Three Passes in Glacier Backpacking

East Glacier, Montana 59434

Three Passes in Glacier Backpacking

Three Passes in Glacier (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"A fairly short backpacking trip through outstanding mountain scenery, mostly above timberline. The name Two Medicine comes from the Blackfeet history that refers to two medicine lodges built in the area for performing the Sun Dance.

The exact site of the lodges has not been discovered. Special attractions: One of the most scenic and popular hikes in Glacier National Park, featuring two jewel-like mountain lakes, a traverse along the Continental Divide, and three mountain passes. Where else can you hike over three spectacular passes in 4 miles of scenic hiking?"

Three Passes in Glacier (Backpacking) Reviews

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The trail started from Two Medicine Campground in Glacier National Park. It was in excellent condition, unlike other trails I have been on. The first day we hiked to Oldman Lake. The trail went up and down small hills and was a steady incline along Pitamakan Pass Trail to Oldman Lake. The campsite at Oldman Lake was a good size with 4 tent spots equally spread out and not far from the Lake. We weren't allowed campfires so we slept once it got dark. On day 2 we left Oldman Lake and started out on the trail which turned into a switchback leading up to Pitamakan Pass. Looking down at Oldman Lake while going up to Pitamakan Pass was amazing. Once we got up on Pitamakan Pass, the wind became really strong. The Park Ranger warned us that if the wind was too strong we would have to come down and try again later. We considered this, but went forward anyway, very slowly. We encountered snow and ice on the way up to the Continental Divide which also made traveling slow. The Continental Divide section provided great scenery and was like walking along a shelf with over a thousand foot drops. After Dawson Pass, the trail descended down the mountains and we hiked to our campsite at No Name Lake. The site had 4 tent spots and a small stream flowed nearby into the Lake. We weren't allowed campfires at this site either and were in the tent at dark. Crawling out of the tent at sunrise provided a nice picture of the Lake. After breakfast we were about to finish the last section of trail when we heard a bear growl. We froze instantly and wondered what we’d do if the bear decided to enter camp. We sounded off air horns a few times and then left camp. We never saw the bear, but a group behind us told us they saw a big black bear and estimated it to be around 600 pounds. The last section of Dawson Pass Trail continued to go downhill and eventually leveled off around 2 miles out from the trailhead.

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Trail Information

East Glacier
Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
3 days
Best summer and fall
Glacier National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Cut Bank Pass, Mount Rockwell, Dancing Lady; Trails Illustrated Glacier National Park
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018