The Highline Trail
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.
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
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.
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
View the Highline Trail Photo Gallery
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
Boots : Buyers guide to getting the
right boot for hiking
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