Glacier National Park: Vision Quest Site

This 10-mile out-and-back heads off-trail and lands at the crumbling ruins of a Native American spiritual site on the slopes of Mount Henry.
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This 10-mile out-and-back heads off-trail and lands at the crumbling ruins of a Native American spiritual site on the slopes of Mount Henry.

This 10-mile hike from Two Medicine Lake begins with an easy, 0.5-mile warm-up before turning uphill sharply after a quick detour to Appistoki Falls. Take your time as the trail climbs the east side of a glacier-carved valley—almost every long switchback offers a rest-worthy point to look for wildlife. The climb gets increasingly rocky as it approaches a saddle at mile 2.8. From the saddle you'll get a glimpse of Scenic Point. Continue toward the point, traversing the ridge, but before dipping to the saddle, turn off-trail to the right.

Pick your way across the rocky, treeless hillside heading due south to another saddle. This route follows a goat trail across the broad grassy hill to the left, but turn sharply uphill and pick your way toward its top. Just before cresting the ridge, look for a rocky foundation—an old Native Americans vision quest site. The top of the hill offers sweeping views of Glacier's peaks, a close-up of Mount Henry’s rugged relief, and a perfect perch to watch for wildlife on Appistoki’s eastern slope.
Note: This hike is mostly above treeline on an exposed, west-facing hillside so plan to hike it early in the morning or when spring temperatures are moderate to avoid harsh afternoon sun and overheating.
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/.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.1

Waypoints

VQS001

Location: 48.485374, -113.361729

There are no facilities at the Scenic Point Trailhead, but with the Two Medicine camp store just 0.25 mile east, it's still a convenient spot to stop for a restroom and snack.

VQS002

Location: 48.485247, -113.361477

Heed bear-country warnings as you follow the Mount Henry Trail from the northeast corner of the parking lot. The first 0.5 miles of the trail is a flat, easy warm-up.

VQS003

Location: 48.483248, -113.352942

Just before the climbing begins, turn right for a 200-yard round-trip detour to an overlook above Appistoki Falls. If you decide to skip the falls, there's a perfect rest stop at a valley overlook 200 yards up the main trail.

VQS004

Location: 48.479763, -113.349778

The skeleton trunk of an old limber pine marks the end of the trail's first mile. Several long switchbacks traverse the hillside up above.

VQS005

Location: 48.477729, -113.341892

Large rocks line the trail as it climbs toward Mount Henry. Several damp drainages sprout early spring wildflowers, a welcome sight on the otherwise dry hillside.

VQS006

Location: 48.479998, -113.342997

A prominent rock outcropping on the trail's west side offers a bird's-eye view of the lake and Two Medicine Valley. The entire trail is striking, but this is definitely worth a stop for photos.

VQS007

Location: 48.479564, -113.334231

From this rocky saddle, glimpse Scenic Point. Before dipping into the saddle to access the point, this route turns off-trail and uphill on the far side of the right-hand hill.

VQS008

Location: 48.480304, -113.327944

Before dipping into the saddle, turn right and pick your way across the rocky, grassy hillside toward another saddle due south of this small, trailside hill.

VQS009

Location: 48.465523, -113.321614

After wrapping east on a barely-there goat trail, turn uphill toward Mount Henry. You'll climb cross-country about 800 feet from this point to the top of the hill.

VQS010

Location: 48.461539, -113.326721

Look for this small pile of rocks remaining from the site of an old vision quest shelter. It's just below the top of the hill, so a little further to the west-side for views into the valley.

Trailhead

Location: 48.485254, -113.361413

A sign about 0.25 mile from the campground entrance marks the Scenic Point Trailhead.

Bears

Location: 48.485282, -113.361204

As with all trails in Glacier National Park, a sign at the trailhead warns that you're entering bear country. Make plenty of noise as you proceed and consider carrying bear spray.

Appistoki Falls

Location: 48.48275, -113.352535

Valley

Location: 48.478242, -113.342729

Mount Henry looms above the valley, but it slopes provide a dramatic backdrop for the long, uphill slog.

Two Medicine

Location: 48.480034, -113.342729

A trailside view of Two Medicine and Rising Wolf Mountain.

Traverse

Location: 48.478839, -113.331935

A relatively flat traverse above a crumbling slope lands at this saddle just before you turn right. Scenic Point is visible in the distance.

Rock Slabs

Location: 48.469592, -113.328137

Hillside

Location: 48.466747, -113.324811

The hillside traverse heading toward the vision quest site. Watch your step on the rocky, trail-less terrain.

Foundation

Location: 48.461525, -113.326753

The rocky pile that was once a shelter for local Native Americans on spiritual journeys.

Valley

Location: 48.460696, -113.327639

Looking west into the valley and across toward the slopes of Appostoki Peak.