Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

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Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby mchester6028 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:04 pm

Hello everyone! I have used this site for a long time in planning a GNP trip and this is the year I finally made it happen (so thank you all for your great advice and info!) I have backpacking permits for Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson (hiking East to West), to start on 9/17. I was planning to scrap the trip and do some PNW hikes instead, because it looked like the Going to Sun road was closed so I couldn't return to my car after the hike.

However, with the road now open to shuttles on the west side of the park, it looks like I could make the trip happen (right?). So here's my question: of course I know conditions can change for both snow and fire between now and then, but is it still worth making the trip? How bad is that side of the park (re: smoke and haze)?

Thank you all in advance!
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby PeteE » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:44 pm

You need to call the Backcountry Office.
Unless they are making "unannounced exceptions" to the new shuttle policy, they will not be stopping at Lake McDonald.
Maybe hitchhike with a member of the fire crew if they'll let you do the trip.

pete :wink:

Glacier's Shuttle System
Due to the Howe Ridge Fire the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed from the foot of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass. Beginning Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 23 limited shuttle service will be available from Apgar Visitor Center to Logan Pass. The shuttles will be express service and will not stop at any points between Apgar and Logan Pass.
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby orin » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:18 pm

And the trail status reports page also lists the Sperry Trail as closed and also the section from Ellen Wilson to Sperry.

https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/trail/trailstatus.cfm?t=MD
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby PeteE » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:39 pm

More confusion...
Neither Lake Ellen Wilson CG nor the trail to Lake McDonald are closed according to info here.
https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/ ... osures.cfm

pete :wink:
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby mchester6028 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:02 pm

Thank you, Pete and Orin! I'll call the backcountry office but looks like I'm on to Plan B.
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby Ear Mountain » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:17 am

PeteE wrote:More confusion...
Neither Lake Ellen Wilson CG nor the trail to Lake McDonald are closed according to info here.
https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/ ... osures.cfm

I just checked the link above.
1. The trail from Lake McDonald to Sperry and on to Lake Ellen Wilson is CLOSED.
2. The Sperry Campground is CLOSED.
3. The Lake Ellen Wilson Campground is OPEN.

GNP Closures Page as of 9/7/2018 @ 10:15 AM MDT wrote:Trail Closures
Iceberg/Ptarmigan Trails - Bears
North Shore Josephine from the foot of the lake to the head of the lake - Bears
Waterton Lake Trail - Fire activity
North Boundary Trail - Fire activity
Boulder Pass Trail, from Goat Haunt to Brown Pass - Fire activity
Waterton Lake Overlook - Fire activity
Waterton Valley Trail, from Goat Haunt to the Stoney Indian Pass Junction - Fire activity
Snyder Lake Trail - Fire activity and grizzly bear displacement due to Sperry Chalet construction
Lincoln Lake Trail, from the junction with the Snyder Ridge Trail to Lincoln Lake - Fire activity and
grizzly bear displacement due to Sperry Chalet construction
Trout Lake Trail, from both the North McDonald Road and the Camas trailhead on the Inside North Fork
Road - Fire activity
Howe Lake and Ridge Trails - Fire activity
Loop Trail - Fire activity
Flattop Trail, from Packer's Roost to Fifty Mountain BCCG - Fire activity
Sperry Trail - Fire activity
McDonald Lake Trail, including Rocky Point - Fire activity
Avalanche Lake Trail - Fire activity

Backcountry Campground Closures
Snyder Lake - Closed for the summer
Lincoln Lake - Closed for the summer
Flattop - Fire activity
Arrow Lake - Fire activity
Waterton River - Fire activity
Camas Lake - Fire activity
McDonald Lake - Fire activity
Sperry - Fire activity
Goat Haunt Shelters - Fire activity
Janet Lake - Fire activity
Hawksbill - Fire activity
Lake Francis - Fire activity
Kootenai Lake - Fire activity
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby PeteE » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:39 pm

My mistake. :(
An out and back to Lake Ellen Wilson wouldn't be such a terrible trip.
Add a day and do a side trip up to the foot of Jackson Glacier.

pete :wink:
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Re: Planned 9/17 Trip: Should I Still Go?

Postby Ear Mountain » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:10 pm

PeteE wrote:My mistake. :(
An out and back to Lake Ellen Wilson wouldn't be such a terrible trip.
Add a day and do a side trip up to the foot of Jackson Glacier.

pete :wink:

I agree. Lots of good scenery there and with the closures down to Lake McDonald, the Gunsight/Ellen Wilson Lakes campsites are less busy.
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