Two Medicine in Glacier National Park
On our third day in Glacier, we had planned on hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail back in Many Glacier (where we were the previous day). However, there was still a major snow hazard about halfway through the trail. The group decided that we would check out another trail in a different area of the park. We headed south to the Two Medicine area.
The name “Two Medicine” originated from when Glacier became a national park. The remains of two old medicine lodges from the Blackfoot Indians were found on the shore of the lake. It was first called the Lake of the Two Medicine Lodges but has since been shortened.
The drive to Two Medicine should only be about an hour from St. Mary, but there was major construction going on and the road to get to the park from Kiowa was closed. So instead, we drove the long way through the town of Browning. This only added about 20 minutes, and it was worth it because the entire drive was stunning! The scenery is beautiful even though you’re out of the park. You can still see the mountains towards the park and then rolling hills in every other direction. We even passed a herd of bison!
Two Medicine General Store
By the time we got to Two Medicine, everyone was hungry and in the mood for hot food instead of the sandwiches we packed. We decided to check out the Two Medicine General Store. The store is housed in a building that was formerly part of the Two Medicine Chalet that would house backpackers. Several chalets are still open in the park!
We found a little cafe in the back of the store and all got elk and bison sausages. I got the elk sausage that also had jalapenos and cheese inside. It was wrapped in a flaky puff pastry and tasted amazing!
We browsed the store after we ate and found the cutest long sleeve t-shirts. We had all joked earlier in the trip that we should get matching shirts, but when we saw these we actually wanted to do it! Everyone decided to bring the shirts with us and take pictures while wearing them on the hike.
The view of Two Medicine Lake is gorgeous from the front of the store, and I couldn’t believe you could get that view without any hiking effort required!
Aster Falls Hike
We planned on doing the four-mile round trip hike to Aster Park. Aster Falls was on the way, so we figured, why not stop? We ended up loving the falls even more than the park at the top!
The hike starts out at the South Shore Trailhead, which is right next to the lake. The terrain on this hike was so different from our hike yesterday, and it almost felt like a completely different park! The first stretch goes by several swampy ponds that moose love to hang out in. We actually saw one on our hike back down, but it was pretty far away so I wasn’t able to capture it in a picture. There is also a beautiful meadow with tons of wildflowers.
At just over a mile, you get to the spur trail that leads down to the falls. Everyone in our group (except me) jumped over the river and climbed to the top of the falls. We cracked open our beers we brought along and enjoyed the view. This hike was awesome and could easily be done with kids or those who aren’t super active!
With only 0.9 miles to go, I assumed the climb up to Aster Park would be easy. However, the trail has an elevation gain of 780 feet, with very little elevation change in the first half of the trail. That means the last half is very strenuous. We climbed straight up several switchbacks and had to stop for a few breathing and water breaks along the way.
I was so happy when we reached the top because the view was spectacular! You could see a lot of the hike that we had just done, including the swampy ponds and the edge of the lake where the trailhead is.
The hike back down went WAY quicker. It looked like it was about to start raining so we flew down. It only took us about 35 minutes to go 2 miles.
On our way back, we got our meal for the night (hot dogs and burgers) at a grocery store in Browning. It was much cheaper and had a way better selection than the tiny store in St. Mary.
Overall, I think Two Medicine is definitely worth checking out. I would’ve loved to come here for sunrise but with it being 1.5 hours away, it wasn’t practical for us. Next time! Like yesterday, the hike was not crowded at all, and we rarely saw other people. I loved it.
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Check out my video on our week in Glacier!