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“Stunning Views, wildlife, but be prepared”

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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed 12 July 2018

Did this as a backpacking loop although some hearty hikers do the loop in one day. Either way you do it the views are breathtaking. Points to consider: 1. Do the loop clockwise, starting on the trail next to Two Medicine Lake. This will give you the most scenic walk into the loop along the lake (or some might take the ferry to the head of Two Medicine to cut down on a few miles). 2. Bring water and snacks. The hikes up to the pass (either side) will be hard. There is NO WATER between Pitamakan Pass and Dawson Pass. During the later summer, there is water from No Name Lake, then the next time, Oldman Lake. I would strongly recommend that you refill at both lakes either to prepare for the hike up or after you descend. You will need a good water filtration system. Do not dismiss this advice. 3. If you are backpacking, some do one night at either No Name or Oldman, then walk the loop and out. That is long but doable. Other options: A. Night one in Oldman, night two in Upper Two Medicine (the walk in is slightly less scenic, but Upper Two Medicine is really pretty and you have most of the descent completed). B. Night one in No Name, night two in Oldman (or reversed). These are both on the loop. Both are really nice. The route between Dawson Pass and Pitamakan Pass is like the Highline trail without all the people. DO IT.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Macbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 9 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2018

This is an all-day hike for very fit and avid hikers. It will test your stamina but reward you in ways I cannot express.

Once on the trail, it doesn’t take very long to walk out of the trees, so you will never be hiking in tree-jail. The loop goes through two passes and rewards you with breathtaking views the entire day.

Grizzlies frequent the entire area, so be on the lookout and be sure to carry bear spray and know how to use it. Once you begin to climb up Pitamakan Pass you will be walking through vast fields of seasonal wildflowers so long as the high elevation snows have melted out. There will be a series of steep switchbacks that gain elevation quickly. Views at the pass summit will be amazing. You are likely to see Big Horn Sheep up there.

Once you reach Pitamakan Overlook and the other-worldy views from there, you will be looking across expansive valleys with many hanging glacial lakes called tarns.

It can get very very windy and cold up there, so dress accordingly in snug layers with head gear and gloves...even in Summer. The strong winds may make you wonder if you can actually stay on your feet without being blown over.

Further along Dawson Pass it is equally gorgeous. The trail takes you up where you will find yourselves up among the mountain goats and Big Horns once again. You will encounter views that are unimaginably vast and unbelievably gorgeous. Search the skies for Bald Eagles soaring above the lakes. You will not be on a crowded trail, but will find yourself alone in God's Country.

Finally you will head back down Dawson Pass with more Big Horns nearby and arrive back to the Two Medicine Lake area. The last boat leaves the dock at 5:20 PM, so you could board that back to the parking area to shorten the hike and give your feet a brief rest. If you arrive back later in the day, you just stroll along the north shore of the lake back to the car. Expect to be totally exhausted...yet strangely exhilarated. It will have been the Hike of a Lifetime.

Date of experience: September 2017
4  Thank MaryEllenM27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2018

This hike started at first light from the Two Medicine Lake campground area, going north around Rising Wolf Mountain. Once past the Dry Fork junction, the trail gradually opened up to panoramic viewing. After stopping at Pitamakan Pass to experience the memorable sights, it was on to the Dawson Pass Trail - heading around Mt. Morgan. The section from Mt. Morgan to Flinsch Peak required some rock scrambling, and was narrow in spots.

When at Dawson Pass on a previous hike, it was difficult to just stand in one spot with the high wind gusts - not so this time. There was plenty to see at that location. On the trail going east from Dawson Pass there can be lots of exposed tree roots, so watch your footing. No Name Lake is just off the main trail, and is good to see if you have time. The shuttle boat ride to the eastern Two Medicine Lake dock was a welcome break.

There were some wildlife sightings - bighorn sheep on the switchbacks above Oldman Lake and on the saddle north of Flinsch Peak. My TripAdvisor name was put to good use to help avoid a situation with the day’s first sighting - a grizzly bear next to the trail on the north side of Rising Wolf.

At the end of the day, I appreciated the chance to witness the wild beauty of Glacier Park’s backcountry - one more time. This hike was done in September 2017. Thanks for taking the time to read my review.

Date of experience: September 2017
Thank Maxwell_III
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2017

My husband insisted on getting the hard part done first so we headed towards Dawson's pass first. We stopped at twin waterfalls (I would skip this in the future, no need to add the mileage). We also stopped at no name lake. We were there in the early morning and got to see a moose swim across the lake and exit on the other side, amazing! From No Name to Dawson's was by far the most difficult part of the hike. The change in scenery from Daswon's to Pitamaken were fantastic with mountainous cliff ledges. From Pitamaken back to the campground was full of more scenery changes. There was a fantastic spring we were able to splash water on our face towards the end. We saw plenty of bear poop but no bears. We saw a heard of mountain sheep. Through the whole hike we saw less than 10 people. With the added stops in the beginning, it was 22.5 miles and took us 11 hours (my husband is not in shape and we had to stop frequently). Even now, he is glad he did the hike and really enjoyed it. I would recommended starting by going towards Pitamaken and finishing with Dawson's (counter-clockwise loop). Disclaimer, there were intense wildfires during our visit so my pictures are very smoky.

Date of experience: September 2017
2  Thank melissabubash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 August 2017

We hiked the Dawson and Pitamakin pass loop in the Two Medicine area in the middle of July. The trails had recently cleared of steep snow fields, it had been hot and clear, and the winds were mild. It was a perfect day to attempt our capstone hike of our vacation... and indeed it was! Sixteen miles long, 3500 hundred feet of elevation. You need to be fit and well-prepared for all conditions for this one, but it is an absolutely amazing hike. We did take the 9am boat across Two Medicine Lake and started our hike promptly at 9:30 am. This is cutting it close and probably only possible during the month of July. We hiked steadily all day, did not dawdle during breaks/lunch/soaking it in... and still took 9 full hours to do the hike. It could easily have taken a couple hours longer, we had excellent weather and no issues. The days start getting shorter quickly and you do not want to be finishing your hike in the dark. To start much earlier, take the North Shore trail along Two Medicine Lake, this does add 3 miles to your hike. Always take headlamps, extra clothing layers, extra food, and a water filter on big hikes like this (along with the necessary maps/compass -follow the 10 principles!). If you do not have these things you should not attempt the hike. Be safe. We had perfect conditions and it was still challenging. Any wind, fog, an injury, etc. could make a wonderful hike into a nightmare.

The hike takes you around the monolithic Rising Wolf mountain. You can go clockwise or counter-clockwise, we decided to get the altitude out of the way (first 4 miles up to Dawson Pass), and the remainder of the hike is then primarily a traverse across to Pitamakin overlook and pass and then the descent which becomes a much more gradual downslope past Oldman Lake and around the east end of Rising Wolf mountain. It really depends on your knees and whether you want to walk uphill most of the day or downhill most of the day. We did start at the boat launch going clockwise, made the top of Dawson Pass within 3 hours. The trail gains elevation steadily but somewhat gradual until you pass the junction for No-Name Lake and then climbing begins in earnest. You will want at least 2 full liters of water from that point- tank up at the lake or stream crossing... once you go up there is no water source until you are nearly down to Oldman Lake about 8 miles later. Incredible views meet you looking back at the lake and when you crest Dawson pass to look to the west. The trail continues up past a small rock stack/shelter and leads behind Flinsch Peak. At the far end of the traverse is the Pitamakin Overlook, where you will get the best pictures ever. Take a hard right at the pass behind Pitamakin to go down towards Oldman Lake. The drop to Oldman Lake is fairly dramatic, after that the descent is an easy but long coast to the eastern end of Rising Wolf-- there is an annoying but relatively short up and down at the end over this "toe" of Rising Wolf in the last 2 miles of the hike when you are tired. The trail ends at the Two Medicine Camp Ground area. From there it's a short road walk back to the parking lot. Head to the camp store for a treat, you've earned it! Challenge, fantastic views, solitude, alpine flowers, birds and animals, this hike has it all. Highly recommended if you are fit and prepared.

Date of experience: July 2017
1  Thank 15lesliej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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