The final part of my Glacier National Park series takes us on The Highland Trail, a beautiful hike along the continental divide. If you ever have the chance to hike this stunning trail, bring your camera and allow plenty of time because you a will want to stop every few minutes and snap away. This hike is not for the faint at heart, as you will soon see from some of the photos.
We arrived at the Logan Pass parking lot just before 10 am, by that time the place was a few spots shy of full. Lucky for us we found one of the last remaining spots. After packing our lunches and securing our packs we were off for our last hike in Glacier National Park.
Grab a spot while you can, they are going fast!
Going-to-the-sun road, as seen from the beginning of the Highland Trail at Logan Pass.
A glance back at Logan Pass, where we had started our hike only moments ago. It would be a several hours before we would return here.
For acrophobes this part of the trail can be intimidating. Ropes attached to the rock face help to navigate around tight corners. We heard a story of a guy who ran across a grizzly bear on this section of trail, all he could do was hug the wall and allow the bear to pass. Whew, glad I wasn’t that guy.
For the first couple of miles the trail follows above the going-to-the-sun road. Although the trail is fairly level (compared to the uphill climb at mile 3) it hugs the side of the mountain with steep drop-offs along the way. (Notice the line coming from Shane’s knee and extending out to the left, that is the trail.)
Within the first 2 miles we passed this mountain goat quietly grazing alongside the trail. This would not be our only encounter with a mountain goat, as you will see later.
All along the way stunning views awaited us.
At about the 3 mile mark the uphill climb takes you through a meadow of bear grass flowers. Two large zigzags help ease the climb but it was still quite the workout to reach the plateau, with more uphill to follow.
Bear grass flowers in August.
Finally a resting point!
Looking back from where we had hiked, Logan Pass is off in the distance. What a view!
Snow still covers some of the area and this is where we had lunch with a view. Wow, this place is stunning!
Although the highland trail continues on for several more miles to a point where hikers can take a shuttle back to the Logan Pass parking lot, we decided to double back. Visiting during the summer months makes for a very busy park. We wanted to avoid the rush of securing a spot on a shuttle and dealing with the rush hour of traffic headed down from Logan Pass.
After enjoying lunch and much-needed rest, it was time to head back down and enjoy the views going back.
The Highland Trail headed back to Logan Pass.
Watch out for that edge. It’s a long way down.
Remember how I mentioned earlier we would have another encounter with a mountain goat?
This one was walking right on the trail. After snapping a couple of quick photos, we moved to allow him to pass. After all, this is his home and we were just visiting.
Walking on to surprise the next hiker.
As we neared the end of our hike, we noticed big horn sheep resting in the meadow. Looks like a great spot to park it for a while.
There is so much more to this hike than we were able to see, due to our limited time. The part we hiked was amazing and I can only imagine what was beyond our turnaround point. We hiked roughly 4-5 miles one way, the trail continues on to what is known as the loop with a mileage of 11.7 miles. At that point hikers are able to ride a shuttle back to the Logan Pass parking lot or to other points in the park.
This park was beyond my expectations and I am so happy we had the opportunity to visit this impressive national park.
In case you missed parts 1-3 in this series, here they are:
Part 1 Bowman Lake
Part 2 Iceberg Lake
Up next on Travel Thursday: Grand Tetons NP