Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Let everyone know about your camping experience in the park.

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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby pitamakan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:28 pm

Definitely a pretty spot. Don't know about fish, but the bears seem to like that area. :)

The first half of the hike has quite a bit of elevation gain, so this hike would use up more energy than most of the others that have been mentioned.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby DaveC » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:10 am

First rule of Glacier backpacking: do not camp below treeline in the North Fork between June 1 and July 20. Bugsbugsbugs.

I like the trail up from the Inside road to Quartz. Very nice meadows. The creek crossing is no joke early in summer.

Snyder is a great quick overnighter. The fishing is horrible. 8) :mrgreen:
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby nunatak » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:51 pm

Don't forget the Cutbank country. Atlantic Creek campground isn't the most immediately scenic, but it's nice and a great base for Medicine Grizzly Lake (awesome fishing) and Triple Divide Pass. Plus the trail to camp has moderate elevation gain, good for 10-year-olds with full packs as well as aging fathers. Finally, you can car-camp at Cutbank FC if you get in late, then head off to the BC the next morning.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Fairbanks142 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:59 am

DaveC wrote:Snyder is a great quick overnighter. The fishing is horrible.


So I finally picked up a copy of Fishing Glacier National Park (Russ Schneider)....he says that there's lots of easy fishing in Snyder Lake, but they're small. So Dave, this confirms your "horrible" (aka NOT horrible) assessment, whereas "worst ever" would mean larger fish that hit every cast?

nunatak wrote:Don't forget the Cutbank country. Atlantic Creek campground isn't the most immediately scenic, but it's nice and a great base for Medicine Grizzly Lake (awesome fishing) and Triple Divide Pass.


Yup, a trip starting from Cut Bank is my second choice on the permit application that I submitted for this year....and I'm still waiting for word on that along with everyone else! If I do get that trip, we'll probably just camp at the Cut Bank frontcountry campground on the day that we arrive.

I was thinking that we could go crazy and do a one-nighter somewhere else, then come down to Cut Bank because it's a short hike up to Atlantic Creek. But the more I think about it, and like you're saying, camping at the Cut Bank frontcountry campground on that first night means that we'd get to Atlantic Creek early the next day, and that will give us all day to day hike up to Medicine Grizzly Lake and Triple Divide Pass from Atlantic Creek....yup, that's the way to go.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Fairbanks142 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:47 am

I should also say that the reason I'm thinking along these lines is that last year we camped at St. Mary on the day that we arrived in the park, since it's the only campground on the east side of the park that takes reservations, and we were arriving in the late afternoon.

My expectations for St. Mary were low based on everything that I had read...but even so, it ended up still being worse than I expected. We had giant pickups / campers nearly on top of us in the neighboring sites. Not good.

I ended up regretting that we didn't get into the backcountry on that first night, since we would have had plenty of daylight to do it. And I don't want the same experience this year. No KOAs, no St. Mary type of car camping....I'm hoping that one of the frontcountry campgrounds like Cut Bank or Quartz Creek will be a better car camping experience, if we go that route.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby pitamakan » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:55 am

Fairbanks142 wrote:I should also say that the reason I'm thinking along these lines is that last year we camped at St. Mary on the day that we arrived in the park, since it's the only campground on the east side of the park that takes reservations, and we were arriving in the late afternoon.

My expectations for St. Mary were low based on everything that I had read...but even so, it ended up still being worse than I expected. We had giant pickups / campers nearly on top of us in the neighboring sites. Not good.

I ended up regretting that we didn't get into the backcountry on that first night, since we would have had plenty of daylight to do it. And I don't want the same experience this year. No KOAs, no St. Mary type of car camping....I'm hoping that one of the frontcountry campgrounds like Cut Bank or Quartz Creek will be a better car camping experience, if we go that route.


Totally, totally agreed. Nothing like a few giant RVs nearby to ruin a camping experience. One of the reasons I like the North Fork country so much ... and I definitely like the Cut Bank auto campground, as well.

That's a great valley all in all, but the backcountry sites in the Cut Ban drainage are a little disappointing. I miss the days when they were located nearer the lakes.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby DaveC » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:10 am

Fairbanks142 wrote:
DaveC wrote:Snyder is a great quick overnighter. The fishing is horrible.


So I finally picked up a copy of Fishing Glacier National Park (Russ Schneider)....he says that there's lots of easy fishing in Snyder Lake, but they're small. So Dave, this confirms your "horrible" (aka NOT horrible) assessment, whereas "worst ever" would mean larger fish that hit every cast?




Yep, last fall on a quick midweek camping trip I only caught about 60 fish in 90 minutes. Sad.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Robin Hood » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:40 am

There really are quite a few options for a quick trip in. Its really going to come down to whats available when you get there, and that could be anything or nothing.

Reynolds creek campsite is super easy and right off the sun road. It usually used for thru hikers, and they wont let you take the site until later in the afternoon, maybe like after 2pm. The site itself is wooded, but you can have fires there. It cant be more than a mile or 2 in. On more than one occasion I've carried in a full case of beer down there, along with bringing a full kitchen. You can be out and back on the road by early morning.

Quartz lake really isnt that much of up, and is one of the nicest backcountry sites in the park, with the sites right there on the lake. I would go there over lower quartz.

Snyder has more up than quartz, but is a short hike in. Ive used this as a one night stay before starting longer backcountry trips, and the hike up has affected the following day of hiking for some of the people ive taken on these trips.

Gunsight lake isnt that hard of a hike either, and that campsite has like 7 sites, so it might not be full.

Cracker will probably be full, but it would be a spectacular choice.
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Fairbanks142 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:06 pm

Robin Hood wrote:Snyder has more up than quartz, but is a short hike in. Ive used this as a one night stay before starting longer backcountry trips, and the hike up has affected the following day of hiking for some of the people ive taken on these trips.


So I'm still up in the air on this one. We got our itinerary -- Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson. A 3-day, 2-night trip. I'd really like to do Snyder Lakes on the night before our Gunsight trip starts, to get one more night in the backcountry. We could hike back down to the car at the Sperry trailhead the next morning, drive up and over to the Gunsight trailhead (Jackson Glacier overlook), leaving all afternoon to hike up to Gunsight Lake. Very doable in one day based on everything that I've read. Less driving, more backcountry time.

The alternative is car camping that first day/night, with more time in the car. Probably up in the North Fork at Bowman or Kintla, for less crowds and some fishing. Next morning we'd drive back down....with a stop at the Merc...and then up to the Gunsight trailhead. Timewise, it's probably about the same arrival time at the Gunsight trailhead if we do Snyder or car camp in the North Fork the night before. It's more about the toll that the extra 9 miles up and back to Snyder would do for our crew before the full Gunsight Pass hike....
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Kodiak » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:53 am

What did you end up doing? I just read this but would have recommended Otokomi Lake as it is close to the Gunsight Lake trailhead and has good fishing. Hope the trip went well!
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Fairbanks142 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:59 pm

We're still a couple weeks out from our trip. So anything's still possible, but here's what we're thinking:

Along the lines of some of the feedback here, we've decided that although a short one-nighter on that first night would be ideal for a couple of us...others in the group might not do so well with those extra miles ahead of the rest of our trip.

So the latest plan is that we'll car camp at Apgar on the first night when we arrive at the park. Car camping somewhere else up in the North Fork would be better....but that would mean more time the next morning to drive back out to get to our trailhead.

So that's the plan....for now....
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby Fairbanks142 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:21 pm

We ended up doing a walk-in at Round Prairie on our first night. Had it to ourselves. Awesome! Thanks to Mark for the suggestion.

After setting up camp and trying some fishing in the North Fork, we drove up to Kintla Lake and fished into the evening. There was a double rainbow at the head of the lake....I'll get a trip report with pics out here at some point.

All in all, it worked out great to get some solitude in the North Fork instead of car camping on the first night. And the next morning on the way out....coffee and a huckleberry bear claw from the Merc....
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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

Postby pitamakan » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:30 pm

Glad to hear that Round Prairie worked out for you! I like that spot quite a bit, and any backcountry camp that's just a half-hour from the Polebridge Merc has an awful lot going for it. :)

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Re: Quick / Favorite 1-Nighters?

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