The Ptarmigan Tunnel was built in 1930 through the Ptarmigan Wall at an elevation of 7,200 feet (2,200 m) in Glacier National Park, near Many Glacier, in Montana, US. The 250-foot (76 m) manmade tunnel allows hikers to avoid a strenuous climb over very steep terrain between Many Glacier and the Belly River valley. Two opposing steel jackhammers drilling from either side of the tunnel and a series of ten-hole rounds of dynamite gradually broke through the mountain in less than three months.To visit Ptarmigan Tunnel on your holiday in West Glacier, and find out what else West Glacier has to offer, use our West Glacier.
A wide area, originally for guide and tourist horses, extends from each portal with a masonry retaining wall. Natural rock lines the interior walls. Heavy iron doors were hung across the tunnel adits during the summer of 1975. They remain open from mid-July until October 1, weather permitting. Designed by Ole Westman, this trail tunnel embodies exceptional qualities of landscape architecture and engineering in a pedestrian-scaled tunnel, cut through a sheer mountain wall.
Create an itinerary including Ptarmigan Tunnel
Ptarmigan Tunnel reviews
We were so sad that the smoke/haze prevented great views. But it was still worth it. 14 miles hike from Many Glacier lodge, shorter if you start at Swift current. Final push past the lake was hard... more »
Great hike. First 2/3rds is through fields and woods, but then breaks open. It's this section that makes the trip worth it, but the view on the far side of the tunnel is exceptional! There's a... more »
This is a great hike and destination. The difference between the 2 valleys that the tunnel connects is a big contrast. Even the temperature was much cooler on the far side. Make sure to walk past the tunnel a little ways down to see the valley and more glaciers on the left side.
Beautiful vistas in 2 very different drainages in GNP, afforded by a quick jaunt through the tunnel itself. It is a long hike with a moderate elevation gains, but definitely worth it. En route one with passes by the beautiful Ptarmigan Lake at the upper cirque, just before the final switchbacks up to the tunnel. Plan on a longer day, especially if planning to hit up the tunnel, then scoot out to Iceberg Lake (you're already most of the way there at the trail fork, why not???).
Plan your trip to West Glacier
Get a personalized tripA complete day by day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your trip. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in West Glacier
Side trips from West Glacier
Trips to Ptarmigan Tunnel by other users
8 days in Glacier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Glacier National Park 6 days in West Glacier BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Jackson Glacier Overlook McDonald Creek Eric Thorsen Art Studio 10 days in Montana BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Gardiner Big Sky Glacier National Park 10 days in West Glacier BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Siyeh Pass Trail of the Cedars River Rafting & Tubing 9 days in Whitefish, East Glacier Park & Wallace BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Whitefish East Glacier Park Wallace 8 days in Montana BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Big Sky Gardiner West Glacier