Glacier National Park, Part 4: Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake (Sept 2017)


Oct 27, 2013
Glacier National Park

Part 4 (of 4): Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake
September 13, 2017
part 3 here

Starting from the Many Glacier campground, the trailhead was a short easy walk away.

Gradually getting closer.


The destination: the top of that pass. Just a few switchbacks stood between us.

Hikers for scale in the lower left

Looking down trail from halfway up the switchbacks

Folded rock

The tunnel

The valley on the other side looks like a whole new world. It was also a bit chilly, with the entire trail in the shade. I would have loved to explore further along the trail, but we had neither the time nor the energy.


Mountain goat!


Sedimentary details

These vertical features look like they may be trace fossils of marine animal burrows.


Colors and more colors

View of the tunnel from the far side.

Hiking back down

On the trail that branches off toward Iceberg Lake

Fuzzy puffs. I'm sure that must be the scientific name.

By late afternoon, clouds started descending below the mountain tops ahead of the cold front.


The lake before Iceberg Lake.

Iceberg Lake. We briefly shared it with one other small group, then had it to ourselves. No icebergs floating in it this late in the season.

30 min later, the clouds kept creeping lower and lower.

The water would have been even bluer with direct sunlight.

Time to hightail it down the mountain ahead of these clouds. We had rain gear, but I didn't want to have to use it.

I took this photo as we were leaving at a similar location as the photo 4 pictures above. See how much lower the clouds are, 45 min later!





Ominous...I'm glad we weren't up there.

We timed our last hike impeccably. As we drove out of the park in the morning, we saw fresh snow on the mountains.

A little bit of fall color. I bet with this cold snap, the leaves must have been quite impressive a few days later.

We saw our second bear of the trip while leaving the park!

We drove to Browning to have lunch and visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. The original plan called for camping at Two Medicine that night, but sitting around the campsite in the cold weather with rain/snow sounded too unpleasant, especially to my usually non-camping husband, so we poked around the village in east glacier and drove back around the southern edge of the park. On the west side at lower elevations the weather was much nicer and the worst of the wildfire smoke had dissipated, so we ended up spending the night at the Apgar campground.

Still some lingering smoke over Lake MacDonald

Charred tree debris washed up along the lakeshore. I assume the varying levels reflect how much water the firefighters were taking from the lake.

And one final day for travel and non-hiking tourism. We drove back to Spokane, whence our flight would be departing the next day. We made a few stops along the way; if you get a chance, stop off at Radio City Brewing in Kellogg, Idaho. The interior was amazing!

The river through Spokane, WA


Best playground ever!!! I really wanted to go down the slide, but there were children using it and I don't think their parents would have appreciated me elbowing them out of the way.

That's all folks!
Beautiful place, thanks for sharing. Great to also see a photo with hikers on the trail on their way to/from the pass- you really get a sense of the scale of everything at Glacier NP. That slide looks awesome! And he, he..... that was funny, didn't expect the "Frightening Grizzly".....
@Miya recently posted some amazing close up photos of a black bear and a cub looking right at her in Yosemite!
I like descending clouds. Parts 3 and 4 were both great! thank you
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
norwegianxplorer 7 days backpacking Breheimen/Glacier Home National Park in Norway Backpacking 2
norwegianxplorer Finding Hidden Glacier, 9 days backpacking Jotunheimen National Park Pt3, Norway. Trip Reports 0
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - June 2021 Hiking & Camping 8
Mikjik86 FULL Video Part 2 Backpacking Glacier National Park "North Circle Route" Backpacking 0
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park (Part 2 Preview) "North Circle Route" Montana, August 2019 Backpacking 2
E Glacier National Park in Mid July Trip Planning 0
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park August 2019 Backpacking 3
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park - North Circle Route Part 1 Preview Video. Backpacking 1
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - August 2019 Hiking & Camping 20
R 6 day Glacier National Park Trip August 6th-14th Advice Trip Planning 0
chandlerwest Glacier National Park -- June 2019 Hiking & Camping 15
N Olympic National Park - Anderson Glacier Trip Planning 2
piper01 Glacier National Park, Part 3: Grinnell Lake & Glacier (Sept 2017) Hiking & Camping 1
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - August 2018 Hiking & Camping 8
T Gobblers Knob in Glacier View Wilderness / Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking & Camping 6
piper01 Glacier National Park, Part 2: Siyeh Pass (Sept 2017) Hiking & Camping 2
piper01 Glacier National Park, Part 1: Hidden Lake and St. Mary & Virginia Falls (Sept 2017) Hiking & Camping 3
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - June 2018 Hiking & Camping 19
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - Summer 2017 Hiking & Camping 14
H ON THE ROAD WILD WEST :: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, & Glacier National Park Big Sky Road Trip Photography 8
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - I cannot run out of superlatives. Hiking & Camping 20
Bryan Harwood Glacier National Park: Wintersun on Mount Brown March. 2016 Hiking & Camping 4
Tim Valentine Glacier National Park Tim and Holly Part 2 Backpacking 6
Tim Valentine Glacier National Park August 2015 Part1 Backpacking 13
Chuck the Mauler Glacier National Park (Chief Mtn. Border to Many Glacier) Backpacking 5
isleroyaleguy Glacier national park fire General Discussion 25
Tres Westbrook Bear Glacier - Kenai Fjords National Park On The Water 10
Joey Glacier National Park: Piegan Pass, Many Glacier, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Belly River, Fifty Mountain Loop Backpacking 15
Joey Invite Glacier National Park, June and July, 2015 Meet Up (Members Only) 11
pstm13 Glacier National Park June 2014 Hiking & Camping 4
Curt Glacier Bay National Park On The Water 4
Tyler Glacier National Park and Missoula, Montana May 2006 Hiking & Camping 5
TheMountainRabbit Ortenburger Lake, Talus Lake, & Glacier Peak (Grand Teton NP) - October 2023 Backpacking 14
Rockskipper Did someone put another monolith on Mt. Wilbur in Glacier? General Discussion 14
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - "The Collector" Hiking & Camping 7
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - BCP Fix Hiking & Camping 11
westy Invite Glacier Peak, Washington Meet Up (Members Only) 2
ram Glacier Peak July 2021 Backpacking 9
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - August 2021 (Fulfillment of a Dream) Hiking & Camping 9
zionsky Glacier NP to Implement Ticketed Entry for Summer Season Trip Planning 29
forest dweller Invite update / edit - have off second and third week in August - wanting to backpack in Glacier, Olympic or Yellowstone, hinges on finding companions. Meet Up (Members Only) 37
travel2walk trip report: Wind River Range – Ross Lakes, Bear Basin, Grasshopper Glacier, & Dinwoody Creek loop, Aug-Sep 2020 Trip Reports 41
marquiri Anyone Submit Their Application for Glacier Yesterday? Trip Planning 3
Outdoor_Fool Snowshoeing to Castner Glacier Ice Cave, Alaska Range Winter Sports 5
Outdoor_Fool Gulkana Glacier Re-visited Backpacking 4
U Favorite sites in Glacier in North Fork, Lake McDonald or Cole/Nyack? Looking at mid july Trip Planning 2
U Any recommendations for 5 days hiking in Wyoming, Idaho or MT? This is around July 15-20. Not counting on Glacier being open Trip Planning 9
U Glacier North Circle Loop Mid July - Looking for an alternative back-up plan for a 3-4 nighter Trip Planning 0
Dave Sperry Soaker (Glacier NP, 2019) Backpacking 10
TeamJenkins17 Few days in Glacier August 2019 Hiking & Camping 0

Similar threads