Backcountry Camp at Gunsight Lake

Jackson Glacier Outlook - Search Nearby - Added by Sachith Siriwardane

Remote hike that ends at a beautiful lakeside campsite in Glacier National Park, Montana.

How to Get There:

Get your backcountry pass at the St. Mary visitor center and then head over to the hike, which begins from the Jackson Glacier Overlook, located 12.6 miles west of the center on the Going-to-Sun-Road. 

The Hike:

The first mile of the hike is a downhill, and then the trail is pretty easy, with some minor up and downs. As you continue on the trail, you'll pass through some wetlands (keep an eye out for Moose), get some awesome views of the valley, and ultimately be rewarded by a beautiful lake and the campsite. The hike took us about 3 hours, but we stopped to take a few photo stops/breaks along the way. We went mid-June and the trail was completely clear, but this may vary from season to season. If you're hiking early summer/if it's just rained, make sure you bring boots: it's pretty wet towards the end of the trail. Once you reach the campsite, explore the area - the lake is beautiful (and freezing), and an awesome spot to catch the set. A must do is to watch the stars: We were lucky enough to see the Milky Way crest over the mountains and it made for some pretty cool pictures. The lake also is super still at night, so the stars reflections are pretty clear in the water. 

It's also good to know this is bear country so prepare accordingly.

What we wish we knew:

  • Start early. There's so much cool stuff on the way (suspensions bridge, wetlands, etc.), you'll find yourself stopping a bunch to take pictures, so leave more time.
  • Jump in the lake. It's freezing, but so so worth it.
  • Seriously, take some night photos.
Distance

12.2 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
Lake
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Nearby Lodging

St. Mary / East Glacier KOA

Saint Mary, Montana

West Glacier KOA

West Glacier, Montana

From $99/night

Under Canvas Glacier

Coram, Montana

Whitefish / Kalispell North KOA

Whitefish, Montana

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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