Dawson Pass via Two Medicine Lake

Page Type
Montana, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Grade II-III; Class 1

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Dawson Pass via Two Medicine Lake
Created On: Sep 5, 2005
Last Edited On: Sep 6, 2005


The easiest way to begin is to start at the Two Medicine trailhead. Cross over a small footbridge and you will almost immediately come to a trail junction. Go left (southwest) and follow the shore of Two Medicine Lake. Continue on this trail for approximately 3-4 miles until you reach the next trail junction. The left junction will lead toward Upper Two Medicine Lake; the right junction will go toward Dawson Pass, No Name Lake, and Bighorn Basin. Stick to the right. The trail will now begin to climb a bit and you should see Pumpelly Pillar in front of you. Keep climbing up on the trail. After 4.6 miles from the trailhead you should reach the junction for No Name Lake. The beautiful spot is a great place to fill up the water bottles or spend the night; take a left if you wish to visit No Name Lake or stick to the right if you want to continue up to Dawson Pass. Note: There is no water beyond this point.

Route Description

From the No Name Lake junction you will climb steadily up on the trail towards Dawson Pass. On the left you will see Pumpelly Pillar and on the right you'll see Bighorn Basin and eventually Flinsch Peak. Many switchbacks exist on the trail up to Dawson Pass. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach Dawson Pass from No Name Lake. Once you reach the Pass you'll have views that stretch from the peaks in the north and the south and in all directions -- stunning! From the pass leave the trail and head south up the ridgeline towards Mount Helen. There are some fun Class 3 scrambles if you choose to frolic up a few mini headwalls. (These can be avoided by going right or west on the ridgeline.) Note: there are some rock cornices to the left (east) of the ridgeline early on; be careful because the rock is quite crumbly and a fall here would be very bad. The ascent of the ridgeline is easy, however, if you stick to the right. Continue up and pas a few minor peaks and follow a faint trail up the ridgeline. Note: We encountered gale-force winds along the ridgeline and were later told that Dawson Pass is the windiest place in the park. Mt. Helen affords views down to Upper Two Medicine Lake, Mount Rockwell and Lone Walker Mountain to the south, and Flinsch Peak to the north. Descend the way you came up.

Essential Gear

No technical gear is needed for this peak during the summer. A water filter would be handy and possibly bear spray as this area is frequented by Grizzlies.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Dawson Pass via Two Medicine Lake

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