atop the large rock outcropping before heading down the trail to Baring Falls. From Sun Point it is a little hard to find the trail toward the falls. But just keep walking west and you will eventually find it.

St. Mary Lake looking East from Sun Point
looking across St. Mary Lake to a small peninsula. Looks like a great place to camp.
My daughter and mother at Sun Point

In no time we arrived at Baring Falls. We crossed over the small foot bridge. We sat in the shade while the waterfall covered us in mist. As an amateur photographer waterfalls are one of my favorite subjects. Regrettably Baring Falls was in direct sunlight making picture taking difficult. But I didn’t let that stop me.

View of St. Mary Lake from the trail.
My Father and daughter on the trail to Baring Falls
Baring Falls

After spending a few moments at Baring Falls we continued on to the second waterfall, St Mary Falls, just another one and a half miles down the trail. When we arrived we found St. Mary falls much more crowded then Baring Falls. But for good reason. It was much more beautiful too. My Family crossed over the large foot bridge to get a better view, while my daughter and I followed a short trail to the top of the falls.

Heading toward St. Mary Falls
St. Mary Falls
St. Mary Falls

St. Mary Falls
Looking down from the top of St. Mary Falls

We spent quite a bit of time at St. Mary falls, to the point that we didn’t have time to continue on Virginia Falls, which I understand is much bigger then Baring, and St. Mary Falls. Personally I would have liked to continue, but my family was ready to head back.

All and all these short trails are a great hike that gives you an opportunity to get out of the car and stretch you legs. Although it is far from secluded, the crowed was much smaller than those found on Logan’s pass or on Going to the Sun Road.

I used both the book and map featured below while planning my Glacier Trip. Buy them through these links and support MyLifeOutdoors

If you would like more information about Glacier National Park visit HikinginGlacier.com and corresponding blog The Huckleberry Hiker. Both are written by a friend and provide detailed information on the trails and park news.

Click here for Hiking In Glacier’s description of Baring Falls Trail
Click here for Hiking In Glacier’s description of St. Mary Falls Trail
Click here for Hiking In Glacier’s description of Virginia Falls Trail

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  • Smoky Hiker

    December 20, 2011

    Steven – thank you very much for the mentioning my website – I really appreciate it!

    Your photos are outstanding. Really, really makes me wish I was back there….


  • Grant Ritter

    December 20, 2011

    oh my gosh……these pictures practically changed my life..I need to go there

  • Linda Williams

    December 20, 2011

    Beautiful photos. I've been to Glacier twice and loved both trips! (my son used to attend college in Montana, so it gave me lots of excuses to go there) Reading your post makes me want to return a third time.

  • Steven Smith

    December 21, 2011

    I certainly would like to go back…I already have a list of hikes I want to do

  • Steven Smith

    December 21, 2011

    I agree…everyone needs to go

  • Steven Smith

    December 21, 2011

    No problem…you were a big help to me in the early stages of MyLifeOutdoors and you helped me win the contest…so I am willing to help anyway I can

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