A slow hiker's guide™ Two Medicine Pass Trail
Glacier National Park

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Two Medicine Pass Trail

Two Medicine Trails Trail Map

Cobalt Lake to Two Medicine Pass



Lake Isabel from Two Medicine Pass

Two Medicine Pass Trail

lake isabel two medicine pass trail 
 glacier national park, Montana www.glacierhikers.com © Shawn Coggins

Two Medicine Pass Trail shares the same trail as Cobalt Lake so study that trail page for travel to Cobalt Lake. Two Medicine Pass is on the other side of the high point of the ridge behind Cobalt Lake. Painted Tepee Peak and its ridge line intersect the Two Medicine Pass ridge at nearly a 90 degree angle. Cobalt Lake is nestled at the base of this intersection and the trail from Rockwell Falls rises up the 'U' shaped valley formed by Sinopah, Rockwell and Painted Tepee. It is a good idea to study Google map in terrain mode or Google earth before hiking up to Two Medicine Pass. I had studied the lay of the land with Google Earth but found after the hike that I got a much better feel for the terrain that I hiked with Google map in terrain mode.

If you don't study a topo map before starting from Two Medicine Lake then be prepared for some surprises. The first part of the Two Medicine Pass Trail after leaving Cobalt Lake is a series of short switchbacks that lead into a long traverse. The trail starts to go above the tree line and goes on the ridge side of a large avalanche chute coming down from Mount Rockwell. If you are lucky the area around the traverse will be in full bloom a lush alpine garden. A side ridge ramps down towards the eastern flank of Mount Rockwell. The traverse changes direction and starts to climb a gradual slope up this ramp towards the ridge separating the Two Medicine Valley from the much more remote Park Creek drainage. This valley goes uninterrupted to US Route 2 and the southwest border of Glacier Park. The connecting trail finally ends near Essex and intersects with the Scalplock Lookout Trail. There is a stone cairn on the ridge at that point you are about half way to Two Medicine Pass from Cobalt Lake. Which is were I turned around due to high winds on my first hike up to Two Medicine Pass. Will give Two Medicine Pass Trail another go next year. High winds on the ridge is the major issue with this trail. Earlier in the season snow across the trail could present a problem. Luckily most of the ridge is fairly wide and mostly level. Still trying to figure out how to get camping gear to Cobalt Lake.


Lake Isabel

Lake Isabel with its sister lake of Upper Isabel Lake rests in the valley formed by Battlement Mountain with Virgil Peak on the left and Caper Peak on the right forming the wing of this valley. When you are standing on the ridge above Cobalt Lake looking toward Lake Isabel it is a feeling of total remoteness. The next time I get up to the actual Two Medicine Pass I will get a photo down the valley which Park Creek drains into the Middle Fork River some 13 air miles away near Essex. Glad that I hadn't zoomed out on Google Earth before hiking up to the ridge. Over the course of those 13 air miles are one back-country trail and several remote back-country campsites. That is the only sign of man upon the this vast area of mountains, streams, lakes and valleys. About six weeks after I made my first hike to Two Medicine Pass I hiked to Firebrand Pass. It is not visible in these photos but is about 5 air miles to the left. there are no maintained trails directly linking these two remote mountain pass trails. The view from Two Medicine Pass is the best of any of the mountain pass trails that I have hiked to in Glacier Park. (when it's not smoky) Dawson Pass is my number two choice at the moment. Firebrand Pass is a much easier and shorter hike. Access to the trailhead Firebrand Pass is trickier, with very limited parking alongside of Burlington Northern's Hi-line / Main-line train tracks.

Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream.
Discover.”

two medicine pass trail glacier national park, Montana www.glacierhikers.com © Shawn Coggins

Two Medicine Pass Trail across scree slope

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