Mountain passes tend to be high passageways between peaks. But not Marias Pass. Adjacent to Glacier National Park, the pass flattens more like a forested valley than a mountain passage.
Alas, Lewis and Clark never found this passage to cross the Rocky Mountains. Today, it is the lowest road-accessible saddle over the Continental Divide north of New Mexico.
At Marias Pass, an interpretive site contains two monuments and educational displays. A tall obelisk honors Theodore Roosevelt, for whom U.S. Highway 2 is named.
Second, a statue pays homage to John F. Stevens who found the pass. Because of his discovery, Great Northern Railway pioneered tracks over the Northern Rockies.
In the 1890s, geologists also spotted the Lewis Overthrust. On Summit Peak north of the pass, the thrust fault is visible from the interpretive site. In massive earth-moving, 1.6-billion-year-old rocks slid on top of younger 80-million-year-old layers. In doing so, it exposed some of the oldest sediments in the world.
At the pass, the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail crosses onto the Autumn Creek Trail in Glacier National Park. Campers can spend the night at the pass in Summit Campground.