The Pacific Northwest Trail begins its westward journey high in the Rocky Mountains within sight of the Canadian border. This easternmost region of the trail offers a truly wild backcountry experience.
Westbound thru-hikers typically begin their 1,200-mile journey at Chief Mountain Customs as soon as the summer snowmelt allows safe travel through Stoney Indian Pass and Brown’s Pass in Glacier National Park. Crossing the “crown of the continent,” hikers wander high-country meadows resplendent with purple lupine and red columbine. The glacier-clad Rockies once comprised an ancient seabed, and their story can be read in the uplifted layers visible on the mountainsides. Mountain goats balance improbably on outcrops above. Moose amble through lowland streams. Grizzlies and hikers alike feast on summer’s abundance of wild berries. As the trail travels west, it climbs peaks capped by historic fire lookouts and drops back down to the broad river valleys of big sky country. In small-town cafes, hikers can enjoy a taste of rural life and a slice of huckleberry pie.
- Beginning your Pacific Northwest Trail journey at the starting point of two National Scenic Trails—the Continental Divide Trail also heads south from Glacier National Park’s Belly River Trail
- Camping beside jewel-blue waters in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area
- Downtown dining on Eureka’s Dewey Avenue
- Switch backing to grand views of Lake Koocanusa from the Webb Mountain lookout
- Picking huckleberries at Priest Lake