Avalanche Lily blooms shortly after the snow melts on the Pacific Northwest Trail. Photo by Tyler Yates.
The Belly River Valley in Glacier National Park is home to the Eastern terminus of the Pacific Northwest Trail. Here in the Rocky Mountains, the trail explores some of the most remote areas of the park and offers a truly wild backcountry experience – visitors share rugged trails with grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats.
In the National Park, the PNT climbs high into the Rocky Mountains to make a dramatic crossing of the continental divide, the “crown of the continent.” Summer arrives late in these mountains and westbound thru-hikers typically begin their 1,200-mile journeys in early July after stubborn snow has retreated from high mountain passes. The melting snow feeds rushing streams and high-country meadows begin to explode with fragrant wildflowers, like ivory bear grass and yellow glacier lily.
East of Eureka, the Pacific Northwest Trail explores more hidden treasures in Northern Montana: the “off-grid” mountain town of Polebridge, the less traveled trails of the Whitefish Divide, high peaks, topped with historic fire lookouts, and the glacially carved cirques of the Ten Lakes Scenic Area.
The Whitefish Range is a subrange of the Rocky Mountains. It is one of seven ranges along the Pacific Northwest Trail. Photo by Eric Wollborg.