About Appistoki Falls
Appistoki Falls would forever be associated with huckleberries as far as we were concerned because ever since some locals showed us which plants were naturally growing the berries, Julie and Tahia went nuts picking as many as they could find along the trail! As for the waterfall itself, not much was said about its actual height, but it didn’t really matter that much because the view from the official trail was quite obstructed and left much to be desired. During our visit in August 2017, we saw trail signs talking about plans to improve this trail. I’m not sure what kind of improvements would be made, but if there would be a way to somehow get across the Appistoki Creek and get a more frontal view of the falls, then that would be definitely worth the wait! As a bonus, there was also a nice view across the Two Medicine Valley from the top of the falls, but I didn’t do the far more ambitious hike up to Scenic Point, which would have promised an obstructed view over the entirety of Two Medicine Valley.
As for logistics, this hike was said to only be about 1.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of under 200ft. That said, we wound up spending over 90 minutes here because of all the time Julie and Tahia spent picking huckleberries. According to some of the Glacier National Park guides, you’re apparently allowed to pick up to a pint. We managed to get a couple handfuls of them. At least since these were wild berries, we didn’t have to worry about pesticides. Indeed, this was as wild and organic as they come. Of course, they were also a favorite for grizzly bears to fatten up on, and the amount of berries I’ve seen in their poop kind of corroborated this notion.
The hike began from the Scenic Point parking lot (see directions below). The trail meandered amongst some pretty flat and gently ascending terrain flanked by huckleberry bushes and other bushes sprouting other types of berries as well as some trees. After the first half-mile, we encountered a signed trail junction where the sign pointed to our right to continue to Appistoki Falls along a narrower and moderately ascending path. The trail on the left of this fork continued climbing up towards Scenic Point. Within another 0.1 mile, we eventually got to some unsigned views of the Appistoki Falls in the distance. As mentioned before, the temptation was great to try to improve the views, but with steep dropoffs and unstable edges, that wouldn’t be wise. So we experienced what we could of the falls before heading back.
I did manage to follow some kind of steep narrow trail (probably a social trail) that ultimately connected us with the Scenic Point Trail. Within another quarter-mile, I found myself on a wider outcrop almost right above the top of Appistoki Falls. From up here, I was able to look back across Two Medicine Valley towards some attractive mountains in the distance though it was probably nothing more than a teaser for the much longer hike to the Scenic Point itself. In any case, this was my turnaround point, and we once again took our time to return to the trailhead as Julie and Tahia found it to be an extended opportunity to pick more fresh huckleberries.
From St Mary, we drive south on US89 for about 19 miles until it junctioned with Route 49. We then turned right to take Route 49 (which was a pretty rough paved road) for another 7 miles until it junctioned with Two Medicine Road on the right. We then took Two Medicine Road and drove for about another 7 miles to the Scenic Point parking lot on the left. The Scenic Point parking lot was also the trailhead for Appistoki Falls. The parking lot was about a half-mile before the end of the Two Medicine Road, where there was a boat dock for tours across Two Medicine Lake.
If you happened to start at the East Glacier Park Village, then you’d drive north on Hwy 49 for about 4 miles before keeping left to go onto Two Medicine Road at the fork. Then, follow the Two Medicine Road through the entrance station and eventually to the Scenic Point parking lot.
To give you some context, St Mary was under 9 miles (a little over 10 minutes drive) south of Babb, 30 miles (under an hour drive) north of East Glacier Park Village, 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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