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A steep trail leading to an epic traverse below Jackson Glacier with fantastic views.


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Map Key

1.1

Miles

1.8

KM

Point to Point

5,981' 1,823 m

High

5,354' 1,632 m

Low

631' 192 m

Up

11' 3 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Bring bear spray.

Description

This little spur trail off the Gunsight Pass Trail breaks off just south of the bridge going over the St. Mary River at the outlet of Gunsight Lake.

The trail travels through a mix of vegetation such as beargrass, shrubs and some subalpine fir and starts out level for 0.15 miles, then it gets ridiculously steep as it climbs up onto the ridge. Footing here can be sketchy, and you'll need to use your hands in a couple of spots. Thankfully this only lasts for a little over a quarter of a mile before the trail begins to level off.

From here, the trees begin to thin as you break out into incredible alpine meadows. The receding glacier sits higher up the hillside with vast slabs of rock between you and the ice. Meltwater flows down, keeping the meadows wet while wildflowers bloom well into summer. Panoramic views and signs of bear activity everywhere add to the excitement of this trail.

The trail officially ends at a larger stream coming from the glacier, but you can continue to explore on a social trail and through the meadows.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Glacier lilies, beargrass, valerian, paintbrush and myriad other flowers are incredible in the meadows. Many forest birds as well as alpine birds such as rosyfinches can be seen. Marmots and ground squirrels are common while deer and bear may also be seen.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes

#11

in St. Mary

#7083

Overall
  4.8 from 4 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#11

in St. Mary

#177

in Montana

#7,083

Overall
5 Views Last Month
1,182 Since Sep 2, 2015
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Photos

Citadel Mountain (right) nearby, Going-to-the-Sun Mountain (center right) distant, Fusillade Mountain northeast shoulder stretching from center to left across the valley.  Headwaters of St. Mary River run through the valley. Seen looking northeast.
Sep 17, 2022 near Red Roc…, MT
The meadows and bowl of Jackson and Blackfoot Glaciers, looking east from Jackson Glacier Trail.  The glaciers are off this photo on the right. Peaks, left to right - Citadel Mountain, 9,030 ft., Almost-A-Dog Mountain, 8.922 ft., and Mt. Logan, 9.239 ft.
Sep 17, 2022 near Red Roc…, MT
Looking out from the end of the trail below the glacier.
Jun 16, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Gunsight Lake from the bridge across the outlet
Jul 4, 2019 near Red Roc…, MT
Looking up Jackson Mountain, 10,052 ft., from Jackson Glacier Trail.  Although not visible, Jacson Glacier is in the bowl/shelf on the right, near the top of Jackson Mountain as seen from here.
Sep 17, 2022 near Red Roc…, MT
An arm of Jackson Glacier is seen at the far right, with the rest of the glacier not visible from this angle. Blackfoot Glacier and its runoff are center-left, also with much of it not visible from here at the end of Jackson Glacier Trail.
Sep 17, 2022 near Red Roc…, MT

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