Glacier National Park
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
fiddy mountain on 05/05/2011 15:05:08 MDT Print View

Scott, Fifty Mountain is an absolutely specacular campsite. Perhaps my favorite in the park. Hiking from there to Many Glacier doesn't have too much uphill, and is all really good trail, with plenty of good views to distract you. I think you'll be fine with that as a last day.

Colin O
(colin_odonnell)

Locale: Brooklyn
Re: Glacier National Park on 06/24/2012 08:14:59 MDT Print View

Exactly the advice I was looking for! thanks for the post Sam. - one follow up - We're trying to figure out transportation to/from the trailheads for the northern traverse (Cheif Mtn -> Kintla). Four of us are flying into Kalispel and would love to avoid renting a car - the idea of renting a car only to park it for a week isn't appealing :-)

Is there an outfitter that would do a drop off and pick up? Or maybe there's a shuttle service? Appreciate the advice. If we do rent a car and park it at one end, is hitchhiking reasonable?

Colin O
(colin_odonnell)

Locale: Brooklyn
Re: Thanks for the replys so far... on 06/24/2012 08:22:11 MDT Print View

Hi Joey,

For the drop off, did you have friends drop you off, or was there a "comercial" option? Shuttle, outfitter, cab, etc?

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
Glacier in Aug. on 06/24/2012 09:44:29 MDT Print View

Here is the trip four of us have planned in late Aug.-Sept. I was told that upon our arrival that we can change our entry and exit points. Dave or anyone else, can you comment on this if it is true or not. They said as long as we stuck to the rest of the itenarary we would be fine ie.. be at the all camp sites on said days.

If any one else is going to be on the trail in the same area let me know, so we can at least meet for a meal or conversation.

ENTRY SCE SWIFTCURRENT PARKING
DATE CODE CAMPSITE
8/27 GRN 23 GRANITE PARK
8/28 MAN 23 MANY GLACIER
8/29 ELF 34 ELIZABETH LAKE, FT
8/30 MOJ 21 MOKOWANIS JUNCTION
8/31 FIF 35 FIFTY MOUNTAIN
NAME : ELLIOTT, JACK
#CAMPERS : 4 #SITES: 1

We were thinking of starting at Logans Pass if we can change the entry point upon arrival. Then we would be starting at Logan's Pass to Granit Park on the first day, is this pretty doable on the first day with loaded packs? Last day will be out to Swiftcurrent parking, and shuttle to the hotel at McDonald Lake, next day shuttle back to the car at Apgar.

Thanks ,Jack

Edited by jumpbackjack on 06/24/2012 09:45:09 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Glacier in Aug. on 06/24/2012 13:12:15 MDT Print View

Jack, I would assume that you are right about changing entry/exit points on arrival. My sense is that the Backcountry Office just wants to know where you are parked and for how long. Since you aren't parking, that should be very doable. I would just call the office and double-check since not all Park Service regulations make sense to me.

The trail from Logan Pass to Granite Park CG is quite easy--7.5 miles of lightly graded trail. If you parked there, I would recommend you hike in to the CG early, hang your packs, and head up the trail to the lookout on the summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain--about 4 miles round trip. It's fairly steep but very worth your time.

Also, if you started at Logan Pass, you could conceivably hike from Fifty Mountain down the Northern Highline and Highline to Logan Pass your last day--it'll be something like 19.5 miles, but mostly a slight downhill grade (with the occassional ups and downs). Then you can catch the shuttle down from there. You can also cut about 3-3.5 miles off of that total and hike down to the Loop from Granite Park where there is a shuttle stop. However, I've never had good luck catching a shuttle there--usually they're too full carrying people down from Logan Pass and no one gets off at the Loop. I've easily waited an hour and half there.

Also, check with the Park Service as to how late their shuttles will be running this summer. Usually they go until the last day of August, and they often offer some service into the beginning of September (maybe through Labor Day?), but you'll want to know that you have a for-sure ride. With you coming out on September 1, that's important to know.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Glacier on 06/24/2012 23:53:27 MDT Print View

Thanks Clayton, I did do some checking, and as of now we will be cutting it close. The last day of the shuttle is Sept. 2nd. I was wondering about catching the shuttle at the loop, was concerned if it would stop there, the map shows it does, but will it really, who knows, like you said it may be full. Over all this should be a great trip, one of those, "Once in a life time hikes for me". I can't wait.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: RE Glacier on 06/25/2012 00:10:07 MDT Print View

Glad to help. Glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime place. That late in the season--honestly, I don't know, but I hope--you may have good luck at the Loop. It is Labor Day Weekend though. When I worked for the concessionaires, that was traditionally the last day of tourist season. My experience was that traffic dropped off dramatically after that weekend, and definitely some before. You always have the possibility of hitching it down too. People are generally amenable to hikers; though, there are no guarantees.

Whatever happens, you have an epic hike ahead.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 06/25/2012 00:26:47 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier planning on 06/26/2012 11:20:03 MDT Print View

Changing entry/exit is no problem, the NPS justs wants to know when to think you overdue when your car is still around.

That trip will be excellent. Good camps, getting better as they go. I would definitely start at Logan, those flatter 7.5 miles are probably easier than the steep 3.5 up from the Loop. Mok Junction to Fifty will be the hardest day, by a fair margin.

Enjoy, and might see you out there. Not sure what my plans will be just yet.

Colin O
(colin_odonnell)

Locale: Brooklyn
Re: Thanks for the replys so far... on 06/27/2012 20:55:27 MDT Print View

Hey Joey, how did the trip turn out? did the milage seem accurate? was 17+ miles reasonable? any favorite camps? Looking to do the same loop but in July.

Joseph K
(jkifer)
end of july/early august on 07/01/2013 20:14:32 MDT Print View

Planning a trip for 8-10 days at the end of july/early august. Looks like it's too late to reserve most of the good sites, so planning on doing a walk-in permit. Anyone have experience with walk-ins? Probably looking to do a 5 night and 2-3 night trip while there. Recommendations would be great! thanks

Adrian Swanson
(storunner13)

Locale: Upper Midwest
Re: end of july/early august on 07/02/2013 09:51:48 MDT Print View

We managed to walk in around early August. Originally we had reserved a horseshoe from Bowman over the Brown and Boulder passes and back by Lower Kintla lake (BEAUTIFUL site). However, even in August, the mountain passes were still snow covered, and we were not prepared to navigate on snow without trails. We ended up changing our reservations when we arrived. It was not difficult.

I wouldn't suggest doing the route we originally planned--it would likely be a tough hitchhike from Kintla to Bowman (http://www.backpacker.com/destinations/hikes/354490)

However, I would suggest going to the west side of the park if only to stop by the Polebridge Mercantile. I'm pretty sure everyone would agree it is a must-stop location. Especially once you're off trail.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: end of july/early august on 07/02/2013 14:25:36 MDT Print View

Adrian, what year did you come?

I was up near Brown a couple of weeks ago and it was snow free. Boulder was well on its way out too.

Joseph K
(jkifer)
Re: Re: end of july/early august on 07/08/2013 11:47:41 MDT Print View

Thanks. That's helpful. Leaning toward doing the northern loop and maybe adding an out and back to goat haunt. Glad to hear that permits weren't too difficult. Did you line up early AM or go at a normal time?

Joseph K
(jkifer)
advice on 07/19/2013 09:32:29 MDT Print View

Wound up getting lucky yesterday and was able to get a permit for the north loop! Four nights as of now, but may try to change it when I arrive to allow for an extra day or two. The permit is for:

ELF
STO
FIF
GRN

A few questions:

1. Are there any great day hikes off the north loop that you'd recommend if I can get an extra day or two?

2. Any feedback on difficulty of the route would be awesome.

3. As it currently stands, I'll be arriving to the park afternoon of 7/27. First back-country night at ELF will be 7/28 and we'll come out on 8/1. My flight back isn't until 8/5 (need to leave park on 8/4), so I'll have 3-4 days free. Options are: (1) try to extend north loop trip, (2) do a second 2 night trip, or (3) day hikes. I'm learning toward trying to do a second 2 night trip if I can get a walk-in permit. Hoping for the oldman lake and no-name lake at two medicine, but would love some more opinions from folks who've spent time in the park.

Thanks!

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: advice on 07/19/2013 10:27:44 MDT Print View

Those are fantastic permits. Fifty Mtn to Granite Park will be a short day, so make sure to take a trip up to the Swiftcurrent Lookout.

Honestly, Oldman and No Name Lakes are best done as part of the Pitamakan-Dawson loop for a day hike. If you do it counter-clockwise, you have a little easier elevation grade. Either way, you get all of your climbing done early, and it becomes a beautiful trip from there.

If you want to do a 2 night trip, look into something like Red Eagle Lake one night, to Gunsight Lake the next, and out to Lake McDonald Lodge. Leave your car at the lodge and shuttle to St. Mary to start the hike. You could also pay for a shuttle to Many Glacier, and go up Piegan Pass Reynolds Creek then up and over Gunsight Pass the next day and down to LML. Honestly, if you can swing it, this would be the more scenic option.

You could do a semi-loop in the North Fork. Say up Bowman Lake to Brown and Boulder Passes, and out Kintla Lake. Harder to work logistically though.

Have fun. Lots of good options.

Joseph K
(jkifer)
Re: Re: advice on 07/19/2013 10:40:29 MDT Print View

Thanks, Clayton. Really appreciate the help.

What are your thoughts on the day from ELF to STO?

I like your idea a lot about Bowman to Brown/Boulder. I'd like to spend some time on the west side of the park and have heard great things about brown/boulder/hole in the wall. Is there any way besides hitchhiking to get from kintla to bowman? How difficult shoudl i expect hitching a ride to be? Other option would be to hike either bowman/kintla as an out-and-back.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier on 07/19/2013 11:14:23 MDT Print View

1. Are there any great day hikes off the north loop that you'd recommend if I can get an extra day or two?
2. Any feedback on difficulty of the route would be awesome.

<< Great, great route and campsites. I'd be surprised if you can get extra days, as all those places are in high demand. None of the days should be especially hard. I'd get an early start day one, as the first five miles of trail up to the Tunnel is often temporarily closed due to bears. I've been delayed for 90 minutes in that stretch while a ranger waited for a feeding Griz to move away from the trail. On day two a side trip up to Mokowanis Lake might be worthwhile, but honestly that time is best spent just gawking at the final few miles up to Stoney Indian Pass, and hanging out and swimming in the lake at camp. The third day should be the hardest, as that big climb up to 50 can be pretty hot. The big meadow a mile from camp is a good place to hang out and spend time before rolling in for the day. The third day should be fairly easy. I'd take the time to hike up to Ahern Pass, and possibly up the talus to Iceberg Notch. These will give you a pretty cool view of much of your route. Swiftcurrent Lookout is good also.

Either the Gunsight option Clayton outlined or the Kintla-Boulder-Bowman loop would be good for a second trip. Hitching out of Kintla might take a while, but shouldn't be too bad in August. I'd count on having to potentially wait a few hours, but that's the sort of location where it's pretty obvious what you're doing and drivers should be sympathetic. Seeing the North Fork would be a good compliment to your first trip.