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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Our Backyard: Glacier National Park

Trek through grizzly terrain in Glacier National Park.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

5. Best Blooms

Grigg heads to Cobalt Lake in the southeast corner of the park for “blankets of pink monkeyflower, red paintbrush, and beargrass.” Hike the 5.7-mile (one-way) trail to the lake in late July to catch the height of the flower show—and, if you’re lucky, a moose or two.

6. Best Berry Picking
The 6.9-mile Gunsight Pass Trail is choked with thimbleberries, raspberries, and “the biggest huckleberries I’ve ever seen in the park,” says Frasier. Hike at the end of August for peak bounty. Forage for fat berries all the way to an overnight at Gunsight Lake, where Jackson Glacier spills into view.

7. Favorite Glacier
Hike 10 miles (one-way) to see the Sperry Glacier before it’s gone (by 2030, say experts). Sperry, tucked on the northern flanks of Gunsight Mountain, sees a fraction of the traffic of popular Grinnell Glacier, says Frasier. Overnight in the Sperry backcountry campground.

8. Best Multiday Hike
The 52-mile loop connecting the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail with Granite Park (a favorite of Frasier’s) cruises through aspen groves and past little-known glaciers, winding under the park’s high northern summits and tagging a 6,908-foot pass.

9. Secret Peak
Scramble off-trail up 1.5 miles of scree and tundra to 8,180-foot Mt. Oberlin, just above Logan Pass. Peek over the edge: You’re directly above 492-foot Bird Woman Falls. A user trail starts from the higher access ramp behind the visitor center.

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