Cirque and alpine glaciers originate high in the mountains and flow downslope.
They are called "cirque glaciers" if they originate in small bowls with steep headwalls (cirques).
From their high elevation origins, alpine and cirque glaciers may flow into ice falls or valley glaciers, or they may terminate in the mountains. Small alpine and cirque glaciers can sometimes be found nestled beneath the highest peaks in Parks in the western contiguous United States today.
Find Your Park: Which Parks Have Alpine and Cirque Glaciers?
Cirque and alpine glaciers can be found in many parks today, including:
- Glacier National Park, Montana [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
- North Cascades National Park, Washington [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
- Yosemite National Park, California [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
To learn more about glaciers, glacier features, and glacial landforms, see the Glaciers & Glacial Landforms Page.
Last updated: February 9, 2018