Glacier National Park: Siyeh Bend to Lake McDonald

Score wildlife sightings daily and choice views hourly on this weeklong circuit in Glacier National Park.
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Score wildlife sightings daily and choice views hourly on this weeklong circuit in Glacier National Park.

This 94.3-mile trip travels through Glacier National Park's remote backcountry and best wildlife habitat. Don't have time for the whole thing? We've planned the route so it can be downsized to weeklong or weekend chunks. Doing it all? By utilizing the park's free shuttle, you can reduce pack weight by resupplying after 69.3 miles (and grab a cheeseburger mid-trip).
The first leg: a 69.3-mile circuit north of Going-to-the-Sun Road, from Siyeh Bend to Logan Pass via Ptarmigan Tunnel, Stoney Indian Pass, and Fifty Mountain. Tip: On day one, hike 13 miles to the campground at Many Glacier (six sites are reserved for backcountry-permit holders), and grab dinner and brews at the restaurant across the street (further decreasing pack weight).
At Logan Pass, resupply and hop on the shuttle to start a 25-mile route from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Lake McDonald Lodge via Gunsight Pass. Camp at Lake Ellen Wilson, set in a bowl of thousand-foot cliffs ribboned with waterfalls, and make the seven-mile detour to Sperry Glacier, traversing a moonscape flecked with tiny tarns. Cross Lincoln Pass to finish.
MAGIC MOMENT: You emerge onto the tundra of the remote Fifty Mountain area, on day four, to boulder-hop through alpine daisies.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Hit the Highline Trail between Granite Park and Logan Pass before 8 a.m.—it's a popular trail for dayhikers.
PERMIT: Overnight camping in Glacier National Park requires a backcountry permit. Check out the latest fees and more details at nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.
PARK INFO: Glacier National Park, (406) 888-7800; nps.gov/glac/.
-Mapped by Mike Lanza

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 151.7

Waypoints

GLA001

Location: 48.701927, -113.667284

Piegan Pass Trail

GLA002

Location: 48.712141, -113.655518

Preston Park

GLA003

Location: 48.720627, -113.687274

Piegan Pass

GLA004

Location: 48.738021, -113.69892

Creek

GLA005

Location: 48.797264, -113.668557

Swiftcurrent Picnic Area; Grinnell Glacier Trail

GLA006

Location: 48.799582, -113.679168

Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail

GLA007

Location: 48.822237, -113.713217

Iceberg Jct

GLA008

Location: 48.815749, -113.742173

Iceberg Lake

GLA009

Location: 48.842855, -113.71192

Ptarmigan Lake

GLA010

Location: 48.849682, -113.70765

Ptarmigan Tunnel

GLA011

Location: 48.875171, -113.703131

Two Creeks

GLA012

Location: 48.891884, -113.723094

Elizabeth Lake

GLA013

Location: 48.907611, -113.722841

Dawn Mist Falls

GLA014

Location: 48.927349, -113.745421

Ford Outlet

GLA015

Location: 48.915429, -113.77924

Glenns Lake

GLA016

Location: 48.876816, -113.84176

Mokowanis Cascade

GLA017

Location: 48.881704, -113.86504

Stoney Indian Pass

GLA018

Location: 48.896228, -113.907139

Patrol Cabin

GLA019

Location: 48.852601, -113.861566

Fifty Mtn Camp

GLA020

Location: 48.85722, -113.856935

Faint Path North

GLA021

Location: 48.857738, -113.852842

Sue Lake Ovlk

GLA022

Location: 48.85302, -113.847825

Sue Lake Overlook Trail

GLA023

Location: 48.829007, -113.813649

Creek

GLA024

Location: 48.824817, -113.802334

Huckleberries

GLA025

Location: 48.823156, -113.766614

Ahern Glacier View via Ahern Pass Trail

GLA026

Location: 48.771473, -113.777645

Granite Park Camp

GLA027

Location: 48.770977, -113.771958

Granite Park Chalet

GLA028

Location: 48.736472, -113.725845

flat Rocks Rest

GLA029

Location: 48.696608, -113.718136

Highline Trail

GLA030

Location: 48.677467, -113.652141

Jackson Glacier Trailhead; Gunsight Pass Trail

GLA031

Location: 48.667438, -113.638599

Deadwood Falls, gorge

GLA032

Location: 48.652536, -113.676634

Cascade And Pool

GLA033

Location: 48.627559, -113.708315

Gunsight Lake Camp

GLA034

Location: 48.609343, -113.738454

Gunsight Pass

GLA035

Location: 48.604979, -113.753664

Lake Ellen Wilson Camp

GLA036

Location: 48.599661, -113.783459

Lincoln Pass

GLA037

Location: 48.605019, -113.786064

Sperry Chalet

GLA038

Location: 48.616572, -113.780244

Pond

GLA039

Location: 48.620839, -113.773809

Comeau Pass

GLA040

Location: 48.624102, -113.765283

Sperry Glacier View

GLA041

Location: 48.614489, -113.875296

Lake McDonald Lodge

Piegan Pass

Location: 48.720542, -113.690472

Piegan Pass Trail

Location: 48.725397, -113.692446

Lake Ellen Wilson

Location: 48.606071, -113.744695