This is the easiest route to the summits of both East Glacier Knob and West Glacier Knob.
Getting ThereStart at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
Route DescriptionNote: The route described here uses the Loch Vale Trail past Alberta Falls to get to the base of the west side of East Glacier Knob. If one does not wish to visit Alberta Falls, there is a shortcut called the 'Fire Trail' which does not appear on all maps. To get to the start of the 'Fire Trail', follow the Loch Vale Trail from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead for approximately 0.4 miles. After crossing the fourth bridge from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, turn right on a faint path. The path turns into a full-fledged trail. The trail joins up with the Loch Vale Trail 100 feet east of the junction of the Loch Vale Trail and Glacier Gorge Trail. If used for the approach, this shortcut will reduce the hike to the west side of East Glacier Knob by 1.0 mile. If used for the return, this shortcut will reduce the return hike by 0.8 miles.
Stats: Class 2, 6.1 miles (round trip), 1585 feet of elevation gain.
West Slope of East Glacier Knob
From the trailhead, follow the Loch Vale Trail for 2.2 miles to a point 100 feet east of the junction of the Loch Vale Trail and the Glacier Gorge Trail. Here, a path known as the 'Fire Trail' can be seen heading north. There may be a log or two laying across the 'Fire Trail' discouraging people who don't know what they're doing from taking it. Follow the 'Fire Trail' downhill for 0.2 miles to an elevation of 9700 feet. The coordinates of this point are 40.300267°N / 105.646633°W. From here, bushwhack east, heading up a wide, tree-filled gully on the west side of East Glacier Knob. At some points it may be easier to scramble up the slabs on the right side of the gully instead of dealing with the gully itself. Eventually, you will be funnelled to the top the gully. The coordinates of this point are 40.300267°N / 105.643833°W. From here, angle southeast towards the summit of East Glacier Knob. Return to the 'Fire Trail' the same way. If you are also hiking West Glacier Knob, proceed 0.2 miles south back to the Loch Vale Trail, and then go 100 feet west to the junction of the Loch Vale Trail and the Glacier Gorge Trail.
South Slope of West Glacier Knob
From the junction of the Loch Vale Trail and the Glacier Gorge Trail, hike west on the Loch Vale Trail for 1200 feet (a little over 0.2 miles) to a point where water run-off from the north (right) has carved a small 'U'-shaped bowl into the hillside. There is not likely to be any water there when you arrive, but there may be abundant moss, lichen, and other green plant life above the bowl. The coordinates of this point are 40.2953°N / 105.6487°W. From here, bushwhack up the hillside to the summit of West Glacier Knob. Don't confuse a "sub-knob" of West Glacier Knob which is 900 feet to the southwest for the true summit.
Trail Profile and MapThe trail color represents the class of that portion of the trail.
Green = Class 1
Blue = Class 2
The vertical unit is feet, and the horizontal unit is miles.