Check off your entire GNP bucket listThe Dawson-Pitamakan trail loop offers a unique chance to check off your entire Glacier National Park bucket list in one memorable weekend. Not only will you witness unparalleled views of the landscape, you can also camp in the backcountry, summit a peak, pick huckleberries, see a glacier, catch a cutthroat trout, and enjoy a historic boat tour.
The 17.6-mile hike circumnavigates the massive Rising Wolf Mountain. Hike the loop counter-clockwise and head toward the campground at Oldman Lake, which is 6.4 miles from the trailhead. It’s hard to take your eyes off Flinsch Peak (9,225 feet) as it towers above the crystalline waters. Once you’ve set up camp, enjoy a swim, fish for cutthroat, or pass your time picking huckleberries along the shoreline. A backcountry permit is required to camp overnight.
The hike from Oldman Lake to Pitamakan pass is grueling, but well worth the effort. Don’t forget to pack a windproof shell, as you’re likely to be hit with bone-rattling gusts along the pass. The ridgeline from Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass is arguably one of the most remarkable four-mile sections of any hike in the park. Pumpelly Glacier is visible to the west near Mount Logan, and the remains of Lupfer Glacier hang below Mount Phillips.
Ambitious climbers have multiple options for a summit ascent from the ridge; Flinsch Peak, Rising Wolf Mountain, Mount Helen, and Mount Morgan are all possibilities.
Time your return trip appropriately and catch a Glacier Park Boat Company shuttle across Two Medicine Lake, which not only cuts about three miles off the hike’s total distance but also offers another experience iconic to the park.
How to Get There: From Kalispell, travel 87 miles east along U.S. Highway 2 to East Glacier. Take Montana Route 49 north about 3.5 miles to Two Medicine Road. Two Medicine Lake is seven miles beyond this point. The trailhead is located near the footbridge at the north end of the campground.