|Trail Location:||Many Glacier (Poia Lake Trailhead)|
|Roundtrip Length:||1.7 Miles|
|Total Elevation Gain:||625 Feet|
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:||735 Feet|
|Highest Elevation:||5545 Feet|
|Trail Difficulty Rating:||2.95 (easy)|
|Parking Lot Latitude||48.80539|
|Parking Lot Longitude||-113.63447|
The hike to Apikuni Falls (also spelled "Appekunny Falls") begins from the Poia Lake Trailhead, located 2.8 miles west of the Many Glacier entrance. Although it's a fairly popular hike, there's limited parking for only 12 cars or so.
From the side of the road the trail starts off in an open field known as Apikuni Flat. Although you can't actually see the falls from the trailhead, you can see the general location of your destination. Look for the notch between Atlyn Peak and Apikuni Mountain, the two mountains almost directly in front of you. Although it's a short hike, the vantage point from the trailhead reveals a relatively steep climb.
Roughly 0.2 miles from the trailhead you'll reach a young aspen grove. Just beyond this grove the trail begins a steep ascent through pine forest and several thimbleberry patches. Hikers will climb almost 500 feet in less than a half mile. Along the way you'll notice several short side trails leading to vantage points that provide good views of the surrounding mountains, as well as Cracker Flats in the valley below.
Near Cracker Flats is the former site of Altyn, an old mining town that received its name from one of the financial backers of the Cracker Lake Mine, Dave Greenwood Altyn. The town was established after copper was discovered on the shores of Cracker Lake in 1897. Altyn was active from 1898 through 1902, had a peak population of 600-800 people, and boasted a store, post office, hotel, newspaper, saloons, and many of the other establishments typically found in boomtowns. Although the copper vein looked promising, the mine went bust, and so with it the town. The former townsite was buried under water after the Lake Sherburne reservoir filled the valley in 1921.
Roughly two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead you'll reach a relatively level spot on the trail. It's here for the first time that you'll be able to hear the roar of the falls in the distance. Walk just a little further up the trail and you'll get a tremendous bird's eye view of the waterfall as it tumbles more than 100 feet down the cliff face. From this point the trail continues towards the base of the falls.
At roughly eight-tenths of a mile you might think that you've reached the end of the trail. However, you should be able to make it all the way to the base of the falls with a relatively easy scramble up the rocks.
Apikuni Falls plunges off a cliff face in two separate tiers. The first tier is a free fall off the top of the cliff, while the second section is more of a cascade. Below the main waterfall is a series of smaller falls and cascades, all combining to make one beautiful scene.
The name of the falls is derived from the Indian name given to James Willard Schultz, a noted author, explorer, guide, fur trader and historian of the Blackfoot Indians. "Apikuni" in the Blackfoot language means Far Off White Robe, Spotted Robe, or Far-Away Robe, depending on the translation. Schultz was given the name while living with the Pikuni tribe during the early 1880s.
Schultz wrote articles about the Glacier area for a new magazine called Forest and Stream. Its editor, George Bird Grinnell, was so taken by Schultz's description of the land that he paid a visit to the mountains in 1885. Grinnell was so inspired by what he saw that he spent the next two decades working to establish Glacier as the 10th national park.