Here’s a continuation of the last post about hiking in Glacier National Park’s backcountry. Our first outing into the park was quite spectacular! We hiked some beautiful trails and spent our nights in gorgeous campsites – some of the best the park has to offer!
Our outing was also characterized by incredible wildlife sightings, including several mountain goats, deer and other smaller animals and two fairly close bear encounters…
After spending two nights outside the park at the Fish Creek Campsite and the North Fork Hostel in Polebridge, it was time to head back in for the second leg of the camping trip. Eight of us had done the first hike together, but for the second, it was just Mark, Jake and I.
Day 7 Hiking in Glacier National Park – Kintla Lake Trailhead to Upper Kintla Campsite
David and Menka drove us from Polebridge to Kintla Lake trailhead, after a quick breakfast stop at Polebridge Mercantile bakery. We tried the legendary huckleberry bear claws and some delicious brownies and they certainly lived up to the hype!
After bidding the duo farewell, we set off to begin the hike to Upper Kintla Campground. The hike felt quite pleasant, although there is a possibility that it felt that way because my backpack was significantly lighter.
Mark carried all my clothes and split our food supplies with Jake. All I had to carry were two lightweight sleeping bags, pillows and a sleep pad. I practically skipped through the hike!
In general, it was a pleasant day and we took things quite slow. We even had time for a quick nap and dip in the lake during our lunch stop at Kintla Lake!
Fun fact: we saw a small brown snake in this lake!
After a few hours of hiking, punctuated by snack breaks and a game of rock skipping, we arrived at the Upper Kintla Campsite. Here again, there was time for an evening swim in the lake before dinner and bedtime.
After hearing about an incoming storm in the next two days, we relished every bit of the warm, sunny weather that we had!
We were the last set of people to break camp the following morning and were the only ones in the area when a solo bear showed up!
Day 8 Hiking in Glacier National Park: Bear Encounter!
We had just had breakfast and I was taking a quick bathroom break when I heard Mark call out “Hey Bear!” I wasn’t sure where he had seen the bear, so my first instinct was to lock myself in the toilet shed!
After clarifying where the bear was, we tried to get our group together and also make sure that it didn’t get to our food. Oh, by “we”, I mean, Mark and Jake.
Eventually, the bear left the camp, but only after a good back scratch against a tree! It was an exciting morning for sure at Upper Kintla!
With the bear gone, we packed our bags and left for our next campsite – Boulder Pass. Again, the hike was relatively easy and it didn’t take too long to arrive at the campsite.
We found many marmots in this area and my imagination ran wild with the thoughts about seeing a mountain lion too! It felt like the sort of place that they would roam! As you can imagine, going to the bathroom felt like being in Jurassic Park and even more so when said bathroom looked like this!
Thankfully, the only eventful thing that happened at Boulder Pass was the sole of my hiking boots splitting open. We basically had to bobby pin it and wrap it around with tape for it to hold up for the rest of the hike.
Over the next two days, we hiked from Boulder Pass to Brown Pass, then to Bownman Lake Campground and finally out of the backcountry!
Day 09 & 10 Hiking in Glacier National Park: Brown Pass, Bowman Lake
The storm came at night in Brown Pass and then it rained non-stop for 24 hours! Because of the rains, most people had chosen to hike out earlier than planned or to delay their trip into the backcountry. We did not encounter anyone else on the trail for a whole day.
Finally, our adventure hiking in Glacier National Park’s backcountry came to an end! We celebrated the end of a wonderful experience with good food and drinks at the Northern Lights Saloon in Polebridge, then spent the night in one of the Polebrigdge Mercantile’s cabins.
Ironically, I found the bed too soft to fall asleep in and craved the feeling of a sleeping pad against solid ground. Once again, I ask – who am I?!
We spent another few days in the area, meeting up with Jake’s parents, driving across the park, hiking a bit of the Highline Trail, swimming and kayaking in Lake McDonlad and dining in some of the park’s chalets and lodges.
Soon, it was time to head back home and say goodbye to the park and Montana. We had one final dinner at an Italian restaurant in Whitefish, which wrapped up our stay in the area quite nicely!
stay safe while you travel
Protect yourself from the unexpected while you travel by purchasing an Insurance Cover. I use SafetyWing, which is affordable and covers several travel-related risks, such as unexpected illness or injury, eligible hospital expenses, lost luggage and more. Click here to purchase a cover for your travel and visa application needs.
Hiking in Glacier National Park exceeded all my expectations. I enjoyed the stunning scenery, incredible wildlife, and delicious huckleberry pastries, desserts and drinks.
The trail culture was amazing, thanks to all the wonderful people we met along the way and of course, the people we went with were even more so! So, thank you Jake, David & Menka, Ben & Raffica, Clay, John & Sue, and my Mark for enriching this experience. It was a great pleasure sharing this adventure with you all!
Until the next hike, because I have now accepted that this is part of my life now! I just need to get a new pair of hiking boots!