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Glacier Divide Route

Almost-a-Dog Pass, looking south over the Red Eagle Bench and towards the Norris Traverse.

Almost-a-Dog Pass, looking south over the Red Eagle Bench and towards the Norris Traverse.

The Glacier Divide Route parallels the Continental Divide through Glacier National Park for about 125 miles, usually off-trail. The heart of the route is between Brown Pass in the north and Firebrand Pass (or possibly Little Dog Mountain) in the south. The most logical access points for a thru-hike are Waterton Lakes and either Marias Pass or East Glacier, Montana.

The roots of the Glacier Divide Route start with J. Gordon Edwards, who described a Continental Divide Route — often in such vague terms as to be non-actionable — in his definitive¬†Climber’s Guide to Glacier National Park. The entire route has been completed before, at least in segments; I can’t find record of a thru-hike, but it’s likely been done.

For me this is an unfinished project. Dave Chenault and I attempted the route in July 2016, but for various reasons only finished about three-fourths of the route before exiting. It’s a legit route and I expect to return next summer to finish it up.

2 Responses to Glacier Divide Route

  1. John June 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    Is that much off trail travel even legal? I figured a park with such high traffic would frown on that. I did notice that they have a lot of mileage restrictions for daily travel when booking some of the primitive sites.

    • Andrew Skurka June 27, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      No, not illegal or discouraged, so long as the rangers feel that you can do it without violating park principals (e.g. preservation of the land as you found it) and without endangering yourself.

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