Brown Pass / Hole In The Wall
Includes Bowman Lake Trail, Bowman Lake, Bowman Pass, Hole In The Wall Area, Hole In The Wall Falls
View of Hole In The Wall Area from Brown Pass, Glacier National Park.
Brown Pass & Hole In The Wall
The hike to Brown Pass (6,255 feet) is one of the premier hikes in Glacier National Park. Located in the remote northern wilderness of Glacier Park, this amazing hike begins at the Bowman Lake Campground in the Polebridge - North Fork Area of Glacier National Park.
The Hike to Brown Pass and Hole In The Wall....
Trailhead: Bowman Lake Campground (Foot)
Distance: 13.8 miles to Brown Pass (one way)
Distance: 16.0 miles to Hole In The Wall.
Elevation Gain: 2,200 vertical feet
Bowman Lake Trail (Mile 0 to 7.1)
Your hike to Bowman Pass in Glacier National Park begins at the Bowman Lake Campground. The trail head begins here. You will take the Bowman Lake Trail along the entire north shore of Bowman Lake, where in 7.1 miles you will reach the Bowman Lake (Head) Backcountry Campground. The hike is relatively flat, with only a few up-and-down hills to attempt to tire you out while carrying your overnight pack. Across Bowman Lake to the south you will enjoy views of Square Peak, Rainbow Peak and Mount Carter as you hike your way to the head of the lake. Most backpackers will stay their first night at this campground to rest up for the "steep stuff" that awaits them on the following day.
The Bowman Lake Trail in Glacier National Park follows the north shore of Bowman Lake. This hike to the Bowman Lake Campground (Head) is relatively flat, and provides not only great views of Bowman Lake but also of Square Peak, Rainbow Peak and Mount Carter. The campground is located near the base of those mountains far in the distance.
Bowman Lake Campground (Head) (Mile 7.1)
The Bowman Lake Campground (Head) is a fun place to camp, and it is right next to the lakeshore. You may be sharing the camp with canoers and kayakers who paddled up Bowman Lake to enjoy the night here as well. This backcountry campground is also a popular place for hikers because it is receiving backpackers who are coming from the Kintla Lake Area of Glacier Park and the Goat Haunt Area of Glacier Park, as well as backpackers heading for these areas. It's truly a gathering place for hikers from all over the Northern Wilderness of Glacier National Park.
The Bowman Lake Campground (Head) is a fun place to camp during your hike to Brown Pass and beyond. The campground rests very close to the shore of Bowman Lake, which is a real treat. This is Shannon enjoying a meal at the food preparation area.
In addition to hikers and kayakers sharing the Bowman Lake Campground (Head) with you, you will also be blessed with the company of several whitetail deer that hang around the camp all season long. We took this photo right out of our tent!
This is a view of Bowman Lake from the shore of the Bowman Lake Backcountry Campground (Head) in Glacier National Park. The mountain in the center is Thunderbird Mountain, and is where your hike to Brown Pass will take you.
The Hike from Bowman Lake Campground (Head) to Brown Pass (Mile 7.1 to mile 13.8)
The hike from the Bowman Lake Campground (Head) to Brown Pass is one of the premiere hikes in Glacier National Park. You will see incredibly rugged mountains and amazing waterfalls that very few people ever get to witness. This 6.7 mile hike will climb about 2,200 vertical feet, where most of the vertical climb is in the last two miles of this hike. In addition to enjoying fantastic views of the Hole In The Wall Waterfall, you will become dwarfed by gigantic mountains such as Mount Peabody, Boulder Peak, Mount Chapman and Thunderbird Mountain. This is our favorite stretch of this hike, and it is undoubtedly one of the premier Glacier National Park hikes.
Two of the major foot bridges were washed out during this particular trip, so we had to cross Bowman Creek in river sandals. TALK ABOUT COLD WATER! Our feet were numb by the time we crossed the creek!
As you hike along Bowman Creek toward Brown Pass in Glacier National Park, you will begin seeing Boulder Peak to your left.
On your hike from the head of Bowman Lake to Brown Pass, you will get fantastic views of the spectacular Hole In The Wall Waterfall. This 800+ foot waterfall gushes down the gigantic Hole In The Wall Headwall, and is located directly below the Hole In The Wall Backcountry Campground. This amazing waterfall is one of the most awe-inspiring of all the hundreds of waterfalls in Glacier National Park, and there is no better view of this great waterfall than from the trail leading up to Brown Pass.
The Hole In The Wall Waterfall is over 800 feet tall and is just one of the highlights of your hike to Brown Pass in Glacier National Park. The hike to Brown Pass is definitely one of the premiere hikes in Glacier Park.
A view of Boulder Peak from the Bowman Lake Trail in Glacier National Park. Your hike to Brown Pass provides amazing views all the way to the pass.
As the Bowman Lake Trail continues to gain in elevation, you will begin to see a glimpse of Bowman Lake far below you in the distance as you continue your hike to Brown Pass in Glacier Park.
The hike to Brown Pass along the Bowman Lake Trail in Glacier Park is very scenic and is an extremely enjoyable hike, that is if your overnight pack isn't too heavy!
Brown Pass Campground
0.3 miles prior to reaching the "official" Brown Pass, you will see the Brown Pass Backcountry Campground to your right. This is an essential campground for those carrying heavy overnight backpacks coming from Goat Haunt Ranger Station, but it's not the most pleasant campground to stay at if you don't bring your MOSQUITO REPELLANT. This area is the "mosquito capital of Glacier Park", and if you're not prepared, you will literally be picked up and carried away by mosquitos! So please- if you want to "survive" this hike, bring a ton of mosquito repellant...Seriously!
Brown Pass (Mile 13.8)
This is a view to the west from Brown Pass in Glacier National Park. Boulder Peak and Mount Peabody dominate the western skyline. To the right of this photo not shown is Mount Chapman. If your timing is lucky, the meadows on Brown Pass are full of blooming wildflowers! The hike to Brown Pass is without question one of the top hikes in Glacier National Park.
On Brown Pass, you will have amazing views of Boulder Peak and Mount Peabody to the west. To the east you will see the Citadel Peaks and the gigantic Mount Cleveland, which is the highest mountain in Glacier National Park. The long valley that you are looking through to the east is the Olson Creek Valley. The massive mountain looming directly to the north is Mount Chapman.
Brown Pass is where the Bowman Lake Trail and the Boulder Pass Trail meet, and marks the end of the Bowman Lake Trail. If you head to the left (west), you will hike to Hole In The Wall, Boulder Pass and the Kintla Lake (Foot) Campground (22.8 miles). If you head to your right on the Boulder Pass Trail, you will hike down through the Olson Creek Valley, which is home to Lake Francis, Lake Janet and end up at the Goat Haunt Ranger Station (8.6 miles from Brown Pass). See map below.
This is a view to the east from Brown Pass. Far in the distance is the massive Mount Cleveland, the tallest peak in Glacier National Park. In front of Mount Cleveland are the Citadel Peaks. This point is where the Bowman Lake Trail and the Boulder Pass Trail meet. Note the trail heading straight east. This is part of the Boulder Pass Trail that takes you down the long Olson Creek Valley to Goat Haunt Ranger Station (8.4 miles from Brown Pass), where the Boulder Pass Trail ends.
The high meadows on Brown Pass often display incredible wildflowers.
The Hike to Hole In The Wall (Mile 13.8 to 16.0)
If you'd like to keep hiking, where your trail meets the Boulder Pass Trail, (this junction is clearly marked by trail signs), take a left and head west to Hole In The Wall, which is about 2.2 additional miles one way. This trail will work its way along the base of the south face of Mount Chapman, and then will head northward once the trail gets completely around the huge mass of Mount Chapman. This is where you will get your first good look at the famous Hole In The Wall Area.
Shannon hiking towards the famous Hole In The Wall. At Brown Pass, the Boulder Pass Trail takes you westward along the south base of the massive Mount Chapman. The trail eventually wraps around the west flank of Mount Chapman and enters the Hole In The Wall Area. This hike is about 2.2 miles from Brown Pass.
The hike to Hole In The Wall from Brown Pass along the Boulder Pass Trail is an absolutely gorgeous hike. This is one of those Glacier Park hikes that you will never forget!
The hike along the Boulder Pass Trail in Glacier National Park becomes more and more incredible the closer you get to Hole In The Wall.
The trail near the Hole In the Wall gets very interesting and fun. There are a lot of cliffs to look up at and down at! Just to the left of Shannon is a gash in this huge wall that drops straight down over 1,200 feet!
Hole In The Wall (Mile 16.0)
Once the Boulder Pass Trail reaches the west end of Mount Chapman, the trail begins to head northward (see photo above). This is where you'll begin to really see the incredible Hole In The Wall Area. The Hole In The Wall is an iconic area of the great Northern Wilderness of Glacier National Park, and is one of the top hikes in Glacier Park.
The Hole In The Wall is a magnificent "Hanging Canyon", carved by massive glaciers tens of thousands of years ago. Boulder Peak looms over the top of this amazing place to the west, and the most prominent feature that you can't help but notice is the giant Hole In The Wall Headwall. This 1,200 foot shear wall is where the Hole In The Wall Waterfall plunges over. Just above this mighty headwall rests the Hole In The Wall Backcountry Campground.
As you continue hiking along the Boulder Pass Trail northward around Mount Chapman, you will eventually reach an intersection where a trail will take you down to the actual Hole In The Wall Campground, which lies in the cirque above the Hole In The Wall Falls. If you keep going on the main trail, it will take you over Boulder Pass and then down to Upper Kintla Lake and will finally terminate at the Kintla Lake Campground (Foot), a mere 20.6 miles from Hole In The Wall Backcountry Campground!
This is another view of the famous Hole In The Wall. The notch on the horizon just to the right below Boulder Peak is Boulder Pass (see photo above). The Hole In The Wall Campground is located in the basin just above Shannon's head. The hike from Brown Pass to Hole In the Wall is definitely one of the top hikes in Glacier National Park.
Just above the Hole In The Wall is the east side of Boulder Pass, which rests directly north below the towering Boulder Peak. A short trail takes you directly to the campground, whereas the main trail loops around the cirque above the campground and then works its way up the steep headwall to Boulder Pass and beyond, ending at Kintla Lake.
This is a view to the south from Hole In Wall in Glacier National Park. The large peak to the right is Boulder Peak.
A View From Boulder Peak
This is a view of your the hike up the Bowman Lake Trail to Brown Pass and eventually Hole In The Wall from the summit of Boulder Peak. You are facing east.
This is another view of the Hole In The Wall Area from the summit of Boulder Peak. You are looking east.