Hiking Glacier National Park
The Highline Trail

Mt. Gould in Glacier Park

The Highline Trail

Photo Use Guidelines

The Highline Trail is one of the premiere hiking trails in Glacier National Park. The Highline Trail begins at Logan Pass on the Going to the Sun Road and then runs north, following the Continental Divide in the process, to Fifty Mountain Campground, a distance of about 20 miles. From there, the Highline Trail “merges” into the Waterton Valley Trail, which will take a hiker from the campground down to Waterton Lake on the Canadian border.

This section on Big Sky Fishing.Com will cover the most popular, and scenic, part of the Highline Trail – known as the “Garden Wall.” The Garden Wall section of the Highline Trail runs from Logan Pass to the Granite Park Chalet, a distance of 7.6 miles. The hike between Logan Pass and the Chalet is quite easy in comparison to other hiking trails in Glacier National Park – with only gradual inclines and many, many flat spots. Additionally, the views provided from the Highline Trail are outstanding, as the trail runs primarily out in the open, frequently at or just above treeline.

Photo Use Guidelines

Another very nice benefit of a hike on the Highline Trail is that a hiker, upon reaching Granite Park Chalet, can then choose to take a shorter trail directly down to the Going to the Sun Road, instead of turning around and walking back to Logan Pass. The trail that is used to get back down to the Going to the Sun Road is called the Loop Trail, and is profiled on a separate page on this site.

The rest of this section on Big Sky Fishing provides information about hiking the "Garden Wall" section of the Highline Trail. The first section provides a quick overview of the hike. The second section provides information about what to bring. And the third section (on the next page) provides detailed information about the trail itself. Also be sure to check out the 50+ photos in the Highline Trail Photo Gallery section.

Quick Overview of the Hike

The “Garden Wall” section of the Highline Trail runs between Logan Pass and the Granite Park Chalet, a distance of 7.6 miles. The trail is relatively flat, has outstanding views and is a perfect place to view wildlife, especially bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears and ground squirrels. It needs to be noted that the Highline Trail is immensely popular – and is probably one of the most popular hiking trails in Glacier. As such, hikers looking for solitude will almost certainly NOT find it on this trail. If a hiker is looking for solitude, I highly recommend that the hiker look elsewhere! While the Highline Trail is relatively flat, a hiker should expect some fairly long, gradual climbs and descents.

What to Bring

Anyone who is planning a full hike down the Highline Trail and Granite Park Chalet should be aware that it can be very windy on the trail. The trail generally runs above the treeline – and its high elevation pretty much guarantees some pretty good winds. Additionally, due to the trails elevation and its location on the Continental Divide, any hiker should have a good rain jacket with them (preferably made of gore-tex), since getting stuck in a cold rain on this trail is a very good way to have a miserable hike.

Photo Use Guidelines

Another thing hikers will probably want to have on this hike is a warm piece of fleece clothing. When the wind kicks up on this trail, it can get rather cold, fast. Moreover, when you stop for lunch, the lack of motion will quickly cool you down – making a warm piece of fleece clothing feel REAL good on all but the hottest days.

Other things to not forget include a digital camera, a lunch, sunscreen, sunglasses, bear spray, and plenty of water (at least 2 quarts per person, with 3 quarts recommended if you are continuing your hike down to the Loop). While the Highline Trail crosses many seasonal creeks and streams, these water supplies will only be available if there is snow up in the higher peaks. By mid-August, most of the snow will be gone, making these streams dry. The best way to carry this amount of water is by using a Hydration System that fits into your pack.

Lastly, the Highline Trail is generally pretty rocky. As such, hiking this trail with only sandals or a low cut hiking shoe is a superb way to end up with a sprained or broken ankle a very long way from the trailhead. As such, I highly recommend that a hiker have a good quality hiking boot that provides rock solid ankle support.

Next Page : Hiking the Highline Trail : In Detail

Also View the Highline Trail Photo Gallery


Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National Park

Hiking Boots : Buyers guide to getting the right boot for hiking
Hiking Socks : Guide to getting the right sock for hiking
Trekking Poles : Why you should use one when hiking

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