Glacier National Park: Shangri La

By McKayla

A popular day hike off the beaten path (in fact, off the path completely for parts) in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park.  This hike does contain some difficult spots, I recommend only experienced hikers travel here or go with an experienced hiker.

Shangri La

To start, park at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.  This hike can be found in the Climbers Guide to Glacier National Park.  You will begin at the trailhead for Swiftcurrent Pass.  Be sure to swing down to the first pond on your left and look for the moose.


Continue up toward Red Rock Falls. Once you see a creek drainage, you will take a right off the trail and with a little bushwacking, follow that up the draw.  A path does pop up here and there to follow.

Then comes the tricky part.  When you get to the rock outcrop, you will turn right and walk along the wall. Be very careful in this part because it can be slick when there is runoff. 


Facing east as we make our way up to Shangri La


This is the top of the creek drainage we followed up (facing north). The spot I am standing in to take this photo is very close to the spot where we turned right onto the narrow ledge.


Once we wrapped around the narrow ledge opened up and we were able to do a short scramble up to an alpine meadow.  The views from there were incredible.


Nate and McKayla

From this spot, it is only another 15 to 20 minutes to the lake.  Once we got to the lake, we sprawled out to rest, eat and even swim; well, only Nate swam in the glacier waters but Camille and I waded out far enough to ice our legs.  

While basking in the beauty, three others walked through the small alpine trees to the lake. One had a guitar and filled the mountain bowl with a soft melody.  How he brought that thing up the rock face is beyond me but it was a nice addition.  They must know of an easier way up.

To continue the loop, you will walk all the way around the lake and up over the saddle.  This puts you in position to come down onto Iceburg Lake.


walking toward Iceburg Lake from Shangri La


looking down at Iceburg Lake on the path from Shangri La

 After a short scree slide, you can hop on the trail from Iceburg Lake back out to the Swiftcurrent Inn.  We saw more moose on our way out.  I recommend stopping at the Many Glacier hotel for a huckleberry martini after munching down a pizza on the deck of the Swifcurrent Inn.



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