Cutbank Pass

Descending from the shoulders of Mt. Morgan, you find three distinct drainages. You have the Dry Fork drainage in the Two Medicine area, the Nyack to the west and Cutbank to the north. The trail coming up from the Cutbank drainage is called the Pitamakan Pass trail and is frequently used to get from the Cutbank drainage to the Two Medicine area. After the trail for Triple Divide shoots off to your right, you pass Atlantic Falls, which are beautiful falls, then find yourself in a huge open meadow. From there the valley chokes up a bit as you get closer to the creek and catch some great waterfalls. Often you can glance up and see mountain goats hanging out on the cliffs. After this, you’ll pass four beautiful lakes, one of which, Morningstar Lake, has a campground. Once past the last lake, you’ll begin climbing towards Pitamakan Pass. As you approach the pass, you’ll find yourself on a big alpine slope that frequently is home to a herd of Bighorn Sheep. The lion’s share of the visitors to this region will use this trail. The lesser used trail and corresponding pass is the one that heads on up and over Cutbank Pass.

Once you get to Pitamakan Pass, you’ll take the lower trail heading west to Cutbank Pass and begin a steep shale goat trail trip down to the saddle between Tinkham Mountain and McClintock Peak. This opens up into a beautiful bowl with great views. The trail continues one down into the forest and eventually meets up with the Nyack Trail that is part of the Coal/Nyack Loop. This trail works hard and fast to get to the bottom of the valley, so don’t set your expectations on an easy day.

Cutbank Pass
Bighorn Sheep

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2 responses to “Cutbank Pass”

  1. Kevin B. Avatar

    man, the last two hikes you’ve posted look absolutely awesome! Really looking forward to this summer. I guess most of these areas won’t be open for a while; do you know if they’ve had alot of snow this year?

    1. hike734 Avatar

      I love those areas! I liked Cutbank Pass down to the alpine shelf, but beyond that, I probably won’t see that trail again. 😉

      This year the snowpack is in the average range. Last year was ridiculous! They’re making great progress in plowing and places like this will be accessible more around mid-June the earliest I’m guessing. Look more towards July and definitely by August. (wow, does that sound like a lame answer or what?!)

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