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Coal Nyack Loop

Intermediate
 3.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A large loop tour of the Middle Fork region of Glacier National Park.


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Map Key

37.2

Miles

59.9

KM

95%

Runnable

5,729' 1,746 m

High

3,378' 1,030 m

Low

3,493' 1,065 m

Up

3,560' 1,085 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

47%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The Middle Fork region of Glacier National Park is the least visited due to many of the trailheads requiring runners to ford (e.g. wade) across the deep Middle Fork of the Flathead River. This ford requires skill and close attention paid to safety. The Coal Creek drainage also requires the runner to ford Coal Creek dozens of times which means wet feet, and many runners simply aren't willing to deal with that (bully for you!).

Description

From the Coal Creek trailhead on Hwy 2, drop immediately down to the Middle Fork of the Flathead and prepare to douse yourself. Depending on the time of year, this ford can be waist deep so be careful.

On the other side make your way up Coal Creek to your permitted campsite. Lower Coal camp is a great first night.

On day two continue up Coal Creek Trail underneath the Cloudcroft Peaks and make the side trip detour along the Martha's Basin Trail to Buffalo and Beaver Woman Lakes underneath Eaglehead Mountain. Camps here are gorgeous but in the early part of the 2000s a massive windstorm blew nearly all the trees down making for some interesting scenery.

On day three you'll make your way up a very gentle pass that separates Coal Creek from Nyack Creek. The trail begins to move in a west-northwest direction as it sweeps around the 10,000+ foot imposing north face of Mount Stimson. Continue to an excellent third night camp at Upper Nyack.

On day four you'll now be moving down Nyack Valley enjoying the running water and high peaks around you. Camp again at Lower Nyack one last night before making your way back out to the Middle Fork of the Flathead. Here make one last deep and cold ford before hitchhiking back to your car a short trip to the east along the highway.

Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Contacts

Shared By:

Sam H

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#4168

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  3.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#86

in Montana

#4,168

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Photos

Glacier National Park in winter
May 26, 2015 near Nyack, MT
Jagged mountains above Nyack Creek.
Mar 11, 2020 near Pinnacle, MT
Waterfall from the Nyack Creek Trail
Apr 23, 2015 near Pinnacle, MT

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