Glacier National Park is known for turquoise lakes and stunning mountain views, but a hike to Redrock Falls offers visitors a chance to get up close with one of the parks best waterfalls.
Personally, I can't get enough of the alpine lakes and mountain vistas that Glacier has to offer.
But if you're looking to throw a slightly different view into the mix, consider doing so with a hike to the Redrock Falls Waterfall.
Not only are the red rock falls beautiful, but along the way you'll have great opportunities to spot wildlife, swim in Redrock Lake, all while enjoying a relatively easy shaded hike.
In this post I'm going to cover what to expect on a hike to Redrock Falls. I'll also cover the best place to swim along the way as well as a known hotspot for moose sightings in the park.
If you're in the process of planning a trip to the area, be sure to check out my post covering tons of useful tips to know when visiting Glacier National Park after you're finished here.
You'll notice some links and advertisements from partner or affiliate sites throughout this post. I typically earn a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. If you check those out, great. If not, I'm still happy you're here!
Where is Redrock Falls located?
Redrock Falls is located within Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The trail leading to this red rock waterfall is situated in the Many Glacier area of the park.
The Many Glacier area of Glacier is also home to other marquee trails such as the hike to Iceberg Lake and the hike to Grinnell Lake. These are two of my favorites in the area so be sure to check them out as well!
The trailhead for Redrock Falls originates just past the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn main building and follows the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. There's a large parking lot in the area but if for some reason you can't secure a spot here, there's additional parking along the road leading up to this area.
If you're staying at Many Glacier Hotel or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn you'll enjoy easy access to the trailhead. Otherwise you'll need to secure a timed entry reservation for the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park to access the trails starting point.
For guests staying on the western side of the park, in Whitefish, you'll need to budget approximately three hours of driving time to cross West Glacier, Going to the Sun Road and to eventually arrive at the trailhead.
If you're staying in Whitefish but not interested in making the drive all the way to Many Glacier, there's still plenty to do on the western side of the park. One of the easiest trails in the park is Trail of the Cedars which eventually leads you to Avalanche Lake. This is one of my favorite big payoff hikes in the park and worth every step!
What to expect when hiking to Redrock Falls?
The duration of this hike is a short 3.6 miles roundtrip (5.8 km) and there's a negligible amount of elevation gain. It should take visitors approximately 90 minutes to complete the hike itself, but be sure to budget additional time for hanging out at Redrock Falls.
If you're interested in a quick detour, you'll notice a path early on in the hike that cuts down to Fishercap Lake (to your left). This extra stop should add less than a mile (1.6 km) to your hike. While the lake itself isn't necessarily worth going out of the way for, it's a popular hangout spot for moose in the park so if you're hoping to spot one consider making the extra stop!
Since we had completed a longer hike in the morning and switched hotels from Many Glacier to Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, we just went straight for Redrock Falls even though we had heard from passing hikers that they just spotted a moose down near Fishercap Lake (we had already seen two during our stay).
Once you pass the spur for Fishercap Lake, you'll continue on a relatively flat trail all the way out to Redrock Falls as there's only about 200 ft (60 meters) of elevation gain the entire hike.
The trail is well maintained and pretty well shaded, which was a nice touch after we had been out hiking in the hot summer sun all day.
Be sure to bring your bug spray as this trail can be quite buggy, especially in the late afternoon.
Eventually Redrock Lake will come into view, and the trail will loop you around the back side. There were some families swimming here, and while we didn't partake, it would make for a great swimming spot in the park if you're looking for one.
Once the trail wraps around Redrock Lake you'll be dropped off at the roaring Redrock Falls.
There are a number of different hiking paths that serpentine through the falls, so you can spend some time getting lost here and enjoying the waterfall from different view points.
When we visited in the late afternoon the sun had already dipped below the mountain line before we made it to the falls making it difficult to take great pictures due to the lighting. This is just something to keep in mind if you're keen on getting any shots of the falls during your visit!
If you're in the market for a longer hike, this trail continues on to Bullhead Lake. That will extend the total distance to 6.8 miles (11 km) and add another 60-90 minutes of time to your hike.
But since we were just looking for a leisurely early evening hike to wrap up our day, we ended up turning back at the falls rather than continuing on.
My favorite part of the hike was that the payoff was a little bit different than what you get elsewhere in the park. Most of the other big hikes lead you to a turquoise lake or mountain peak, but this is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with a waterfall in Glacier National Park!
Redrock Falls is a great place to see wildlife
Given its remote location in the Many Glacier area of the park, the hike to Redrock Falls presents a great opportunity to spot wildlife.
All of the lakes along this route (Fishercap, Redrock and eventually Bullhead) have a reputation for frequent moose activity. Just be sure to keep your distance, as moose can be aggressive. Don't let their chill demeanor fool you.
While we didn't encounter a bear during our hike to Redrock Falls, we did see one on the trail during our return trek from nearby Iceberg Lake.
It's important to always have bear spray easily accessible when hiking in Glacier National Park for situations like this. If you're flying in from out of town you can usually rent bear spray at the Glacier International Airport near the baggage claim.
I'd also suggest brushing up on bear safety tips before visiting the park.
Another one of my favorite areas for spotting wildlife in Glacier National Park is the Logan's Pass area. We saw a ton of wildlife during our short hike to the Hidden Lake Overlook while visiting that area.
Will I have cellular service hiking to Redrock Falls?
Redrock Falls is located in a remote area of Glacier National Park and it's unlikely you'll have any cellular service during your hike. This is true for most areas of the park.
If you're a frequent hiker I'd recommend acquiring AllTrails Pro which allows you to download offline maps. While Redrock Falls is a pretty straightforward trail, there are others in the park where these maps can come in quite handy.
It's also a great way to track your favorite hikes and progress!
Pets aren’t allowed along the Redrock Falls trail
In general pets aren't allowed on any of the trails in Glacier National Park which includes Redrock Falls.
Your furry friend will mostly be confined to your vehicle, parking lots or other developed areas of the park during your visit.
Are there bathrooms at Redrock Falls?
There aren't any restroom facilities at or along the way to Redrock Falls. Your best bet is to use the restroom at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn before starting your hike.
Fortunately this is a shorter hike so you should be able to manage without one. If you really gotta go while you're out on the trail, there's a decent amount of foliage along the way that should make a good substitute for a proper bathroom in a pinch.
Do I need to pack anything special for Redrock Falls?
The hike itself is on the easier side so you won't need to make much in the way of special packing preparations.
Bug spray and bear spray are both recommended for this hike. Bugs were plentiful when we hiked to Redrock Falls in the early evening. As I alluded to before this area is known for bear activity, so be sure to have bear spray with you as well.
If you're starting the hike in the early evening be mindful that the sun will set below the mountains earlier than what the stated sunset time will suggest. Consider bringing a headlamp or flashlight if you'll be out on the trail late.
Lastly, if you plan to swim in Redrock Lake don't forget to pack a swimsuit!
When is the best time of day to hike Redrock Falls?
If you're a frequent reader of this blog then you know that the correct answer to this question is often first thing in the morning, especially in busier destinations like Glacier National Park.
However, Redrock Falls makes for a perfect late afternoon hike given the relatively short duration and availability of parking near Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
I'd recommend doing this hike in the late afternoon. Start your day with a longer hike or canoe rental on Swiftcurrent Lake and then wrap up your day with this peaceful hike.
If you plan to swim at Redrock Lake during your hike, you may want to start slightly earlier to ensure you get enough warmth and sunshine.
Looking for suggestions on what to pack for hiking?
Chances are if you're visiting Glacier National Park you'll be doing quite a bit of hiking. If you're doing some hiking you'll want to have the right gear handy in order to have the best experience possible.
For your convenience I've put together an extremely thorough hiking checklist to make sure you don't miss anything.
That guide is geared towards lengthier day hikes such as The Highline Trail or trek to Mount Brown Lookout, so if you're doing something more casual like Redrock Falls you probably won't need everything on that list. But rest assured you won't overlook a thing!
Check out my Timed Entry Reservation Guide
There's one mistake you cannot afford to make when visiting US National Parks. Showing up without a timed entry reservation is a surefire way to blow up what should be an otherwise stress free day exploring some of Americas most beautiful destinations.
Glacier National Park has one of the more complicated timed entry reservation setups, so you'll want to brush up on the process before visiting.
Fortunately - we have put together a guide walking you through that process. We also provide useful tips on how to get the best time slots and what to do if you find yourself without a reservation.
You can access my Timed Entry Reservation Guide here!
If you're still looking for more things to do outside of Redrock Falls, be sure to check out my guide covering the best activities in Glacier National Park once you're finished here. I also have a video guide available on YouTube that covers the best things to do in Glacier National Park Montana as well.
Hopefully you find this guide to to visiting Redrock Falls in Glacier National Park helpful during your travels.