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Cosley Lake | Glacier National Park, Montana

Hiking Trail or Trailhead

In the far northeast corner of Glacier National Park sits the remote Belly and Mokowanis Rivers. A backpack trip into Cosley Lake makes for a great early season hike while the Glacier high country is still covered in snow.

*For any overnight trips into Glacier, make sure to get a backcountry permit from a ranger station, and to make sure backcountry camp sites are available.

Cosley Lake sunrise – Just Your Average Weekend Photography - Adam Birely

Estimated Time it Takes to Experience this Trail

1 or 2 nights. More if going further up trail towards Stoney Indian Pass

Starting at the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead (Montana side), the hike starts off by dropping 700 ft into the Belly River. Once along the Belly River it is pretty much flat all the way til you reach the Belly River Ranger Station at mile 6.

From a junction near the ranger station make a right and go across the Belly River on a suspension bridge (Make sure to check the NPS Glacier website for trail conditions and to make sure the bridge has been put in for the season).

From here you will go up and over a hill and now be in the Mokowanis River Valley. Keep hiking for a couple miles through meadows and forest and soon you will arrive at the foot of Cosley Lake where the campground is located.

Highlights and Best Features of this Trail

  • Take the short spur trail to see Gros Ventre Falls
  • Leave your overnight packs hanging up at camp at Cosley Lake and take the 1.7 mile side trail up to the Bear Mountain observation point. The trail gains almost 1,400 feet of elevation, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the entire Mokowanis River Valley.
  • In the summer, make beautiful Cosley Lake a stop on a longer multi-day trip up and over Stoney Indian Pass.

Trail Distance

8.8 miles one way - Trailhead to Cosley Lake Campground

Trail Vertical Gain or Loss

700 ft

Nearby Places