Trail Beginnings at Chief Mountain Customs:
Your journey commences at the Chief Mountain Customs trailhead, starting at a relatively high elevation. The trail gradually descends, providing a gentle introduction. As you embark on your trek, the magnificent sight of Chief Mountain stands as a sentinel, signaling the grandeur of the journey ahead.
The Dense Forest Canopy:
As you move further along, you’ll find yourself enveloped by a dense coniferous forest. The verdant surroundings, punctuated by the melodious chirping of birds and the distant murmur of water, provide a serene backdrop for the trek. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some local wildlife, but always maintain a respectful distance.
Crossing Belly River:
One of the trail’s iconic points is the crossing of the Belly River itself. Depending on the season and recent rainfall, the river’s flow can vary. Early in the trekking season, expect snowmelt to make the water levels higher. Always use caution during crossings, and it might be a good idea to pack water shoes or sandals for this part.
The Expansive Belly River Valley:
Post the river crossing, the trail opens up to showcase the vast and lush Belly River Valley. This section provides sweeping views of the meadows, with the distant mountains forming a dramatic backdrop. Wildflowers, if you’re trekking during the right season, can carpet the landscape in a riot of colors.
Arrival at Cosley Lake:
The culmination of this portion of the trail is your arrival at Cosley Lake. This serene body of water, framed by towering peaks, offers a perfect spot for rest and reflection. If you’re planning to camp, there are designated campsites around the lake, ensuring you wake up to a view worth every step of the journey.
- Trail Length:
The trek from Chief Mountain Customs to Cosley Lake covers approximately 8-9 miles, making it manageable for many trekkers but long enough to require proper preparation.
- Wildlife Awareness:
This area is bear country. Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and practice proper food storage. It’s also possible to see other wildlife like moose and elk.
- Trail Conditions:
Depending on the time of year, parts of the trail can be muddy or snow-covered. Always check current trail conditions before heading out.
If you plan to camp at Cosley Lake or anywhere in the backcountry, remember to obtain the necessary permits from Glacier National Park’s backcountry office.