Hiking Siyeh Pass in Glacier National Park in July and August inevitably leads to incredible amounts of wonderful flowers and this trip, under a cloudless blue sky, did not disappoint.
I was hiking with some friends Mary and Baker who had won a hike with me during the annual Backpacker’s Ball that the Glacier Conservancy puts on every year. Head on over to the site and see if the ball works for you, or at least consider becoming a member. They do incredible work to help our beloved Glacier National Park.
It started out gusty as we got out of our car, put our packs on, and hit the trail at Siyeh Bend. The beautiful blue skies had Glacier smiling on us as we started off along Siyeh Creek towards Siyeh Pass.
A bit of the trail through some trees as we ran into some Hike 734 fans and crossed some creeks. We emerged into the first set of meadows where you can see Piegan Mountain and Mt. Siyeh. Flowers were blooming in the meadows which was a good omen for Preston Park.
We broke away from the Piegan Pass trail and headed up through Preston Park towards Siyeh Pass. The rock hopping over the creek was a fun adventure and the surprise pond that sits in the meadow is always a delight. Just above there, we followed a dry creek bed to some large rocks (so as not to crush flowers) and ate some lunch.
The wind was blowing and didn’t keep us at any place long and we turned up towards the steeper switchbacks up towards the pass. Once at the pass, we met a few groups of people including a boy scout troop where we decided to take a few photos and head on down.
The other drainage that we walked down was the Baring Creek drainage towards St. Mary Lake. On this side, it was more flowers, Sexton Glacier, and creeks and waterfalls all around. We had a couple of easy snow crossings as we lost elevation through the cliff section. Once down in the bottom of the bowl, we looked back to all of the waterfalls from feeder streams that make up Baring Creek.
On the way down, we entered our first section of fallout from last year’s Reynolds Creek fire. Some sections of subalpine fir bore the scars of the fire that whipped up the valley, but the growth that comes afterwards is always wonderful and full of hope. After crossing a few of these fingers of fire scorched trees, we switchbacked down along Baring Creek.
From here, the wind really kicked up and blew mist from the creek up into our faces as it splashed over red rocks in a series of pools and cascades. This part of the trip is definitely one of my favorites. As we traversed along, we kept marveling at its beauty, then entered a larger stand of trees that were burnt to a crisp from the fires.
The wildflowers were blooming like crazy in these eerie stands that howled with the wind. The views have also opened up since the burn allowing us to see the tall mountains across the lake. Eventually, we dropped down along Sunrift Gorge, took a few pictures and hopped on a perfectly timed shuttle back to the car.
The Siyeh Pass hike is definitely a favorite of mine. It encompasses so many things that make Glacier National Park great. You get flowers, alpine views, a glacier, and mountains all around. I usually see Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep on this trail, but neither showed up. I might need to do it again. 😀