Mandalapa's Excursions

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Currently in: New York | Miles traveled: 450,000 miles | Countries Visited: 27

A week in Glacier Park – Part 2

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Last week, I wrote an article about the first part on how I spent a week in Glacier Park. I am going to continue about my adventure in glacier park.

Day 4: Two medicine lake, Dawson Pass, No Name Lake, Twin falls

Hands down the best day in glacier park. The hikes I did, lakes I saw, people I met, animals I encountered, sheer scariness of the hike knowing that 2 people got mauled by a bear on the same trail a couple of days ago, made this one of the most scary and amazing experience for me.

Ferry from two medicine lake entrance

Ferry from two medicine lake entrance

Dawson Pass : 10 mile round trip with steep elevation at the top

Start of dawson pass hike

Start of Dawson pass hike

I started the day early and took a ferry from two medicine lake entrance and went to the start of the trail. You can also start hiking from the lake entrance but it would take more time. Be careful if you take the ferry as the last ferry leaves at 4 PM and try to come back from your hike before then. The hike stars out pretty smooth with not much elevation and you have to pass some thick vegetation. Since this is a rarely hiked trail, I did not meet anyone for almost 8 hours of my hike. I was alone, scared as a bear killed 2 people a couple of days earlier. The early sections of the trail passes through an area thick with ferns, thimbleberries and huckleberries. Once I crossed all the thick vegetation, the climb becomes intense. Try to look back once in a while because you have some amazing views of no name lake and other lakes. I am pretty sure that they still haven’t named it and its called “No Name Lake”. :p.

No name lake

No name lake

The pass is famous for bone-chilling winds that frequent this area, even on warm summer days. Wind gusts in the Two Medicine area have even been clocked at more than 100 miles per hour. Once you get to the top, be prepared to be amazed. You will notice the continental divide and a 3000 foot sheer drop.

Me standing on dawson pass

Me standing on Dawson pass – set the camera on auto

After spending an hour at the top, soaking up the views, I headed down and stopped by twin falls along the way. This is a beautiful waterfall for you to relax for a bit dip your feet in cold water, take a break from the hike. This is not a secluded waterfall and you will see a lot of kids here.

twin falls

twin falls

Eagle falls

Eagle falls

After this long hike, I went back to my hostel, cracked open a beer, got some sugary pastries from the bakery downstairs and relaxed. [In case you havent figured this out, i have a sweet tooth!]

Day 5: Grinnel Glacier, Many Glacier Hotel.

One of my best friend Harvind, joined me at east glacier for a couple of days. We spent the previous night in Brownies hostel in east glacier. This is an amazing hostel if you want to chill out in East glacier.  We started the day pretty early and went to many glacier hotel for some coffee. It is located near the east shore of Swiftcurrent lake and has a pretty awesome view of the Mt.Grinnel.

Many Glacier hotel

Many Glacier hotel, a view from the parking lot. Lake Joshphine is just behind the hotel.

Mt.Grinnel and Lake joshphine, at the start of the hike, just beyond the parking lot

Mt.Grinnel and Lake Joshphine, at the start of the hike, just beyond the parking lot

view of the Gem lake along the hike

view of the Gem lake along the hike

view of the Grinner glacier

view of the Grinner glacier

The hike to Grinnel glacier trail starts in the parking lot of the many glacier hotel. It is one of the most scenic hikes in Glacier National Parks. When hiking this Trail, you will pass by crystal clear mountain lakes, towering mountains and will have the unique opportunity to stand on a glacier bit its risky. The trail is about 6 miles round trip with only 1600 feet of elevation gain. The first couple of miles of the trail are essentially flat and muddy from horses on the trail. Beyond that, the trail has a gradual incline up to its end. The trail ends at Upper Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier at the base of the continental divide.

Lower Grinnel lake, Lake joshphine visible from this shot halfway through the hike

Lower Grinnel lake, Lake joshphine visible from this shot halfway through the hike

As you keep hiking, you will pass a small waterfall on the trail that you need to be careful not to slip and fall down. Once you go to the top where the restrooms are, the trail gets pretty rocky and you will hit the steepest part of the whole ascent. Luckily it lasts only for .2 to .4 miles. The Gem lake is one of the most prettiest lakes you will see just before you reach the glacier.

Eating an apple and resting by a rock with a view of gem lake

Eating an apple and resting by a rock with a view of gem lake

If you are looking to seek solitude here, It’s probably not a good idea to hike this trail as this is pretty popular and a lot of people hike this trail due to its incredible beauty and its fairly easy ascent. After this tiring hike, with my friends, sort of broken ankle, we decided to take it easy the rest of the evening and went back to park cafe for some amazing bison burgers.

Day 7: Apgar Lookout trail and White Water Rafting on Middle Fork of the Flathead river

On our final day, my friend Harvind and I went to a scenic lookout hike called Apgar lookout trail on the west glacier entrance.

Drive to Apgar lookout trail

Drive to Apgar lookout trail

From the top the mountain at the lookout, we got unobstructed views down on Lake McDonald and a stunning view of some of the high peaks in Glacier National Park including Mt.Brown which I did on Day 2 of my hike. The hike up to Apgar Lookout is only 2.8 miles, but has a pretty steady and at times steep vertical descent. The trail initially passes through heavily wooded terrain which is mostly burnt from the forest fore, offering only limited views. However, once at the lookout, the stunning and unique view of Lake McDonald makes the hike more than worthwhile.

Apgar Lookout - View of Lake McDonald and other tall peaks of Glacier Park

Apgar Lookout – View of Lake McDonald and other tall peaks of Glacier Park

After this short hike, we went white water rafting. There are many rafting companies just before the park entrance on the west side and you can check into any of them. They offer, half day, full day, 3 day rafting/canoe/kayak tours, lazy tubes etc. See what fits your needs and select a ride. We did a single kayak and it started off pretty slow and lazy 13 miles north of the west entrance on middle fork of the flathead river. Some of the class 3 rapids were pretty insane and the views while kayaking is just out of heaven. For some of the trip, you will kayak through a small canyon with huge mountains on both sides, waterfalls falling into the river, see salmon swimming in the fresh waters. Even though it was 80F the water is just above freezing and is very very cold, if you fall into the river, be very careful.

White water rafting is the best way to cap off a wonderful trip to the west. The experiences I had these 7 days were unmatchable and will stay forever in my memory.

Make sure to check out my article on how I spent a week in Glacier Park – Part 1.

Going to Glacier park soon? Need some advice? Post your thoughts or comments and I will reply!

So, what do you think ?