Glacier National Park

Abbott Ridge

Length - 6.8 km (1 - way)
Hiking time - 4 hours (uphill)
Elevation Change - 1245 to 2274 m (1029m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map Coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N (trailhead)

 Abbot Ridge
Abbot Ridge, overlooking Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet Glacier
©Parks Canada - Jacolyn Daniluck

Henry Abbott was one of the bold breeds of railway men who dared challenge these mountains nearly a century ago. Today, Abbott Ridge commands a view stretching from peak to peak while the Canadian Pacific Railway, which Abbott once helped to build, still snakes through this rugged terrain.

Abbott Trail takes you up into true alpine tundra the land above the trees and ends on a narrow ridge. For strong hikers there are few routes that more closely simulate a mountain-top experience from the security of an established trail.

Marion Lake

Marion Lake Marion Lake
© Parks Canada - John Woods

Length - 3.6 km
Hiking time - 1.25 hours (uphill)
Elevation Change - 1245 to 1706 m (461m)

The Abbott Ridge trail passes by Marion Lake on its way to the ridge. This little pond was named by the Reverend William Spotswood Green for his daughter. Rev. Green visited in 1888 and with his cousin Henry Swanzy, climbed Mount Bonney, to the west of the summit ridge. While at Marion Lake, Green tried his luck at fishing, and recorded drily in his journal after an unsuccessful afternoon of casting: "I incline to the belief that the reason why the fish did not rise was because there were none there." The little lakes' harsh climate, nutrient-poor waters, and inaccessible location have made colonization by fish-life impossible.

From Marion Lake, hikers can take a short side trip to a viewpoint above the Trans Canada Highway. From this viewpoint, you can see trains coming from or going into the Connaught tunnel. The tunnel was completed in 1916, as a way to protect rail traffic from the deadly avalanches of Rogers Pass.

Trail Conditions Report

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