Pitamakan Pass Trail
ElevationAscent: 2,870' 875 m
Descent: -2,860' -872 m
High: 7,625' 2,324 m
Low: 5,170' 1,576 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
Current trail conditions
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“A stunning trail with a perfect blend of forest, alpine, creeks, and lakes.”— Jake Bramante
Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Starting over at the Cut Bank area, you pass through a meadow that explodes in flowers at the beginning of summer before dropping down to North Fork Cut Bank Creek. The trail follows the creek upstream, sometimes right along the water, sometimes away from it, and sometimes high above looking down. You pass wonderful vistas of Bad Marriage Mountain and views up the drainage to Razoredge Mountain and Medicine Grizzly Peak while passing willow-lined sections of the creek and ponds.
At four miles, you pass the junction with the Triple Divide that also leads to Medicine Grizzly Lake. From here, the trail turns up the drainage towards Morningstar Lake through the trees, passing a meadow that is a favorite for elk in the evening. The trail wraps around the base of the mountain, following up the creek gaining elevation until it gets to Morningstar Lake with it's campground. Views up to the red rock ridge line often have white spots of goats hanging on its ledges.
From here, the trail gains elevation more quickly, passes by Katoya Lake at a distance, then crosses over the outlet of the incredibly lovely Pitamakan Lake as the views up towards Pitamakan Pass and Mt. Morgan are stunning.
You follow the shores of this lake that is tucked beneath cliffs, passing Seven Winds of the Lake, then begin steeply switchbacking up to fantastic alpine meadows that are favorites of bighorn sheep. The trail joins up with the Dawson Pass trail that leads around the western edge of Mt. Morgan as well as the Cut Bank Pass Trail.
The Pitamakan Pass Trail follows along the ridge east with incredible views down the Cut Bank drainage that you climbed up with the sapphire lakes capping off the beauty. Looking down the south side of the slope, Oldman Lake sits at the bottom of the valley surrounded by the steep cliffs of Flinsch Peak and Rising Wolf.
You switchback down to Oldman Lake. You're back in the trees with stands of old, silver snags creating a dramatic contrast to the new, green growth. This trail follows Dry Fork Creek out the drainage towards the plains that seem to go on forever. Looks down into the drainage can reward you with all sorts of wildlife.
The trail eventually crosses the creek which is a trickle by mid-summer. A short rise in the trail takes you past a waterfall and around Pray Lake to the trailhead.
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.
Land Manager: NPS - Glacier National Park