Continental Divide Trail thru-hikers widely agree: The CDT through Glacier National Park is one of the trail’s very best sections. This guide to backpacking a 94-mile traverse through Glacier lays out a customized route that combines parts of the CDT’s official main route and the alternate CDT route in Glacier—and adds the high alpine traverse from Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass above Two Medicine, one of the most glorious mountain paths in America.
Besides avoiding the logistics of a border crossing, this combination of the main and alternate CDT simply hits much of Glacier’s finest scenery, including the Belly River and Saint Mary valleys, Many Glacier, gorgeous waterfalls and mountain lakes like Elizabeth, Helen, and Morning Star, the magnificent Garden Wall, and five of the park’s most stunning passes: Redgap, Piegan, Triple Divide, Pitamakan, and Dawson. Sightings of mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, and black and grizzly bears are likely. The route even delivers stretches of solitude. This e-guide also suggests six, mostly shorter alternative itineraries (and a dayhike)—making it a complete guide to several variations on backpacking the CDT in Glacier.
This e-guide has now been updated with the new-for-2023 details on applying for a wilderness permit reservation at Glacier National Park.
Watch the video below and read my feature story “Wildness All Around You: Backpacking the CDT Through Glacier” (which requires a paid subscription to read in full), about the trip described in much greater detail in this e-guide; or see my “Photo Gallery: Backpacking the CDT Through Glacier National Park” (which is free for anyone to read).
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