Many Glacier/Northern Loop

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Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby Pack_Mule » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:33 pm

Hi,
I was wondering what the best campgrounds are in the Northern Loop and why? Hoping to plan a trip in July/August 2019.
Thanks!
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby PeteE » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:59 am

Welcome to the GNP chat!

I don't know about "best" campgrounds, but this itinerary is, or would be, popular with many people.
Beginning at Many Glacier...

Night 1--Elizabeth Lake Foot(ELF)
Night 2--Glenn's Lake Head(GLH)
Night 3--Mokowanis Lake (MOL)
Night 4--Stoney Indian Lake(STO)
Night 5--Fifty Mountain(FIF)
Night 6--Granite Park(GRN)
Back to Many Glacier via Swiftcurrent Pass

You can shorten this itinerary by a night by choosing either MOK or GLH.
However getting both would give time for a side trip to Margaret Lake--a very nice plus.

Plan for an August trip as the Ahern Drift may not be cleared until August 1st.

pete :wink:

EDIT ADD

Everyone will have an opinion on what are the "best" campgrounds on the Northern Circle route.
That said, in reality, there aren't that many other cg's on that route.
Other possibilities include
ELH
GAB
GLF
MOJ
COS

So depending on your ability and desires you may like one or more of these in place of my suggestions.

When you apply for a permit. I would advise you to check the box saying you'll accept "substitutes" if your 1st choice(s) aren't available.
THEN when arrive to pick up your permit try to get it modified.
That's done all the time.
So good luck in the application process!
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby Pack_Mule » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:13 pm

Thanks Pete.

I was planning on the following:
ELF
GLH
KOO (2 nights)
FIF
GRN
MAN

I was just asking about the "best" in general because I would be open to others. I heard some campsites are better than others in terms of views, bugs, food prep areas, water access, proximity to others, or just some cool other things to do around them. Plus, if we get re-routed somehow I'd like to know what I'm looking at ahead of time (such as Gable Creek/GAB; Slide Lake/SLI, Poia Lake/POI, or even coming in via Waterton Lake). I also don't know if spending two nights at Kootenai Lakes is worth it. We were going to try to go up Porcupine, but if it turns out to just be a day of rest instead, I'd like to be somewhere that is worth it all around. Thanks again!
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby PeteE » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:42 pm

Pack_Mule wrote:Thanks Pete.

I was planning on the following:
ELF
GLH
KOO (2 nights)
FIF
GRN
MAN

I was just asking about the "best" in general because I would be open to others. I heard some campsites are better than others in terms of views, bugs, food prep areas, water access, proximity to others, or just some cool other things to do around them. Plus, if we get re-routed somehow I'd like to know what I'm looking at ahead of time (such as Gable Creek/GAB; Slide Lake/SLI, Poia Lake/POI, or even coming in via Waterton Lake). I also don't know if spending two nights at Kootenai Lakes is worth it. We were going to try to go up Porcupine, but if it turns out to just be a day of rest instead, I'd like to be somewhere that is worth it all around. Thanks again!


I know at least a half dozen active chatters here who are better qualified to talk about the North Circle route and the Northern Traverse route.
They can answer some of your questions better than I. :D

The itinerary you're planning is good IF, you plan on using KOO as a base to doing something like Porcupine Lookout.
Have you read this? https://hike734.com/trip/porcupine-lookout/
That first river crossing might be problematic in early August. No way to know when you make reservations.
Starting in Canada is doable. Just know that beginning at Goat Haunt requires care logistic planning.
Border issues and transportation/shuttle problems require careful planning.

Regarding a side trip during your trip, you might consider something like:

ELF
GLH for 2 nights, or 1 night and
MOL(1 night)
This would give you time to do Margaret Lake and/or Sue Lake overlook.
STO
FIF
GRN
MAN

So 6 or 7 nights for this proposed itinerary

I heard some campsites are better than others in terms of views, bugs, food prep areas, water access, proximity to others, or just some cool other things to do around them. Plus, if we get re-routed somehow I'd like to know what I'm looking at ahead of time (such as Gable Creek/GAB; Slide Lake/SLI, Poia Lake/POI, or even coming in via Waterton Lake).


I've been to Margaret Lake and it is well worth seeing. Easy to get to from GLH or MOL or MOJ and GLF.
Sue Lake Overlook is a longer hike and probably best done as a day hike from GLH, MOJ, MOK, or...on the way to STO.

I'll leave it to others to talk about "other things to do" in the various campsites you mention. 8)

If you aren't familiar with GNP's backpacking rules, regs, and the lottery procedure for a backpacking permit, I strongly suggest you do that asap.
Start here:
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/camping.htm
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm
And this page is one of the most important pages to be intimately familiar with imo, especially all that fine print and footnotes!!
https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ ... ap-Web.pdf

pete :wink:
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby paul » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:27 pm

Pack_Mule wrote:Thanks Pete.

I was planning on the following:
ELF
GLH
KOO (2 nights)
FIF
GRN
MAN

I was just asking about the "best" in general because I would be open to others. I heard some campsites are better than others in terms of views, bugs, food prep areas, water access, proximity to others, or just some cool other things to do around them. Plus, if we get re-routed somehow I'd like to know what I'm looking at ahead of time (such as Gable Creek/GAB; Slide Lake/SLI, Poia Lake/POI, or even coming in via Waterton Lake). I also don't know if spending two nights at Kootenai Lakes is worth it. We were going to try to go up Porcupine, but if it turns out to just be a day of rest instead, I'd like to be somewhere that is worth it all around. Thanks again!


That's a pretty good itinerary. Stoney Indian lake STO is popular because it's right along the route and in a location that is convenient for miles between camps. However I don't particularly like that camp. There was a deer there this year that was very aggressive. It stole one of my hiking poles. The camp sites are kind of hard to get to because of the rocky terrain also it's not the easiest place to get water. They do have a bear box there which makes it easier. Also, it's tough to get a site there because it's right on the loop.

All the camps you have are good, instead of staying 2 nights at Kootnei maybe add a night at COS. It's very nice there and you can do Bear mountain lookout. Or do what Pete suggested for GLH there are quite a few options for day hiking there.

Paul
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby Pack_Mule » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:25 pm

Thanks! Anybody have experience with GAB or SLI?
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby orin » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:26 pm

GAB and SLI are both fine, not spectacular, and not on the main North Circle route. GAB is quite nice and close to the ranger station with its expansive views up the valleys. Given the choice though I like the beach at Cosley better. SLI is in the trees a bit above the lake. But you can walk 1/4 mile down the hill and hang out at the lake if you want. It is nothing special but OK if it is on your route which it would only be if you hiked in from the road across the reservation. That trip is scenic but rather "cowey".
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Re: Many Glacier/Northern Loop

Postby Sue Z » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:10 am

I liked GAB. Campsites in the woods, but a huge open meadow nearby with an expansive view. Also - HORSES! - in the corral at the Belly River Ranger Station. Finally, we visited a salt lick in the woods behind the ranger station and saw many animal footprints in the mud.
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