Glacier National Park – Red Gap Pass


Many Glacier to Elisabeth Lake Campground

18 miles

The fact that it had stopped raining woke me up at 3:30 pm. After a short bathroom break just behind my tent I went back to an uncomfortable sleep again. Somehow the night wasn’t very pleasant. So wasn’t the morning as I woke up to the early packing activities of the girl who had camped next to me. Later I found out that her group was in for a 30-mile-day. Well, good luck with that!

I myself decided to give my wet tent another half an hour to dry and went over to the Restaurant for breakfast and a hot coffee. But before I said hello to Sage – still in her tent – the only other hiker who was going north. She was still at the campsite when I came back from breakfast and we decided to hike the day together as we were both heading towards Elizabeth Lake.

We took off along the road and away from Many Glacier. It was nice to have someone to chat with. Sage is hiking the GDT – the Great Divide Trail which runs 700 miles along the Rocky Mountains, mostly in Canada.

We hiked up a beautiful valley with scenic mountains on both sides and enjoyed the sunshine of the day. After a rainy night the sky had cleared and was blue again. Our first goal of the day was Poia Lake where we aimed for lunch. As there were a lot of mosquitos we sat down on a wooden bridge which crossed one end of the lake. As it was a windy spot it was mostly bug free.

We talked about our hikes and Sage made the suggestion that I could come with her to Waterton to skip Stoney Indian Pass – which was according to the rangers dangerous to cross early in the season. I thought about the idea and I actually like it. We could share a room and I could get some town stuff done as I was out here for quite a while. But it also meant crossing into Canada and back again which I wasn’t too sure of if it would work out. Sage had also pre-booked a shuttle from the border to town and I didn’t know if another seat was available.

Anyways I like the idea of some time in town and skipping a potentially dangerous mountain pass and so we will try to make things happen tomorrow.

After Poia Lake we climbed further up along the mountain side until the switchbacks towards Red Gap Pass started. Two miles of switchbacks would get us up to another 7500 ft pass. Apart from some small patches there was no snow at all. We made good progress and were up the pass in no time. We stopped for a short summit break as it was still nice and sunny but when the wind got stronger we proceeded down into the valley. Our final destination Elizabeth Lake was already visible from above and so we could enjoy some nice lake views while heading down the mountain. In the sky the usual afternoon rain clouds were forming and we were both hoping to get to camp on time.

Finally we made it and the rain started falling when we had set up camp. We went over to the food area and had dinner in the rain. Camping in Grizzly country is somehow inconvenient. Especially when it’s raining. Another hiker came by and told us about an information she got from the Ranger: A deer got killed in the area between our campground at the foot of the lake and the head of it. It looked like a mountain lion and the message was that the lion might come back to eat his prey. Good chances for seeing a mountain lion tonight?!

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