Three Passes

Missoula, Montana 59807

Three Passes

Three Passes Professional Review and Guide

"A long day hike or moderate backpacking trip through outstanding mountain scenery, mostly above timberline. With three mountain passes, it’s definitely one of the most scenic and popular hikes in Glacier National Park. 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.

From the Pray Lake Trailhead parking lot, cross the bridge below Pray Lake and turn right toward Oldman Lake, 6.4 miles down the trail. In the first 2.4 miles, you hike around the base of a towering mastiff called Rising Wolf Mountain (shortened version of a Blackfeet term for “the way the wolf rises”) and across the bridge over Dry Fork Creek to a marked trail junction with Dry Fork Trail, where you turn left (west). From here you face a steady climb up an open valley."

Three Passes Reviews

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Do it as a loop backpack - as a day hike it's long and rugged and doesn't leave time for scenic wonders once you've reached the Sapphire Lake plateau. Light traffic once you climb above Upper Holland Lake. Splendid views of Carmine and Little Carmine Peaks and countless others, an idyllic lake where the only other angler was a merganser, plenty of deer. Great day hikes from Sapphire. On the way out, the view across to the Missions across the valley are worth the jarring set of switchback descents (32 according to an outfitter, it seemed like at least 100). Well, almost. See my review of the Upper Holland Lake Loop.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
July through September
Glacier National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Cut Bank Pass, Mount Rockwell, and Dancing Lady Mountain (formerly Squaw Mountain)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018