Sperry Chalet Trail [CLOSED]

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Glacier National Park

Sperry Chalet Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Mc Donald, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 11.9 miles Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

closed

no dogs

This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked up to the chalet 11/4. No wildlife seen and only 2 other hikers. Minor postholing the last mile or so but I hiked it in trail runners without problems. Awesome views at top and well worth an almost-winter hike.

hiking
7 months ago

This trail was great. The highlight for me was arriving at the chalet (which was under construction) and the lovely people working there gave us lunch and tea. They were awesome. The hike is gorgeous with amazing views at the top and some stunning waterfall views along the way. It’s definitely a steep one, but not torturous. Made it back with energy to spare. We saw tons of bear tracks but no actual bears. The trail gets icy at some spots this time of year, my all-terrain hiking boots handled it fine but I had to go slow the first mile or so downhill.

recorded Sperry Chalet Trail

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Definitely strenuous but so worth it. Simply beautiful and after running into a local, I felt so much better about sharing the trails with bears!!

hiking
8 months ago

We hiked to Fish Lake which was about 6 miles there & back. Plenty of elevation for a good leg workout. Lots of mushrooms along the trail. No wildlife seen. There is a gorgeous view of Lake McDonald. Would definitely hike this trail again.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

Great view of Lake McDonald at the 1/2 mile mark.

hiking
9 months ago

Only made it about halfway before having to turn back due to starting late in the day. what we did see of the trail was beautiful. only saw 1 deer, nothing else. definitely a much more strenuous hike than it looks. killer leg workout.

hiking
9 months ago

We had planned to hike only to Snyder Lake, which was closed (a ranger said because of bear activity), so we pressed on to the Chalet -- a beautiful trail to the chalet that is being rebuilt after the 2017 fire (but the restrooms and dining hall are intact). Lots of views, a waterfall, many wildflowers, a couple of bridged creeks; near the Chalet one also sees the Dick Anderson Construction tents for the carpenters and masons. A fellow in the dining hall said sperry chalet.com would begin taking 2020 reservations the second Monday of January.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a hike not for a intermediate or beginner hiker....it’s strenuous. Our group called two days before and gave the kitchen a heads up how many of us would be there for lunch. Lunch was great! The views are breathtaking! I do suggest getting a early start, the first of the hike is pretty shaded, the last part is not. Lots of sun exposure. You can refill your water bottles up there. A lot of little creeks along the way so if you bring a LifeStraw or a Sawyer filtration system you’ll have plenty of water. Again, a very worth while hike!

hiking
bugs
snow
11 months ago

After parking at the Lake McDonald Lodge, we found the trailhead directly across the street. We started the hike around 8:30am, reached the chalet at 11:30am, took a 30 min break, and ended the hike at 2pm. About 15 mountain goats greeted us at the chalet, all of whom were a little over-friendly. We hurried down from the chalet after the bugs began biting. The ascent was moderate and steady, and the views were more than worth the time and effort. If, however, you can only choose one trail in GNP, I would stick with Highline.

hiking
11 months ago

We set out to do the Sperry Chalet hike, but my wife wasn’t feeling too well that morning. We got to the junction for Snyder Lake and decided to go that way since it is a shorter hike. Then she felt uncomfortable when the trail got to be about 12” wide with tall vegetation on either side, so we abandoned and turned back. Looks like we might wait for the Sperry Chalet to be rebuilt and come back for an overnight through-hike...

11 months ago

A hard hike, but well worth the effort. The last half-mile or so had a lot of snow. Spectacular view at the top.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail...some easy snow traverses with full snow coverage to the chalet after last bridge...stay in the boot track to minimize post holing. Done in trail runners, no added traction needed.

hiking
Thu May 16 2019

Didn’t make it all the way to end because I ran out of time. This trail is amazing! Breathtaking views after you get into it. I heard that there was an avalanche near the very end that is not Passable with ice axes and crampons.

hiking
Tue Jul 31 2018

Not sure where my review went from last year. This is the most difficult hike I’ve ever done IN MY LIFE. My life. Best to get a camp permit to camp at the top by the chalet because coming down isn’t any easier. It’s extremely strenuous. Bring lots of scratch. Water is available to filter along the trail and there is water at the chalet. In day 2 hike up to Sperry glacier come back to chalet area eat and then hike down on day 2. Best hike of my life.

Thu Jun 21 2018

Beautiful views along the way and at the top. Heard about bear sightings from a few people along the trail. Fire damage to trees. Hiked on to Lincoln Peak. There and back took about seven hours.

Sun Jun 10 2018

Nice workout to get to top and great views!

Sun May 06 2018

This area burned in the summer of 2017. The chalet burned down, but they are going to restore it over the summer of 2018. check in with the park service to check about deadfall burnt trees and trail conditions

hiking
Fri Jul 07 2017

Great Trail - is definitely a challenge. Many switchbacks. We did it on a fairly warm day - 80+ degrees. Started at Going to the Sun Road and made it to the Chalet. Took a few hours with multiple 3-5 min breaks along the way. Gorgeous waterfall on your right on the way up that you can hear the majority of your climb. Snow pack about half a mile from the chalet but many people had packed down a footpath through it. Trail opened back up for a little way, then more deep snow all the way to the Chalet and beyond. Wanted to do the Gunsight pass but were strongly advised not to unless we had an ice pick. This is a day hike and not for the faint of heart. The bugs (May Flies/Chiggers?) were pretty atrocious at the Chalet. Bug spray def a must - not failproof tho. Walked away with a few bites. Ran into three mountain goats at the Chalet. Workers at the Chalet were awesome - friendly and knowledgeable. The trek down was FAST. Took maybe a third of the time it took us to go up. Make sure you have some snacks, ample water, bug spray and sunscreen if you tend to burn.

hiking
Tue Jun 27 2017

My most strenuous hike so far: steep ascend in the beginning, lots of snow at the top (late June) - map is advised. Varied terrain, little views except from the very top. Was lucky enough to meet a mountain goat near the chalet.

hiking
Wed Nov 02 2016

Wild flowers, beautiful views all the way up, couldn't have asked for a better hike at GNP.

backpacking
Fri Jul 22 2016

Climbed to the top to camp at sperry campground. We then hiked 16 miles to the gun sight trailhead. We went over two passes, both had snow and ice. Very beautiful views.

hiking
Wed Jul 06 2016

A lot of work but worth it!

Sun Jun 12 2016

I am in excellent physical shape and did this trail out and back the same day. The trail is indeed challenging but rewarding with the stunning views from the top. Even in June there was quite a bit of snow up top, making the last 0.2 miles of the trail slippery and difficult to see. One of the best hikes from lake McDonald.

hiking
Fri Mar 25 2016

Fantastic hike and camping. My girlfriend and I did this as our last backpacking trip of the season (late October), and spent a total of 3 days, 2 nights on the trip. By this time in the year there was no horse traffic, however with less traffic comes more activity from bears and other predators so make lots of noise if you go late in the season. (We saw a fresh, large cat print in the newly fallen snow on our way out). The trail itself is taxing. The switchbacks seem unending for the last few miles, but once you get to the chalet, you're well rewarded with views. The view of Lake McDonald is spectacular. Although sperry lake is right next to the campground, we chose to get our water from the running stream the trail crosses north of the chalets. All in all, one of my favorite hikes in a while. We planned on making the extra push to Lake Ellen Wilson, but decided to stay at Sperry because we were exhausted and had already fallen in love with the view. As a final point, the mountain goats in the area in late autumn are very comfortable around humans. Although it's fun to have the goats get close to you, there are a few things to think about when you're planning your trip. For one, they love the salt from your sweat or urine. They tried to eat the strap on my trekking pole as we were setting up the tent, and they will follow you and watch you while you pee (however this can be avoided by using the camp toilet south of the campsites). Also, if you are a light sleeper, I would bring ear plugs. The goats tend to circle your tent at night which makes a lot of noise. Finally, although their friendliness is fun and makes for great pictures, it's easy to forget they're wild animals. My girlfriend felt very uncomfortable when one got slightly aggressive around her, so make sure you're not getting too comfortable and complacent.

hiking
Fri Jan 29 2016

Wonderful backcountry experience

hiking
Tue Sep 15 2015

Great hike. But you should be in moderately good physical condition to complete the hike. My wife and I stayed at the chalet for 3 days. It was well worth the hike. As mentioned it is a horse trail so start early and you won't have to deal with the fresh droppings. Day old doesn't smell as bad ; ) Once your up at the top you have plenty of day hiking to do and the view is incredible with Sperry Glacier and Lake Ellen Wilson. Absolutely beautiful area. But if you want to see Sperry glacier you better go soon it's melting fast. Current prediction at the current rate of regression 2 years. But just remember "there is no global warming", '' / ''

horseback riding
Fri Oct 03 2014

I have to confess, I didn't actually hike this trail, I did it on horseback. And am I GLAD! My wife and I rode this with a guide on Sept. 21, 2014. It is a very steep and long trail to Sperry Chalet with 3300 ft of elevation gain. The trail is mostly through wooded areas, but occasionally you do break out into the open and hike along fairly exposed trail for short distances. All in all, a beautiful hike/ride. There were 2 mountain goats at the top when we got to the chalet. It was already closed for the season. Glad we packed a lunch. The views from up top are amazing.

hiking
Tue Sep 16 2014

We're not super-hikers, but we've done about 40-50 trails in the past few years and this trail was the most difficult one we've done. It's about a 25% grade incline for a good 2 miles at the beginning of the trail. Your legs will feel the burn! Due to utter exhaustion we only made it just over 3 miles into the hike (about halfway up) before we turned back. We were a bit disappointed that we hadn't encountered the lake by that point, and there were only one or two partial scenic views during that 3 mile duration. It's a horse-trail as well, so we were constantly negotiating horse droppings the entire way and the smell hit you every once in a while. It was a fun hike, we really enjoyed it. Beautiful forest hike. I only wish there was more to see (views, lake, waterfall) along the first half of the trail. And of course I could've done without the horse dung! Bring your hiking poles, they will help with the climb and the decent.

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