Traverse: travel across or through.
In hiker lingo, a “traverse” is a longer point-to-point journey that often involves a significant amount of off-trail hiking over steep rocky slopes and/or bush-whacking. The goal of a traverse may be to bag a peak(s) or experience a special place not seen by the masses. The length of the traverses (often over 15 miles), an unwillingness to hike off-trail on rugged terrain, and the inconvenience of doing a shuttle are factors that discourage many people from attempting them. They’re definitely not for everyone, but if you’re up to the challenge the pay-off can be tremendous.
Through the heart of Glacier.
I’ve enjoyed rubbing elbows with thousands of hikers on the popular trails in Glacier Park, but two of my best experiences in the park have been traverses. In 2016 I hiked from Many Glacier to Siyeh Bend with my friend John (see link below: “The Skyline Experience”) – an incredible 17-mile traverse along a ridge that eventually took us up and over Mt. Siyeh. Then this past week (8/5/19) six of us, including John’s wife Aidan and her son Peter, enjoyed the fantastic “Floral Park Traverse” from Logan Pass to Lake McDonald. Aidan and Peter guided us through my new favorite place in the park – the Sperry Glacier area.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
My friend Murray (in one car), my daughter Amy, and I (in another car) drove from Helena, dropped a car at Lake McDonald Sunday evening, then drove the other car over to St. Mary where we camped that night. Early Monday morning we drove up to Logan Pass to meet Peter, Aidan, and their friend Jennifer at 6 am. The hike was amazing – perfect weather, a very fit & fun group, and some of the best scenery in the country. The 19-mile hike took us 11.5 hours. We started off hiking a 3-mile trail from Logan Pass to the outlet of Hidden Lake (1 hour), followed by 6.5 miles of off-trail hiking with plenty of breaks (7.5 hours – the most awesome part of our day), and then finished by walking the 9.5 mile trail from Comeau Pass down to Lake McDonald (a 3-hour slog – the least awesome part). I could give you the blow by blow, but I’m going to let the pictures do the talking on this one . . . Take the Photo Tour to learn more about our route and see what we experienced. The photos are best viewed on a big screen – be sure to read the captions!
The day after completing the Floral Park Traverse, Murray and I climbed Heaven’s Peak. I have also posted that adventure on bigskywalker.com.
Happy trails! -Rod Benson
- Photo Tour of our Floral Park Traverse.
Best viewed on a larger screen – Be sure to read the captions.
- Map of the area between Logan Pass and Lake McDonald.
Zoom in or out, scroll, drag, etc.
- The Skyline Experience.
A traverse from Many Glacier to Siyeh Bend.
- Goat Haunt to Many Glacier.
My best backpacking trip in Glacier Park.
- Triple Divide Peak and Beyond.
Another great adventure in Glacier Park.
- The Highline Trail.
Arguably the best on-trail hike in Glacier Park.
- Chief Mountain.
My favorite peak in Glacier Park.
- More about how to do the Floral Park Traverse.
From blogger “Hike 734”.
Below: This map marks hikes that have been featured on bigskywalker.com so far, including several in Glacier Park – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.