Logan Pass and Hidden Lake Trail | Glacier National Park


“We loved that there were two flags – US & Canadian at the Logan Pass. Logan Pass is the highest point at Going to the Sun road and sits on the continental divide. This is the most popular area in the park where several hikes start including Hidden Lake trail (begins behind the Visitor Center) and Highline Trail (Runs across the road from the Visitor Center). 

Tip1: Always check the current condition in the park. Due to plenty of wildlife, some campsites could be closed for soft tents. Also, some trails could be closed.  You can find current condition here.

 The Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park is 2.7 miles roundtrip - its a beginners hike to the overlook and lets us meander amidst great views.

Don't forget to check out the adjoining views of Beathat Mountain, at the immediate right to Iceberg Lake in the pic.

And the beach...

Previous Posts on Glacier National Park
25 Tips to drive the iconic Going to the Sun Road
Glacier National Park | First Come First Serve Camping
A week in Glacier National Park | 20 Tips to get you started

This was also our first hike in the park, and we learnt early that there is limited parking and one has to arrive early to get a spot there. The best way to get here is by free shuttles. We also found that the most snow that we encountered was on Hidden Lake Trail in July first week as compared to the other trails we did”

Why are there two flags at Logan Pass?

Though established and managed separately, to commemorate longstanding peace between the United States and Canada, in 1932 the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament declared that Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park be joined. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was then created and became the world’s first International Peace Park.

                                It's amazing to see two flags - US and Canadian at Logan Pass!

Visitors will notice the international border when traveling between the two countries, but the plants and animals living in the parks do not. They cross freely, as this is one large ecosystem and peaceful political boundaries do not effect the native flora and fauna.

Hidden Lake Hike & Trail

Hidden Lake Hike is a beginner's hike. This could also be your first hike in the park. It acquaints you with the region and inspires you to look out for more!

The Hidden Lake Trail gently climbs through Sub Alpine meadow behind the Visitor Center. During our time of the year, the trail gently climbed through paved surface behind the Visitor Center, and there was snow on both sides on the boardwalk steps that came thereafter. We also saw mountain goat gazing twice on the trail – once next to the paved walk where she was foraging on the meadow grass, and once when we were near the pond.

                                     Sub Alpine Meadow behind the Visitor Center

                                                                         The Broadwalk

                                                    The Broadwalk and the Steps.

Tip1: Lookout for Wildlife in the meadows. We got to see Mountain Goat very early in the hike.

The boardwalk steps seem to end after a while, and we were hiking on a snowfield. This part of the hike is moderate as we were hiking on the elevation that had plenty of snow. Admire the views of the adjacent tall mountains as you hike.

Tip2: If you are hiking in Glacier, do not wear Sports Shoes like us. Wear Waterproof Snow Hiking Shoes.

Tip3: When you are there, notice the colorful stones amidst the snow. Also, you will notice the pink color of the snow at times – this is because of a pink algae.

The Slope Affair: May be it was because the snow was melting into slush, or may be because the slush created a temporary inclined sharp slope or may be that's how it is usually. We wouldn't know but I am guessing that Summers may be better and it could be a cakewalk or fairly easy to cross this one. There is a bend in the hike, where there is a sharp slope. Before the bend with the slope, Hidden Lake is really hidden for you. In fact, you will think that you are hiking on a hill upwards and all you get to see is mountains around you.

During when we were there, the bend was so narrow that only one person at a time could cross. It was slippery and had the slope next to it.  Many were crossing, one feet at a time, taking support from the small hill on the side. My husband wasn't comfortable doing this part, so he gave up climbing further. I personally felt if he could have pushed just a little bit, he could have gone past that point. And beyond that point onwards till the overlook, the hike is pretty flat.

Tip3: When on Hidden Lake Trail, enjoy the views of adjacent mountains during the first leg of the trail when you are on the boardwalk or even on the snowfield before the slope turn.

The slope turns into an open vast space of flat meadow with a pond, and a few trickles and a view of Bearhat mountain at distance. You still couldn't see Hidden Lake, until just few yards away before the overlook.

             Is it a sheep or a mountain goat? Looks like sheep with the fur, but is a mountain goat!

At 1.5 miles the trail reaches Hidden Lake Overlook where Hikers can see the lake and the BearHat mountain.

The trail continues another 1.5 miles into the lake. There is a beach on the lake. Most hikers hike till the Overlook and return back. Since I was on my own, I chose not to venture after the Overlook which I am keeping it for next time! Now when I think in retrospect, I think how can I miss the ice floating lake with a beach from up close. How could have I missed on that. But I guess we all have to make choices. 

Part of me was tempted to go further, but a part of me knew, my hubby would still be waiting for me at the Snowfield on his own. He can be like that and I wasn't wrong on that either. I found him where I left him waiting for me. So, I chose to return back. I completed the hike till the Overlook and back to Visitor Center in 4 hours round hike (2 hours one way) taking plenty of stops and pictures.

Tip5: If you wish to complete the whole hike, probably it would take 3-4 hours one way, that means you need to have an entire day to complete the hike.

Tip6 : Glacier National Park is a hiking park. Go to Glacier National Park with someone who matches your hiking frequency and zeal. What I realized from my whole experience was, my hubby enjoys more relaxed vacations while I can push through certain times, he does not and that leaves me stranded in many hikes leaving me with a choice – should I go further on my own or should I not. I wouldn’t advice hiking alone in GNP because there is plenty of wilderness out there including Grizzlies and Mountain Lions unlike any other park than we have been in the US and most people I met on the trail were either in a group or with their friends or partners. If you are leisure types, driving Going to the Sun road barely scratches on the surface. In this park, if you love hiking, you will enjoy it deeply and throughly. 

High Line Trail Wildlife & Why we didn’t do it!

Can you spot minion sized humans in the middle of the Rocky Mountain in the picture? Thats Highline trail right there. So, not really for people scared of heights.

“The Highline Trail is not for the fainthearted. If you are scared of heights as my hubby was, you may have hard time doing it. Even in the beginning of the hike, the trail cuts the mountain rocks almost perpendicular and makes a narrow trail path, in parallel to the road down under where cars are passing by. This road is the Going to the Sun road that also has valley on its sides.

Tip 7: When we both were calmly standing and watching it from the road, we felt that God forbid someone falls off the trail, he/she is going to have a 3 tier fall from the trail to the road and then into the valley. But for people not scared of heights, it could be a great challenge and as always on all trails in GNP, you will find few on them too. Fewer than Iceberg, Hidden or Grinnel trails though. 

This trail requires a firm footing and focus. You can also watch people hike this trail from the road, and the people look like ants from down the road. All I am saying is, I am sure it’s an amazing hike, but know what is!

I would have done it, if I had a partner to go along with. There were many people who did a U-turn just watching the steepness of this hike and there were many who actually braved to go forward with this. in spite it all, it’s a popular hike in the park, and if you are game for it, go for it. It’s not recommended for young children though. The West is Big illustrates the hike well in his video:

Tip8: It is a strenuous 7-8 hours 11.6 miles hike. It takes all day. You can experience the beauty of the high country on an all-day hike along the Garden Wall. You can hike the 7.6-mile trail to the Granite Park Chalet followed by a steep 2200-foot descent over the last 4 miles ending at the Loop.

Tip 9: Even if one could not do it. I would highly suggest, going on the Highline Trail entrance and walking through the initial few yards because that’s where you get to see plenty of wildlife specially a bunch Big Horn Sheeps. The hike entrance is right across Logan Pass Visitor Center / Continental Divide Sign at the Logan Pass. 

Tip 10: Be also on the lookout for Big Horn Sheep on the snowfield across Logan Pass. You can find Big Horn Sheep even when you are driving on Going to the Sun road in this area. 

Tip 11: And if you wish to do neither of these hikes and still want to see mountain goats, you still can. Stop by  just before Logan Pass and not only will you see amazing views of the mountains but if you are lucky as we were, Mountain Goats on the cliffs.

1 comment

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