Glacier National Park


July 28, 2015

Logan Pass to open July 29, 2015
Fire not visible from pass!

New Fire Line created with explosives. Link to article in Great Falls Tribune. It has been raining lightly in Northwest Montana, along with cooler temperatures and some snow at higher elevations.

July 27, 2015

St Mary Visitor Center reopened today.
Currently raining in West and East Glacier, plus Many Glacier.

July 26, 2015

Logan Pass July 29, 2015 to reopen

Just back from backpacking to Snyder Lake campground for one night followed by backpacking to Sperry Chalet campground for the second night. Red Monkey Flowers blooming on Sperry Chalet Trail near the rock ledge section of trail. Thunderstorm swept in from the west while I was hiking up to Sperry Chalet campground. Luckily light rain which turned into very hard driving rain just after I got to Sperry Dinning Hall. Enjoyed a tuna sandwich along with hot coffee as the skies opened up. First bug free backpacking trip this summer. Second rainstorm arrived just after dark. GNP opened Lake Ellen Wilson to camping yesterday. Lots of totally unprepared for rain hikers on the Sperry Trail. Mountain goats and kids frolicking on the plateau near the backcountry campground.
My hiking mileage total as of today for 2015 is 233 miles, with 33,869 feet of elevation gain. This total is for hikes in Glacier National Park and doesn't include any of my hikes this spring on the Whitefish Trails.

July 24, 2015

Reynolds Creek Wildland Fire continues it's advance towards the town of St Mary, Link shows which areas currently burning in red, along with wind direction. Not as much smoke on the St Mary webcam, hopefully a good sign.
Two Medicine, Many Glacier, West Glacier and North Fork are all open and smoke free. GTSR open on west side to Big Bend. I took a shuttle to Loop yesterday and there was No Sign of any smoke while at the Loop.

July 22, 2015

Many Glacier webcam showing a slight rain as of 7:30 am .
Apgar Village webcam showing light rain. St Mary is now showing rain as of 7:50 am.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently closed between Avalanche and St. Mary due to Reynolds Creek Wildland Fire.

Rising Sun Campground closed along with all facilities at Rising Sun ~ July 21, 2015

Cobalt Lake reflection 7-10-15

July 10, 2015

Photo above Cobalt Lake reflection. ~ 7-10-15. Panorama of Cobalt Lake with snowfield reflected taken shortly after sunrise on July 10, 2015 . Camped last night at Cobalt Lake ~ very buggy ~ surprisingly still lots of snow on the far side of Cobalt Lake. Lots of wildflowers, particularly Red Monkey Flower. Large meadow of Red Monkey Flower near the start of the final ascent to Cobalt Lake. The ones in the middle of Cobalt Creek are in bud but not blooming yet. On my return earlier today temp in Hungry Horse was 98 F . So far have hiked 178.83 miles and over 22,937 feet elevation gain. Need to give my feet a break from hiking. Very limited display of Bear Grass this year as Bear Grass appears to be the most impacted by light snowfall and hot spring / summer temperatures. GIA elevation profile below is the descent today from Cobalt Lake to Two Medicine Lake near boat dock.Cobalt Lake elevation profile

Link to GAIAGPS Track for Cobalt Lake.
Above link will take you to GAIGPS website ~ you can expand the map to fill the screen with the track overlaid on a topo map of the Cracker Lake Trail. GAIAGPS works on iPhones and Android OS phones. Very handy but inexpensive hiking application. NOTE: Unlike Garmin the maps are free ~ you do need to download the topo maps at your home as that requires a WiFi connection. Apple recently updated the iPhone Software which greatly improves battery life. Now when you turn on Airplane Mode the built in GPS chip in your phone still works! !

July 6, 2015

Smoke from Forest Fires in Washington State are obscuring views in Glacier Park.

While smoke isn't as dense as during the 2003 fire season, it is only the start of July. I have hiked 168 miles so far this year in Glacier Park, spring came early but part of those miles were to get to hikes ahead of the smoke. At this time I have postponed a hiking / backpacking trip to Two Medicine due to the smoke. Unless Northwest Montana gets some significant rain the fires are going to get closer.

Forest Fire along North Fork Road ~ June 27, 2015 Note: The area burning along the North Fork burned about twelve years ago so smoke from this fire is fairly light.

July 3, 2015

Hiked Ptarmigan Tunnel trail 7-3-15. Luckily I got an early start, nice display of wildflowers. A few beargrass blooming after turning onto Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail. BUGGY! ! Lots of wildflowers filling the scree slope below the western side of the tunnel. Big Horn Sheep near the tunnel. Since I got an early start & was not driving back to Whitefish after finishing the hike, I hiked about a mile down the east side of the trail towards Elizabeth Lake. Views of Going To The Sun Glacier, after dropping down a short way. A small group of horseback riders arrived at the tunnel shortly after I did. The after part I was very grateful for.

My oldest daughter met up with me. She started her RUN at the Many Glacier Entrance Station where there is a short, steep connecting trail to the Poia Lake Trail then over Red Gap Pass up and over then down to Elizabeth Lake and up again to Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail.

Cover shot of my Wildflower Guide for Glacier National Park

wildflower book coverA slow hiker's guide™ Glacier National Park Wildflowers

As of July 2015 My Wildflower iBook is available using iBooks for iPhones, iPads, the MAC Book Pro and Apple Desktops. iPhones need to be on OS 8.4
Available on iBooks

July 1, 2015

Ranger Led Hikes Schedule

Fireworks Banned in Western Montana

June 28, 2015 ~ Latest information on Glacier Rim Fire

June 27, 2015 Injured Climber Rescued in Glacier National Park

June 23, 2015 GIAGPS track of Swiftcurrent Pass Trail If you click on a photo shown on GAIGPS it will take you to the waypoint on the topo map were the photo was taken.

Going To The Sun Road opened June 20, 2015
Highline Trail opened June 20, 2015. I hiked it June 21, 2015 to Granite Park back country campground.
Least amount of snow along the trail for one of the earliest openings of the HighLine Trail.

Google Plus

Link to GAIAGPS track of my last hike down from Granite Park GAIA gps turns your iPhone into a GPS with maps from anywhere in the world. Warning you Need to download the maps at home from a WiFi connection. On the hike GAIA uses the GPS chip in your iPhone to track / show you where you are located. It also geo,Tags your iPhone photos taken when recording a track. While hiking the Loop trail on the 16th with my grandsons met up with a young couple hiking down from the Chalet. Mentioned my problem with GIAGPS stopping recording after Pausing. He showed me hot to locate the paused track and resume recording. Thanks! Meadow at Granite Park in full bloom! Three weeks early.

Sunrise 5 am 6-17-15

Sunrise June 17, 2015 at 5 am ~ Lake McDonald

June 16, 2014

Link to Youtube Video showing the Trail from Logan Pass to Many Glacier This trail won't be doable usually until mid July.

June 13, 2015

NOTE: HighLine Trail opened June 20, 2015
During the major snow year of 2011 this trail didn't open until August 3.

loop to haystack

Loop Trail / HighLine Trail is open to Haystack. This is a hot trail bring extra water! Lots of wildflowers of all kinds blooming alongside of Loop Trail. Patches of snow start just before Chalet. I went to campground from Loop Trail that spur trail has 95% snow cover. Didn't go to Chalet on last trip so I don't know what the snow level is like at the Chalet.

June 10, 2015

Going To The Sun Road to open June 11 on the west side

Drowning is the Number One cause of accidental death in Glacier National Park. An employee of Polebridge drowned in the North Fork River Monday June 8 while trying to surf.

June 9, 2015

Shuttle from Whitefish to Glacier Park

June 8, 2015

Updated Mount Brown Trail with Altitude Profile on my last attempt to get to the Lookout. The profile is of my descent, which started 1,000 feet below the lookout. At that point I had climbed up 3,315 feet vertically and four miles distance, from the trailhead near Lake McDonald Lodge.

June 5, 2015

Public Transportation between Whitefish and Apgar is scheduled to start this summer. Will post more once I get the details. Today is sunny and warm, for Northwest Montana. The weekend is scheduled for more of the same weather.

June 4, 2015

Will be adding a Altitude Profile for the Rockwell Falls Trail later today. Rockwell Falls Trail has minimal elevation gain for a Glacier National Park trail.
As the hiking season progresses I will add Altitude Profiles for the trails I hike this summer. If I have the energy will hike the Logan Pass to Many Glacier Trail again as it is such a spectacular trail. This time will make a major effort to start around 7 am instead of 11 am.

June 3, 2015

Just back from a meet and greet by Glacier National Park in Columbia Falls. 1) Annual Pass goes to $45.00 1-1-16 2) Expect half hour delays on East Side of Going-To-Sun-Road this summer. 3) Glacier National Park recommends using shuttle on east side this summer due to road construction. 4) Going-To-Sun-Road opening date from west side is still unknown. The unknown is due, in part, to 170 feet of rock work on outside edge of Going-To-Sun-Road that was swept away by an avalanche this spring. 5) 50% of Many Glacier Campground will be set aside in 2016 for Reservations. 6) May 1, 2016 the 7 day pass will go to $30 up from $25. Future Changes Under Consideration 1) GNP is considering Permit System for Day Hikes. 2) GNP is considering preventing overnight parking along the Going-To-Sun-Road 3) GNP is considering making the Going-To-Sun-Road shuttle only. 4) I will attempt to take better notes at GNP's next presentation. Remember second group is up for Consideration You can contact the park regarding their plans.

This is a screen shot from my iPhone taken after hiking the Scenic Point Trail in Two Medicine. This was done from GAIA GPS a very hand little program that works on iPhones and Android phones.
I'm still struggling with the 'Pause Recording' command so I have found it easier to record the return trip as it does not involve any long pauses. GAIA GPS does have a pause recording button but it is a lighter shade of blue which for my old eyes is no different from the record state. In addition I frequently forget to restart it when it is actually paused. One of the things that starts to happen when the hiker is closer to 70 then sixty. Not that my short term memory was every very good.

The program is $18.00 the maps are FREE. It does take some time to download the maps particularly when I am planning on hiking 350 miles in Glacier Park this year and another hundred on the Whitefish Trails.

For me it is easier to record the down part of the trail as GAIA does tend to jump around when I stop to catch my breath or take macro photos of wildflowers. While there is a pause Record function my memory is such that half the time I forget to Restart the Recording function. Your milage my vary but as I get closer to 70 my short term memory, which truthfully was never very good has gone the way on the missing hair on the top of my head.

Altitude Change while descending the Scenic Point Trail in Two Medicine

GAIA Altitude Profile Scenic Point Trail descent

June 1, 2015

Flash Flood Watch in effect for Glacier National Park.

May 26, 2015

Note: Trail to Iceberg Lake is not cleared of snow at this time there is one large snow pile before Ptarmigan Falls. After Ptarmigan Falls hikers would need micro-spikes, poles and snow covered trail experience. Just back from two days camping at Many Glacier followed by two days camping at Two Medicine. Hiked Apikuni Falls on the first day at Many Glacier, then Iceberg Lake Trail on the second day. Both trails had lots of wildflowers. Apikuni Falls had no snow on the trail, while Iceberg Lake Trail started to have some snow at Ptarmigan Falls. After entering the bowl for Iceberg lake I had to cross four snow covered avalanche chutes then as the trail finally got up to near the lake level the trail was 100% snow covered. Iceberg Lake totally frozen. While the creek crossing was possible the bridge was not fully in place as trail crew had not been up to the lake yet.
I had micro-spikes and poles without baskets. Others were hiking in shorts and flip flops and many realized too late that wasn't a good choice for this time of year.
Scenic Point Trail was snow free until near the top where the trail loops through subalpine fir, those sections were totally snow covered.
First time ever that I was able to stand at the edge of the first scenic point without strong gusting winds.

May 14, 2015

The winter of 2015 after January was basically a non event at lower elevations for snow. Strangely enough up until that point it had been a very heavy snow year in Whitefish. Late January at my house I had the most snowfall in a 24 hour period then I had ever experienced in Montana. Just for the record the blizzard on the Outer Banks of NC during the winter of 1979 remains for me the most powerful snowstorm that I have lived through. Upper elevation snowfall hovered around 80% of average this year.
Just because it is the middle of May doesn't mean that it won't snow. June 12 - 13 of 2002 it snowed over 4 feet in twenty four hours in East Glacier, Montana.

Many Glacier Campground set to open on Friday the 22 of May this year. The long absent ,if memory serves me right, almost a decade ago the Many Glacier webcam was shutdown for National Security reasons.
Well it went back online this week in a new location with a great view of Swiftcurrent Lake and Grinnell Point everything else is hidden behind clouds at the moment. The waterfront edge of Many Glacier Hotel is also visible.
Wildflowers are making a strong spring appearance this year. In the woods near my house Paintbrush is in full bloom, in the park it was in bloom two weeks ago just below the Loop on the GTSR.
GNP reports that the Snyder Lake Trail has been cleared of downed trees but that the backcountry campground at the lake still remains under snow. Trail Crew reports from St Mary note several hundred windblown down trees on the trail that runs from Red Eagle Lake to Virginia Falls.
As I mention every year the trail crews in Glacier Park are the unsung heroes.
When I hiked the Red Eagle Lake Trail, about a month ago, to the first wildflower meadow there were over twenty trees that I had to climb over in the first mile of the trail.

April 27, 2015

Biked to Loop yesterday, lots of wildflowers between Packers Roost and the Loop. Below Packers Roost mainly Trillium from Red Rock Falls to Packers Roost.
Paintbrush, Spring Beauty, Yellow Round Leaf Violet, Glacier Lily, Wild Strawberry, Blue Eyed Mary and Early Blue Violet are some of the wildflowers blooming above Packers Roost on the side of the GTSR.

Photo below sunrise at Lake McDonald from Apgar Winter Campground.

sunrise lake mcdonald

April 21, 2015

Hoods Phlox Glacier National Park

mama moose two calves

Pray Lake

Will be posting later today pics from my latest camping trip which was two nights at St Mary and one night at Two Medicine. Left St Mary in a very wet, very windy snowstorm. FYI St Mary Campground until June 4th is actually a backcountry campground NOT auto campground. Two Medicine A Loop is open. I think this is the earliest that this campground has opened in the quarter century that I have lived in NW Montana. Red Eagle Lake Trail in St Mary had the first wildflowers of the year that I have come across ~ crocus and Hood's Phlox.
Hood's Phlox is a very hardy wildflower growing from one of the lowest elevations in the park at St Mary to the top of the Garden Wall. After two nights at St Mary, which I had to myself the entire time I moved over to Two Medicine Campground which opened over a month early then had been posted when I started this camping trip. Lots of wildlife in Two Medicine but didn't see any wildflowers. Many Glacier Road is open.

February 2015

In the process of working out a method for providing current condition information without letting this web-page get too big.

Added another YouTube sideshow Logan Pass to Many Glacier by way of the Highline & Swiftcurrent Pass Trails.
This is the MOST scenic hike that I have ever done in Glacier National Park. Luckily for me the heavy rains held off until I got to Many Glacier and was seated in the Swiftcurrent Restaurant. August 29, 2014. The skies were clear for the majority of the hike.

Youtube sideshow of the hike from Gunsight Lake to Gunsight Pass on September 18, 2014.

YouTube sideshow of the Dawson Pass Trail on a blue sky day this past August 1, 2014. Plus it was a great wildflower hike with all the snow gone from the trail with just a few patches of snow along side the trail just before the pass.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream.
    Mark Twain

In addition to this website I post on my Google Plus page. Google + account GlacierHikers