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Topic: Sorry Guys...More Glacier, Best Routes< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 09 2013, 1:31 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hello Wonderful Community!

It's been too long since I've made it out to the Rockies and I'm fiendin' to go back. I'm thinking Glacier this year (hopefully it can live up to my 2011 Tetons trip).

Anyhoo, 2 person group, we're looking to do 6 to 7 nights, averaging around 8-10 mpd. Scenery is primarily what we're after, and then seclusion.

I really didn't want to have to ask for help but this park's backcountry system is arranged somewhat strangely and I have no idea which areas are nicest so hopefully you guys can give me a little guidance (you sure have before. In fact my 2011 trip was pretty much the exact suggestions made to me by you guys and it was the best time of my life).

Thank you :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 09 2013, 3:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When are you going?  I'm not a Glacier expert like Hikerjer and others but was there last year and my thoughts wander back there pretty frequently since.

We went early July. It was great - 4 days in the Belly River area in the NE quarter of the park.

That said I think there are a lot more backcountry campsites that are open after July 15th and I would guess early August gives even more options.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 11 2013, 12:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since you didn't give too many specifics such as the weight you'll be carrying or the extent of your experience, whether you want rest days worked in, etc, I'll answer in a pretty general way.

Suggestion #1:  northeast quadrant of the park.  Begin at the Swiftcurrent trailhead at Many Glacier.  Continue to Swiftcurrent Pass and  head north to the junction at Stoney Indain Pass. Continue east toward Glenn's and Coosley Lakes and then south to the Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake trail to exit back at Swiftcurrent TH.  About 80 total miles, I think, through spectacular country. Maybe a little longer than you'd like with no rest days.

Suggestion # 2.  Northwest quadrant of the park.  Begin at Kinta Lake TH.  Head west over Boulder Pass toward Brown's Pass. Turn southeast at the junction of the Bowman Lake trail and continue out to the Bowman Lake TH.  About 55-60 miles. The last part of the trail to Bowman Lake will be primarily in heavily forested areas so the views may not be quite so spectacular but the the first part of the hike to Boulder Pass and Brown's Pass in fantastic.  This isn't a perfect loop so you'll have to arrange some kind of shuttle from your exit at Bowman Lake to the trail head at Kinta Lake. I usually hitch-hike. Not real difficult along the North Fork Road if you're patient.    

Option three - east central part of the park:    Begin at the Lake McDonald TH to the Sperry Glacier Chalet and continue past the chalet to Lake Ellen Wilson, over Gunsight Pass, past Gunsight Lake to the TH at the Goint to the Sun Road.  From there, cross the Sun Road and head north over Siyeh Pass and Piegan Pass and exit at Many Glacier.  About 50+ miles.  Campsites can be far apart on some stretches of this hike so plan carefully. This has some logistical problems in that it's a long way from the exit point to the trailhead so transportation may be aproblem but it would be a great hike.  If you can, I'd definetly work in a side hike from Sperry Glacier to Commeau Pass and the Sperry Glacier overlook.  Fantastic view.  Some say the best in the park. Definitely worth it if you have the time.  If you time it right, you can pick up a nice lunch/supper at the Sperry Chalet even if you're not staying there.

Take the milage of these trips with a grain of salt and double check them since I did a rather hurried estimate and won't promise they are totally accurate.  Also, keep in mind that getting camping sites can be a problem so put your reservations in early. Another factor is time of year.  Anytime before mid- July could present snow problems depending on the winter/spring's snowpack.

Have a great trip. Glacier is a magic place.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 12 2013, 1:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't be sorry, its Glacier, the "crown of the continent".

Where to begin.......

Hikerjer did a great job of outlining the park options.  I would add a 4th, the two medicine are.  Its not as long of a trip as your wanting, but deserves mentioning as a noteworthy spectacular area.  If you connect this area with Triple Divide Pass to the north, and Two Medicine Pass to the south, you have yourself an amazing trip.

The main thing i recomend is getting high.  Try to incorporate as many passes into your trip as possible.  Some of the best passes in the park include:  Two Medicine/ Dawsin-Pitamakin-Cutbank/ Triple Divide/ Gunsight/ Piegan/ Red Gap/ Swift Current/ Ptarmagin Wall/ Stoney Indian/ and the Brown-hole in the wall-boulder pass area.  More kudos to hikerjer for suggesting piegan pass in his option number 3 route above.  So often this pass gets overlooked as a backpacking option for some reason, maybe because its between roads with no camps along the trail.  But its a great connecting route, and one of the best passes in the park.

So permits are a big concern here for your trip.  The big difference between your teton trip and glacier is backcountry camping.  Tetons has camping zones, Glacier has communal sites.  These sites have anywhee from 2 to 8 tent sites, and all share a communal food prep area.  While some people tend to not like this close proximity to other campers, I personally enjoy the company.  Your around people just like yourself, people who both enjoy backpacking, and are in awe of the glacier backcountry magic.  Ive never met an unhappy camper in the glacier backcountry, and ive spent a lot of time there.

But pulling a permit for your trip could be tricky.  To be honest, its a crapshoot.  No idea if your going to be able to get your ideal trip.  If you dont have a reserved trip permit, odds are few options you plan for will be available when you arrive, because these sites fill quickly.  Best way to get past this?: Be flexible.  Having an extra 2 days to allow for different start dates for your trip will help you out a lot.  So often I see people plan a trip to Glacier, and expect to have a 6 day trip turn into a 6 day backpacking tip.  Not going to happen.  The best way to do this, is if you want to backpack for 6 days, allow for 8/9 days for your overall trip.  This way you have options.  Also, plan to arrive early at the backcountry office, before it opens, in order to have first dibs on the last remaining backcountry sites.

I personally think the best option for someones first backpacking trip to the park is option 1 above in hikerjers post.  It might be called the northern loop.  Also know as the belly river.  Start at either swiftcurrent campstore, or logan pass for a longer loop.  If you can add piegan pass into this, your really onto something.  Another thing, personally I prefer to go the poia lake route, and up red gap pass, instead of gong thru the ptarmagin wall tunnel.  Not sure why everyone is so into the tunnel.  Poia lake is beautiful, an easy first night in, and has the caves with underground waterfalls right by the campsite.  Redgap pass is spectacular, and i prefer it to the tunnel.  Another note, there is a shortcut between stoney indian pass, and fifty mountain camp that will save you several boring hours of hiking. But, for someone there for the first time, I would try to enjoy stoney indian camp, as its quite spectacular, and even stay a night a kuteney lakes on your way to fifty camp.

Glacier is also a place i highly recomend having extra days to see the park besides backpacking.  And I dont mean logan pass/sunn road.  Whatever you do, absolutely make sure to get to Many Glacier.  Go sit on the back deck of the hotel there, quite possibly the most spectacular place in the lower 48 states of america.  If you can get down to two medicine area, or up to bowman lake/kintla lake/northfork area, you will be impressed


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 12 2013, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great advice from RobinHood.  I would have mentioned the Two Medicine area except as RH mentioned, it is a bit difficult to work in that long of a hike in the area.  You might consider breaking the trip into two separate hikes in different areas of the park with a rest day in between.  The Dawson Pass hike is absolutely fantastic. Too, it might help with the permitng process as well.  Best way to really plan a trip is to get a good map and look at the routes.  National Geographic/Trails Illustrated puts out a good one. You can get a map for the entire park (good) or smaller ones that divide the park into quadrants (better).

Ditto on the Many Glacier area.  As beautiful as all of Glacier is, Many Glacier is, IMO, the best. But remember, there are no bad hikes in Glacier, only good ones, better ones and fantastic ones.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 9:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

THANK YOU!

These are some awesome suggestions that I will certainly have to research. As far as more specifics...weight carried will depend on how long we're out but probly bout 40 lbs for a good week. As for when we'll be going, I have a pretty good range of flexibility. I figured I'd find my desired route, and have a start date  between the 2nd week of august and the first week of September, hopefully that'll give me a better chance of getting my desired trip.

As for experience, not nearly as much as i'd like, probably about 150 backcountry miles though both of us are in good shape and have extensive bear country camping experience.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

JMO, but I'd try for September.  Truly a wonderfultime in Glacier.  Far fewer people, generally stable weather, few bugs, animals beiginning to be in their prime and the colors are beginning to turn.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 03 2013, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you have the ability to arrange for rides, there are a couple cross park hikes you could look into.  I've done one from Many Glacier, through the tunnell, across Stoney Indian Pass, then up over Browns Pass and Boulder Pass, and then out either Bowman or Kintla Lake.  Also from Red Eagle down to Two Medicine around and out Park Creek exiting at Walton.  Another long trip was to do Goat Haunt down to Logan Pass and then Jackson Glacier overlook across to Lake McDonald.  We did 4 days on each part of that one.  

We did each in 8 days I believe, but I think you could get it down to 7.   Just something to think about that's not a traditional "loop" hike.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 04 2013, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think everybody here nailed the best trip options. If you bring two cars or can work out transportation I would try to start up near Bowman/Kintla Lakes hike over to Goat Haunt and then down to Logan Pass. The NW part of the park is the quiest and has some of the best kept secrets that 90% of vistors never see or hear of. I don't like doing out and back trips, but in this case it may be something to consider depending on permits.

The first two options that hikerjer pointed out would be at the top of my list for next trips to do.

As Robin Hood mentioned I think a great idea would be to put together 2-3 smaller trips (Dawson-Pitamakin, Gunsight Pass, Cut Bank-Triple Divide-Red Eagle Lake, Anything in the Many Glacier area) and see as much of the park as possible.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 05 2013, 11:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MicStaff @ Apr. 04 2013, 9:49 am)
QUOTE
The NW part of the park is the quiest and has some of the best kept secrets that 90% of vistors never see or hear of. I don't like doing out and back trips, but in this case it may be something to consider depending on permits.

So true.  both Kintla and upper Kintla lakes, bowman lake, and even akola lake are spectacular.  My favorite place on earth personally.  Even quartz lake, although not as dramatic, has one of the best backcountry campsites right on the lake.  And the pastries and sandwiches in polebridge are worth the trip alone.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 08 2013, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another option could taking the shuttle up to Waterton and then takeing the boat to Goat Haunt and using Goat Haunt almost as a basecamp and spending a few days hiking over to Brown/Boulder Passes and Hole in the Wall  (best campground in the park voted by anybody who has stayed there). Then down to Stoney Indian and then 50 Mtn. and either hike out via Swiftcurrent Pass or the Highline depending on where you parked for the shuttle. Taking to other people who have spent a decent amount of time in Glacier's backcountry this is hitting a lot of the highlights and there are plenty of campsite options that helps you be really flexible with permits and planning.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2013, 1:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MicStaff @ Apr. 08 2013, 9:49 am)
QUOTE
Another option could taking the shuttle up to Waterton and then takeing the boat to Goat Haunt and using Goat Haunt almost as a basecamp and spending a few days hiking over to Brown/Boulder Passes and Hole in the Wall  (best campground in the park voted by anybody who has stayed there). Then down to Stoney Indian and then 50 Mtn. and either hike out via Swiftcurrent Pass or the Highline depending on where you parked for the shuttle. Taking to other people who have spent a decent amount of time in Glacier's backcountry this is hitting a lot of the highlights and there are plenty of campsite options that helps you be really flexible with permits and planning.

Just to add to this, the goat haunt shelters are pretty nice, concrete pad with a covered roof and concrete walls on 3 sides of you.  Then you have the main covered area with fire pits that has open views out to the lake.  Ive had to hunker down here before in the middle of September snowstorms.  Think its a great place to camp, although not the "scenic" backcountry campsite most want (unless your by the lake, then its spectacular).  Just a great shelter.  You definitely could use this as a base camp for dayhiking the area, possibly even climb Cleveland in a long, long day


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11 replies since Mar. 09 2013, 1:31 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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