Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

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Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby abigler33 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:13 pm

Hello all,

This is my first time posting here so I hope this is the right place. So a friend and I are making the trip to Glacier this summer from Pittsburgh and we absolutely can not wait. After lots of research I have really fallen in love with the North Fork area and have started to figure out an idea for a trip from Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake so we get the chance to see what looks like a beautiful and secluded section of the park. So with this hike we would be traveling from either Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake or vice versa crossing through Hole in the Wall, Brown Pass, and Boulder Pass. I was curious if anyone had any input on whether we should do it in one direction or the other, as well as maybe some other pointers you could give us. Also, I have seen other similar post of people trying to figure out transportation between the two and after reading those posts it seems that people most often point to hitchhiking. I would have no problem with this if need be, however I am a little lerrious to have what would be an entire day committed to the idea of hoping someone picks us up. The general idea would be to make the drive on Saturday, July 29 arriving at either lake in the early to mid afternoon and hiking up to the far end of either lake that afternoon. Then spending the next day making our way through the mountains and finally on Monday getting back to the other lake and hitching a ride back to the car. Does this plan sound reasonable or are there any suggestions anyone can make. Thanks so much for any help, I know this post is a lot to digest but I'm really excited for the trip and I'm trying hard to figure everything out!

Andrew
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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby Heff936 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:14 pm

While the route is great in both directions, I'd probably suggest starting at Bowman and ending at Kintla. But if you are looking for a walkup permit for either route, make sure you are first in line at whatever backcountry office you plan to try to get a permit. In terms of itinerary in the Bowman to Kintla route, depending how many days you have and your backpacking style, I'd recommend. BOW-FRA-HOL-UPK for a 4 night 5 day trip. If you can swing a 5th day, I'd add BOU after HOL. The biggest challenge will be getting the permit, so you may not have a choice of camps. But half of the camps are reserved for walkups, so make sure and be first in line the day before you hope to start your trip. That will give you the best chance.

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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby abigler33 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:39 pm

Heff936 wrote:While the route is great in both directions, I'd probably suggest starting at Bowman and ending at Kintla. But if you are looking for a walkup permit for either route, make sure you are first in line at whatever backcountry office you plan to try to get a permit. In terms of itinerary in the Bowman to Kintla route, depending how many days you have and your backpacking style, I'd recommend. BOW-FRA-HOL-UPK for a 4 night 5 day trip. If you can swing a 5th day, I'd add BOU after HOL. The biggest challenge will be getting the permit, so you may not have a choice of camps. But half of the camps are reserved for walkups, so make sure and be first in line the day before you hope to start your trip. That will give you the best chance.

Heff


Thanks for the help Heff! A few others have suggested starting at Bowman Lake and heading to Kintla Lake as well, so its good to get some reassurance. I agree, it would always be best to spread the trips out and spend as much time to get to enjoy these trails. However, due to some time restraints I don't think it would be possible for us to make this a 4 or 5 day trip, but instead I was hoping it would be possible for us to make it a 3 day, 2 night trip. So starting at Bowman Lake we would camp at Head Bowman Lake campground, Saturday night. Then, on Sunday we would make our way through Brown Pass, Hole in the Wall, and Boulder Pass and stay at the Boulder Pass campground Sunday night. Finally on Monday we would make our way down from the Boulder Pass Campground to Kintla Lake. Although I haven't hiked these trail before and I can't fully appreciate their difficulty I was hoping that from the mileage and elevation gain that this itinerary sounds possible. If you don't agree I would love the honesty, but again thanks for any help!

Andrew
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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby wnysteve » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:55 pm

abigler33 wrote: The general idea would be to make the drive on Saturday, July 29 arriving at either lake in the early to mid afternoon and hiking up to the far end of either lake that afternoon.

Andrew


If you are at the Backcountry Office (Apgar) very early as suggested, there should be no reason to start your backpack in mid-afternoon. I think most people here would suggest as early a start as possible into the backcountry, unless you are exceptionally strong/fast backpackers.
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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby Selkie » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:45 pm

You could ask someone on the trails for a lift partway back to Bowman, unless you are lucky and a driver is going all the way (the road forks, and the Bowman segment might be a separate ask).
There is no public transit, shuttle, or taxi, so it's walk, bicycle, or ride in someone else's car to return to Bowman. As Kintla is quite isolated, options are limited.

I might suggest being flexible about the ideal trip if you are tight on time or prefer not to ask for a ride. There are many fine backpacking options that do not introduce the same difficulty of returning to one's car as the Bowman L-Kintla L trip does. The backcountry office can help with route suggestions when the time comes.
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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby HoustonHiker » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:04 pm

I looked into this route for my first trip to Glacier this past August. I settled on a 3 day, 2 night out and back from Waterton staying a night at BOU and then HOL. You do need a passport but you still have time to get one (if you do not already have one) and this is the shortest route to the highlight of this trip. And it was only ~1.5 hours drive from Many Glacier. You could out and back from Bowman Lake or Kintla Lake if you prefer. I chose to spend my vacation hiking rather than hitchhiking or driving around (ie - loop hike).

The hike from Waterton to Brown Pass was nice. The hike from Brown Pass to BOU was SPECTACULAR! I found other reports here to say the same for Bowman and Kintla Lakes. Focus on the route from Brown Pass to UPK. And don't forget to make time for a side hike to Boulder Peak.

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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby GLandSG » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:42 am

abigler33 wrote:Hello all,

This is my first time posting here so I hope this is the right place. So a friend and I are making the trip to Glacier this summer from Pittsburgh and we absolutely can not wait. After lots of research I have really fallen in love with the North Fork area and have started to figure out an idea for a trip from Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake so we get the chance to see what looks like a beautiful and secluded section of the park. So with this hike we would be traveling from either Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake or vice versa crossing through Hole in the Wall, Brown Pass, and Boulder Pass. I was curious if anyone had any input on whether we should do it in one direction or the other, as well as maybe some other pointers you could give us. Also, I have seen other similar post of people trying to figure out transportation between the two and after reading those posts it seems that people most often point to hitchhiking. I would have no problem with this if need be, however I am a little lerrious to have what would be an entire day committed to the idea of hoping someone picks us up. The general idea would be to make the drive on Saturday, July 29 arriving at either lake in the early to mid afternoon and hiking up to the far end of either lake that afternoon. Then spending the next day making our way through the mountains and finally on Monday getting back to the other lake and hitching a ride back to the car. Does this plan sound reasonable or are there any suggestions anyone can make. Thanks so much for any help, I know this post is a lot to digest but I'm really excited for the trip and I'm trying hard to figure everything out!

Andrew


Hi All!
A group of 3 of us will be doing a similar hike (mother nature permitting) beginning Aug 10. We have our permit for BOW-HOL-BOL-HOL-BOW. My question is: what is the best approach to preparing for possible weather or other trail closures that disrupt the itinerary? Should we have a Plan B in our pocket or should we wait until we arrive and take whatever the Rangers can give us?
Thanks!
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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby PeteE » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:49 pm

In the event you can't do your current permit you might want to have a plan B. There's nothing you can do between now and August.
No way to know the weather or, maybe more important, remaining snow conditions on that itinerary. We had a big snow year last winter. There is a possibility of snow still covering parts of the trail between BOU and HOL.
So you might want to pack whatever you need for crossing snow.
Call the Back Country Office before leaving home and tell them you have a permit and ask for up to date trail conditions in the HOL area. The on line info is frequently out of date.
Keep up with the chat here too. Someone here might have current info as well.
As for weather and gear ....
It can and does snow in GNP any day of the year. As chatters here will tell you, conditions in the HOL area can get pretty misreable when it snows, or worse-- a cold rain with wind.
So pack and prepare accordingly is my advice.
You have a SUPER itinerary. Good luck!

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Re: Bowman Lake to Kintla Lake, or vice versa

Postby joybird » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:25 pm

GLandSG wrote:Hi All!
A group of 3 of us will be doing a similar hike (mother nature permitting) beginning Aug 10. We have our permit for BOW-HOL-BOL-HOL-BOW. My question is: what is the best approach to preparing for possible weather or other trail closures that disrupt the itinerary? Should we have a Plan B in our pocket or should we wait until we arrive and take whatever the Rangers can give us?
Thanks!


Wow. :shock: They gave you two nights at HOL in a single trip? Lucky you! I thought there was a limit of one night per trip July-Sept...or has that changed?

As for how to prepare for possible itinerary disruptions, I think it would be good to have some ideas of what you might like as a Plan B and then to be ready to be flexible in case the sites on your wishlist aren't available. In general, I think the BC rangers will do their best to accommodate you, but remember, there are only a fixed number of sites; if the Boulder Pass trail is closed for some reason, you will not be the only hikers who are scrambling for options.

That said, the most important thing to remember is: even a "bad" itinerary in Glacier is still gonna be pretty awesome.

Have an amazing trip!
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