Running Eagle Falls

Glacier National Park / Two Medicine, Montana, USA

About Running Eagle Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-09-24
Date last visited: 2010-09-24

Waterfall Latitude: 48.4981
Waterfall Longitude: -113.35038

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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.

Glacier_NP_316_09242010 - Looking towards mountains towering over the car park
Glacier_NP_317_09242010 - Signage by the car park indicating that we were at the right spot
Glacier_NP_319_09242010 - Flat and lightly forested path though it was a little muddy from the rains during our visit in September 2010
Glacier_NP_320_09242010 - Pretty Autumn colors were starting to come out in the foliage flanking the Running Eagle Falls trail
Glacier_NP_324_09242010 - Julie on the flat walk towards Running Eagle Falls
Glacier_NP_326_09242010 - View of Running Eagle Falls fronted by a bench
Glacier_NP_331_09242010 - Flat and wide open terrain before we crossed the footbridges over Running Eagle Creek
Glacier_NP_335_09242010 - View of Running Eagle Falls from the bench
Glacier_NP_336_09242010 - Julie about to cross a footbridge over Running Eagle Creek
Glacier_NP_341_09242010 - Looking downstream from the footbridge
Glacier_NP_346_09242010 - Julie checks out the falls
Glacier_NP_373_09242010 - I went a little beyond the official viewing deck for this view of the falls


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.

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

Fixated on the falls

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Tagged with: glacier, national park, two medicine, montana, waterfall, rocky mountains, trick falls, natural bridge

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