Glacier National Park
The route to Apgar Mountain and Lookout begins as a dirt road. After about 1 mile, near Rubideau Springs, the trail begins to climb through burned trees from the 2003 Roberts Fire via three long switchbacks. Upon reaching the third switchback most of the elevation gain is completed. The trail flattens out and in just a few hundred feet the lookout can be seen.
Belly River Trail begins at Chief Mountain Customs, on a ridge overlooking the Belly River Valley. The trail continues up the river to the Belly River Ranger Station. At this point trails to Gable Pass and the Mokowanis River valley converge with the Belly River Trail. The highlights of this trail are the Belly River, Dawn Mist Falls, Elizabeth Lake and Helen Lake.
Belly River Trail
Stoney Indian Pass Trail Junction-12 Miles RT : Belly River Ranger Station-12.2 Miles RT : Cosley Lake Cut-Off Trail-15.2 Miles RT : Elizabeth Lake-18.6 Miles RT : Helen Lake-27.2 Miles RT
A nice feature of the Belly River Trail is there is not a lot of elevation gain or loss, which makes it ideal for overnight backpacking when you're not in the mood for a big mountain pass to hike over. The trail drops 741 feet in the first few miles, then the rest of your hike in the Belly River Area or Cosley Lake Area is relatively level. The Belly River Trail is also used to gain access to the Cosley Lake Area and Stoney Indian Pass Trail, which is one of our favorite overnight backpacking hikes in Glacier National Park.
Cut Bank Pass Trail ascends, following the North Fork of Cut Bank Creek. Hike 0.1 mile to junction with old Cutbank Chalet access road, stay to the right for Morningstar Lake. At 3.9 miles, junction with Triple Divide Trail (3.3 miles to Triple Divide Pass or 2.1 miles to Medicine Grizzly Lake). Stay left for Morningstar Lake, then the trail turns to the south and continues ascent of Cut Bank valley. The trail passes Atlantic Falls at 4.1 miles. at 6.6 miles you will come to Morningstar Lake Campground, trail then ascends to reach Pitamakan Lake. At 8.6 miles you will reach Pitamakan Lake, the trail then crosses the lake outlet and heads to the west side of Pitamakan Lake, ascending steeply to the Pass.
If traveling from West Glacier, Montana:
Drive east from west Glacier, Montana to mile marker 192. Turn left after crossing the Bear Creek Bridge. After turning on to the usually well graded gravel road travel about 1 mile to the Parking area for the Fielding Access Road Trailhead. The sign designating the trail head is on the right side and is near a locked gate. There is ample parking just beyond the trailhead sign.
The trail starts out near the parking area at the trailhead. After a few hundred feet the trail joins a forest road. Continue uphill for about .75 miles to the location where the forest road meets the railroad grade. Cross over both sets of tracks and look slightly to the left for the trail that takes off into the park. About one half mile from the trail sign, The Fielding Patrol Cabin can be found. The trail to Elk Mountain is just beyond the cabin. From that sign it is 2.5 miles to the summit of Elk Mountain.
Alternative approaches are:
1. The South Boundary trail from West Glacier. This trail fords Lincoln and Harrison Creeks before reaching Nyack Creek.
2. The Fielding-Coal Creek Trail. From Walton head up Park Creek to the Park Creek campsite, ford Park Creek and head over the ridge to Muir Creek (wade) and on to Coal Creek. Or hike in from Fielding wading both Ole Creek and Park Creek.
3. Cross Cut Bank Pass and drop down to the Nyack.