Dawson Pass and Pitamakan Pass Loop

HARD 36 reviews
#24 of 114 trails in

Dawson Pass and Pitamakan Pass Loop is a 18.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near East Glacier Park, Montana that features a lake. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and backpacking.

DISTANCE
18.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3917 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Glacier Park Inc. P.O. Box 2025, Columbia Falls, Montana 59912 406-8922525

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is awesome. Counter-clockwise is the only way to go. Yes, you gain elevation quickly but the switchbacks aren’t bad and you save yourself miles upon miles of a slow slog of an uphill.

hiking
2 months ago

I know it's at 5 stars, but this trail is still underrated. I went to Two Medicine to try and avoid the smoke elsewhere in the park, so was a little disappointed when I awoke to a haze. Not even the smoke could prevent this from being a great hike; I went clockwise, and it was nice to have the lake views under morning light. Added the No Name Lake and Old Man Lake spurs, since they are short and you are so close already. 17.6 miles is a short estimate -- park brochure lists at 18.8 mi, spurs made it close to an even 20. Took 7-7.5 hours.

Keeping this on my to-do list for the future, because I'm sure it's even better outside wildfire season.

2 months ago

Worth the distance for sure! Make sure to hike up to Pitamikin Pass first so the wind is coming at you on the pass and the hike in between rather than feeling like you're going to be blown off a mountain.

2 months ago

Worth the distance for sure! Make sure to hike up to Pitamikin Pass first so the wind is coming at you on the pass and the hike in between rather than feeling like you're going to be blown off a mountain.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

I have been in Montana for 11 days, hiking the entire time, and this is my absolute favorite hike in Glacier. I am SO happy I did this one. I did the hike in one day. Took about 7 hours. My fitbit clocked it at a little over 19.9 miles. I did it clockwise (Dawson then Pitamaken). I recommend doing it this way. The elevation gain takes longer, but it's slower and steadier. Doing it the other way, you gain an insane amount of elevation in a very short distance. Haven't done it that way, but I imagine it's exhausting. I guess it depends what you're into. Slow and steady gain with normal amount of downhill to finish. Or rapid intense gain, with a very very long downhill to finish the hike. Either way, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this hike! The views are breathtaking! Expect lots of wind at the top between passes! This was the most rewarding hike I did during my trip.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Turned out to be the most rewarding and most difficult day hike of my week in Glacier. I personally recommend going towards Old Man Lake then going down to No Name/Two Medicine as the steady incline the whole way looked a lot better than the rapid increase on the opposite side. Going down No Name was rough on the legs, but I don't think it's avoidable here as the descending trail on either side is roughly 6-8 miles either way.

Dawson Pass was windy as hell but that should be expected. There's a great spot where the wind is calm after it for photos and lunch, but otherwise I recommend trekking through the whole pass. The wind got to me a little bit, it's about ~4 miles of steady in your face wind (my hike started around 0745)

Recommend 4L+ of water or a purifier as No Name/Two medicine/Old Man all have plethora of water (and more streams in between No Name and Two Medicine). I had about 3.5L and was worn out by the wind, the sun and the hike and just finished my water by the time I got to two medicine. This was the toughest day hike I did in the park but was definitely the best

hiking
3 months ago

I've never seen such beauty in such little time! Whatever you do go COUNTERCLOCKWISE! We heard a camp host said he was telling people clockwise was easier. Not a chance at a 7 mile steady incline to Dawson Pass.

3 months ago

Simply spectacular! Long day but worth it

3 months ago

3 months ago

Hard but super awesome and worth it! Make sure to have enough water if you are going counter clockwise, before the pitamakan pass

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. Old Man Lake was gorgeous and COLD!!!!

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

We hiked this trail on June 27, 2017. We did the Pitamakan trail to allmost the top of Dawson Pass, maybe less then a quartermile from the top of the pass and then there was a sheet of snow at a very steep angle and we didn't want to chance it especially not knowing what the other side looked like. The Pitamakan Trail was the best trail we did in the park, it got very slow towards the pass with the steep assents, but most amazing views of all the hikes. We started at the campground by the bridge then after the bridge turned right. We did 8.3 miles to the pass then turned around and did 8.3 miles back to the car. It was obviously a lot faster comeing back. It was 3,096' rlevation gain on the 8.3 miles out and a couple hundred on the way back. We didn't see any bears, but a Marmot. There were not many hikers on this trail which was nice, but we played music in the dense forrest areas so we wouldn't surprise the bears.

hiking
4 months ago