Glacier's High Country

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To see the best of what Glacier National Park has to offer you have to go deep into the high country. Fortunately, with more than 740 miles of trails meandering throughout the park, it's pretty easy to find a trail that offers mind blowing scenery.

Although not quite as popular as some of the other areas of the park, the Two Medicine area still provides some incredibly beautiful scenery. One of the best hikes in this area is Scenic Point. The rock outcropping that sits just above alpine tundra meadows, offers panoramic views of the Two Medicine Valley. On a clear day you can even see the Sweet Grass Hills rising above the Great Plains 90 miles away!

One of the most popular backcountry hikes in the Two Medicine area is the one up to Dawson Pass. Near the top a group of 9 or 10 bighorn sheep passed by us, no more than 20 yards away. As you can see, most of them were relatively young lambs. They stopped just long enough on this perch for a nice photo op:

Dawson Pass usually gets all the attention in Two Medicine. However, at least for me, I thought the views from Pitamakan Pass were much more dramatic. From the knife-edge pass you can see five lakes on either side of you. In this photo is the largest, Pitamakan Lake, sitting like a sapphire gem almost 800 feet below the pass:

This photo was also taken at Pitamakan Pass. The clouds above Rising Wolf Mountain were quite interesting:

One of my new favorite areas in Glacier is Preston Park, a large, incredibly beautiful alpine meadow, located in the valley between Mt. Siyeh and Matahpi Peak (near Logan Pass):

Of course one of the most popular hikes in Glacier is the Highline Trail. This world famous hike should be on the bucket list of any self respecting hiker. The views, the wildlife and the wildflowers, all combine to make this a hike you'll remember the rest of your life. From Logan Pass, high adventure awaits right from the start. Hikers have to walk on a six-foot ledge for roughly a quarter of a mile. One false move and your next stop is on the pavement of the Going-To-The-Sun Road, more than hundred feet below:

99% of the Highline Trail passes through open country, so there's never any dull scenery:

The trail is famous for wildlife as well, especially bighorn sheep and mountain goats. This goat was sitting on a ledge right below the trail when we passed him:

Glacier is also famous for its two backcountry chalets, Sperry and Granite Park. Similar to the LeConte Lodge, the only way to reach these is by foot or horseback. The Granite Park Chalet can be reached via a 7.6 mile hike along the Highline Trail, or a 4.2 mile climb from The Loop area on the Going-To-The-Sun Road:

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Anonymous said...

I love GNP, it is a beautiful park. We went first part of June and Two Medicine was gorgeous along with St Mary. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and your trip.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Photography!
A true national treasure.