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The National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Glacier National Park contains detailed topo info, named and clearly marked trails, points of interest, and navigational aids for both Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

Top Trails: Glacier National Park. Local author Jean Arthur leads visitors to secluded trails and unique settings while providing details of current and past human activity, wildlife, and geology.

Bullhead Lake

Trail Features: Lakes, Waterfalls, Scenic views Bullhead Lake
Trail Location: Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead
Roundtrip Length: 7.2 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 425 Feet
Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 118 Feet
Highest Elevation: 5245 Feet
Trail Difficulty Rating: 8.05 (moderate)
Parking Lot Latitude 48.79763
Parking Lot Longitude -113.67854

Trail Description:

The hike to Bullhead Lake begins from the Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead in Many Glacier. The trailhead is located at the far end of the parking area for the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn at the end of Many Glacier Road.

Roughly one-third of a mile from the normally crowded parking lot hikers will reach the side trail that leads to Fishercap Lake, the first destination on this hike. It's a very short walk of less than a hundred yards to reach the shore. Although some might bypass this gem, it's well worth the short side trip, as the views of the lake and the surrounding mountains are simply stunning. Fishercap Lake is also a good place to spot a moose, especially in the mornings and early evenings. The lake's name is a reference to George Bird Grinnell, whom the Blackfeet Indians called "Fishercap".


At roughly 0.8 miles the trail passes through a long stretch of aspens growing alongside the path, making this an excellent choice for a fall hike when their leaves change to golden yellow and orange.

For the most part the trail travels under the canopy of the forest as it makes its way towards Bullhead Lake, however, there will be several open areas along the way that provide outstanding views of the surrounding mountains. You'll also pass through several patches of thimbleberries and huckleberries that can make for some tasty snacks when in season. Although this is a very popular trail, hikers should still make plenty of noise to warn any bears that might be around that you're passing through their territory.

At 1.7 miles hikers will reach Redrock Lake, the second destination on this hike. The views from this lake are also quite beautiful. You'll have commanding views of 8851-foot Mt. Grinnell and Swiftcurrent Glacier towards the southwest, and 8436-foot Swiftcurrent Mountain almost directly towards the west. If you look closely you may be able to spot the fire tower atop Swiftcurrent Mountain.


On the opposite side of the lake, sitting below Mt. Grinnell, is Redrock Falls.

From this point the trail proceeds along the northern shore of the lake. As you make your way around to the far western shore you'll pass some of the red rock formations that provided the inspiration for the naming of the lake and the falls.

mooseAt just over 2 miles hikers will reach an unmarked split in the trail. Walking a short distance along the left fork will lead you down to the lower falls. Redrock Falls is actually a series of cascades, and in my opinion, one of the more impressive waterfalls in Glacier National Park. Upon arrival at the lower falls you'll notice several small side trails, or social trails, that lead to various vantage points that offer views of the lower and upper falls.

After returning back to the main trail you'll continue for a very short distance before reaching a viewpoint of the highest falls in the series, with Swiftcurrent Mountain providing the perfect scenic backdrop.

Once beyond the waterfall hikers will pass through several more open areas that offer outstanding views of the surrounding mountains, including Mount Grinnell on your left, Swiftcurrent Mountain straight ahead, and Mount Wilbur on your right. You'll also be able to see Swiftcurrent Glacier just off to the left of Swiftcurrent Mountain.

Due to the lakes, stream and an abundance of willows, the entire Swiftcurrent Valley is excellent habitat for moose. You'll have a great chance of spotting one almost anywhere on this hike, including right alongside the trail.


At roughly 3.4 miles the trail crosses over a swinging footbridge. Soon afterwards you'll reach a side trail that leads down to Bullhead Lake. Hikers will have the option of walking down this social path for about a tenth-of-a-mile, or staying on the main trail and walking another tenth-of-a-mile to reach the shore of the lake. In my opinion the social trail provided much better views of the lake and mountains.


From the northeastern shore of Bullhead Lake hikers will have some great views of Swiftcurrent Mountain, Swiftcurrent Glacier, as well as the headwall above the lake. For those who wish to explore more of the terrain in this area, the main trail continues past the lake before climbing steeply up to Swiftcurrent Pass The views of the Swiftcurrent Valley are quite amazing, even if you only travel for another 1.5 miles beyond the lake.