Abbott Ridge

Among Glacier National Park's premier scenic trails, its Abbott Ridge Trail ascends subalpine forest, passes Marion Lake, and reaches alpine meadows and tundra. Enjoy 360-degree sweeping views of nearly all of Glacier National Park including glacier-carved matterhorns of the Sir Donald Range, the ice fields of Illecillewaet Neve, Mount Bonney's tumbling glacier, and the Hermit Range peaks above far side of Rogers Pass to the north. It's 4 miles with 3,400 feet of elevation gain.

Getting There

Travel Trans Canada Highway 1 east from Kamloops and Revelstoke or west from Field, Golden, or Lake Louise. Camp at Illecillewaet campground (first-come, first-served) or nearby Wheeler Hut (reserve with Alpine Club of Canada). Most subalpine and alpine day hikes in Glacier National Park start near the campground or hut and offer abundant mountain and glacier views.

On the Trail

Hike the Abbott Ridge Trail 4 miles with 3,400 feet of elevation gain as it ascends from the trailhead near Illecillewaet Campground through subalpine forest, passes Marion Lake, becomes increasingly more rugged, passes the Abbott Observatory (where snow pack, weather, avalanche conditions, and data are gathered by researchers and avalanche personnel during winter), and reaches alpine meadows and tundra. Enjoy nearly 360° of extraordinary, sweeping views of nearly all of Glacier National Park including glacier-carved matterhorns of the Sir Donald Range, ice fields of Illecillewaet Neve, Mount Bonney's tumbling glacier, and the Hermit Range peaks above the far side of Rogers Pass to the north. 

Return the way you came, or consider returning on the lower loop of the Abbott Ridge Trail with a more gradual and less rocky descent. Descend about 300 meters below the observatory to an unmarked fork in the trail.  Follow that trail, leading east toward Illecillewaet Glacier to the right. At the next lower loop junction, continue straight (north) along path ascended earlier, passing Marion Lake on the way down to the trailhead. Enjoy a variety of wildlife as you pass through a range of habitats on this trail: birds, pikas, and other smaller and larger mammals.

Notes

  • Glacier National Park is grizzly country.  Practice bear safe travel and consider carrying bear spray as a deterrent.
  • Guidebook: Glacier Country: A Guide to Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks by John G. Woods (Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier, 2004).
  • Guidebook: Hiking Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks (Michelle Gurney and Kathy Howe (Falcon Guide, 2002).
  • Guidebook: Footloose in the Columbias: A Hiker's guide to the trails of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, a compact booklet by Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.
  • Other recommended trails, most with moderate/strenuous elevation change, from Illecillewaet campground are Glacier Crest, Avalanche Crest, Sir Donald and Perley Rock, Asulkan Valley, and Great Glacier.  Also nearby just east of the Rogers Pass Visitor Centre, is the steep scenic Hermit Trail.
  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,412 ft
  • 7,513 ft
  • Land Manager: Glacier National Park (Canada)
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • Rogers Pass (Glacier National Park, The Adventure Map)
  • CNTS Blaeberry 82 N/6
  • CNTS Glacier 82 N/5
  • CNTS Illecillewaet 82 N/4
Activities

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Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Glacier National Park
  • Glacier National Park (Canada)
  • Glacier Crest
  • Avalanche Crest
  • Sir Donald and Perley Rock
  • Asulkan Valley
  • Great Glacier
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