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Boulder Pass Loop

Difficult
 4.7 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An epic alpine adventure with some of the finest scenery Glacier National Park has to offer.


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Map Key

35.5

Miles

57.1

KM

Point to Point

7,475' 2,279 m

High

4,013' 1,223 m

Low

4,342' 1,323 m

Up

4,365' 1,330 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

An excellent sampling of the high country located in the North Fork region of Glacier National Park. The route highlights two large lakes, a sub-alpine glacial cirque, high alpine passes, and steep, waterfall-strewn creeks and rivers.

Description

This hike can be done in either of two directions either clockwise or counter. A trip quick overview would be as follows. Starting at Bowman Lake and camping at its head making for an approximately seven-mile day. Next, climb to Brown's Pass and make your way into the Hole-in-the-Wall cirque -- a stunning example of a glacial cirque for your next camp. The following day is shorter and a bit easier making the quick trip to Boulder Pass camp (the highest in GNP). From here spend the day exploring the wild country and the stunning sunset to the West. The following day, descend to one of the camps on either upper or lower Kintla Lakes for your last camp prior to your hike out to the foot of Kintla Lake on your last day.

In greater detail, the days of this trip would be as such. The first day is spent traveling in a car up the beautiful valley of the North Fork of the Flathead River. The quaint town of Polebridge is a must see including perhaps a stop in to the Polebridge Mercatile for some fresh baked goods. Next drive the scenic but quality dirt road to your trailhead at Bowman Lake and set off into the backcountry for a pleasant seven or so mile hike to the Head of Bowman Lake on the Bowman Lake Trail.

Awaking on Day two, begin the climb into the real mountains - the Crown of the Continent awaits as you approach Brown's Pass and the airy heights of the Continental Divide. Although Brown's Pass is somewhat uneventful, you'll quickly turn NW and head towards Hole in the Wall where the scenery becomes breathtaking. Make camp in this lush mountain cirque and drink in the exquisite surroundings of sweeping rock walls, waterfalls, and persistent snowfields.

Day three is short, so take your time to dawdle on the expansive sections of bare rock that you'll cross and plan to do some extra off-trail exploring as when you arrive at Boulder Pass on the Boulder Pass Trail. This is the highest elevation camp in Glacier National Park and the sunset here is of exceptionally high quality. Even the open-air lowrider toilet at this campsite has a spectacular view.

Awaking on day four, prepare your legs and knees for a descent as you make your way down into the Kintla Valley. The sharp crevice of this valley, as it stretches away to the West, will delight your eyes and your other senses will be piqued as well by waterfalls, flora, fauna, and the wild aspects of the Glacier backcountry. Make camp at Upper Kintla Lake for one last night out in the park before heading onward to the remote Kintla trailhead at journey's end.

Contacts

Shared By:

Sam H

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#1

in North Fork

#1963

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
33%
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in North Fork

#50

in Montana

#1,963

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12,832 Since Apr 22, 2015
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Photos

Boulder Pass area
Apr 22, 2015 near Trailcreek, MT
Kintla Lake
Apr 22, 2015 near Trailcreek, MT
Bowman Lake
Apr 22, 2015 near Trailcreek, MT
Approaching Brown's Pass
Apr 22, 2015 near Trailcreek, MT
Campsite on Upper Kintla.
Jan 17, 2016 near Trailcreek, MT
At the spur to hike down to the Hole in the Wall Campground.
Sep 2, 2016 near Trailcreek, MT

Weather


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Check-Ins

Nov 23, 2019
Stan Swiatek
Aug 31, 2019
Rachel Thompson
Aug 7, 2019
Mallory Fossa
4days; brush in areas
Jul 23, 2018
Isaac Steeves
Aug 26, 2017
Dianne Castle
Aug 21, 2017
Ryan Garrett
Did this loop from Kintla campground to Hole in the Wall and back. My first backcountry experience. Beautiful. Lots of smoke from the Sprague fire.
Jun 12, 2016
Kyle Koons