Sperry Glacier is located in Glacier National Park
(U.S.) in the U.S. state of Montana
. The glacier is situated on the north slopes of Gunsight Mountain
, west of the Continental Divide. Although many geologic features of Glacier National Park were formed during the much longer period of glaciation ending over 10,000 years ago, Sperry Glacier, like all the glaciers in the park today, is a product of the recent Little Ice Age, the period of cooler average temperatures starting in about the 13th century and concluding in the mid-19th century.
Visiting the Glacier
Hikers might wish to spend the night at Sperry Chalet
or its neighboring frontcountry campground (requires a permit) before the hike to Sperry Glacier. Although it is seven miles (11 km) round-trip from the Chalet (about eight from the campground), it is a steep walk, rising 1,600 feet (490 m) in just 2.5 miles (4.0 km). Invisible from the rocky slopes below, a series of green glacial cirques with trickling streams and waterfalls and clear lakes reflecting snow fields and mountain peaks leads to a steep and narrow stone staircase cut into the stone ridge of Comeau Pass. The view from the top of the steps is panoramic, encompassing Mt. Brown, Edwards Mountain
, and Little Matterhorn.
Reaching the glacier itself involves crossing a wide rock scrabble, snow fields, and the colorful but sometimes tricky glacial moraine. Following the rock cairns and other trail markers will ensure the best footing and easiest routes. Ranger-led hikes are available, starting at the chalet. For the more adventurous hiker, the glacier and the surrounding area known as Floral Park can be reached via a long day hike starting from Logan Pass
The route takes the hiker along the entire western edge of Hidden Lake
before climbing upward and crossing the westernmost tip of the Dragon's Tail. From there, the route descends into Floral Park, and after a careful traverse across the bottom of the glacier, the hiker can exit the area via Comeau Pass and can descend down to the Going-to-the-Sun Road
near Lake McDonald
. The route is in the vicinity of 20 miles (32 km) and is quite strenuous.
Type: Mountain Glacier
Area: 216 acres (0.87 sq km)