Logging Lake is not the most visited place in Glacier National Park.
Indeed, at times I wonder how many people actually come here at all.
When I visited this lake on a busy summer weekend in August, the trail
and the campground at the foot of the lake was completely deserted. As
such, a hike up to Logging Lake is an excellent hike by someone in search
Logging Lake is located in the North Fork region of Glacier National
Park. Getting to the trailhead is sort of an adventure in itself, which
probably explains the lack of people who use the trail. From West Glacier/Lake
McDonald/Apgar area, to get to the trailhead requires going first down
to the Fish Creek Campground (located on the north shore of Lake
McDonald). From there, the road (called the Inside North Fork Road)
turns to a bumpy, twisty and often dusty dirt road that makes its way
over two small ridges, crossing Camas Creek and then Anaconda Creek in
the process. The drive from the Fish Creek Campground is quite long -
20 miles - and since fast speeds are not possible, allow a good hour
for the drive from Lake McDonald up to the trailhead that leads to Logging
The drive on the Inside North Fork Road up to the trailhead, once upon
a time, was through very thick forests, offering few if any views. However,
this part of Glacier National Park has seen some very busy fire activity
As such, the Inside North Fork Road sort of provides an
education about forest fires and how fast nature can recover from them.
Once you pull away from the Fish Creek Campground, the road first goes
through the massive fire burn area caused by the Robert Fire in 2003.
Then, without hardly a break, the road enters the huge fire scar caused
by the Moose Fire in 2001, with Camas Creek itself marking the dividing
line between these two fires. Beyond the Moose Fire scar, the road enters
some forests for a time, before emerging into the Logging Creek Fire
scar area, which burnt over in 1999.
After 20 miles of bumpy, dusty and rather educational driving, you finally
reach Logging Creek and the patrol cabin that is there. The parking area
for the Logging Lake Trail is located just on the north side of the bridge.
The Logging Lake Trail is a less than inspiring hiking trail, to be
truthful. Like other hiking trails in the North Fork area, the Logging
Lake Trail passes through thick forests for much of it's length - with
the only real openings in the canopy occurring where the trail passes
through a burn area. The trail itself is 12.8 miles in total length,
and ends at a lake called Grace Lake. The trail information and photos
on this page are from the hike I did up to the Lower Logging Lake Campground,
which is 5 miles up from the trailhead.
From the trailhead, the trail begins a short but moderately steep climb
up, gaining several hundred vertical feet in the process. Once done with
the climb, the trail flattens out and emerges into the Logging Creek
Fire scar area, and passes through it for more than a mile. Enjoy the
views you get here, since they will be the last views you get until reaching
the lake itself!
Beyond the fire scar area, the trail enters thick forest again. The
trail in this area can be wet, boggy and buggy at times, depending on
how much rain has been received and what time of year you are hiking.
So, some prepared with some hiking
boots that can get muddied up without a problem - and don't forget
your mosquito repellent, either.
While you do not get any views when hiking on this part of the Logging
Lake Trail, the good news is that the trail is by and large very flat,
making for quick time. Only a handful of short, gradual, uphill climbs
After 4.8 miles of this, you reach a unmarked spur trail that leads
down to the Logging Lake Patrol Cabin. After 5.0 miles, you reach the
side trail that cuts down to the Lower Logging Lake Campground. This
is the most popular "destination" on this hike, as the campground
itself provides for some great views of Logging Lake and the surrounding
The Lower Logging Lake Campground is a great place to go if you want
to spend the night in the backcountry - and not be surrounded by a horde
of people. Even during peak periods, this campground is normally open.
3 tenting spots are available at this campgroud - two of which are right
on the lake.
The fishing in Logging Lake isn't bad. However, you really do want
to have a boat with you if you want to catch the larger bull trout and
lake trout that are found in this lake. The problem with Logging Lake
is that much of the shoreline is very shallow. While you'll catch some
small trout and whitefish along the shore, the larger bull trout and
lake trout will be found out in the middle of the lake, usually down
deep. As such, anglers in search of the larger fish will want to pack
along either a float
tube, an small inflatable
raft or inflatable
kayak. One of the newer "packable" pontoon
boats would also work well on this lake, too.
It should be noted that the head of Logging Lake (the lake itself is
about 4-5 miles in length, though not very wide) is closed to fishing
due to eagle nesting.
In the event you plan on camping overnight in the campground, be sure
to bring your own water filter, as no well or spring is nearby - and
you risk Giardia if you drink the water right out of the lake. Also don't
forget to bring your bear spray, either, as the whole North Fork area
is ripe with bears.
Bear spray is available through Cabela's
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
Boots : Buyers guide to getting the
right boot for hiking
Big Sky Fishing.Com
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