Triple Divide Pass
Triple Divide Pass from Cut Bank Campground. Elevation profile is from Atlantic Creek Campground. From CutBank to Atlantic Creek Falls add 432 feet of gain. Note: Cut Bank Campground is always in Primitive Mode! Which means you need to bring your own drinking water! As there is only one trail from CutBank at this time I will not add it on the side bar except for the Triple Divide Pass Trail.. CutBank is about half way between St Mary and Two Medicine. For longer hikes you can hike into or out of CutBank from either Two Medicine or Saint Mary. Mid June is usually the earliest that this trail opens. I have so far only hiked this trail in early September to avoid a hot hike up to Triple Divide Pass. Next year will try the long route mid July if the snow melts off on the downward trail to Red Eagle Lake.
There are no suspension bridges on this trail, numerous small plank bridges in the meadows.
The small parking area for the trailhead at CutBank is fairly small and frequently fill led so get an early start unless you want to add more distance to your hike. This year the Ranger Station was staffed and provided overflow hiking.
The first section of this trail from the Cut Bank Trailhead to Atlantic Falls is heavily wooded, rising up gradually then descending to a flat meadow near Cut Bank Creek. The trail eventually comes to a three way intersection with Triple Divide Pass and Atlantic Falls Campground to the right. The campground is just under a half mile up a slight rise. The campground is in a heavily wooded area so no distant views at this point.
After leaving the campground the trail stays fairly flat for a short time until leaving the woods as the views open up the trail starts to ascend at a very steady rate all the way to Triple Divide Pass. Fall colors on this trail are stunning. The trail hugs the side of Triple Divide Mountain and is a rocky trail with lots of loose rock on the trail. Medicine Grizzly Lake is below the trail. To me the lake looks like a moose stretched out. Further up the trail you will be able to see an unnamed Alpine Lake. Razor Back Mountain is across the valley with striking rock formations.
As the trail rises the surface of the trail becomes mostly scree until just before reaching Triple Divide Pass when it goes through a boulder field. To me the 'boulders' look more like cobble stones.
As you can see from the GiaGps profile the trail to Triple Divide Pass ascends to the pass at a steady, basically unvarying ascent. NOTE: GiaGps does better for slow hikers if started at the top and stop at the bottom. So this profile starts at the pass and goes to Atlantic Creek backcountry campground. The trail from Atlantic Creek to the pass is just a bit over three miles. My hike to the pass took me just under three hours. My descent took one and a half hours.
"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.