View over Cracker Lake from the Skyline hike

Cracker Lake from Mount Syieh, the highpest point on the Skyline

The “Skyline” is a mountaineering route established by Glacier National Park’s “patron saint of climbers” J. Gordon Edwards. The Skyline involves a trail hike up to Piegan Pass from Many Glacier Hotel, a class-3 scramble to the top of 10,014 foot Mount Siyeh, followed by a ridgewalk over Cracker Peak, the brilliantly red Peak 9190 out to Mount Wynn and finally a descent to the Cracker Lake trail which leads back to Many Glacier Hotel. The route affords incredible views of the 3,000 foot Garden Wall, the 4,000 foot north face of Mount Siyeh (the largest rockface in the US, including Alaska) and a nearly all-day aerial view of arguably the most beautiful lake in a park renowned for its beautiful lakes.

Cracker Lake lies below the massive face of Mt. Siyeh and gets its powder blue color from the suspension of glacial silt from the former Siyeh Glacier in its waters. In the 1950s, this lake was a deep green. When Siyeh Glacier rapidly retreated in the second half of the 20th century, all of the sediment from the glacier was trapped in the back of the cirque above the lake and in the lake, making Cracker Lake the spectacle it is today. Two abandoned mines are nearby, one very near the Cracker Lake backcountry campground. These two small strips of land constitute some of the only privately held property still present in Glacier National Park. Cracker Lake is also home to a unique self-sustaining population of endangered bull trout which are believed to have been introduced by the miners. The trout are now protected from fishing and are being studied by the National Park Service.

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