2020 Montana/Glacier National Park

With the pandemic hitting in March we had two trips/events cancelled.  The Broken Arrow event in North Lake Tahoe in mid June and The Rut in Big Sky MT during the Labor Day weekend.  Travel was still a bust in June so we cancelled that trip and deferred the race to 2021 and did the same for The Rut. With the later we decided to go ahead with the travel plans and spend the week around Glacier National Park.

We settled on a condo in Columbia Falls and that ended up being a great place and overall location for our plans for the week.

9/3/20 – We flew into Bozeman and decided to do an easy hike up on the College M Trail for a 3 mile out and back.  You can make this a bit longer and challenging by heading up to the summit of Mt. Baldy for a 7 mile out and back.  I had the National Geographic #723 map which shows all the Bozeman options.  There are countless trail options around Bozeman and that means we’ll be back to this city to explore in the future.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5483459423

9/4/20 – We took the long way to Columbia Falls, checking out Missoula and Kalispell on our way.  Once there, we opted for a late afternoon hike up Columbia Mtn for an out and back less than 10 minutes from our condo.  I used the National Geographic #215 map for the rest of the trip.  Columbia Mtn has a number of trail options.  We turned around at mile 3 but could have continued on for many more miles.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5488411649

9/5/20 – While our legs were fresh we decided to do one of the bigger loops on our list in Glacier National Park, Piegan Pass and Siyeh Pass Loop – 14.6 Miles and almost 3600ft.  It was difficult to find a parking location but we ended up finding a spot in a pull off along the main road between the Baring Falls parking area and the Jackson Glacier overlook.  We headed up the road about 2 miles and caught the Piegan Pass Trail, at the intersection, we headed right towards the big scenic view of Siyeh Pass.  From there it was a long long long downhill back to the main road.  This was a very scenic downhill heading in to an old burned area and finishing along Baring Creek.  Once to the main road, we took the trail under the road and then a right onto a trail that parallels the main road which took us back to the St Mary Falls parking area where we took the main road back to the car.  I think doing this loop in the clockwise direction was the best option.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5493344837

9/6/20 – We decided to do Mt Brown.  This was an out and back to the fire tower on Mt Brown – 12 miles and 4300ft of climbing.  The view from the top was great and we then headed out a bit further to another lookout before the saddle to the actual peak of Mt Brown.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5498242497

9/7/20 – The road was closed the previous evening due to snow, so we couldn’t go further than Avalanche Creek.  We opted for the very popular Trail of Cedars and Avalanche Lake hike.  This was a well worn wide path to a very scenic lake and mtn backdrop 7miles and 850ft of climbing.  We continued on from the main lake lookout/picture spot to the end of the lake and beach at the far end before returning the way we came in.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5502629983

9/8/20 – The main road was still closed at Avalanche Creek, so we decided to split ways, with me going up Stanton Mtn and the others doing a hike to Stanton Lake which was outside the park.
Stanton Mountain Trails is off the North McDonald Road.  There are some small pulloffs for parking, so you should plan to be here early to get a spot.  This trail option had me going up the West Lakes Trail for about 2 miles.  At the intersection with the Howe Ridge Trail, you have to go off trail.  Look for a “deer trail” to your right that heads through the woods, downed trees, and up the ridge going towards Stanton Mtn.  I was better able to find the trail on the way down than the way up.  At about mile 3 you hit a false ridge above treeline and the route is easier to follow.  This was a super steep route to the peak of Stanton Mtn.  Some people have continued along the ridge to Mt Vaught and Heavens Peak – 8miles and 4575ft of climbing.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5507131441

9/9/20 – This was our planned long day.  We parked at “The Loop” and headed out on the Granite Park Trail to the Granite Park Chalet.  From here we took the Highline Trail north to Ahern Pass.  This was a great overlook of Helen Lake and the mtns to the North East.  The goal was to hike from here up to the Iceberg Notch to view Iceberg Lake.  We gave it a good go.  I got about  75% of the way before deciding the scree and snowy patches were going to be too much effort and too time consuming.  We turnaround and headed back the way we came – 20 miles and 4950ft of climbing.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5513343365

9/10/20 – After that long day we decided to go for a less popular hike to Ousel Peak, opting not to have the long drive into Glacier and having to deal with the crowds of people heading in to the park for the day.  This hike was outside of the park in the National Forest.  We parked at a pulloff along route 2.  This was a super steep hike to the peak with a great view of Harrison Lake and the western ridgeline of Glacier National Park – 7.4 miles and 3740ft of climbing.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5517751355

9/11/20 – We ended the day before with a drive to Helena as we were heading back to Bozeman.  We got up early and did the popular 1906 trail at Helena City Park.  This was 1.6 mile climb to the peak overlooking the city.  We weren’t alone as there was a dozen or so others running up to the peak for sunrise – 3.2 miles and 1150ft of climbing.  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/5520445879

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