• Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    950 Feet

Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

This ten mile out-and-back hike will take you deep into western Glacier National Park's backcountry past multiple lakes and away from the crowds.

Starting from the Chief Mountain Parking Area, take the trail to the left of the bathrooms at the end of the parking lot (left of the bathrooms if you are facing the bathrooms and the main road is to your right). You will quickly hike to a wooden kiosk. Read this kiosk for any pertinent information about the area such as trail warnings or wildlife warnings (you should be informed when you pick up your backcountry permit though). 

A few minutes before hitting the six mile mark, you will come to the Gable Pass Campground (will be on your right), hike past this campground and you will come to a wooden post in front of a large field with a fence. Turn right here to follow the trail to Cosley Lake Campground. If you are interested, you can also turn left here and check in at the Ranger Station.

In a mile or so you will come to a little side trail for Gros Ventre Falls on your left. I highly recommend hiking the short 0.2 miles down to the falls to take a break, fill any water bottles and stretch. When you're done, hike back out and take a left back onto the main trail. 

If you do not opt to stop at the waterfall, keep hiking straight and in a little over a mile you will arrive at Cosley Lake Campground (the side trail to the campground will be on your left), continue hiking straight. In another two miles you will arrive to the Glenns Lake Foot campground. Take a left here. Be sure to hang all food and cooking devices in the designated area before going to your campground. The two first campgrounds to your left are the only two lakefront campgrounds. There is another to the left but farther off the lake and a fourth campground to your right that is in the woods. The privy is straight ahead on the trail after arriving into camp. If you do not get a lake front campground there is a small path down to the lake to your left after passing the first two campgrounds. 

If you're lucky you will have an opportunity to see moose and elk as well as other wildlife. You may also hear wolves howling in the night! 

Pack List

  • You will need to submit and be approved for a backcountry permit. The trailhead code is "CME" and the campground code is "GLF." 
  • If you plan to fly fish you need a valid Montana fly fishing license. 
  • You need to purchase bear spray before doing this hike. It is sold in almost every store around the park.
  • Bear Spray
  • Tent (bring guy lines and good pegs)
  • Sleeping bags (nothing above 30 degree grade incase temperatures unexpectedly drop)
  • Map in waterproof cover & compass
  • Water
  • Backpacking stove & fuel
  • Food 
  • Means to start a fire (matches and/or reliable flint)
  • Water filter system & backup system
  • Headlamp
  • Hat & sunscreen (very little shade)
  • Layers (even in the summer time bring long underwear and a down jacket)
  • Rain jacket
  • A PLB or Satellite Messengers
  • Bonus: Bring a hammock if you can spare the weight! There are tons of trees at every campsite
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Jess Fischer Explorer

A little adventurer with a big love for the great outdoors.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves