Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier NP

Posted from Coram, MT  (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

To view many more photos on our Google+ Album for the Highline Trail Hike click here.

The hikes just keep getting better!  Our latest trek was on the Highline Trail.  The trailhead begins across the road from the Logan Pass Visitor's Center, heads north along the "Garden Wall", runs through Haystack Pass, then continues on to Granite Park Chalet and re-connnects with the Going-to-the-Sun Road at The Loop.  The total distance is approximately 11.6 miles point to point.

Our goal was not point to point, but to hike to an area known as Haystack Butte, then backtrack to the start.  This turned out to be about 7.7 miles.  Every view is beautiful up here, but here's what you first see leaving from the Visitor's Center parking lot.

One of the negatives to this hike, however, is the volume of hikers on the trail.  Because the Logan Pass Visitor's Center is a "starting" point for several hikes, the first few miles of this trail is fairly congested. (Although you couldn't tell that from this picture.)

Only a short distance into the hike we ran into these guys grazing around a curve in the trail.  They seem to be pretty used to visitors as they didn't move too quickly.

A bit further down the trail affords our first view of the McDonald Valley.  You can see McDonald Creek at the very bottom of the valley.

About 1/4 mile from the trailhead you arrive at a narrow ledge area with the "Garden Wall" looming above.  The trail is narrow in this area and the NP has installed a cable along the wall here. If you have a fear of heights it could instill a bit of anxiety, I guess.

The tight edge area is actually only about 1/3 mile in length. No problems here if you're paying attention to what you should be doing.  Across the valley is a nice view of Bird Woman Falls.

The trail winds along cliffs, through treed areas, and open areas.  Here's a view ahead.

It's a good idea to take a look back to where you just walked from sometimes.  The views, again, are just astounding.

We were not familiar with Bear Grass until we visited this area.

        Here's a closer look at Bear Grass and Indian Paint Brush.
(L)Bear Grass    (R) Indian Paint Brush

This was our destination for the day.  Haystack Butte sits in the background and we'd do a few steep switchbacks to arrive at Haystack Pass to the right side.

There are many ice fields still dotting the mountains although it's August.  The warm temperatures the past few days have caused a lot of melting, however.

The midway point calls for lunch.  We ate on a flat top rock that looked like it was made to be our table.  You certainly can't beat the views from the table.

These little guys are apparently used to people eating or stopping in this area.  As soon as we brought out some food, here they came running.  Cute little guys, but a bit annoying after awhile.

Time to head back toward the start at Logan Pass again.  The neat thing about an out-and-back hike is that you get to see a totally different landscape.  This was our nicest hike to date.  The weather was outstanding and the variety of views along the trail were unbelievable.

If you get a chance, please take a look at the associated Google+ album for this hike.  There are A LOT of pictures not in this blog.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


  1. Some really fantastic views! Beautiful!

  2. That looks like a wonderful hike. Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure I'd like that narrow ledge, but I guess I'd give it a shot for the spectacular views.

  3. Another of the blogs I read ( has also been hiking in Glacier so I'm getting a double dose of the magnificent scenery. Karen always makes the signs look better.

  4. Looks like that little guy is very well fed! ;c)

  5. My first visit to beautiful Glacier I broke my ankle two days in so we didn't get to do hardly any hiking. I'm taking notes on your great hikes. Beautiful pictures. We've found that after about a mile on many trails the less determined head back and you have it all to yourself. I was really sorry not to be able to hike as we were there over labor day and the next 10 days and the crowds were way down but I was on crutches and in a wheel chair. Have to get back. Maybe next year? Thanks for taking me along.

    1. Sherry I know how much you like the outdoors. You will absolutely have to return to do some hiking. This place is amazing.
      The trails which lead from the Visitor Centers (especially the Logan Pass one) are not so much a hike, but an attempt to get around the "tourists". The need to get away from some of the most popular trails will become quickly apparent.