Scenic Point Spring 2022

Scenic Point Spring 2022

The hike up to Scenic Point in the spring frequently delivers bighorn sheep and sweeping views. With few options that don’t involve copious amounts of snow travel, we set out on the trail and got both the sheep in the views in spades.

This spring has been cooler and wetter than in the past few years, so finding trails that aren’t snow slogs has been difficult. Scenic Point in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park is always a fave/

We headed out (admittedly) a bit later than we liked and found a mid-week parking lot at the trailhead to be packed! We’re going to have to get used to Two Medicine being busy with the park’s reservation system for Going-to-the-Sun Road, but we also know that trailheads fill up early in the summer.

After the quick level section of the trail (where up on one of the slopes we spied a small herd of bighorn sheep), we quickly came to the junction for Appistoki Falls, but decided to bypass it so we could get up into our beloved alpine areas. Besides, we would get a glimpse slightly further up the trail.

Along the way we passed some kinnikinnick flowers, along with glacier lilies, springbeauty, and shooting stars. Just as we passed the top of the waterfall, the vistas opened up and we spied our second herd of bighorn sheep, but this group had five lambs! It’s always a delight to see them frolic around and they are super cute this time of year.

We passed the amazing old whitebark pine trees that are shells of their former selves. Disease and climate have ravaged their populations, but a few remain and concerted efforts are underway to help restore them. As we climbed, going in and out of stands of trees, we heard Brewer’s Sparrows and Clark’s Nutcrackers filling the air with song and squawks (respectively).

Two young bighorn sheep stopped right on the trail in front of us. One trotted off while the other made us walk up and around. We continued to climb, walking on a couple of brief sections of snow up to the traverse section.

As we drove in earlier in the day, it looked like the cliff section of the trail had some snow on the traverse. It sounded like folks had told us that the trail didn’t have much snow except what we’d already walked. We figured that people probably weren’t going all of the way to the actual Scenic Point, and as we approached the traverse, that was confirmed.

We passed a few groups hanging out at the spot with incredible views, but not the actual point. As soon as we got to the traverse, a fairly good size snowfield still remained. We took our time and navigated it and that would be the last snow we would have to the summit.

The pink blossoms of moss campion and the fuzzy purple bells of pasqueflower dotted the landscape while Horned Larks displayed overhead with their tinkling calls as they fluttered around. As we approached the top, we met a couple from Indiana where we visited for a bit, then they left to give us the summit to ourselves.

We relaxed in the sunshine (and cool breeze), had some lunch, took some pictures, and kept vigilant watch at a hoary marmot and golden-mantled squirrel that were keen to get some salty snacks that were our pack straps.

On the way back, we encountered more sheep including a larger ram and a small group with a tiny lamb about 40 yards from us.

Overall a splendid day that only makes us yearn for more adventures as the snow melts out.

Appistoki Falls

5 responses to “Scenic Point Spring 2022”

  1. HI Jake, I just found your site and signed up for your emails and subscribed on YouTube. Looking forward to reviewing videos to help us our with trail/hike info. We will be in Glacier July 5-11. (Hoping GTTSR opens up!) When you say you got to the trailhead a bit late and the parking lot was pretty full….what is “late”? In other words, what time should we plan to BE there to get a parking spot? Thanks!

  2. We got there around 10:30am and found one of the last spots. For most of the trailheads not along Going-to-the-Sun Road you’d probably be good with 8am.

  3. As soon as the late June Spring rains begin to taper off, more visitors will be coming up to Glacier to hike. That and the Sun Road ticketing mandate will direct more and more to the east side of the park to places like Two Medicine & Many Glacier valleys.

    Glacier is already getting extra traffic because of vacationers abandoning Yellowstone and heading up here. Today, June 21 is the first day of Summer and the Glacier tourist season has already begun.

    Parking at TM is relatively small as is the Running Eagle turnout. I would think that even now, and certainly by mid-late July the lots will fill by 7 AM or even earlier.

    Those having boat tour tickets are allowed into both Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys when they close those valleys off due to crowding and lack of parking.
    ===
    In spite of ticketing which did reduce traffic backups on the Sun Road last year, the Avalanche, Logan Pass and St Mary/Virginia Falls lots fill up very early and again after 4 PM.

    ***No visitors without Sun Road tickets can enter the West Glacier or Camas Gates before 6 AM this year. They can enter after 4 PM. Those having lodging in Apgar can enter at any time but they too cannot access the construction closure section on the Sun Road until 6 AM.

    There is a NIGHTLY Sun Road closure between Sprague Creek Campground to just south of Lake McDonald Lodge. It is closed between 10 PM and 6 AM all season long and continuing until next Spring sometime. One Lane pilot cars will lead traffic through between 6 AM and 10 PM…expect delay.

    They have mentioned that they are planning a one time midnight pilot car in each direction to guide visitor’s who have gotten stuck by the closure and cannot reach their Lodging at Lake McDonald or get back to Apgar after a long day on the east side of the park.
    ===
    The St Mary’s gate/east side GTTSR is now accessible to anyone with a National Park Pass for as far as it is open.

    Those without Sun Road tickets can still access the Sun Road on the EAST side for as far as it’s open before 6 AM and after 4 PM.

    Once the Sun Road OPENS FULLY, tickets will be required to use the Sun Road 6AM – 4PM from the new Rising Sun gate up thru September 11th.

  4. As soon as the late June Spring rains begin to taper off, more visitors will be coming up to Glacier to hike. That and the Sun Road ticketing mandate will direct more and more to the east side of the park to places like Two Medicine & Many Glacier valleys.

    Glacier is already getting extra traffic because of vacationers abandoning Yellowstone and heading up here. Today, June 21 is the first day of Summer and the Glacier tourist season has already begun.

    Parking at TM is relatively small as is the Running Eagle turnout. I would think that even now, and certainly by mid-late July the lots will fill by 7 AM or even earlier.

  5. Hi Jake, I’m coming to glacier starting July 8-15. I was curious with the current conditions what might be the best 3-4 day backpacking trip? I know I will have to secure walk up permits, I have a permit for cracker lake, but I’m going to try and get something else if possible! I’ve gotten walk up permits before and I’m aware I’ll have to get there super early if there’s a chance to get one! Thanks 🙏🏻

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