East Glacier

5 reviews
Friday, August 11, 2017

Did a 3-night backpacking trip Chief Mountain Trailhead- Cosley Lake- Mokowanis Lake- Stoney Indian Pass- Waterton Lake. (Mid July)
Weather was perfect. Have to say it was the hike of a lifetime.

Day 1- Chief Mountain Trailhead to Cosley Lake Campground.
Nice hike, about 8 miles. Pass the ranger station, a suspension bridge, there is a nice waterfall right before Cosley Lake. The Cosley Lake campground is great, all sites are pretty much on the water.

Day 2- Cosley Lake Campground- Mokowanis Lake Campground
Woke up early and hiked up to the Cosley Lake overlook. This is a must, it's gorgeous and worth the steep, rocky ascent. Maybe 4 mi roundtrip, 1700 ft in elevation. Amazing views of belly river drainage and where you will be hiking...very windy up there though.
The hike to Mokowanis lake was about 6 mi. and not very exciting. The low point of an otherwise great trip. You hike through forest the entire way, knowing beautiful Glenn's lake is consistently out of view. Its pretty frustrating. But then you get to Mokowanis Lake and its two campsites on a secluded lake surrounded by mountains with a stunning waterfall less than 2 mi. away and everything is great again. (be warned the mokowanis lake deer are cut throat when is comes to your human salts. They will lick any sweaty thing left unattended and will sometimes run off with your salty sweaty stuff as a snack)

Day 3- Mokowanis Lake - Stoney Indian Pass - Waterton River Campground
This was a long day maybe 18 mi with 2400' elevation gain. The first 6-8 miles are heaven. You almost forget how much elevation you're eating up. Just when you think your hike can't get any more scenic you reach a crest and the landscape becomes even more beautiful....this will happen like 3 times. Waterfalls, Waterfalls, Waterfalls, alpine valleys, views back to the lakes, mountain vistas, wild flowers, bear grass...holy crap this section had it all! One of the most beautiful sections of trail I have ever been on.
Once you get past Stoney Indian Lake it's all down hill. Literally, scenery goes down hill, trail is overgrown (to the point that you cannot see where you are stepping, which will slow you down, and twist some ankles), and the mosquitoes increased to an insane level. Then 10 mi. later you reach Waterton lake and are rewarded with a postcard view.
By this point you will have experienced the entire range of human emotion, awe, bliss, pain, clouds of mosquitoes. You will have laughed, maybe cried, you will hurt and be hungry, and you will agree this was one of the best hikes you have ever done...then you may realize you still have another mile or so to go to get to your campsite.
This is truly one of America's great hikes and I would recommend it to everyone.