Every time I see the lake it reminds me of just how incredible the colors of water, rocks, trees, and grasslands truly can be. I spend a great deal of time just soaking it in because I never know when I will be back there again.
Each time I have a hard time deciding if the lake is blue or turquoise.
Cracker Lake is located about 4,000 feet below the summit of Mount Siyeh. I have been up there a few times and on all but one of the climbs I enjoyed looking at the glacier milk-filled lake. The 2010 trip to the summit yielded airplane views with peaks sticking out above the clouds but no view of Cracker Lake.
Cracker Lake is said to have been named in 1897 after two prospectors left their tin of crackers hidden in some rocks near a mineral lead they were examining on the shore of the lake.
L. S. Emmons and Hank Norris started calling the lead “where we left the crackers” and soon the area came to be referred to as Cracker Lake.
Before this event the lake was called Blue Lake.
“Blue” hardly fits as a descriptive name for this lake that is more turquoise in color than blue. The silt from Siyeh Glacier gets suspended in the water and sunlight refracts off of the particles and produces this beautiful color of blue. When the glacier is gone the color of the lake will likely change to dark blue.
Another lake in Glacier is named for its color. Can you tell me the name of the lake and who provided the name?
James Willard Schultz, who named a lot of places in Glacier, suggested the name Carrier Woman Lake. I am not sure who Carrier Woman was but she surely was influential since naming places for influential Blackfeet was part of Schultz’s agenda while naming peaks and places in the park.
The Cracker Lake Mine was a huge part of the mining operations in the Many Glacier area. A great deal of money was invested and a crude “road” was built up Canyon Creek to deliver mining equipment to the head of Cracker Lake.
The Cracker mine shaft was dug some 1,300 feet into the mountain. In the end the whole business investment ended up yielding no ore and the investors pulled the plug on the mine.
The equipment that was hauled there was never used and remains at the head of Cracker Lake as a testimony to man’s fight to better themselves against a great deal of adversity. If you visit this site please leave everything the way you find it. Tampering with or removing property in any national park is a federal offence.
Frank Bond of the National Park Service referred to the mine as the Cracker Jack Mine in 1929.
Cracker Lake is a sight to see. I personally have yet to visit the shores of the lake but I have seen it from all of the peaks surrounding it. I have had little time to just trail hike as my passion is climbing peaks in Glacier.
A trip to the shoreline of Cracker Lake is on the list as are most places in Glacier National Park.
Take a Hike. There is one trail leading to Cracker Lake. The Cracker Lake Trail is a little over 6 miles one way and it climbs about 1,500 feet. The first half is also used by the horse concessionaires and it is littered with “road apples” and ruts from the numerous horses using the trail. Dodge the road apples and make the hike from the trailhead near Many Glacier Hotel. Once you pass the spur trail to Cracker Flats the horse traffic greatly diminishes and the smell gets much more pleasant. Get an early start and bring water.
- Stay out of the mine. Although it is super tempting please do not enter the mine shaft. This whole mountain is unstable and although it is unlikely a portion of the mine shaft could collapse at any time. Most mines have multiple shafts and drops and it would be unfortunate to get injured or lost up there. You also never know what kind of animals hang out in a mine shaft. I have heard of people running into grizzlies in this mine shaft.
- Carry Bear Spray and your Camera. Yes there are bears here and yes you will want your camera to capture the views.
Is the lake blue or turquoise? Let me know what you think and drop me a line if you know who named the other lake.
I am on a quest to learn more about the names in Glacier National Park and I have found a lot of super cool stuff. Let me know if you want to know the story behind the name of your favorite place in Glacier National Park.
Purchase What They Called It from my on-line store if you want to learn more about the names in Glacier National Park.
© Blake Passmore 2015