Montana’s Hole-In-The-Wall Falls: Hiking & Other Activities

The natural wonder that is Hole In The Wall Waterfall is simply breathtaking. Located in the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana, it’s not just about a hole in a wall — it’s an 800-feet (244-meter) cascade that will take your breath away. But that’s not all there is to uncover in this beautiful attraction.

Are you an adventurer at heart? If so, stay right here, and let’s explore together the majestic Hole In The Wall and its stunning surroundings. Among its attractions, you’ll find trails named Boulder Pass and Brown Pass — ideal for beginners and experts alike. There are also shimmering lakes, enticing fishing spots, and camping areas that offer the best view of the falls.

Get ready to dive into this guide, as we’ll touch on more trails, safety tips, and alternative attractions to ensure you make the most of your visit. Let’s make sure your visit to Hole In The Wall Waterfall is nothing short of spectacular.

7 Key Takeaways on Hole-In-The-Wall Waterfall in Montana

  1. From easy strolls to challenging treks, the hiking trails around Hole-in-the-Wall Falls in Montana offer something for every level of adventurer. Biking is also an option, but it’s essential to follow designated routes for safety reasons.
  2. Though swimming beneath Hole-in-the-Wall Falls is not recommended due to the steep drop, there are alternative swimming spots like Lake Nooney and Lake Wurdeman. Anglers will find plenty of opportunities in local lakes, including Nooney and Wurdeman.
  3. Generally, Hole-in-the-Wall Falls campgrounds are popular, but for those who prefer more amenities, cabins and hotels are available south of Glacier National Park. For a mix of adventure and comfort, consider adding a night in a lodge after a day of camping.
  4. Specific trail options such as Boulder Pass, Bowman Lake, Lake Francis to Bowman Creek, and Rainbow Falls are detailed, ranging in difficulty and distance. Important trail-specific tips and highlights are given, ensuring that even casual hikers can find a path that suits their abilities.
  5. The Hole-in-the-Wall Falls offers multiple waterfalls, enchanting campsites, and the opportunity for unforgettable experiences, whether hiking, biking or simply soaking in nature.
  6. Important safety advice is provided, including concerning bear encounters and the use of biking permits in the backcountry. It’s also emphasized to be prepared for the cooler temperatures of Montana’s northern lakes.
  7. The Hole-in-the-Wall Falls are heralded as a quintessential emblem of Glacier National Park’s natural allure, beckoning visitors to form lasting and enchanting memories, beneficial for everyone from casual explorers to serious nature enthusiasts.

About Hole-In-The-Wall Falls

Location CoordinatesWaterfall HeightNearby FeaturesLocation
45.6861° N, 113.9393° WApprox. 800 (244 meters)Hole in the Wall Backcountry CampgroundSituated on the headwall of Bowman Creek in Glacier National Park

Hole In The Wall Waterfall is a spectacular natural wonder in Glacier National Park, renowned for its awe-inspiring beauty. Gushing down the gigantic Hole In The Wall Headwall, it creates a mesmerizing sight that captivates visitors.

Situated directly below the Hole In The Wall Backcountry Campground, this waterfall is considered one of the most awe-inspiring in the park. The best view of this impressive cascade can be experienced from the trail leading up to Brown Pass.

Hole-in-the-Wall is a large basin encircled by numerous waterfalls. The magic unfolds as these waterfalls pool together at the lower part of the basin, converging and plunging 800 feet (244 meters) into the valley below.

The idyllic nearby campground at Hole-in-the-Wall offers visitors a unique experience, with the waterfall running right through it. Accessing Hole-in-the-Wall can be done by traveling along the Boulder Pass Trail and Bowman Lake Trail, with the Hole-in-the-Wall Trail serving as a short side branch around the 10-mile mark.

This trail leads towards the campsite and waterfall, requiring only a half-mile journey to reach the destination. Prepare yourself for amazing views, amazing hikes, and an amazing waterfall experience at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Things to Do at Hole-In-The-Wall Falls

A view from below of the multi-tiered cascades that form Hole-in-the-Wall Falls.

Let me tell you, Hole-in-the-Wall Falls is breathtaking. Nestled in Montana’s pristine landscapes, this natural wonder offers a multitude of activities that cater to everyone’s tastes. 

1. Hiking and Biking

A hiker treks along the rocky path near Boulder Pass, a trail close to Hole-in-the-Wall Falls.

If you love exploring nature, you’ll adore Montana’s Hole-in-the-Wall Falls area. Hiking is the main attraction here, with trails for everyone, from beginners to experienced hikers. I suggest starting with Boulder Pass and Brown Pass trails. They’re not too difficult but offer incredible views and a great feeling of achievement.

As you find your hiking groove, imagine traversing trails like those leading to Thunderbird Pond or the ones that zig-zag to the Upper Kintla Lake and its picture-perfect campgrounds. 

Looking to squeeze in some biking? You’re in luck — Glacier National Park allows cycling on specific roads and trails. Just remember, no biking in the backcountry; safety’s the name of the game. Visitors can find detailed information about biking options on the National Park Service’s website.

Oh, and don’t forget, no matter the trail, leave it better than you found it. Littering is out, and leaving a positive digital footprint is in! Taking on Loop Trails in Hole-in-the-Wall

2. Swimming and Fishing

An aerial view of Lake Nooney and Wurdeman amid the rugged mountain peaks of Glacier National Park

Swimming beneath Hole-in-the-Wall Falls, as tantalizing as it might sound on a hot summer day, is a no-go. The drop is a jaw-dropping 800 feet. But don’t worry, there are other water-filled delights to dive into across Montana.

  • Alternative Swimming Spots – If a quick splash is what you’re after, head to Lake Nooney or Lake Wurdeman. The scenery is just as beautiful and the waters, though cooler, are perfect for a refreshing dip, especially on a sunny day.
  • Dipping Near the Falls – Campgrounds near Hole-in-the-Wall Falls offer serene settings and the chance to dip your feet in the water without the daredevil antics.
  • Fishing Fun – If fishing is your jam, you’ll be in piscatorial paradise. Nearby lakes like Nooney and Lake Wurdemann are teeming with northern pike, rainbow trout, and bull trout. For the best experience, opt for fishing from the shore to avoid the extra chills from the waters.
  • Kayak for the Win – After a long hike, consider bringing an inflatable kayak. It’s a cinch to pack and offers a cooling opportunity on the lakes. Just remember that Montana’s northern lakes tend to be on the cooler side, so pack accordingly.

3. Camping and Lodging

A hiker treks Boulder Pass in Glacier National Park

Hole-in-the-Wall Falls campgrounds are popular, although they’re no-go zones for both horses and open fires, what with bear safety and wildfire issues.

If roughin’ it by the sound of rushing water isn’t your jam, you’ve got options. My top choice is Boulder Pass Campground to the west. It’s all about spaciousness and a tranquil night under the stars. Just make sure to pack for variable weather.

For a more remote experience, head to Brown Pass Campground. It’s nearer to the falls, but be mindful that the water source is about a mile away.

If it’s necessary, Hawksbill Campground is an alternative, though it’s more basic. You’re trading comfort for exploration in these stunning Passes. On the amenities front, options are limited. You’ll find cabins and hotels to the south of Glacier National Park.

Say, you’re up for a short backpacking trip, you could always cap it off with a night of luxury at spots like Many Glacier Hotel or Granite Park Chalet. A little bit of roughing it followed by a little bit of pampering can be the ultimate duo for a memorable trip.

Eat, sleep, hike, repeat — but do it in style. Given Glacier lacks options on its northern edge, looking south proves fruitful for cozy stays.

Hiking Trails in Hole-In-The-Wall Falls

A group of hikers hiking on a trail near Hole-in-the-Wall Falls.

Let’s dive into the allure of Hole-in-the-Wall Falls. The hiking trails surrounding these wondrous waterfalls offer a serene and scenic escape, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and casual hikers alike.

1. Boulder Pass Trail

A stone cairn marks the Boulder Pass Trail in a mountainous area of Glacier National Park

The Boulder Pass Trail spans 29.3 miles (47 km), offering manageable sections with campgrounds like Hole-in-the-Wall. Visiting between late August and mid-October increases the chance of cooler weather.

Starting near Kintla Lake, you’ll journey through Boulder Pass, Hole-in-the-Wall, Hawksbill, and Waterton. Expect stunning wildflowers, breathtaking views, cascading waterfalls, and wildlife sightings along the way.

Continuing on the main trail leads over Boulder Pass and down to Upper Kintla Lake, ending at Kintla Lake Campground (Foot) approximately 20.6 miles (33 km) from Hole-in-the-Wall Backcountry Campground.

Alternatively, heading right on the Boulder Pass Trail takes you through Olson Creek Valley, home to Lake Francis and Lake Janet, and ends at the Goat Haunt Ranger Station, around 8.6 miles from Brown Pass.

For your safety, always carry bear spray. These tranquil landscapes are also grizzly country, and it’s always better to be prepared.

2. Bowman Lake Trail

Part of the Bowman Lake Trail that winds through a lush green forest, leading to Hole-in-the-Wall Falls

The Bowman Lake Trail in Montana stretches over 26.2 miles (42 km), treating hikers to stunning views right from the trailhead. While parts of the hike may be overgrown, caution is advised for bears.

Along the trail, a campground offers a spacious and quiet atmosphere for weary travelers. The views leading down into the valley are often considered superior to those at the top, providing a unique experience.

This trail boasts varying elevation gains along different sections, ranging from 152 feet (46.3 meters) to 4,203 feet (1281 meters). Accessing Bowman Lake involves traversing a rugged road, with rustic qualities to be mindful of. Despite the challenging road conditions, the turquoise waters of Bowman Lake make the journey worthwhile.

For those seeking an alternative route, accessing Hole-in-the-Wall through Boulder Pass is an option to consider.

3. Lake Francis to Bowman Creek Trail

Two hikers trek up a rocky path on their hike from Lake Francis to the Bowman Creek Trail

When it comes to hiking, not all trails are the same – variety adds excitement, right? The 9.8-mile (15.7 km) journey from Lake Francis to Bowman Creek offers a longer adventure with a more relaxed vibe.

Lake Francis steals the spotlight on this trail. It’s like a natural picnic spot – with a waterfall and plenty of picturesque views that could fill an Instagram feed. Oh, and don’t forget the bug spray; the bugs here love hikers.

Heading west, don’t forget to admire Thunderbird Mountain and its glacier — a little nod to Mother Nature’s wonders! Eventually, you’ll reach charming Bowman Creek and the Hole-in-the-Wall campground to the east.

4. Rainbow Falls Trail

Hikers explore the lush forest surrounding the Rainbow Falls Trail in Glacier National Park

The Rainbow Falls Trail is a pleasant change of pace, stretching just 1.9 miles and suitable for families or those seeking a leisurely walk.

In spring, the trail is lined with vibrant wildflowers, offering a picturesque view. As you head northeast, you’ll encounter a beautiful waterfall, adding to the scenic charm.

Take some time to soak in the vibrant colors and the fresh mountain air before continuing your journey. The scenery here is truly unique, offering a refreshing contrast to the landscapes found elsewhere in Flathead County.

Hole-In-The-Wall Falls Final Thoughts

A view of the series of cascades that form Hole-in-the-Wall Falls within high cliffs of Glacier National Park

Hole-in-the-Wall Falls stands as a majestic wonder, cascading down the towering Hole-in-the-Wall Headwall, offering a breathtaking spectacle for all who visit. Its location directly below the Hole-in-the-Wall Backcountry Campground makes it a focal point for adventurers seeking awe-inspiring experiences.

The allure of Hole-in-the-Wall extends beyond the waterfall, with its surrounding basin adorned by numerous waterfalls converging and plunging 800 feet (243.8 meters) into the valley below. The nearby campground provides a serene and captivating environment, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature.

With a diverse range of activities available, from hiking and biking along trails like Boulder Pass and Brown Pass to swimming and fishing in nearby lakes, Hole-in-the-Wall caters to every outdoor enthusiast.

It epitomizes the beauty and allure of Glacier National Park, inviting all visitors to connect with nature and create lasting memories in this remarkable wilderness.

Hole-in-the-Wall Falls FAQs

1. Where Is Hole-In-The-Wall Falls Located?

Hole-In-The-Wall Falls is located on the headwall of Bowman Creek in Glacier National Park, Montana.

2. What Is the Big Hole in the Glacier National Park?

The Big Hole in Glacier National Park refers to a prominent feature called the “Big Hole Valley.” It’s a wide, expansive valley located in the southwestern part of the park, known for its scenic beauty and rich wildlife habitat.

3. Is It Safe to Hike in Hole-In-The-Wall Falls?

Yes, it’s generally safe to hike in the vicinity of Hole-In-The-Wall Falls, but visitors should exercise caution, especially on rugged trails and around the waterfall itself. Being bear-aware and carrying bear spray is advised due to the presence of grizzly bears in the area.

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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