Glacier, circa 1933

Last night, in a patrol cabin in the Glacier backcountry, I was rustling through the media drawer, mostly decade-old magazines, hanta virus info, the log book, and decks of cards, when I found something magic.

A very old map of Glacier, still just barely in one piece. We were enthralled at all the changes which have since happened.  I’ll highlight a few things, but the photos which follow are best appreciated with a knowledge of the park and/or a modern topo at hand.

In 1933 the Camas road did not exist, and many trails in the North Fork were trodden which have since died by the hands of fire and neglect.

What is today only a trail north from Kintla Creek to the border was once a road: you can still see the tread today in places, as well as the way it’s routed though the drainages.  The trail over Parke Ridge into Parke Creek is also long dead.

The trail up from the Loop used to be much more direct, apparently.  The Mineral Creek trail no longer exists, as Jake and I found out last year.  There used to be another trail to Fifty Mountain, up upper McDonald Creek, which has also fallen into disuse.  The third and currently-maintained trail over Flattop appears to be a much more modern thought.

Reportedly the Red Eagle Pass trail has not meaningfully existed for quite some time, and was a major pack-route during the time horses ruled the backcountry.  This bit of beta will prove crucial to a major project this summer.

Roes has since morphed into Rose.

The red Ts are the route of old telephone lines.  I thought I’ve seen traces of a trail going up Hidden Creek.

The contemporary Apgar Lookout trail takes a completely different route.  I can verify that the old trail is nowhere is be found.

More trails the North Fork used to have.

Seeing this map was a great, unexpected pleasure adding to an already great trip.


11 responses to “Glacier, circa 1933”

  1. While having zero clue of the area, looking at old maps (or maps in general) is always Time Well Spent. Thanks for sharing these fine looking, old maps.

  2. I love stuff like this. Thanks for posting.

  3. The incredibly fine level and attention to detail on everything, including typography, is amazing.

  4. Love the exploration of what I call “Ghost Trails”. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow thanks for posting this. Working in the park for 3 summers and hiking half the existing trails today made this very interesting for me! I too have seen traces of trail around Hidden Creek. Wouldn’t it have been awful to be there when there were telephone lines?

    Zion National Park has a history of old trails built in the early 1900’s, some of which were amazing, that are now nearly vanished, and no longer depicted on maps. There’s even a sundial and info plaque on top of one of the mesas that is now only reachable through technical rock climbing.

    1. It’s pretty amazing tourists used to be directed up Lady Mountain, eh?

  6. Nice score, Dave. BTW, have you been up Dutch Creek (off the North Fork) before? We refurbished a bunch of that trail in 2004 and I’m curious how it’s fairing.

    1. Not yet. It’s on the list for this winter.

      1. Perhaps connecting it over to the Arrow/Trout drainage with a climb of a not-so-often climbed peak in between?

        1. My hope was to take advantage of snow covering brush and snags and do a loop over into and then down Anaconda Creek. Not sure we’ll get that depth this winter. And not sure I’ll be skiing up high until May unless the snowpack gets better in line.

  7. […] you look at old maps of Glacier National Park you see that 80 years ago there were many more miles of trail than the […]

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