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Dawson Pass

Difficult
 4.9 (8)

An incredible route from the shores of beautiful lakes to a goat traverse among the mountains.


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Map Key

10.1

Miles

16.2

KM

84%

Runnable

8,016' 2,443 m

High

5,180' 1,579 m

Low

3,209' 978 m

Up

746' 227 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Bring bear spray. A persistent snowfield on the north side of Mt. Morgan can be tricky, but also can be avoided earlier in spring by heading down the ridgeline down to Cutbank Pass.

Runner Notes

Rock can be loose, but the trip is incredible.

Description

The trail starts at the campground in Two Medicine. It crosses Two Medicine Creek via a nice footbridge into some trees, briefly along the small Pray Lake, through some trees, then along the north shore of Two Medicine Lake.

The trail along the shore of Two Medicine Lake is a wonderful, level affair, bouncing between forest and avalanche chute giving you a nice balance of views and shade.

Near the head of the lake, the trail breaks off, works its way through a large avalanche chute, then enters the forest and begins to climb. The climb is gradual at first, then it passes the Dawson Cutoff that heads to the boat dock and Upper Two Medicine Lake. Past the split, the trail spends more time in the open, but also climbs very steeply. Pumpelly Pillar Spire dominates the landscape which you frequently stop to enjoy as you catch your breath. You'll enter into more trees, and the trail levels off as you near the spur trail to No Name Lake and its campground.

The trail continues on into Bighorn Basin, so named for the sheep which are common in the area, so keep your eyes peeled as you climb. The trail transitions from trees and beargrass to predominately open meadows to rock. This transition comes quickly as you rapidly gain elevation. A look back down gives you a bird's eye view of Two Medicine Lake. After some switchbacks and elevation, the trail turns and makes its way towards Dawson Pass.

The reveal of the next drainage which is the headwaters of Nyack Creek, explodes into view at the pass. Both sides of the pass feature views which are an inspired delight to the eyes. Looking west, Mt. Phillips dominates the view with Mt. Stimson standing tall behind it to the north.

From here, the trail works its way up a ridgeline off Flinsch Peak before turning back towards the west and wrapping around north towards Pitamakan Pass. This next section may have too much exposure for some, but this top of the world traverse can only be experienced.

As you reach the saddle between Flinsch Peak and Mt. Morgan, an overlook of Oldman Lake and the Dry Fork drainage is fantastic. Keep an eye out for mountain goats below you along the cliffs.

The trail wraps around a couple of ridges of Mt. Morgan providing ample viewpoints and photos before dropping down to the Cutbank Pass trail and down to Pitamakan Pass.

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 run.

Flora & Fauna

Wide variety of flowers from beargrass to arnica to anemones and paintbrush. Small mammals range from tree squirrels and chipmunks to marmots and golden-mantled squirrels. Bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and deer are frequent while moose, black bears and grizzlies may be spotted as well. Birds are varied from chickadees and finches to hawks and eagles to waterfowl.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 8 votes

#1

in Two Medicine

#452

Overall
  4.9 from 8 votes
5 Star
88%
4 Star
13%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Two Medicine

#10

in Montana

#452

Overall
8 Views Last Month
1,355 Since May 19, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
14%
0%
86%
0%

Photos

Never Laughs Mountain, Grizzly Mountain, Painted Tepee Peak, and Sinopah Mountain (left to right) with Two Medicine Lake in the front
Sep 12, 2019 near Bison, MT
Looking south into the Upper Nyack region with Tinkham Mountain in the foreground.
Jun 10, 2016 near Rising Sun, MT
Oldman Lake
Sep 12, 2019 near Rising Sun, MT
Glacier National Park spreads out from Dawson Pass!
Dec 23, 2015 near Rising Sun, MT
Pitamakan Lake in front of Red Mountain
Sep 12, 2019 near Rising Sun, MT
Bighorn sheep in Bighorn Basin near Dawson Pass
Sep 12, 2019 near Blacktail, MT

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