Running Eagle Falls (Trick Falls)

Glacier National Park / Two Medicine Valley / Glacier County, Montana, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
Running Eagle Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Running Eagle Falls (also called Trick Falls) was probably one of the more unique waterfalls we've seen in a while. What made this waterfall so unusual was that we happened to see it when it acted as a waterfall that fell onto another waterfall! It turned out that this hinted at a natural bridge spanning at least the lower waterfall (though the natural bridge wasn't immediately obvious at first). As a result of this special convergence of rare scenic features, this waterfall was a rare scenic gem and well worth the effort to visiting the quiet Two Medicine Valley part of Glacier National Park.

The reason why we had a waterfall falling into a waterfall was that I believe there was a sink hole in the creek bed above the falls. Most of the flow of the creek fell into the sink hole before re-emerging out an apparent "tunnel" opening that I proclaimed to be the thick span of the natural bridge. The visibly thin column of water fronting that opening was the overflow of Running Eagle Creek that managed to not fall into the sink hole. So I'd imagine under low flow conditions, that extra column might disappear entirely as the rest of the creek would fall mostly unseen into that sink hole before passing through the span of the natural bridge.

The walk to Running Eagle Falls from the large signposted car park (see directions below) was a mostly flat 0.3 miles in each direction (or 0.6 miles out-and-back). The walk was pretty straightforward as the path was wide and obvious. Just before the trail traversed a couple of footbridges, there was a bench to enjoy a distant view of the falls with the mountainous backdrop. After crossing the bridges, the official path terminated at a viewing deck for a closer look at the falls.

I noticed that the trail once continued beyond the designated viewing area, but I believe the park prohibited further access because I saw a section of unstable earth as well as a massive rock fall a little further. Nonetheless, I'd imagine that had we been able to scramble further, we might be able to get to the banks of Running Eagle Creek and see the sinkhole causing the lower tier of the falls.

It turned out that despite the tranquility of Two Medicine Valley, this waterfall was pretty busy because the old school red tour buses would frequently stop here.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Late afternoon view of Two Medicine Lake at the end of the road past Running Eagle FallsLate afternoon view of Two Medicine Lake at the end of the road past Running Eagle Falls
Running Eagle Falls in context with some pretty mountains in the backgroundRunning Eagle Falls in context with some pretty mountains in the background
Two Medicine Valley was further south of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (pictured here near Logan Pass), which was the featured part of Glacier National ParkTwo Medicine Valley was further south of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (pictured here near Logan Pass), which was the featured part of Glacier National Park
Looking towards mountains towering over the car parkLooking towards mountains towering over the car park

Signage by the car park indicating that we were at the right spotSignage by the car park indicating that we were at the right spot

Flat and lightly forested path though it was a little muddy from the rains during our visit in September 2010Flat and lightly forested path though it was a little muddy from the rains during our visit in September 2010

Pretty Autumn colors were starting to come out in the foliage flanking the Running Eagle Falls trailPretty Autumn colors were starting to come out in the foliage flanking the falls

Julie on the flat walk towards Running Eagle FallsJulie on the flat walk towards the falls

View of Running Eagle Falls fronted by a benchView of the falls fronted by a bench

Flat and wide open terrain before we crossed the footbridges over Running Eagle CreekFlat and wide open terrain before we crossed the footbridges over Running Eagle Creek

View of Running Eagle Falls from the benchView of the falls from the bench

Julie about to cross a footbridge over Running Eagle CreekJulie about to cross a footbridge over Running Eagle Creek

Looking downstream from the footbridgeLooking downstream from the footbridge

Julie checks out the fallsJulie checks out the falls

I went a little beyond the official viewing deck for this view of the fallsI went a little beyond the official viewing deck for this view of the falls


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Right to left sweep starting at the falls and ending at the mountains further downstream


Fixated on the falls


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From St Mary, drive south on US89 for about 19 miles until it junctions with Route 49. Take Route 49 (which was a pretty rough paved road) for another 7 miles until it junctions with Two Medicine Road on the right. Take Two Medicine Road and drive for about 5 miles to the large and well-signed car park for Running Eagle Falls.

To give you some context, St Mary was under 9 miles south of Babb and 203 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Helena. Across the US-Canada border, St Mary was 47 miles (an hour drive) southeast of Waterton and 180 miles (3 hours drive) south of Calgary.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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