Backpack to Poia Lake, Glacier NP

Details

Distance

12.8 miles

Elevation Gain

1700 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Matt Johnson

A pleasant overnight or a challenging day-hike, Poia Lake offers gorgeous views of the Red Gap Pass. A less-traveled section of Many Glacier with some fantastic scenery.

Located in Many Glacier, the Red Gap Pass trail begins at the Apikuni Falls Trailhead located east of the Many Glacier Lodge (if you're looking to check out the falls before your hike, check out Hike to Apikuni Falls at Glacier National Park). The trail starts at a gradual incline and continue this way along the Swiftcurrent Ridge for the first three miles of the hike. The incline is mild, so it shouldn't be too strenuous for most hikers. At 3.3 miles, a fork in the trail can be seen for the Sherborne Cut-Off Trail, so continue to the left for the campground. After this, Swiftcurrent Ridge Lake can be seen along the right side of the trail. The incline continues for another 1/2 mile, and the trail begins to switchback downward into the valley. After this, the trail opens up into a large boulder field as you approach the lake hidden behind the ridge. 

When arriving to the campground, a food prep area, along with the bear hanging station, is located to the right. There are four campground spots, a pit toilet, and a hitching post for horses. The lake is a short walk down the trail, with multiple outlets towards the water. About 0.2 miles from the campsite, there is a bridge across Kennedy Creek leading to a beautiful waterfall at the end of the lake. From the lake, you have a great view of Apikuni Mountain, Crowfeet Mountain, and the Rep Gap Pass leading towards Elizabeth Lake and the Ptarmigan Tunnel.

On your return towards the trailhead, if you have two vehicles or hitchhike, you can shorten your hike by taking the Sherborne Cut-Off Trail, or what the rangers call "The Luge". The 1.2 mile trail is steep and slippery at times, but can save time and provide some additional entertainment on the return trip. 

Reservations are needed for the Poia Lake Campground. To reserve in advance, visit the GNP Website. Half are reserved for advanced sites, the other half are saved for walk-ups. You can get walk-up permits by visiting any of the six GNP ranger offices within 24 hours of your trip.  

Mileage with Sherbourne Cut-Off Trail Return: 10.9 Miles 

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Know for

Photography
Swimming
Backpacking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

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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.

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