Glacier Park Day Hike: Olson Creek Valley
Olson Creek Valley
Among the many outstanding Glacier National Park Hikes that hikers can enjoy is the amazing hike through Olson Creek Valley. Part of the Boulder Pass Trail that begins at Kintla Lake and ends at Goat Haunt Montana, this amazing day hike includes such landmarks as Lake Janet, Lake Francis, Thunderbird Pond and Brown Pass… all of which are part of the remote Northern Wilderness of Glacier National Park.
This 8.6 mile hike up the Olson Creek Valley in Glacier National Park is one of the most scenic Glacier Park hiking trails we’ve ever been on. Beginning at Goat Haunt Montana, this Glacier Park hiking trail runs up the middle of the Olson Creek Valley along the Boulder Pass Trail, and “ends” at Brown Pass. The mountains surrounding this remote lush green valley are incredible, as well as the chain of 3 lakes found along this unbelievably scenic area of Glacier National Park.
The trailhead begins just beyond the Goat Haunt Ranger Station in Glacier National Park, which is actually the trailhead for the Waterton Lake Trail. In just one half mile you will encounter the Boulder Pass Trail Junction, and it is here that you begin your gradual ascent of 1,900 vertical feet in 8.6 miles. As you hike westward up this famous Glacier Park hiking trail (Boulder Pass Trail), you will encounter 3 lakes that are so beautiful that they will literally take your breath away.
Lake Janet is the first lake you will encounter on your Glacier Park hiking adventure. Especially in the morning, when the water is completely calm and the sky is crystal clear, Lake Janet is gorgeous. The huge peaks of the Porcupine Ridge reflect in the water, and the image this creates is better than a post card. Also located at Lake Janet is the Lake Janet Backcountry Campground which is used by backpackers who are coming down from either Boulder Pass, Hole In The Wall, or Brown Pass along the Boulder Pass Trail.
The only thing missing at Lake Janet Lake is a nice beach… but I guess we can’t have everything!
The next lake you will encounter as you hike up the Olson Creek Valley along the Boulder Pass Trail is the amazing Lake Francis, and it just might be one the prettiest lakes not only in Glacier National Park but in all of North America. Nestled below unbelievably high walls, this turquoise-colored glacial lake is breathtakingly beautiful. There is an amazing beach that is located at the center of this great amphitheater, and you will be in awe of the size of these vertical walls that tower above the lake, as well as the overall beauty of the surroundings. Waterfalls that originate at Dixon Glacier cascade down these enormous walls into Lake Francis, which makes for an even more spectacular sight.
To get to the beach on Lake Francis, you must hike through the Lake Francis Backcountry Campground. This campground is an extremely popular place for Glacier National Park hikers to spend the night during their multi-day backpacking trips along the Boulder Pass Trail, and because there are only 2 campsites, it’s rather hard to get a spot. But if you don’t, don’t worry because the Hawksbill Backcountry Campground is just up the trail from Lake Francis.
Fun Day Hike From Goat Haunt!
The Olson Creek Valley is without question on of the most scenic valleys in Glacier Park, but is mainly only enjoyed by multi-day hikers heading east on the Boulder Pass Trail from Kintla Lake and planning on ending their hike at Goat Haunt, Montana. What many people do not realize that the Olson Creek Valley is a very fun and easy day hike if you start at Goat Haunt early in the morning by taking the first Waterton Boat Tour boat from Waterton Village into Goat Haunt, and then taking the last boat back to Waterton Village. If you want to see seldom seen scenery that is absolutely breathtaking, then consider this wonderful hike.