OverviewNot a technical climb, but a rest-day hike: Swiftcurrent Mountain (crowned by Swiftcurrent Lookout) offers spectacular 360-degree views. Several trails converge at the base of Swiftcurrent Mountain, then a single path switchbacks up the relatively bare rounded peak.
Swiftcurrent boasts the highest lookout in Glacier, with unrestricted views of the Continental Divide. Perched on the Continental Divide, the lookout also lends a wide-angle view from Mount Cleveland in the north to Mount Reynolds in the south: visible are at least 9 lakes, 48 major peaks, & 4 glaciers.
The high points along the Continental Divide in this area are Swiftcurrent and Grinnell Mountains. Ipasha Peak, Mt Wilbur, the Lewis Range, & North Swiftcurrent Glacier are visible along the Continental Divide to the north. To the east is the Many Glacier Valley and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, with the summits of Mt Grinnell, Siyeh, & Gould framing Swiftcurrent Glacier. While Logan Pass & the Continental Divide continue to the southeast, Mt Cannon & the Flathead Range are visible in the south. The Livingston Range summits of Heavens Peak, Longfellow Peak, & Vulture Peak rise up in the west over the trees of Flattop Mountainnt Mountain (aka Peak) & Mt. Grinnell.
The panorama includes also includes the enchained lakes of the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail and the dramatic Grinnell Glacier.
An abundance of flora includes snags from the 1936 Heaven's Peak-Swiftcurrent fire & the
2003 Trapper Creek fire. Fireweed now blooms in profusion.
Wildlife includes mountain sheep and goats, pika, white-tailed ptarmigan, bald eagles, golden eagles, rosy finches, and red-tailed hawks. Beware of grizzlies. Also beware of the Golden-Mantled and Columbian Ground Squirrels (chipmunks) at the lookout: brazen beggars & thieves, every one of 'em.
Getting ThereFrom Granite Park Chalet, Swiftcurrent Mountain/Lookout is a moderate, scenic 2.4 mile ascent. Follow the signs and the well-traveled trail.
Alternatively, Swiftcurrent Mountain can be reached via the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail, one of the park's steepest, highest trails. It ascends from 4882' to 8436'. One-way is 7.9 miles (12.7 km). Start near the Swiftcurrent Coffee Shop in Many Glacier.
Other options include round-trip from the Loop, or starting at the Loop & ending at Many Glacier.
Ascending from the valley and the convergence of several trails, the lookout trail travels steadily upward through sub-alpine terrain. After leaving the bleached-white snags from previous forest fires and slopes of bright pink fireweed, the trail switchbacks through rocky, scree-covered slopes to the summit.
Red TapePlease refer to SummitPost's Glacier National Park home page
CampingConsider Granite Park Chalet or the nearby Granite Park Backcountry campground.
Reservations made at least several months ahead are practically mandatory for the Chalet as it is booked 100% for almost the entire season.
Bear (Grizzly!) precautions are critical!
External LinksPlease refer to Summitpost's Glacier National Park home page.
Swiftcurrent Virtual Tour. Don't miss this link! Click & drag for a 360-degrees view. Archival photos from 1935 were spliced for this, when the glaciers were much larger.