National Parks, Travel

The Best Child Friendly Hikes in Glacier National Park


Glacier National Park is one of the top ten busiest parks in the United States, and for good reason, it is breathtakingly beautiful. Known as “The Crown Jewel”, Glacier is full of so many things to do, but one of the biggest draws is the hiking. We take our baby with us everywhere and are always looking for the things we can do with her that are fun for us, but also good for her. She is a mover, but can’t walk, so carrying her for a long time makes her cranky. Do not let traveling with kids deter you from going places! Eventually they will appreciate it and it gets easier every time. Here are the best child friendly hikes in Glacier National Park.

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glacier national park

While we couldn’t do every hike that we wanted to because we only had one day, we did do the most popular. We talked to a park ranger to see what they recommended along with all of our research and really loved the hikes/ paths we were able to see. We hope this ultimate guide to child friendly hikes in Glacier help when you plan your trip!

**Before you hike, please be prepared and get yourself some bear spray

When To Go

First off, the age old question, when to go? Montana summers are short, and most visitors crowd into the park in July and August. While this time has the best weather (and the warmest temperatures in the lakes), it can be super crowded. We went in October and it was the best. We loved the fall foliage and it was not crowded at all.


How to Prepare to Hike with Your Baby

Hiking with your baby can be fun and easy, but it does help to be prepared. We usually use our favorite carrier-the LilleBaby, which is great for smaller babies. We will eventually upgrade to a larger actual hiking carrier, but for now this works.

For this trip, we had to use our WildBird Sling because we were in a rush and I could not find our other carrier. It was fine for most of the stuff we did, but toward our last hike, it was not the most supportive.

glacier national park hike father with baby

The Family Friendly Hikes (West Side of the Park)

Glacier is a massive park and you could probably spend weeks hiking without doing all of them. There is something for everyone but this guide of the best hikes in glacier with kids focuses more on the easier to slightly more challenging hikes. Most of these could be done with a baby/ child in a carrier, or your small kids could walk without too much complaint.

glacier national park hiking pin points

Howe Lake

This hike is on the west side of Lake McDonald
Distance (one way): 1.6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 347 feet
Trailhead: 5.5 miles north of Fish Creek on the Inside North Fork Road

Johns Lake Loop

Distance (loop): 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 230 feet
Trailhead: 1.3 miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge

Oxbow Trail

Distance (one way): 1.1 Miles
Elevation Gain: 83 feet
Trailhead: Apgar Visitor Center Plaza, or Lower McDonald Creek Bridge

Rocky Point

Distance (one way): .9 Miles
Elevation Gain: 220 feet
Trailhead: 5.5 miles north of Fish Creek Campground on the inside of North Fork Road

Trail of the Cedars

This is a great hike for everyone. This trail is a path/ boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible and great for kids. There are beautiful trees, wildlife, and a waterfall in the middle.
Distance (loop): .9 Miles
Elevation Gain: 83 feet
Trailhead: Avalanche Creek, 5.5 miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge

Avalanche Lake

This hike was on the “Challenging Hike” list, but it wasn’t too bad.
Distance (one way): 2.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 741 feet
Trailhead: 5.5 miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge. The Trail of the Cedars leads to the trailhead of Avalanche Lake

Hikes (Moving North East)

Baring Falls

Distance (one way): .3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Trailhead: Sunrift Gorge

Hidden Lake Overlook

This hike was on the “Challenging Hike” list, and it was a bit hard, but we saw a ton of kids on the path. There is a path almost the whole way to the overlook.
Distance (one way): 1.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 608 feet
Trailhead: Behing Logan Pass Visitor Center

Beaver Pond Loop

Distance (loop): 3.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 418 feet
Trailhead: near the 1913 Ranger Station, .2 miles east of St. Mary Entrance

Saint Mary Falls

There are two hikes here
A) Distance (one way): 1.1 Miles
Elevation Gain: 134 feet
Trailhead: Saint Mary Falls Trailhead

B) Distance (one way): 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 621 feet
Trailhead: Sun Point Picnic Area

Sun Point Nature Trail

Distance (one way): .9 Miles
Elevation Gain: 163 feet
Trailhead: Sunrift Gorge

Sunrift Gorge

Distance (one way): < .1 mile
Elevation Gain: 65 feet
Trailhead: Sunrift Gorge

Swiftcurrent Lake Trail

This trail is wheelchair accessible
Distance (loop): 2.6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 258 feet
Trailhead: Grinnell Glacier Trailhead, or the Many Glacier Hotel


What to Wear

What to wear will depend entirely on the time of the year and intensity of the hiking. We visited in October and I wore a sweatshirt while my husband wore a Patagonia Coat- I was wearing the baby as well so knew I would be warm. If you are visiting in colder months, bring a coat and light layers. For the summer bring a jacket and light layers. Depending on how much hiking you will do will depend on footwear. We like to bring an extra pair of socks in case ours get wet. We have hiking boots, but wore regular tennis shoes because we were doing the easier hikes. Hiking boots would have been nice if we had done the more difficult hikes.

Glacier is absolutely breathtaking and you could easily spend days hiking and exploring. Here is list of the best child friendly hikes in glacier national park. They are also the easiest and include two of the accessible hikes in the park. We hope this list helps and that you have the best time on your trip. For more information you can always visit the official park website

Enjoyed this guide? Here are some of our other guides!

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