When I finished my last post, we were on top of the Continental Divide at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. Logan Pass is undoubtedly the most-visited area of the park, and one look around makes it clear as to why. Logan Pass is beautiful!
To the east, views extend for miles down the St. Mary Valley. To the west, Clements Mountain towers above fields of wildflowers. The Continental Divide stretches to the north and south, the snow-covered Rocky Mountains rising with a rugged profile contrasted against the wide blue Montana skies.
There’s a visitor center at Logan Pass, as well as ample opportunities for photography; the other popular attraction is Hidden Lake. The trail to Hidden Lake departs from the Visitor Center and meanders through fields of wildflowers as it climbs up to the Continental Divide on foot this time (the parking lot, visitor center, and trailhead are actually located slightly below the divide).
After 1.5 miles (2.4 km), during which we often encounter mountain goats, is the overlook. And down below, in the cirque formed by Clements Mountain, Reynolds Mountain and Bearhat Mountain, is Hidden Lake.
The trail continues sharply down to Hidden Lake, though both times I’ve been there recently it was closed due to bear activity. I’ve hiked to Hidden Lake in July, August, and September, and the weather has ranged from sunny and warm to foggy with snow still covering parts of the trail. You just never know what you’re going to get. But if the weather is less than stellar, the good news is that things change quickly at this elevation and it might just clear up in a few minutes. It’s always best to carry sunscreen, a sweatshirt, and a raincoat, just in case.
From the other side of the road at Logan Pass, the Highline Trail traverses Mount Gould on its way to Granite Park Chalet, with an optional side-trip to Swiftcurrent Pass. It then drops back down to the road at The Loop. It’s about 11-12 miles (17-19 km) one way, so the best thing to do is to park at The Loop, ride the shuttle to Logan Pass, and then hike back to the car.
The views from this trail are supposed to be some of the best in the park, and from the photos I’ve seen it seems to be an accurate description. I’ve yet to do this hike, but it’s #1 on my list next time I’m in Glacier.
Pat is super excited to visit Glacier, which I promised him we would next time we’re in Montana. We’ll be spending one of our days climbing up to the Hidden Lake overlook and then hiking the Highline Trail from one end to the other…maybe we’ll see you there!
The Important Stuff:
- Getting there: Logan Pass is the summit of Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is accessible from the western (Apgar) and eastern (Saint Mary) entrances to the park; drive yourself, or take the free shuttle buses and save yourself the hassle of trying to find a place to park
- Fees & passes: $30 per car for a 7-day pass; Interagency Annual Pass accepted
- Camping: there are no campgrounds at Logan Pass; closest camping options are Avalanche (87 sites, $20 per night, reservations NOT accepted) on the west side of the divide and Rising Sun (84 sites, $20 per night, reservations NOT accepted) on the east
- Hiking: Hidden Lake overlook (2.8 miles/4.5 km round-trip, moderate) with a continuation down to the lake (2.4 miles/4 km additional round-trip, steep) if the trail is open
- Other: the weather changes extremely quickly at this elevation, and storms can roll in without warning. Always carry warm clothes, a rain coat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, just in case!