Apikuni Falls

Glacier National Park / Many Glacier, Montana, USA

About Apikuni Falls


Hiking Distance: 2 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 75-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-09-23
Date last visited: 2010-09-23

Waterfall Latitude: 48.81419
Waterfall Longitude: -113.64286

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Apikuni Falls was perhaps the most striking waterfall that I was able to get close to during our visit to Glacier National Park.

Not bad considering that I actually hadn’t planned on seeing this waterfall prior to the trip since I hadn’t known about it.

Glacier_NP_096_09232010 - Apikuni Falls
Apikuni Falls

I guess a big reason why it wouldn’t be noticed by most visitors was that this waterfall was not visible from the Many Glacier Road as it was facing away from the valley.

It wasn’t until I noticed a mention about the Apikuni Falls upon examining a map sign at the trailhead for the Grinnell Glacier as well as the visitor center near St Mary.

Only then did I realize that its trail was short enough to do without dramatically increasing the chances of a grizzly bear encounter.

From that point on, I made the determination that I should do this hike.

Speaking of grizzlies, we happened to visit at a time when it was berry season so we knew that they were out in force looking to fatten up for the Winter.

Glacier_NP_063_09232010 - Looking in the direction of the Many Glacier Hotel, the Grinnell Glacier Trail, and Swiftcurrent Lake from the Apikuni Falls Trail
Looking in the direction of the Many Glacier Hotel, the Grinnell Glacier Trail, and Swiftcurrent Lake from the Apikuni Falls Trail

Julie was pregnant and her phobia of bears made it an even bigger issue on this trip.

Basically any waterfalls that required hikes longer than two miles was probably pushing it.

I ended up doing this hike solo, but even then I couldn’t be separated from her for too long.

In any case, this waterfall was sourced by Natahki Lake, and it seemed to have two drops close together comprising its overall vertical drop, which I’m guessing was 150ft tall or so.

There were also cascades continuing to tumble further downstream so depending on who you talk to, its overall height might be even taller.

The Apikuni Falls Detailed Trail Description

Glacier_NP_062_09232010 - Looking across Many Glacier Valley from near the start of the Apikuni Falls Trail
Looking across Many Glacier Valley from near the start of the Apikuni Falls Trail

From the trailhead shared with the trail to Poia Lake, the hike was said to be one mile each way.

However, it was a pretty steep uphill mile for almost the entire hike so it definitely took a little out of me for such a relatively short day hike.

The path started off out in the open facing some interesting cliffs rising high above the trees.

But soon enough, the trail went straight into those trees, where I had concerns about surprising a grizzly bear, especially given how windy it was during my hike.

It probably wasn’t until around 3/4-mile into the hike did I finally start to see the hidden Apikuni Falls, which sat in the recesses of a small hanging canyon.

Glacier_NP_071_09232010 - When I went high enough on the Apikuni Falls Trail, I finally started to get my first glimpse of it through all the Autumn foliage
When I went high enough on the Apikuni Falls Trail, I finally started to get my first glimpse of it through all the Autumn foliage

Just a short distance further, the trail climbed above most of the treeline, and from this position, I took a few more breathers looking back in the other direction across Many Glacier Valley.

That was where I got some very scenic views of majestic snow-capped mountains surrounding the valley, remnants of what’s left of the glaciers here, and colorful lakes.

I could only imagine how much more mindblowing the views would have been under clearer skies.

Eventually, the trail was side-by-side with the creek as I was approaching the Apikuni Falls before me.

With some additional scrambling, I managed to get pretty close to the base of the waterfall.

Glacier_NP_080_09232010 - Looking back across Many Glacier Valley over Apikuni Creek as I was at the mouth of the small hanging canyon containing the Apikuni Falls
Looking back across Many Glacier Valley over Apikuni Creek as I was at the mouth of the small hanging canyon containing the Apikuni Falls

That said, the closer I got to the falls, the steeper the scramble became.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide how close to Apikuni Falls you want to get depending on your comfort level, but it was definitely not for everyone.

Authorities

Apikuni Falls resides in Glacier National Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Glacier_NP_058_09232010 - At the trailhead for the Apikuni Falls
Glacier_NP_065_09232010 - Looking back at Many Glacier Valley while taking a breather from the relentless climb up to Apikuni Falls
Glacier_NP_067_09232010 - Looking back at part of the Apikuni Falls Trail as well as some snow-capped mountains backing Many Glacier Valley
Glacier_NP_073_09232010 - Context of my approach to Apikuni Falls along a slippery part of the trail where I had to traverse a loose scree slope
Glacier_NP_075_09232010 - Looking back across the Many Glacier Valley once I was above the treeline so I was able to see more of the attractive snow-capped mountains in the distance
Glacier_NP_076_09232010 - View of the Apikuni Falls once the trail was right next to its creek
Glacier_NP_085_09232010 - Getting closer to Apikuni Falls, which was further upstream from these intermediate cascades
Glacier_NP_092_09232010 - Looking downstream from the cascades beneath Apikuni Falls towards the panorama of Many Glacier Valley
Glacier_NP_100_09232010 - Looking right up at the Apikuni Falls from near its base

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Apikuni Falls resides in the Many Glacier Valley section of Glacier National Park, which we accessed from the US89 from the east near the hamlet of Babb.

From Babb, we drove west on Many Glacier Road for about 10.25 miles to the Poia Lake car park and trailhead.

From the trailhead, the trail to the lake forks to the right while the trail to the waterfall forks to the left.

There are signposts there to help you pick the right path.

For context, Babb was 9 miles (15 minutes drive) north of St Mary and 209 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Helena. Across the US-Canada border, Babb was 38 miles (an hour drive) southeast of Waterton and 171 miles (under 3 hours) south of Calgary.

Bottom up sweep of the falls on the approach


Comprehensive counterclockwise circular sweep encompassing the falls and the gorgeous mountains across the valley


Fixated on the falls from a distance

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: glacier, national park, many glacier, babb, montana, waterfall, rocky mountains, canadian rockies, st mary, poia lake



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