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Ptarmigan Tunnel, West Glacier

4.9
#9 of 10 in Outdoors in West Glacier
The Ptarmigan Tunnel was built in 1930 through the Ptarmigan Wall at an elevation of 7200ft in Glacier National Park, near Many Glacier. The 250ft tunnel allows hikers to avoid a strenuous climb over very steep terrain between Many Glacier and the Belly River valley. Two opposing steel jackhammers drilling from either side of the tunnel and a series of ten-hole rounds of dynamite gradually broke through the mountain in less than three months. A wide area, originally for guide and tourist horses, extends from each portal with a masonry retaining wall. Natural rock lines the interior walls. Heavy iron doors were hung across the tunnel adits during the summer of 1975. They remain open from mid-July until October 1, weather permitting. The 250ft long tunnel is a unique man-made feature in Glacier. This trail tunnel embodies exceptional qualities of landscape architecture and engineering in a pedestrian-scaled tunnel, cut through a sheer mountain wall. The portals frame spectacular views.
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Ptarmigan Tunnel Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
11 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • The hike can take up to 7 hours depending on how good of shape you are in. It is very strenuous with an elevation change of 2300 feet. Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks and bear spray. There ...  more »
  • This hike is somewhat strenuous as you are constantly in somewhat of a going uphill state. The views are worth it! Carry bear spray, take your time, enjoy the nature you don’t see sitting in your car!  more »
  • The Ptarmigan Trailhead is located adjacent to the Swiftcurrent Motor inn and is approximately 11 miles in length roundtrip. The elevation gain is about 2,300' and as you approach the lake the vistas ...  more »
Google
  • This is a pretty neat tunnel, on one side of the tunnel it was so hot I was sweating to death, on the other I had to put a coat on! The colors in the landscaping are also different. If you can do the switchbacks, this hike is amazing. Lots of up and up for the heart and calves, and down for the knees. I did this one right after doing the Iceberg lake, I think it was worth it.
  • Worth the hike! Bring friends. I was hiking solo, but joined with a group of 60-70 year old church ladies. I made friends being a 27 year old male. Lol! It was fun!
  • This is by far one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on... God is Great
  • Cool views. It’s windy up there.
  • Tunnel was very cool. If you continue a couple hundred yards past the tunnel, you get an awesome view of old-sun glacier
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