|PO Box 1887
Kalispell, MT 59903
A Postcard Trip of Siyeh Pass Loop
Personalized Educational Outings
“These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.” I imagine Peter Mathiessen standing atop Siyeh Pass, enlivened by the gleam of Sexton glacier and that keyhole view of an imperial Reynolds peak, exultant. The Siyeh Pass trail delights its hikers with an ecological barrage of phenomena, from the gullies and rivulets that stream down from tarns through Preston Park and the spruce-fir forest to the grace of wildflower co-ops feeding a teeming collective of winged workers. Our day touches on the hydrological significance of this eastern finger of the maritime Pacific climate, a crash course in wildflower and shrub identification, how the buzzing insectary in these climes waxes and wanes through the season, and grizzly tales of the alpha omnivore of the Rockies and how Ursus arctos horribilus eats high and low across the park.
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM
Finishing Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM (depending on pace of group)
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map)
Food: Please bring a sack lunch, trail snacks, and at least one liter of water.
Equipment: Be prepared for any kind of weather including snow. Bring rain gear, warm jacket or pullover, 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. Binoculars are useful, but optional.
Physical Requirements: Strenuous / Distance (roundtrip): 10.4 miles / Total elevation gain: 2,280 ft.
Transportation during course: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.
Weather: This outing will not be canceled due to weather.
8:00 AM: Meet at the Glacier Institute Field Camp
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM: After making 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.
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM: Drive along the Going to the Sun Road. Along the way, we can stop at any of the turnouts desired to snap some pictures of Bird Woman Falls, the Weeping Wall, and other tumbling creeks and roadside spectacles.
9:30 AM - 12:30 PM: The first portion of our hike will focus largely on insect ecology as we observe how insects utilize Glacier’s moist microclimates and floral diversity to their advantage. We will spend time in this area looking for grizzly bears and discussing their dietary preferences as seasons and elevations change. This is also an excellent area to discover new species of wildflowers and other plants in early to mid-summer.
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM: After we reach the sweeping view of Siyeh 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 up and around Matahpi Peak, with the trail topping out at 8100’, one of the highest maintained trails in the park.
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM: The remainder of trail descends to Sun Rift Gorge on the east side of the Divide, offering discussions on the unique climates of the park and the hydrological significance on plant and animal communities. We will also highlight the many Blackfeet names and stories attached to these prominent features.
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM: Return to Glacier Institute Field Camp.
4:30 PM - 4:45 PM: Wrap-up, Q&A, course evaluation forms.