Go to Glacier National Park

My girlfriend and I spent 3 nights at Glacier National Park in early July. If you haven’t been you should really make plans to go. The park was gorgeous and we did some hiking on all days except the day we left. We ended up doing part of the Lake McDonald trail, the Logan Pass to Hidden Lake Overlook, Avalanche Creek trail, and the Highline from Logan Pass to the Loop via Granite Chalet and the Grinnell Glacier Overlook. Along the way we saw beautiful views, many animals (no bears though) and some nice plants.

Entry sign to the west side of Glacier

Entry sign to the west side of Glacier

Lake McDonald is a large, glacially formed lake on the west side of Glacier National Park. It has a few campgrounds around it’s perimeter. We took a short hike along the west side of the lake. A large forest fire swept through the park in 2003. You could tell on the hike where the forest fire ended.

Below are some pictures from Logan Pass to Hidden Lake Overlook. It was windy and raining/snowing. There was quite a bit of snow on the trail and it was hard to navigate on the hillsides. The view at the end was somewhat shrouded by clouds but it is probably called Hidden Lake for a reason. The trail down to the lake was closed due to bear activity. The segment we hiked was actually closed the next day due to bears. (It was huckleberry season during our visit.)

In the afternoon we hiked the Avalanche Creek trail. It was a nice trail with a great view at the end. We passed through some old growth forest as we went up the creek to a lake. The lake has several waterfalls leading to it. A man on the way pointed out my West Bend shirt – he and his family were from Delavan.

Our last full day was for the Highline Trail. It was over 11 miles. One of the guidebooks on Glacier National Park that I read called it “the most scenic hike in America”. While I haven’t done much hiking I am guessing it is up there in rank. Our day started in the 40’s Fahrenheit and under clouds but they mostly cleared up as the day progressed. Close to the beginning is the garden wall section which is a cliff on one side and a drop off on another. This section also had quite a bit of snow yet.

After the clouds lifted we could see most of the mountains and valleys. It was extremely pretty. You could see the valleys and lakes carved by glaciers. There were also numerous waterfalls in view and across the trail. We also saw quite a bit of wildlife. We did a spur to the Grinnell Glacier overlook. This was the most punishing part of the trail. It was quite steep and the wind picked up as we got near the top of the mountain. However it was worth it to see the glacier (what is left of it anyway).

The descent was punishing after the long hike but we made it. It was a fantastic hike and if you ever visit Glacier I would highly recommend setting some time aside for the Highline Trail.

If you have never been to Glacier National Park please make plans to visit this national gem. I would go back in a heartbeat. Keep in mind though that the only road through the mountains (Going To The Sun Road) typically only opens in late June or early July due to the weather. (See some snow plowing pictures from 2016 here). Also be prepared with bear spray! You can get a can out here for about $30. It is a must have in bear country.

You have to be prepared hiking in bear country.

You have to be prepared hiking in bear country.

Some of the best views are waiting at the top of the mountain. The time spent hiking was the highlight of the journey. There are over 700 miles of trails to explore. There are hikes of all distances and difficulties – get out there!