If you want to hike on the Pitamakan Pass, you need to start at the North Shore Trailhead, which is located in the campground at Two Medicine. To get to the trailhead, you turn into the campground and drive half-a-mile along the main road. When you reach this area, you will park here on the left. Although, if it is full, there is another area for parking located a short distance from the main parking lot.
You will pass around Pray Lake and the Two Medicine Campground, which is when the trail begins to skirt around the eastern slopes of Rising Wolf Mountain.
Around 2.3 miles into the hike, you will cross another footbridge that will take you over Dry Fork Creek. You will then arrive at the Dry Fork Trail junction after walking another two-tenths of a mile. If you take the right trail, this will lead you down to the Two Medicine Entrance Station. If you take a left you will continue onto the trail.
At this point in the trail, you will be on the north side of Rising Wolf Mountain, which is where the trail begins to turn west through the broad valley. You will then travel on flat terrain for the next two or so miles. The path then begins to alternate between open meadows, pine forests, and small aspen groves.
4.2 miles into the trail, you will find yourself traveling through a large meadow. At this point you will have incredible views of the mountains surrounding you, which includes Flinsch Peak as well as Mt. Morgan if you look straight ahead.
After around 6.3 miles, you will be passing the side trail to Oldman Lake. Before reaching the junction, you will pass through a long stretch of huckleberries, which is one of the thickest huckleberry patches you will find in the whole park. At this point you will also be able to see your first close-up views of Pitamakan Pass, which happens to be on top of the ridge on your right. There is also a campground at Oldman Lake that includes four individual campsites for those who were considering a backpacking trip.
If you walk another quarter-mile past the junction, you will reach the base of the climb to the top of the pass. From this point in the trail, you have to climb 750 feet over the next 1.1 miles. The higher you get the better the views get of Oldman Lake. After finishing the steep climb, you will have amazing views of Rising Wolf Mountain and Boy Lake. If you look very closely, you will also be able to see Lower Two Medicine Lake much further down in the valley.
After this section, you will cross another section of the trail that has very little exposure because it passes over a relatively narrow ledge. This area is known for having very strong winds, which means you may want to look into bringing trekking poles of you can keep your balance. Sometimes the winds are too strong and the path is too dangerous so you may have to turn back when you reach this point.
After 7.7 miles from the trailhead you will finally reach the top of the trail. The views are incredibly beautiful from here. The top of the pass lies at a knife-edge ridge. The width of the sides of the saddle is around 20-25 feet, which gives you commanding views of the valleys on either side of the pass. Some say that Dawson Pass has better views than this pass, but others would have to disagree.
If you look directly below the south side of the pass you will see Oldman Lake, which is located directly below Flinsch Peak. If you look directly to the west you will see 8781-foot Mt. Morgan and looking north of Morgan, you will see 8285 Foot-McClintock Peak and just below the peak is the Lake of the Seven Winds. If you look directly below where you are towards the north, you will see Pitamakan Lake, while if you look far off into the distance, you will see Morning Star Lake. If you look in-between the two you will see Katoya Lake. If you look to the northeast, you will see three mountains and starting counterclockwise, the mountains are Red Mountain, Eagle Plume and Bad Marriage Mountain.
If you want to continue your hike to Dawson Pass then you should travel down to Two Medicine Lake. If you take the shuttle boat then this will then create a huge 14.8 mile loop, if you do no take the shuttle boat then you will form a 17.6 mile loop. The pass then continues on to the northern slopes of Mt. Morgan. It then climbs over the Continental Divide and circles around Mt. Morgan, and then proceeds along the west slopes of Flinsch Peak before reaching Dawson Pass.
You will also be able to see the Pitamakan Pass trail as it makes its way down the mountain from the north and west of the Pitamakan pass. Then the trail passes between the Lake of the Seven Winds and Pitamakan Lake before heading towards the final destination at Cut Bank.
This pass was named after Pitamakan, who was a female warrior leader4 of the Blackfeet Nation during the early 1700s. She experienced a vision quest near this area and she led many parties on several highly successful raids. She was also the only women in the Blackfeet Tribe to ever do so or to be given a man’s name. The name Pitamakan translates to English as Running Eagle.
This pass is also a part of the Continental Divide, which runs from the Mexican border in New Mexico, all the way to the town of Waterton Park in Canada.