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.
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.
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