Glacier National Park


2015

Note: Apgar webcam image is from early summer!

September 4, 2015

Hopefully Glacier Park has been getting as much rain as Whitefish.

September 3, 2015

It's Raining ! ! Early today light rain, this afternoon windy and harder rainfall. Many of the backcountry campsites closed due to forest fires are now open. Currently eight are closed due to wildfires. Most of those most likely won't reopen this year.

Bears are very active ~ looking for food. Due to spring and summer dry conditions there are few berries for the bears, with the exception of Mountain Ash. In developed areas of Flathead County bears are eating apples.

Saint Mary Campground is open to HARD-SIDED VEHICLES ONLY in the campground due to bear frequenting as of 8/28/2015.

Just back from two nights at Sperry Chalet. Hiked to Comeau Pass & Lincoln Pass. Scrambled half way up Lincoln Peak.

September 1, 2015

Essex evacuation lifted.

August 31, 2015

Hwy 2 is open.

August 27, 2015

Hwy 2 closed at Essex

Essex being evacuated!

Hwy 2 closed ESSEX AREA, MILE 176.5 TO 185 Signed Route: US-2

Highline Trail to get a 'Face-lift'

While the Highline info is good news for everyone today air quality report is very bad news . Air quality in Libby, Flathead Valley, and Hamilton is currently VERY UNHEALTHY

August 24, 2015

Some days are clear blue skies more often the air is filled with smoke from local and distant wildfires. Today is one of those very smoky days. Not the smokiest but the webcam from Lake McDonald gives you a fairly dramatic rendering. Scroll down this page a short ways to get a good idea how smoke is blurring distant views. Caution on a day like this it is NOT a good idea to start a strenuous hike.

August 22, 2015

Pilot cars escort traffic through fire zone at Essex.

It snowed last night at higher elevations in Glacier National Park.

Fourteen backcountry sites closed, down from eighteen a few days ago. Most in the Waterton area have re-opened. Check with back country permit offices for current data. Eight days left as today no longer counts till single night restriction is lifted for the more popular sites.

August 21, 2015

Twenty-three trails closed
Eighteen Backcountry Campgrounds closed
Unhealthy levels of smoke.

Looks like the Thompson Fire is burning in the valley below the Dawson Pass / Pitamakan Pass traverse. This winter I hope to add the Dawson / Pitamakan Trail to my site. I hiked it last summer after 24 years of saying not in my lifetime.

Things are looking pretty grim for Essex according to the thermal map by mapping support.

August 20, 2015

Highway 2 closed near Essex due to Sheep Fire
Traffic is being turned around near the small community of Pinnacle on the west side, and Bear Creek on the east. from Missoulian

GNP posted a map on their Facebook page for those drivers with vehicles OVER 21 feet! ! !

GNP fire danger rating has gone up to Extreme

smoke Lake Mcdonald 8-24-15 Webcam from August 24, 2015

August 19, 2015

Essex prepares for possible Evacuation

Currently twenty-three hiking hiking trails closed as a result of fires in Glacier National Park. Apgar makes twenty closed trails but it is closed for the last one hundred feet for construction.

There are now 18 backcountry campgrounds closed. Since you have to have a permit to camp in the backcountry I'm not listing them here unless GNP web live update goes down again.
Trail Closures Fielding Coal Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Elk Mountain Overlook Trail- Thompson Fire Ole Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Park Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Scalplock Lookout Trail-Thompson Fire Apgar Lookout Trail, the last 100 feet of the trail, which is all areas past the hitching post - hazardous conditions due to construction St. Mary Lake Trail from Red Eagle Trail to Virginia Falls and St Mary Falls trailhead – Reynolds fire Siyeh Pass Trail from Siyeh Pass to Sun Rift Gorge - Reynolds fire Otokomi Trail - Reynolds fire Cole Creek Trail - Thompson fire Nyack Creek Trail - Thompson fire Cutbank Pass Trail - Thompson fire Park Creek to Coal Creek cutoff trail – Thompson fire Dry Fork Trail, from Pitamaken Pass to Two Medicine Campground trailhead and Two Medicine Entrance trailhead - Thompson fire Morning Star Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Pitamaken Pass - Thompson fire Atlantic Creek Trail from Cutbank Auto Campground to Triple Divide Pass - Thompson fire Medicine Grizzly Lake Trail - Thompson fire Dawson Pass Trail/North Shore of Two Med Lake - Thompson Fire Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail – Thompson Fire Waterton Lake Trail from Goat Haunt to the International boundary - Waterton Lake Fire Waterton Valley Trail from Stoney Indian Junction to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire Boulder Pass Trail from Lake Francis Campground to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire *The Boat is still running from Waterton to Goat Haunt with no Backcountry access*

Open Burning NW Montana Banned


August 20, 2015

Highway 2 closed near Essex due to Sheep Fire

Traffic is being turned around near the small community of Pinnacle on the west side, and Bear Creek on the east. from Missoulian

GNP posted a map on their Facebook page for those drivers with vehicles OVER 21 feet! ! !

GNP fire danger rating has gone up to Extreme

August 19, 2015

Essex prepares for possible Evacuation

Currently twenty-three hiking hiking trails closed as a result of fires in Glacier National Park. Apgar makes twenty closed trails but it is closed for the last one hundred feet for construction.

There are now 18 backcountry campgrounds closed. Since you have to have a permit to camp in the backcountry I'm not listing them here unless GNP web live update goes down again.
Trail Closures Fielding Coal Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Elk Mountain Overlook Trail- Thompson Fire Ole Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Park Creek Trail-Thompson Fire Scalplock Lookout Trail-Thompson Fire Apgar Lookout Trail, the last 100 feet of the trail, which is all areas past the hitching post - hazardous conditions due to construction St Mary Lake Trail from Red Eagle Trail to Virginia Falls and St Mary Falls trailhead – Reynolds fire Siyeh Pass Trail from Siyeh Pass to Sun Rift Gorge - Reynolds fire Otokomi Trail - Reynolds fire Cole Creek Trail - Thompson fire Nyack Creek Trail - Thompson fire Cutbank Pass Trail - Thompson fire Park Creek to Coal Creek cutoff trail – Thompson fire Dry Fork Trail, from Pitamaken Pass to Two Medicine Campground trailhead and Two Medicine Entrance trailhead - Thompson fire Morning Star Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Pitamaken Pass - Thompson fire Atlantic Creek Trail from Cutbank Auto Campground to Triple Divide Pass - Thompson fire Medicine Grizzly Lake Trail - Thompson fire Dawson Pass Trail/North Shore of Two Med Lake - Thompson Fire Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail – Thompson Fire Waterton Lake Trail from Goat Haunt to the International boundary - Waterton Lake Fire Waterton Valley Trail from Stoney Indian Junction to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire Boulder Pass Trail from Lake Francis Campground to Goat Haunt - Waterton Lake Fire *The Boat is still running from Waterton to Goat Haunt with no Backcountry access*

August 18, 2015

While data driven aspects of GNP website are back on-line data is at least 48 hours out of sync with reality, in some cases six days out of synch. All campgrounds are showing spaces open as of 8:52 pm 8-18-15. Sadly the date shown is 8-12-15 which is six days ago.

Open Burning NW Montana Banned


mountain goat eating red monkey flower


While this year is a major fire year for NW Montana as far as acres burned in Glacier Park it is a small child next to a very tall adult compared to 2003. Wildfires burned over 100,000 acres in Glacier Park. I was on a chair going up Big Mountain when the Roberts Fire swept over the ridge above Lake McDonald. Note: I was almost blown off the chair as a strong storm front swept into NW Montana. I spoke with people that were on the Lake McDonald boat ride when that happened and they described it as a wall of flame rushing down from the ridge line down to McDonald Lake.

Currently there are 16 backcountry campgrounds closed due to forest fires. On August 11 there were ten backcountry campgrounds closed due to forest fires

Updated Trail Closed List
Boulder Pass Trail (Janet,Francis,Hawksbill,Hole-in-Wall) Goat Haunt R.S. to Lake Janet Cpgd./ 3.2 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to wildland fire. 8/15/2015
Lake Janet Cpgd. to Lake Francis Cpgd. Jct./ 2.8 mi. Trail clear. 8/1/15 per 923 Trail closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Lake Francis Cpg. to Brown Pass/ 2.3 mi. Trail closed from Francis Lake CG to Goat Haunt due to Waterton Fire. 8/17/15 per 801
North Boundary Trail Waterton Lake Trail to International Boundary / 5.8 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to a wildland fire. 8/15/2015
Waterton River Cpg. to International Boundary / 3.3 mi. Clear 7/12/2015 per 923 Trail Closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Waterton River Cpg. to International Boundary / 3.3 mi. Clear 7/12/2015 per 923 Trail Closed due to Waterton Lake Fire per 801 Wissinger 8/17/15
Waterton Valley Trails (Kootenai Lakes) Goat Haunt R.S. to Kootenai Lakes Cpgd./ 2.5 mi. TRAIL CLOSED per 115 Visnovske due to wildland fire. 8/15/2015

August 15, 2015

As of noon today fire is near to going over the continental divide into drainage north of Two Medicine. Luckily for the moment that area is mainly rock on the western side of the divide. Heavily treed on eastern side of divide.

August 11, 2015

New fire restrictions for backcountry!


Story with photos of helicopter rescue in Nyack from Thompson Fire

Link to Thompson Fire perimeter map
It is clear why GNP rescued two backcountry hikers from Upper Nyack Campground.
I expect that the Thompson Fire is larger then Reynold Creek fire today! It is in a very remote area of Glacier National Park.

Currently there are now ten backcountry campgrounds closed due to various fires in Glacier Park. Two front country campgrounds are closed ~ Rising Sun and Cut Bank Campground.
KOA and Johnson's Campgrounds remain as options in the St Mary area along with KOA in West Glacier.

August 9, 2015

Thirteen backpackers, including slow hiker were evacuated from Red Eagle Lake backcountry campsites due to the Thompson Fire. Below photos were taken during that evacuation.
Top photo from my campsite at foot of Red Eagle Lake. Twenty minutes before it was blue skies, fire appeared shortly after a brief Thunderstorm. First indication was a dark cloud with yellowish highlights on the lower side of the cloud while looking towards Red Eagle Pass. Top photo was taken about five minutes later just before I started to strike my tent.


Thompson Fire from Red Eagle Foot
Thompson Fire 3:46 pm

Correct time is 3:46 pm. I was unable to show how the smoke swept down from Red Eagle Pass and rapidly filled the Red Eagle Lake. We were lucky enough to just stay ahead of the smoke as the head of Red Eagle Lake has a steep rise creating a temporary smoke block. By the time I got to St Mary Campground the entire east side was filled with smoke from the Thompson Fire.


August 5, 2015

From USFS Fire Report
"From USFS Fire Report "Fire managers are feeling more confident in the security of the perimeter fire lines. As a result, three Hotshot crews plus additional resources will be reassigned to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Crews will concentrate on removing hazards and extinguishing hot spots adjacent to the road. As firefighters are now able to focus more resources along Going to the Sun Road, there is an expectation that the road will reopen sometime during this summer season as soon as it is safe for public travel. This remains a major priority for Glacier National Park. All businesses are open in St Mary to provide a variety of services for summer vacationers."

August 3, 2015

Smoke filled skies from western forest fires.
Reynolds Creek Wildfire is still burning as of August 3, 2015. East side of Going To Sun Road remains closed also due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire. All facilities at Rising Sun are closed due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire.
Fire not visible from pass!

July 28, 2015

Logan Pass reopened July 29, 2015, after closing due to Reynolds Creek Wildfire.

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.

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

Winter / Spring 2015 Information.

Mamma Moose

mama moose two calves

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