Red Eagle Meadows

Red Eagle Meadows at sunset

Red Eagle Meadows at sunrise, Glacier National Park

Red Eagle Meadows, Split Mountain and Clyde Peak

Red Eagle Meadows is a pristine, trail-less area near St. Mary, Montana. Situated high in the Red Eagle Valley, acres of meadows sitting atop a glacial bench, with numerous streams, lakes and tarns (small lakes) just below Mount Logan and Logan Glacier on the Continental Divide.

Pre- World War II, Glacier’s backcountry was most visited by horseback. Visitors would disembark from trains in the town of East Glacier and travel on horseback northward through Glacier’s eastern backcountry along a horse trail network connecting a series of chalets and ultimately Many Glacier Hotel in the northeast of the park. The Red Eagle Pass trail leading from St. Mary to the Continental Divide at Red Eagle Pass was considered the most popular and beautiful trail in the park in its early history. After the completion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in the summer of 1932, the nature of visits to the park altered dramatically and the rise of the automobile doomed the historical chalets and horse trail system. During the second World War, the Red Eagle trail was left unmaintained and then abandoned in the post-war years.

Today, the trail does not appear on maps and the Red Eagle Meadows area is extremely difficult to reach, essentially requiring at least one full day of mountaineering type travel from ANY direction. However, once in Red Eagle Meadows, one can find remnants of the old horse trail still existing to this day thanks to bears, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and the occasional human explorer using the trail for cross country travel in the meadows.

As in many recently de-glaciated and newly-exposed areas in Glacier National Park, the melt from Logan Glacier and the remnants of nearby and recently declassified Red Eagle Glacier feed the area with an abundance of water and subsequent plant life, filling depressions and grooves carved out by the glaciers with water of stunning colors, surrounded by more stunningly colorful slabs of glaciated rock layers, topped by tables of grasses, flowers and shrubs. These streams, tarns and lakes continue to provide water and food for resident animals and provide indescribable beauty for the human visitor with emergent terrain unlike anywhere else on Earth.

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