By Michael Lanza

After more than three decades of wilderness backpacking all over the U.S. and around the world, rarely does a new trip immediately leap into my all-time top 10. But that’s exactly what happened when three friends and I backpacked a north-south traverse of 94 miles through Glacier National Park in a glorious week in September, mostly following the Continental Divide Trail.

Backpacking for six days from Chief Mountain Trailhead on the Canadian border to Two Medicine in the park’s southeast corner, we enjoyed the full Glacier experience, from daily wildlife encounters to scenery unlike anything you can find anywhere else in America—as I think you’ll see in the photos below.

We saw bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, moose, and one grizzly bear (from a distance that was adequately safe, though we were wishing it was greater). It being September, we also heard elk bugling almost every morning and evening, and enjoyed mostly sunny, dry days and comfortably cool nights.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A backpacker on the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Jeff Wilhelm backpacking the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park. Click photo for my e-guide to this trip.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”600″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?resize=900%2C600&ssl=1″ alt=”A backpacker on the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.” class=”wp-image-33339″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Gla6-122-Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Pitamakan-Pass-Dawson-Pass-traverse-in-Glacier-National-Park-2.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Jeff Wilhelm backpacking the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park. Click photo for my e-guide to this trip.

We also happened to meet a number of CDT thru-hikers on the final day or two of their months-long journey,
Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/crs-23-mission/

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