Triple Divide Pass

Missoula, Montana 59807

Triple Divide Pass

Triple Divide Pass Professional Review and Guide

"This is a difficult day hike to a unique mountain pass.

Triple Divide Peak, which hovers above Triple Divide Pass, is the only place in Montana where water flows into three oceans—Atlantic, Pacific, and Hudson Bay (Arctic Ocean), which are, appropriately, the names of the three streams flowing off the mountain.

From the trailhead the Cut Bank Creek Trail stays gradually uphill all the way to the Pitamakan Pass Junction at 3.9 miles. The southern horizon is dominated by Bad Marriage Mountain, named for a Blackfeet chief, not an old ranger’s marital problems. You follow sparkling and slow-moving Cut Bank Creek all the way."

More Triple Divide Pass Professional Reviews and Guides

"A difficult day hike to a unique pass. Triple Divide Peak, which hovers above Triple Divide Pass, is the only place in Montana where water flows into three oceans — Atlantic, Pacific, and Hudson Bay (Arctic Ocean), which are, appropriately, the names of the three streams flowing off the mountain."

"The Triple Divide Pass trail begins at the Cut Bank Creek Ranger Station and follows Cut Bank Creek for almost 4 miles before ascending the Atlantic Creek Valley. Both Medicine Grizzly Lake and Triple Divide Pass may be visited on a long day hike, while a campground near the confluence of Atlantic and Cut Bank Creeks provides overnight facilities for backpackers. Triple Divide Pass connects the Cut Bank Creek trail with the Red Eagle Lake trail, allowing access for hikers on extended trips into the St. Mary drainage.

The Cut Bank Creek Valley is less visited than some in the park, but it is a beautiful valley, characterized by fir parklands, rushing streams, and towering red mountains from which graceful cascades descend. The trail begins just beyond the Cut Bank Rangers Station at the reopened Cut Bank Campground."

Triple Divide Pass Reviews

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7/4/2004
Hiking Glacier is a treat, and to give you an idea what a treat this trail is, we hiked in early July and encountered not one but TWO crews of trail maintainance workers, who shared that "this is where they come to work when they get a chance". The trailhead is actually Medicine Grizzly Lake, then a turn uphill to Triple-Divide. The views are stunning, the trail is very lightly travelled (but easy to follow), and wildflowers, wildlife and snow (we covered several patches of snow, and ended on a snowfield) will be found. Take rain gear, as in all mountain hiking the weather is unpredictable and we got both rain and hail on our hike. Mud will be heavy at lower elevations if there has been rain, so bring waterproof footwear and a change of socks. We hiked this in a leisurely 8-1/2 hours, stopping for lunch and lots of pics (you'll want both 200 and 800 ASA film, and a wide-angle and telephoto are worth the extra weight--I used 96 exposures). Our daughter is 8, which slowed us a bit, but she made the whole hike, so it's not too tough. The gem of this trail is that you hike IN as well as UP, so very soon you are surrounded by mountains and no evidence of human activity invades your world. Also consider hiking this one-way: If you camp at St. Mary's(east entrance), and get someone to drop you at Cut Bank trailhead, you can hike through Triple Divide back to St. Mary's (about 20 miles), which will take you around the lake as well. Last note: at the end of any hike in the eastern part of the park, reward yourself with a piece of pie (my fav. is "razzleberry", a combo of huckle/blue/razz-berries)at the "Park Cafe", just north of the east entrance. It is the single best pie in the world (and I lived for awhile in Amish country...)!
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6/24/2003
We did this as an overnighter, using the campsite at Atlantic Creek (about 4 miles in from the Cutbank Ranger station. The campground is well developed, with multiple sites, but the mosquitoes were bothersome. We left our packs and attacked the Triple Divide Pass as a dayhike. Multiple other dayhike options could keep you busy for several days. The hike up to Triple Divide was breath-taking (especially since I only had to carry my daypack!) The valley is beautiful, and the views of Medicine Grizzly lake far below were stunning. You will take lots of pictures on this hike -- I'd say it is the most beautiful hike I've ever taken (no exageration). The slow and steady climb up to the pass is actually pretty easy -- no steeps, no switchbacks, just great views all the way.
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Triple Divide Pass Photos

Trail Information

Missoula
Nearby City
14.4
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
1
Duration
July through September
Season
Glacier National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Cut Bank Pass and Mt. Stimson
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018