Fifty Mountain Backpacking

Columbia Falls, Montana 59912

Fifty Mountain Backpacking

Fifty Mountain (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"A long trek through the alpine heart of Glacier National Park. The first 3 miles of the trail go along the Garden Wall directly above Going-to-the- Sun Highway. Some of this is on ledge, which can be a little nerve-wracking but beautifully unique. Then, the trail gradually climbs up to Granite Park Chalet across the flanks of Haystack Butte and in the shadow of mighty Mount Gould to the north. (There has never been a haystack on Haystack Butte, but it looks like one.) To the south Heavens Peak, Longfellow Peak, and others dominate a fantastic horizon.

You might not be able to see all fifty peaks, but you certainly can see many of them with no chance of finding the scenery disappointing. This is all prime grizzly habitat, and you can frequently see bears at safe distances. Heavens Peak again dominates the southern horizon; only this time you’re looking at the other side of the mountain. Alpine wildflower enthusiasts will think they’re in heaven. Special attractions: Perhaps the best mountain scenery in the park. Plus, you start at high elevation, so there are no big climbs. It’s basically a downhill backpacking trip."

Fifty Mountain (Backpacking) Reviews

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My husband and I did the 30-mile trek from Logan's Pass to Goat Haunt to celebrate our 10th anniversary in late August. This was an absolutely breathtaking hike and one that I will remember above all others forever. Day 1 was a pretty flat trek to Granite Park chalet, during which we shared the trail with a deer and several mountain goats. While the scenery on Day 1 was great, our only complaint was how crowded the trail was; we probably passed 30 other hikers on the way to Granite Park. The chalet was fabulous with a warm staff and an amazing sunset. Day 2 was much more desolate with few hikers, lots more deer and fabulous views. The last part of the trail, up and over the Continental Divide was trying after a long, 11-mile day but truly worth it, and Fifty Mountain campground was a good one. Lots of aggressive dear (bring EVERYTHING into your tent or they'll take it away) and more great views. Day 3 was 5 miles downhill (a bit rough on the legs) and then 5 miles of flat/rolling hills along the river to Goat Haunt. This hike was truly the best and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a special outdoor experience.
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This hike was absolutely amazing despite the fact that we arrived just in time for the first snowfall of the year (it had, apparently, been sunny and warm for the 2.5 months prior to our arrival). In fact, it may have been even more amazing because of the snow. I suspect that it would be impossible to get far on this trail once the real snow starts falling so we got to see parts of the park under snow that are likely inaccessible in winter. Beautiful scenery, no close encounters with bears (but saw at least 4 at a safe distance), and great hiking even with heavy packs. The boat ride from Goat Haunt to Waterton was also a treat. The established campsites are well maintained and they've done all the work for you in terms of separating tents from food prep from toilets. Lifetime memory trip!

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Trail Information

Columbia Falls
Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 to 5 days
Best summer and fall
Glacier National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Ahern Pass, Logan Pass, Many Glacier, Porcupine Ridge, Mount Geduhn; Trails Illustrated Glacier National Park
Local Maps