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gem icon Chief Mountain [Suggest Edits]

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This spectacular mountain feature may not be the highest point in Glacier National Park, but this towering monolith stands alone on the eastern edge of the park, making it an especially scenic stop. Chief Mountain has stood for millennia, overlooking the plains to the east, and providing a cultural center for many indigenous tribes, including the tribes that make up the Blackfoot Confederacy. This incredible peak is located on the eastern border of the park, and the National Park Service and the Blackfoot Confederacy jointly manage and protect the area surrounding the peak.

Chief Mountain is especially important to the Blackfoot tribes, and the mountain appears in each of the tribe's creation stories. It is said that particularly significant or powerful visions can be obtained through vision questing near the mountain, achieved through fasting and prayer. The area is considered to hold ancient knowledge, making Chief Mountain an especially sacred place.

Though the cultural importance of Chief Mountain has a deep history, in the modern era, the region is a reminder that the 49th parallel that divides Canadian Blackfoot tribes and American Blackfoot tribes is an arbitrary designation, and that the various tribes are connected through the land that they share. This is an especially poignant reminder as the National Park Service and the Blackfoot Confederacy continue to work together to protect this sacred landscape.

There are many ways to access the peak, though hiking to the area via the Lee Ridge Trail or the Gable Pass Trail will provide the most scenic access. Visitors passing through on Highway 17, the appropriately named Chief Mountain Highway, will be able to appreciate the beauty of the peak from afar. When you visit, please keep in mind that the land is sacred and show appropriate respect by staying on trail and by practicing LNT principles.

Half-Day Hike: The summit can be seen from the comfort of your vehicle right from Highway 17, but it's recommended that visitors hike into the area.

Family Friendly: Trails accessing the area can be taken as far as you'd like, and the mountain can be seen from the road. The area is also steeped in Native American history, which will captivate youngsters.

Gem Type: Geologic Feature

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Jun 16, 2016. All Page Views: 885. Last Month: 16.