Descending the Food Chain: Backpacking Glacier National Park’s Northern Loop

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Never mind that it was the seventh straight bluebird morning of backpacking in mountains that constantly look surreal, like a painted mural backdrop in a movie. It didn’t matter that the trip had been a parade of wildlife. We even forgot about the heaviness in our legs from 15-mile days.

The menacing snarl piercing the silence seized our full attention.

My buddy Jerry Hapgood and I stood in the warm sunshine at 7,050-foot Lincoln Pass in Montana’s Glacier National Park. We had stopped for a snack after passing yet another mountain goat with a kid—I’d lost track of our goat tally for the week—and had just started ambling down the trail again when the sound stopped us cold.

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9 Responses to Descending the Food Chain: Backpacking Glacier National Park’s Northern Loop

  1. Ian Johnson   |  February 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Are the Campsites in Many Glacier that are reserved for Backpackers free? Or do you still have to pay the $23 for a regular car campsite? Some buddies and I are doing this exact trip this upcoming August if we can get the permit. Also wondering if you have any tips on getting permit besides the ones listed on your other blog post. Currently the plan to get the permit is just to spam the permit office as soon as the Clock hits 12 on the 15th of March. There are 8 of us going and we are all going to submit a permit application as soon as they go online. One of us would have to get it right? – Thanks in advance for any response.

    • MichaelALanza   |  February 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Ian, good question about whether you pay for the walk-in backpacker sites at Many Glacier; I don’t recall whether we did, and I just scanned the park website for an answer, but found no clarification. Call or email the park’s backcountry desk to find out. Maybe you can reserve one in advance and have the cost covered in your backcountry permit.

      I don’t have more advice on getting the permit beyond what you’ll read in this story: https://thebigoutside.com/10-tips-for-getting-a-hard-to-get-national-park-backcountry-permit/.

      Include multiple itinerary options, such as reversing direction, flexibility on dates if you have it, starting midweek, and alternative campsites. Good luck.

  2. Pingback: Ask Me: How to Grab a Hard-to-Get Permit For Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail | The Big Outside

  3. Pingback: Ask Me: Tips On Backpacking Glacier National Park and the John Muir Trail | The Big Outside

  4. jdsegra   |  February 4, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Where did you camp on the first night? I don’t see any camp sights close to Piegan Pass..

    • michaellanza   |  February 4, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Joshua, great question. See The Itinerary section above, it notes that there’s a campground at Many Glacier Many Glacier for car campers, which has campsites reserved for backpackers who have a backcountry permit. We camped there; it was really the only option, but we were happy to grab a real dinner and beers at the motel across the road, which has pretty good pizza and pasta.

  5. Bill Bullard   |  March 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Good stuff. Thanks for writing. We plan to visit this summer and do Many Glacier Loop. It is my son’s college grad present. Looking forward to it.

    • MichaelALanza   |  March 30, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Have a great time, Bill. You’re hiking in a beautiful area of the park.

  6. Pingback: Jagged Peaks, Mountain Lakes, and Wild Goats: A 3-day Hike on Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail | The Big Outside

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