— On our last trip to Glacier National Park, we picked longer hikes to explore more of the park a bit away from the crowds. Although it was summertime (mid-July), we were able to enjoy long stretches of the park without anyone around us. The hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel was one of those hikes. We were lucky that the park had just opened the Ptarmigan tunnel four days prior to our journey. The Ptarmigan Tunnel hike is 12 miles roundtrip with a 2,462-ft elevation gain. After passing the tunnel, the hiker is at an elevation of 7,255 ft! The last mile prior to getting to the tunnel is the hardest part, and for that steep incline, many guides consider this a strenuous hike. This is also the same trail to Iceberg Lake, and the trail is also known as a prime bear habitat. When we arrived at Ptarmigan Lake, it was time to enjoy the scenery, regain our energies, have a quick lunch and sink our feet in the icy cold waters of the lake. It is at this point that one can see the final stretch of the trail with its two long switchbacks towards the tunnel. Here the trail gains roughly 500 feet in less than two-thirds of a mile. In the bottom photo you can see the switchbacks starting about midway on the left-hand side and going above the big patch of green in the center of the photo. The above photo was taken on our return down, just a little before the end of the bottom switchback.
Camera: SONY NEX-5R
Taken: 18 July, 2014
Focal length: 27.7mm
Location: 48° 50′ 43″ N 113° 42′ 46″ W
Shutter speed: 1/250s