Tag Archives: Going-to-the-Sun Road

March 13, 2018 A backpacker above the Belly River Valley in Glacier National Park.

The Best Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park

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By Michael Lanza

The three bighorn sheep lifted their heavily horned heads to gaze at us, but never budged from their beds of grass amid boulders on a mountainside above the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. The mountain goats we saw on various occasions during that seven-day backpacking trip gave us little more attention than that. And fortunately, the grizzly bear sow with two cubs in tow that passed within about 30 feet of us—an encounter of less than 10 seconds that is etched into my memory forever—gave us no more than a passing glance.

Besides an array of large, charismatic wildlife on that 90-mile hike through Glacier, two friends and I also saw an ocean of mountains spreading out before us, long escarpments of Glacier’s signature soaring cliffs, and some of the prettiest of the park’s 760 lakes. We even enjoyed an unexpectedly high degree of solitude for long stretches of a multi-day hike that hit many of the park’s highlights. Continue reading →

July 13, 2017 Highline Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: Where to Backpack For Solitude in Glacier National Park

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Dear Michael,

Thank you for such a comprehensive site. It is a joy to read and inspires so many travel dreams! I was pouring over all your entries on Glacier but I still have a remaining question. A friend and I just decided to go to Glacier in mid-September and would like to do a backpacking trip for two, or perhaps three nights. We would appreciate something beautiful, somewhat challenging, but most of all, solitude. It seems we are quite late to get a reservation on top trails and it seems like a good opportunity to take a much less traveled trail for a few nights. I am just having a hard time finding one. Do you have any suggestions? Continue reading →

August 16, 2016 Hiking the Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Video: Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail

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By Michael Lanza

On a cool August morning under clear Rocky Mountains skies, we hiked steadily uphill toward Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park. Cliffs rose steeply up to a small glacier on our left, and dropped off precipitously on our right a thousand feet down to the clear, emerald waters of Gunsight Lake. Shortly before reaching the 6,900-foot pass, we ran into the sort of wild obstruction that occurs with some regularity in this park: a mountain goat in the trail. Continue reading →

September 27, 2011

Jagged Peaks and Wild Goats: Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail

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By Michael Lanza

We’re just seconds beyond the sign at the start of the Gunsight Pass Trail that reads “Entering Grizzly Country” when Nate, who’s a month shy of his tenth birthday, begins aggressively making the case for why he should be armed.

“Why can’t I carry a pepper spray?” he asks me—again and again.

It’s an idyllic, late-summer afternoon in the Northern Rockies—the sun shining warmly, a gently cooling breeze rippling the air, not a white speck of moisture in the sky. We are heading out on a three-day family backpacking trip to Gunsight Pass in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Continue reading →

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