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Dawson Pass
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Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
                            Dawson Pass, Two Medicine Area of Glacier National Park            
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Bighorn Sheep, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
We enjoyed this Bighorn Lamb and his mother on Dawson Pass. 

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Beargrass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
There is plenty of Bear Grass along the trail when the season is right.

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Dawson Pass, Two Medicine Area, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park
Marmot, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
You will meet the infamous Dawson Pass Marmot.  He's not shy- so watch your backpacks!

Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Flinsch Peak rises directly to the North of Dawson Pass. 
This is one of the many matterhorns found in Glacier.

Black Bear, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Hopefully you'll get to see a black bear along the trail.

Two Medicine Boat Tour, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
The boat shaves off quite a few miles, but it leaves late and stops early.

Dawson Pass Trail, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park.
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park
Ferns, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Wildflowers, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Trail, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Lupfer Glacier, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
North Shore Trail, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
The Nyack Valley runs north and south just below the pass to the west.  It is one of the most remote areas in the park.
View of Mount Saint Nicholas from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park






















                      Dawson Pass
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park is breathtaking!
 
Dawson Pass is located on the Continental Divide in the the
Two Medicine Area, and it is one of the most scenic passes in Glacier National Park.  It's not an easy hike, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  You will see gigantic mountain peaks as far as the eye can see, glaciers, lakes and bighorn sheep.  Dawson Pass is truly a hike worth considering if you are in good physical condition.

Dawson-Pitamakan Loop
NOTE:  If you'd like to continue on from Dawson Pass, there is a wonderful 17 mile loop that will take you back down to the Two Medicine Campground called the Dawson-Pitamakan Loop.  This is one of the premiere day hikes in Glacier National Park.  For more information click here.

Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park.
Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park provides gorgeous views in all directions.

Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
This is a view of Two Medicine Lake and Rising Wolf Mountain from Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park.  The close end of the lake is where your boat will pick you up to take you back to your car.  

There are two ways to get to Dawson Pass.  One is the North Shore Trailhead located in the Two Medicine Campground.  The distance to Dawson Pass from here is 6.7 miles with a vertical elevation gain of 2,450 feet.

Dawson Pass, Glacier National ParkThe other way is take the Two Medicine Boat across Two Medicine Lake and take the trail from the upper boat dock.  This trail connects with the Dawson Pass Trail.  Be alert for signs- they are easy to follow but if you are not paying attention along the trail, you could miss one.   The boat shaves off about 3 miles (one way!) so it really makes for an easier day.  The only downside is that the boat leaves for the upper boat dock at 9 AM,  last boat of the day picks hikers up at the upper boat dock at 5 PM to take you back to the Two Medicine parking lot, so you don't have a lot of time to enjoy the pass. 

Yet another option is to take the Two Medicine morning boat, and then walk back on the North Shore Trail.  This way you don't have a schedule.  However, you are walking an extra 4 miles because it's three miles around the lake, and then once you reach the trailhead at the campground, if you parked your car at the boat parking lot, it's another mile back to your car.   (We do a lot of mountain climbing in the Two Medicine Area, and we wish there was an earlier climber's boat, and a later pick-up.  That way climbers and hikers could utilize the boat more.  We can rarely use the boat because it leaves too late and comes back too early.)  But however you get there, Dawson Pass in Glacier National  Park is magnificent, and it's worth the effort. 

Trailhead: North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine Campground (Or the Boat)
Distance:
6.7 miles from the trailhead, 3.7 miles by boat (one way)
Elevation Gained:
2,450 vertical feet

Dawson Pass, Glacier National ParkAs you walk along the North Shore Trail, you will wrap around the base of the gigantic Rising Wolf Mountain that towers above you at 9,513 feet.  This part of the hike is basically flat.  The next part of the hike, once you get past Two Medicine Lake, begins to climb, and the steep hiking begins two miles before the Pass, which is 1,200 feet of steady climbing.

Once you reach Dawson Pass, you will want to grab your camera.  The view is absolutely spectacular, and you will immediately forget how tired you might be from the hike!  Directly in front of you (straight west) is Mount Phillips with Lupfer Glacier clinging to is east face, and just north of Phillips is the monstrous Mount Stimson, one of 6 peaks in the park over 10,000 feet in elevation.  North of Stimson is Mount Jackson and the glacial complex that surrounds it's southern slopes. 

Dawson Pass, Glacier National ParkThe huge valley directly to the west of Dawson Pass that runs north and south is the famous Nyack Valley with Nyack Creek running through it. This is one of the most remote areas in the park- very few people ever get into the Nyack.  The sharp matterhorn that rises up from the pass to the north is Flinsch Peak, and the mountain than runs from the pass to the south is Mount Helen.  The sharp peak to the far south is Mount St. Nicholas, which is one of the most technically challenging peaks in Glacier National Park.

Flinsch Peak, Glacier National Park.
This is a view from the summit of Flinsch Peak.  Note Dawson Pass far below to the south of this incredible Glacier Park matterhorn.

Mount Helen
Mount Helen above Dawson  Pass, Glacier National ParkIf you want to be really adventurous, and you are in proper physical condition, you can literally walk up the ridge to the south of Dawson Pass and it will take you to the summit of Mount Helen (8,538 feet).  This hike requires no technical skills whatsoever, and the view from Mount Helen is so beautiful it's difficult to describe.  So it you've ever wanted to climb a peak in Glacier National Park, this is definitely a good one because it's just a hike, and the view is awe-inspiring!

Mount Helen Summit above Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
This is a view from the summit of Mount Helen in Glacier National Park.  This peak is a simple walk up from Dawson Pass, and is very much worth the effort!

SUGGESTIONS:
LEAVE EARLY!
If you are taking the North Shore Trail along Two Medicine Lake, leave early!  We recommend just after the sun rises.  This will allow you to take your time, rest, and have plenty of time to enjoy the pass and Mount Helen if you choose to do so.

BRING A GOOD WIND-BLOCKING JACKET
Dawson Pass is the windiest pass in the park, and if you don't have adequate wind gear, you'll be miserable. Bring something to cover your ears as well. (And of course for all hikes in Glacier National Park, bring clothing for all types of weather!) 

HELPFUL E-BOOKS
Check out our Ultimate Checklist for everything you'll need for the Dawson Pass hike, as well as our Suggest Itineraries for your Glacier National Park Vacation.

Flinsch Peak, Glacier National Park.
This is a view from the summit of Flinsch Peak (facing west).  Flinsch rises directly above Dawson Pass to the north.   If you'd like to see more "views from the summits" in Glacier Park,
click here.

Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
This is the northwest view from Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park.

Mount Helen Summit above Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
This is a view from the summit of Mount Helen near Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park.  Upper Two Medicine Lake is thousands of feet below us.

 Dawson  Pass Trail Map, Two Medicine Area, Glacier National Park
    
Courtesy NPS
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View of Mount Stimson from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
You will see the magnificent Mount Stimson from Dawson Pass.  It is one of the six peaks over ten thousand feet high in the Park.

Dawson Pass Trail, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
The view from Dawson Pass is breathtaking!


View of Mount Saint Nicholas from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
This famous peak that you will see to the south is Mount Saint Nicholas.  It is the most technically challenging peak to climb in the park.

North Shore Trail, Two Medicine Area, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Grizzly Bear, Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Grizzly Bears like to get above the pass and get in the rocks to do their "mothing" during the month of August.  Keep an eye out- they'll show up in very unexpected places.  In fact, we met a sow and cub Grizzly on the summit of Rising Wolf Mountain, which is just to the east of Flinsch Peak.

View of Lupfer Glacier from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
You'll also see Mount Phillips once you get to the pass.  Lupfer Glacier is the large ice mass that you see on it's east face.  It's much, much larger than it appears from the pass.

Trail to Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Ferns along the trail to Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Pumpelly Pillar, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
This sharply pointed structure is known as Pumpelly Pillar.  You'll walk right by it on the way to the pass.


BIghorn Ewe, Dawson Pass, Two Medicine Area, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park
Two Medicine Boat Tour, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Black bear on the trail to Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
During the berry season, there are a fair amount of black bear along the trail.

View of Mount Saint Nicholas from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Trail, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park
During the final mile of your hike, you may have some snow fields to navigate through early in the season.
 

View of Mount Stimson from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park
View of Mount Saint Nicholas from Dawson  Pass, Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park
Dawson Pass, Glacier National Park.
Dawson Pass Glacier National Park



























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