Medicine Peak from the ridge leading to Mt. Henry
Medicine Peak stands at 8,445 feet and is located in Two Medicine. It is the first named mountain you climb in the Scenic Point Ridge Walk.
According to J. Gordon Edwards the whole Scenic Point Ridge Walk covers 13 miles of exhilarating open country, most of it far above timberline along great rounded ridges and ten hours should be allowed for the entire ridge walk.
On the National Geographic Map of Glacier National Park it is just labeled as Medicine, but Edwards calls it Medicine Peak. One must be a fast, experienced climber to complete the entire Ridge Walk in ten hours.
Two Medicine with Rising Wolf Mountain. Photo by SP Member rebelgrizz
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana. Medicine Peak is located in the Two Medicine Valley in the southeastern corner of Glacier National Park. There are two ways to get to Two Medicine.
One way is through St. Mary's, Montana.
Drive on Highway 89 south to the Kiowa Junction. Then turn right on to Highway 49 and drive to the Two Medicine turnoff which is 9 miles. Approximately 8.5 miles from the Highway 49 Junction is the Scenic Point Trailhead.
Another way is from East Glacier, Montana.
First reach East Glacier, Montana on Highway 2. From there drive North for 4 miles to the Two Medicine turnoff on State Highway 49. From there its 8.5 miles from the Highway 49 junction to the Scenic Point Trailhead.
Medicine Peak is located in Glacier National Park. This is bear country
, so hike with bear spray and make lots of noise.
For current National Park Entrance fees
See rules and regulations
for Glacier National Park.
Black Bear seen along the road. JFK photo
Different Views From Medicine Peak
Summit Views are very rewarding. The best view is of Mount Henry and the whole Scenic Point Ridge Walk. Other views include the hanging valley that sits below Henry, and the other Two Medicine Peaks: Rising Wolf Mountain, Appistoki Peak, Flinsch Peak, Mt. Phillips, and Mt. Sinopah. You also view Bison Mountain, other mountains that you go by on Highway 2, Dawson Pass, Mt. Stimson, and the Nyack Area.
Rising Wolf Mountain
Bear Grass at the beginning of the Scenic Point Trail. Photo by SP Member rebelgrizz
Cougar and JFK at the false summit. Photo by SP Member rebelgrizz
The route starts at the Scenic Point Trailhead. From the foot of Two Medicine Lake take the trail to Scenic Point which is 2,240 vertical feet from the lake. You start out on the trail surrounded by an evergreen forest and Bear Grass. Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. It is about 4.5 feet tall. Its olive-colored, grass-like leaves grow from the base of the plant and are tough and wiry. The outside leaves clasp around the stem. The leaves have toothed margins, and grow about 35 inches long, getting shorter as they near the flowers, looking very much like a fan.
The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. Each flower is creamy white, and saucer shaped, and has a sweet aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.
Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States. It is commonly found under alpine larch (Larix lyallii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands on cold, rocky sites at upper timberlines.
As you continue on the trail you go past Appistoki Falls and begin coming out of the trees. You switchback your way up to an unnamed peak and go past the summit block and onto the saddle between that peak and another unnamed peak. Continue on the trail which cuts into the side of the mountain.
Once you're past that particular area you can see the Scenic Point. You don't have to go to Scenic Point, the ridge walk topo shows that you need to stay close and go around the top of the unnamed peak and walk towards Medicine Peak. You begin to lose elevation as you descend to the saddle between Medicine Peak and the unnamed one. Once you're at the saddle go straight up Medicine Peak.
Once you begin gaining elevation again you scramble through class 2 cliffs almost all the way up, but then it goes to class 1 once you start nearing the false summit. Once you're at the summit you can come back down the way you came up or take the Scenic Point Ridge Walk
where you climb Mt. Henry
and then continue to Point 8650.
Then it continues down the ridge to the saddle between Point 8650 and Appistoki Peak
, which you can climb, or descend from the saddle down to Appistoki Creek
and back towards the trailhead.
Weather and When to Climb
It is possible to climb Medicine Peak and the Scenic Point Ridge Walk during early months by snowshoeing, but it is a real challenge. The roads usually open very late in the season though.
Essential Gear and Camping
If you're making an early season climb ice axes and crampons might be needed. If you're wanting to climb without snow, hiking poles and good footwear can help you through Medicine Peak's scree.
The closest campground is located at