Gunsight Pass

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Gunsight Pass

Postby KBClimber » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:51 am

I have not been back to the Park since the Sprague fire. I was hoping to take my boyfriend this summer over Gunsight pass (he's never been to Glacier before), but I was unsure of how much of the trail burned. Was it mostly just from Sperry Chalet to Lake McDonald? Do people think a one day trip starting at JOE, staying at ELL and exiting at the Lake McDonald lodge is worth it for a newbie to the park?

We are hoping to do a short backpacking trip and a few day hikes in August.

Thanks for your opinions in advance!
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Re: Gunsight Pass

Postby llholmes1948 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:16 am

I am not into the campsite abbreviations and I don't know what JOE is or ELL, however, if ELL is Lake Ellen Wilson as I suspect, it is definitely worth it. It is a wonderful place to camp.

My understanding is that the Sprague fire burned the western part of the trail from Sperry Chalet toward Lake McDonald. I don't think it burned the eastern part of the trail east of Lincoln Pass but corrections would be welcome.

Hope you have a great trip and will post a report of your trip.

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Re: Gunsight Pass

Postby mattB » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:53 pm

I think Jackson Overlook to Lake Ellen WIlson and then out to Lake McDonald lodge would be two pretty long days.
And the second day down will probably mostly in burned over areas all the way from the SPerry Chalet site down to Lake McDonald Lodge.. Although the fire may have opened things up some on that section of the trail so the views might be a bit better.

As Lyman mentioned, the section from Lincoln Pass should be a gorgeous section, and Lake Ellen Wilson is a great place to camp.
But if it was me, I'd make it a 2 night or maybe even 3 night trip, camp at Gunsight Lake, Lake Ellen Wilson, and Sperry. You may even be able to fit in a hike up to Sperry Glacier..

ALso, starting at Jackson Overlook and ending at Lake McDonald Lodge, you'll need to figure out the logistics for where to leave your vehicle, how to get to the trailhead to start, and how to get back to the vehicle..
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Re: Gunsight Pass

Postby Fairbanks142 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:24 am

If you're both in really good shape, experienced with backpacking, and you get an early start on your first day....this is a lot for a 1-nighter, but definitely do-able.

Here's a "My Own Frontier" episode with Joey Coconato and friends (making it look easier than it is) going from the Jackson Overlook trailhead to Lake Ellen Wilson on the first day:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGh3gPybQAI
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Re: Gunsight Pass

Postby paul » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:02 am

I did it as a one night trip from the opposite direction and camped at Sperry. I tried to get Ellen Wilson instead of Sperry but it worked out fine the way it was. If you can get Ellen Wilson, it would be great. It's one of my favorite spots in the park.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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