Above:  Glenns Lake in Glacier National Park. Photo by Tyler Yates.

Rocky Mountains, Section 1

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 golden 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.

A bull moose in Glacier National Park.
A bull moose in Glacier National Park. Photo by Alex Maier.
A bull moose in Glacier National Park. Photo by Alex Maier.

Glacier National Park to Eureka, Montana
149 mi (240 km)
Highest Point: 7,205’ primary route
Highest Point: 7,745′ alternate route
Elevation Gain/ Loss: +13,204’ / -16,394’

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Glacier National Park (55 miles)
  • Cross four sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains
  • Hike two National Scenic Trails at the same time
  • The Ten Lakes Scenic Area, Kootenai NF
  • Historic Fire Lookouts
  • Tuchuck Mtn – the highest point on the PNT*
  • Rare wildlife viewing: grizzlies, moose, and wolves
  • Off-grid, Polebridge, Montana

PUBLIC LANDS:

 

SPECIAL HAZARDS

  • Grizzly Bears
  • Bushwhacking (Whitefish Divide)
  • Snow Travel (early season)
  • Mountain Weather
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