Glacier National Park: Rainbow Falls

Ride the boat from Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park to reach this remote 1.9-mile out-and-back that visits a set of cascades in the northern reaches of Glacier National Park.
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Ride the boat from Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park to reach this remote 1.9-mile out-and-back that visits a set of cascades in the northern reaches of Glacier National Park.

This secluded 1.9-miler in Glacier National Park starts at the southern tip of Waterton Lake near the US-Canadian border. Surrounded by rugged peaks, valleys, and lakes, this trail is best accessed by boat.
From Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, take the boat across Waterton Lake to Goat Haunt, Montana, and follow Waterton Lake Trail to the southwest. After 0.2 mile, cross Cleveland Creek and continue along the well-maintained trail to a junction. Bear left onto Rainbow Falls Trail, paralleling the Waterton River. At mile 0.9, the trail ends at Rainbow Falls, a set of rushing, whitewater cascades. (Don't forget to look up for impressive views of Mount Cleveland to the southeast.) Turn around and follow the same route back to the trailhead.
NOTE: US Immigration allows only Canadian and US Citizens with proper ID to remain at Goat Haunt to hike.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Glacier National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.
MORE PARK INFO: Glacier National Park, (406) 888-7800; nps.gov/glac/.
-GPS data provided by the National Park Service

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.5

Waypoints

FALL001

Location: 48.957844, -113.892158

From the Waterton Ranger Station at Goat Haunt, follow the Waterton Lake Trail to the southwest away from the lake.

FALL002

Location: 48.95602, -113.895279

Cross Cleveland Creek and continue along well-maintained trail.

FALL003

Location: 48.955647, -113.897224

Bear left onto Rainbow Falls Trail @ Y-junction. The trail on the right leads to a campsite across the river.

FALL004

Location: 48.954523, -113.899984

Continue on Rainbow Falls Trail. Olsen Creek flows into the Waterton River 500 feet to the southwest. Ahead, the trail curves to the southeast, paralleling the Waterton River.

FALL005

Location: 48.949066, -113.897774

Rushing water cascades down this stretch of the Waterton River, forming Rainbow Falls. Look up for impressive views of Mount Cleveland to the southeast. Turn around and head back to the trailhead.