Hike up to Dawson pass offers a lot of diversity including a hike along a very big lake, a hike up... read more
Hike up to Dawson pass offers a lot of diversity including a hike along a very big lake, a hike up... read more
Easy to do in a single day. Don't worry about taking the boat - it only cuts off a flat easy... read more
This was our second trip to Glacier National Park and we were really excited to hike this trail. In researching this hike for our trip, I reached out to a TA contributor on the Glacier forum who was extremely helpful with details of this hike. Never having hiked quite this distance before, we had a plan in place concerning a set turnaround time and specific part of the trail where we could head back the way we came if we feel that we could not hike the entire loop. We were on the trail by 7:15 and made our way around Pray Lake and the campground, hiking up the trail as it began to climb into the surrounding trees. We hiked in the forest for a while until the trail came out into a lovely meadow. It was so quiet and cool that morning, not another person to be seen. I had been watching the trail status page on the GNP website and expected the bridge over Dry Fork Creek to be out, which it was, kind of. The bridge itself was there although the center support was gone, so the bridge looked like a big V. There was not much water in the creek anyway, but we just made our way across the bridge, which made for some funny photos. The trail continued on through open meadows, forest, and even a couple of small aspen groves. We did come...This was our second trip to Glacier National Park and we were really excited to hike this trail. In researching this hike for our trip, I reached out to a TA contributor on the Glacier forum who was extremely helpful with details of this hike. Never having hiked quite this distance before, we had a plan in place concerning a set turnaround time and specific part of the trail where we could head back the way we came if we feel that we could not hike the entire loop. We were on the trail by 7:15 and made our way around Pray Lake and the campground, hiking up the trail as it began to climb into the surrounding trees. We hiked in the forest for a while until the trail came out into a lovely meadow. It was so quiet and cool that morning, not another person to be seen. I had been watching the trail status page on the GNP website and expected the bridge over Dry Fork Creek to be out, which it was, kind of. The bridge itself was there although the center support was gone, so the bridge looked like a big V. There was not much water in the creek anyway, but we just made our way across the bridge, which made for some funny photos. The trail continued on through open meadows, forest, and even a couple of small aspen groves. We did come to a creek that was moving quite quickly that we did have to ford, but the creek was not very wide or deep and did not present any problem. The trail eventually dropped us into a very large open meadow with amazing views that seemed to go on for miles. The wildflowers were beautiful and the trail straight out in front of us. This was the first place on the trail that we encountered other hikers, as a group of 5 or 6 folks passed us hiking quite quickly, we never saw them again. We really enjoyed this part of the trail and took some time to stop and have a snack here, enjoying the beautiful views. After leaving the lovely meadow the trail continued on back into the trees as we made our way to the junction with Oldman Lake. We did not take the spur trail down to the lake, but we did find a nice big rock beside the trail where we stopped to eat our lunch in the shade, time to refuel before making the climb up to Pitamakan Pass. The climb to the pass by way of switchbacks was rather steep and somewhat exposed, but we just took our time and enjoyed the amazing views of Oldman Lake as we climbed and before we knew it we had made it to Pitamakan Pass. WOW was all I could say, it was just stunning! The color of lakes below the pass was this amazing deep blue edged with snow and the valley an amazing green. The blue sky was dotted with big, fluffy clouds and the peaks in the distance framed the view. I am not going to lie, I did shed a few tears standing at the pass, and it was just so beautiful that I did not want to forget anything about this moment. We lingered here for quite a while before we decided to continue on up the trail to Pitamakan Overlook. When we reached this point in the trail it was an amazing view in every direction. We shared the overlook with several other hikers and enjoyed talking with them about where they were from and what other trails they had hiked in Glacier. This was the point in the trail where we made the decision to continue on. It was 1pm, the weather was great and there was no wind; so we felt we could hike the remainder of the trail. So, from this point to Dawson Pass the trail became rocky and scree covered; it felt sort of like a goat trail, with steep drop-offs. The views were incredible and we just took our time, watching the trail in front of us. We came to a plateau of sorts above Oldman Lake, the opposite side, where we could see where we had hiked up to Pitamakan Pass and it was just beautiful here. From here we continued on the goat tail, making our way to Dawson Pass. We were just in awe as we reached Dawson Pass and the views of the valley below. It did present quite the perspective, knowing that we were hiking back down into that valley and around the lake, far off in the distance. The decent from Dawson Pass was quite grueling, but we knew that it would be so our hiking poles were just what we needed to assist with all of the downward hiking. The trail eventually brought us back into the trees where we did find that the flies were waiting for us. They were quite the nuisance but we has some bug spray so that helped a little. We had decided that were we not going to rush to make the boat back across the lake, so we simply continued hiking those last 3 miles around the lake. We were back at the trailhead at 6:15 that evening, with plenty of daylight to spare. We were definitely tired, but we were so excited that we had hiked the entire trail! What a day it had been, all of the amazing views and gorgeous scenery all along the way. We really loved this hike and it is one that we will definitely remember-it was EPIC!MoreShow less
Easy to do in a single day. Don't worry about taking the boat - it only cuts off a flat easy section. We cruised up to Dawson Pass and saw Big Horned Sheep on the way. At the top of Dawson Pass the views are incredible and every turn yields a different view that is equally as awesome as the one before. Beautiful lakes on the way, including a short extra jaunt to Old Man Lake. The trail is easy to follow, not very crowded and incredibly scenic.
Wow. This was a phenomenal day hike. It was long... as other reviewers have said, but it is worth every bit of effort if you are an avid hiker/able-bodied human. My dad is 65, brother is 30 and I am 28. We are all active but none of us hike regularly. We all made it through agreeing that it is a not to be missed hike! We started on the trail at around 6:45am and finished around 4:00pm. The first part of the hike (pitamakin side) is through forrest, field and streams. It’s quite relaxing and sets an easy pace for the rest of the day. Once you begin the climb, that’s when things get interesting. It’s about a mile of switchbacks up a mountain and opening up to the prettiest vista of gorgeous royal blue lakes and mountains. Then you have about 4 miles of walking on the side of a mountain. This part is scary if you fear heights. It’s windy and the path is full of loose rock with a cliff to your one side. However, if you can get over that fear and look up and out, the views of the mountain ranges are gorgeous. Once you reach Dawson Pass it is all downhill (literally). It’s rough on the knees and very steep. You’re exhausted by this point too which doesn’t help. Then you renter the forrest for your final trek. You can opt to take the boat across two medicine to make the trip 3 miles shorter. We ended up walking it because the boat schedule didn’t work with our timing, and the extra mileage was flat with some pretty views.
Enjoy on of the the prettiest hikes in Glacier.
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.
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.
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.