Gunsight Lake: Glacier National Park

Sights set on Gunsight

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The picture doesn’t do Gunisght Lake justice

Giving ourselves a break from having to hang our food in the backcountry, we decided on a day hike to Gunsight Pass, we heard the pass was completely snowed in so we decided to hike out to the Glacier Overlook. The hike to Gunsight Lake was not a strenuous one but it offered satisfying view of the Jackson and Blackfoot Glaciers most of the way. It was six miles to the lake where we ate lunch as we took in the beauty that is Gunsight Lake. The lake quickly became my favorite lake of all time. Our pictures could not do justice to the waterfall surrounded glacial pool at the bottom of a cirque.

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Soon before the trail disappeared under a sheet of snow

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The dwindling Blackfoot Glacier

Breaking away from the allure of the lake, we headed up toward the Glacier Overlook. At first the trail was steep and then it disappeared into the snow. Snowmelt was running underneath the sheets and exposed slabs were more slippery than ice. Cairns marked the way but it seemed as though many people had build them at different times so we zigzagged along the hillside trying to find our way. We met two other guys that said they reached the top of the lateral moraine and were able to see the slide created by the Jackson Glacier and it was amazing.

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View from the moraine (to us a.k.a. Vertigo Ridge)

So of course Luke was all in. I was on the lateral moraine, so to speak. Luke scrambled to the top and told me it was totally worth it so up I scrambled. When I reached the 2 inch knife-edge ridge, I instantly lost all sense of up/down/sideways. As I stood there with my head spinning, trying not to slide down to the ice sheet, Luke started yelling, “LOOK AT IT!! Look at it! Its so BEAUTIFUL!” And when I told him I couldn’t look, his only response was, “BUT DID YOU SEE IT?!?! Did you see it when you were coming up? Did you at least see it?” And then he wanted me to walk down the skinny little ridge. He’s a crazy person.

After I got my equilibrium back, we head back down trail to the lake for a short break before heading back to the car to end a very, very exhausting walk.

Other Glacier National Park Adventures

For more national park adventure, visit our National Park Service Guide.

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