Day Hikes Marias Pass ~ a slow hiker's guide™


Marias Pass is open all year located on US Highway 2 between West Glacier and East Glacier Montana

Marias Pass elevation 5,213 feet

Summer is over for 2015. Snow for now is here one day then gone the next.

Snow at Marias Pass as of September 18, 2013

In the early days of Glacier Park visitors who arrived by automobile had to load their cars on the The Great Northern Railroad in East Glacier, and then ride the train over to the Belton Station in what is now known as West Glacier. Montana Highway Department finally built a road over the Marias Pass in 1930. The Going To The Sun Road opened through Glacier Park on July 15, 1932. Unlike US Highway Route 2 it is only open during the summer months. Very rarely will it open in late spring. The earliest I have ever driven to Logan Pass was May 23, of 2005, the latest was July 13, of 2011.

Will be adding Firebrand Pass Trail to this page this fall. Interesting railfan web page on the history of Marias Pass and the railroad.

If you have a Verizon cell phone there is a weak one bar signal at the Marias Pass rest stop. Tough luck if you are with AT and T.

Firebrand Pass Trail parking is located at US Highway 2 mile post 203 on the eastern side of the Highway. You will need to WALK across the mainline of the the Burlington Northern to actually get to the trailhead.

I will be creating a map and description to help you locate the very small parking area for this trail. The handout that GNP put out has the correct mile post but the drawing does not match this trailhead. The drawing is actually for another trail. A hole punch goes through the mileage to Marias Pass on the GNP handout. There is a large parking area at Marias Pass with two vault toilets. Warning it is often very windy at the pass both Marias Pass and Firebrand Pass. Of all the trails in Glacier Park that go to mountain passes Firebrand is the easiest. My favorite is Two Medicine Pass which is five air miles from Firebrand Pass.

Siyeh Pass Trail is the highest pass that has a developed trail. Siyeh Pass is 8,032 feet. Which makes Marias Pass 900 feet lower than Siyeh Pass. Siyeh Pass is not the highest point on a day hike in Glacier Park that goes, I believe to Swiftcurrent Lookout Trail at 8,436 feet, which makes it 3,205 feet higher than Marias Pass.

from wiki
"The pass was charted by John Frank Stevens, principal engineer of the Great Northern Railway (GN), in December 1889. The location of the pass had been rumored for several years beforehand, but it took Stevens and a Flathead Indian guide named Coonsah who had been hiding out with the Blackfoot Indians in Browning, Montana to discover it. The pass proved ideal for a railroad, because its approach was broad and open, within a valley ranging from one to six miles wide, and at a gentle grade that would not require extensive excavation or rockwork. Construction of the railroad through the pass began on August 1, 1890, starting from Fort Assinniboine toward Marias Pass. The railroad followed the Middle Fork of the Flathead River west of the Continental Divide. Today, U.S. Highway 2, BNSF Railway (successor to AT and SF and BN), and Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger train use the pass. The railway line is still the principal BNSF northern transcontinental line. A statue of John Frank Stevens stands at the summit of Marias Pass."