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Firebrand Pass

Are you a Glacier Institute Member?
Please give us the 3 best date options for your Personalize Educational Outing.

Join us as we step into the wild and undisturbed aspen parklands just below the Continental Divide. This outing will appeal to those that wish to get off the ‘beaten path’ and experience a portion of Glacier that sees very few visitors. This full-day excursion begins at the Lubec trailhead, just 45 minutes from West Glacier. Our first steps along the trail will transport us into habitat that supports beavers, mountain lions, moose, bears, and more. We will move slowly through the aspen parklands as we learn about this unique ecosystem and the wildlife that it supports. We will pay special attention to the treetops in this area, as it provides fantastic habitat for numerous species of birds.As we move out of the forested section of our hike, we will be offered spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. As we break for lunch on the trail, we will take the time to look for sheep, goats, bears, and more on the surrounding hillsides.

Meeting Place: Outside of The Glacier Institute Field Camp Library/Office

Meeting Time: 7:45am *we will confirm this time with you leading up to your tour

Anticipated return time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm *depending on pace of group

Recommended booking dates: July through September! Earlier in the season we modify this to be a shorter hike focused more on the wildflowers.

Physical Requirements: Difficult  

Distance (roundtrip): 10.2 miles / Total elevation gain: 1,950 feet

*This is your hike! If you wish to do just a portion of the trail we are happy to accommodate that

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, snacks, and at least one liter of water. Please bring a pack to carry your lunch as we will be having lunch out on the trail.

Equipment: Bring rain gear, warm jacket, gloves, a hat, and comfortable hiking shoes. It can be cold, so plan on having lots of layers of warm clothes to add and shed as necessary. Please keep in mind that snow can linger at higher elevations in Glacier National Park well into the summer months. Binoculars are useful, but optional.

Transportation during course: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Weather: This course will not be canceled due to weather. Please check the weather forecast in advance and refer to the gear list for proper attire.

Tentative Itinerary:

*Please note that times are approximate!

7:45am: Meet outside of The Glacier Institute Field Camp Library/Office.

7:45am- 8:00am: After we make our introductions, we will have an overview of the day’s itinerary followed by a brief training in bear safety procedures, Leave No Trace Ethics, and trail etiquette.

8:00am-9:00am: Drive along highway 2 heading east towards East Glacier. Along the way, we will stop at Marias Pass to view the Lewis Overthrust, a geologic spectacle that scientists from around the world travel to see.

9:00am-12:30pm: The first portion of our hike will focus largely on beaver ecology as we observe the evidence of beavers in this area and discuss the effects of their dams and lodges on the surrounding streams, soils, fish, and mammals. We will spend time in this area looking for moose and other animals that frequent this area. This is also an excellent area to discover new species of wildflowers in the early summer.

12:30pm-1:30pm: After we reach the expansive valley below Firebrand Pass, we will stop to assess the hunger and desires of the group. Depending on the season and snow cover, we can stop here for lunch or continue the hike towards Firebrand Pass.

1:30pm-3:30pm: During our hike back to the trailhead we will take time to address the specific questions of the group that have not yet been answered. We will also discuss how the Firebrand Pass area fits into the bigger picture of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. We will also discuss the great fires of 1910 that burned this area and gave it its name.

3:30pm-4:15pm: Return to Glacier Institute Field Camp.

4:15-4:30: Arrival back at Field Camp. Wrap-up, Q&A, course evaluation forms.