Driving from Two Medicine Lake, we headed to the US-Canadian border. On the drive, stopping at view points to see the Chief Mountain. It was a beautiful day for a hike. Backcountry permits are needed in order to camp at the backcountry campgrounds. We didn’t plan ahead of time and stopped at the backcountry permit office at Lake McDonald the day before to snag one for Cosley Lake, located near the Belly River.
Not used to losing elevation at a beginning of a hike, I switchedback the narrow trail as the overgrown trail rubbed against my exposed legs. Passing other backpackers as they were ending their hikes, most gave advice on bug spray. Without having much trouble through the sections the other hikers said we would be swarmed by bugs, we were thankful once the trees thinned as we came across wildflower meadows and sweeping views.
Wishing we would have planned a little better and had a more challenging hike, this eight mile hike still was a great one as we got to see an area of Glacier National Park that I was honestly overlooking when planning my trip. The hike continued through wide open meadows and sparse tree patches. One of the benefits of hiking flat terrain is I am willing to keep my camera out and take lots of pictures.
More sweeping views as we hike. The cloud coverage made the hike more enjoyable as it shaded us from the summer sunshine.
Back to hiking through the thick, overgrown trail and wooded areas. I was surprised how different the forest patches were. I am not a tree expert, but I do know that we hiked through at least three to four different tree species in only 8 miles.
Gros Ventre Falls was a quick side hike from the trail. I am glad we headed down to the falls. They were gushing since all the snow was still melting and the vibrant aqua blues
After crossing a suspension bridge, we gained a little elevation and had great views of the ranger station. If I was guaranteed to stay at that station for the little pay that rangers make, I would do it in a heart beat. Horse pastures and mountainous views would be like living in an old cowboy movie. The only ranger we passed on our way out said he had to go and retrieve a hung garbage bag at Cosley Lake left by a family.
As we arrived at Cosley Lake, we met Steve (Andy named him). He followed us around trying to get our electrolytes. Andy was even able to get a time lapse of him. He followed us around the campground and was greeting all the new backpackers as they arrived at the campsites. The next day we met a different deer with a bigger rack. It was amazing to see the deer so brave to be so close to us.
Arriving at the campsite, we checked out the community picnic area. The lake’s blue hues were amazing next to the red stones at the edge and lining the bottom of the lake. After hanging our food at the designated spot, we scoped out a campsite. There were only four campsites at this backcountry site with two remaining, along with the picnic area, a place to hang our food, and one outhouse.
All the campsites were relatively flat and could have fit at least three tents. Along with the spacious room with trees between each site, all had direct paths to the lake.
The beautiful view of Cosley Lake from our campsite, which was just 30 feet or so from our tent. I was in awe of the beauty and fortunate we were able to hike to such a destination and only have to share it with six other campers. I even stripped down to my underwear and waded into the ice-cold water
We always had the bear spray in tow throughout Glacier. I am sad to report I didn’t have any bear spottings while in the park. I will not let the possibility of seeing wildlife on the trail discourage my plans of exploring the outdoors.
Even though the trails were narrow at times, there were usually bridges were needed. The trail systems from what we saw seemed well maintained.
A fun suspension bridge to cross the Belly River. So much fun bouncing up and down as I crossed it. Made me think of my days hiking and exploring state parks with my dad.
The hike out was equally amazing. Even though I usually like loop hikes to cover more distance and landscape views, I was happy to retrace my steps.
Aspen trees were one of the tree species we hiked through. I couldn’t get over the white contrast against this plush green ground and bright blue skies.
What is your favorite hike in Glacier National Park?
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