Highline Trail Glacier National Park ~ a slow hiker's guide™

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Highline Trail is one of the best view trails in Glacier Park ~  Logan Pass Trail Map

2013 is a major bear grass blooming year on the Highline Trail better even then 2005.

Cover shot of my Wildflower Guide for Glacier National Park. Note: You need to have iBooks app installed on your computer for this link to go to the correct page. (iPad or Mavericks) Your iPad will need iBooks 3 or later, your MAC will need OS X.9 or later and iBooks 1.0 or later.

Available on iBooks wildflower book cover

A slow hiker's guide™ Glacier National Park Wildflowers
If the link doesn't take you to a screen with Get Sample then click on the View in iBooks Button.

bear grass highline trail

bighorn ram with tracking collar

trail closed sign

Hiker killed while hiking on Highline Trail past the trail closed sign. 6-26-13

I've hiked various parts of the Highline Trail several times this summer. Great wildflower year, one of the best bear grass blooms. Trail from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte is in good shape for the Highline Trail. No snow on trail until Haystack Bowl then again atop Haystack both snow crossings are essentially flat. NOTE: Trail after Haystack is in very rough condition from last years flood that closed the Going To The Sun Road. As always those hikers who experience panic attacks on narrow trails with sharp drop offs should find another trail to hike or start at the Loop and then hike up to Granite Park Chalet. This trail has several narrow sections with drop offs down to the Going To The Sun Road. There are as usual many 'creek' crossings on this trail most of which will dry up by August. There are places on the trail were there are large snow blocks some six feet tall and twice as long on the side of the trail. My first complete Highline to The Loop was on 7-12-13. The week before I hiked from The Loop to the Garden Wall 'Overlook'. The Garden Wall Trail is in poor condition and should only be considered by experienced hikers as it brings you to sharp edge of the continental divide over Salamander and Grinnell Glaciers. The spur trail is frequently subject to very high winds.

Note: Highline Trail opened from Logan Pass to The Loop around 4:00pm 7-11-13

NPS Trail Status Info
Highline Trail Logan Pass - Granite Park Chalet/ 7.6 mi. TRAIL CLOSED: from Logan Pass to Haystack for snow danger. 6/13/2013
Initial Clearing scheduled for: 7/8/13. Clearing can take as long as at least a week. 7/1/2013

Handline removed 9/20/12.
Trail is in winter conditions (snow, ice, route finding skills necessary)

Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools.

It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.
Highline Trail - Grinnell Glacier Overlook/ 0.8 mi. Initial clearing scheduled for: 7/12/13.
Trail is in winter conditions (snow, ice, route finding skills necessary).

Huckleberry Mountain Trails Camas Road to Huckleberry Lookout/ 6.0 mi.
Trail is totally clear until the saddle, then various, small, manageable, low angle snow crossings are present before the lookout. Trekking poles advised. 6/27/13

Highline Trail Logan Pass - Granite Park Chalet/ 7.6 mi.
Initial Clearing scheduled for: 7/5/13.
Handline removed 9/20/12.
TRAIL CLOSED: from Logan Pass to Haystack for snow danger 06/13/13.
Trail is in winter conditions (snow, ice, route finding skills necessary)
Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice Axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools. It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.

Logan Pass - Granite Park Chalet/ 7.6 mi.

bighorn ram Highline Trail Glacier National Park

Initial clearing scheduled for: Complete 7/28/11
Safety handline cable: Installed 7/26/11
Clear first 3 miles.
Three short sections of snow travel below Haystack saddle.
Snow for 200 yards at the saddle.
A few short sections of snow beyond the saddle.
Caution should be used when crossing snowdrifts due to possible undercutting and/or bridging.
Sturdy boots recommended.
Trail is 95% clear. 8/9/2011Trail is 95% clear.
8/9/201

One of the benefits of the Highline Trail is the ability to hike a very short distance and still have a good hiking experience.

The HighLine Trail is one of the best view trails in Glacier Park. The HighLine Trail is also one of the best wildflower trails in Glacier National Park. The HighLine Trail opened July 8, 2010, which was not a heavy snowfall year. HighLine Trail starts at Logan Pass across from the Logan Pass Parking lot. There is a short narrow spot on the trail after the first quarter of a mile were you are directly above The Going To The Sun Road and up against a rock wall. There is a cable along the trail at this spot. If you are frightened by heights with sharp drop off right at the edge of the trail, then this isn't the trail for you. There is a small band of bighorn rams frequenting the Highline Trail, I managed to get clear of this narrow spot just moments before these bighorn rams appeared.

The green in the photo to the right of a bighorn ram on the Highline Trail is a garden hose which covers a steel cable attached to the rock wall. This part of the trail is about three feet wide with a twenty foot drop down onto The Going To The Sun Road. I've lost track of how many times I have hiked this trail, but July of 2005 was by far the best from the profusion of wildflowers along the trail. Late July and early August were good wildflower viewing times on the Highline Trail in 2008.

I have put together a photo tour of the Rimrock Section of the HighLine Trail.

This is a busy trail, unless you get an early start you are going to see more people then animals.
In addition to wildflowers, this is a good trail for mountain goats, big horn sheep and bears. The HighLine trail can vary from being easy were you just hike until you feel like turning around, or fairly strenuous were you hike 7.6 miles to Granite Park Chalet and then continue on down 2,200 feet and 4 miles to The Loop.

Parking at Logan Pass, since the Highline Trail opened during the sort summers - 2011- was at a premium. Logan Pass parking lot is filling up just after 9 am and remaining full until after 4 PM. This has not settled as of 8-13-11, otherwise take the free NPS Shuttle to Logan Pass. The snow around the start of the trail at Logan Pass has melted in the past few days as of 8-3-11, the snow at Haystack is going to take longer to melt out. Between Logan Pass and Haystack there were a few short snow covered parts to the Highline Trail when the trail opened but these have now melted as of 8-13-11. There are still several wet creek crossings.

From News Release 7-30-11
WEST GLACIER, MT. – The popular Highline Trail at Logan Pass is open to foot travel, but some of the trail is still covered by snow and ice.
Snow drifts exist in areas of the trail and drop-offs between the edge of a drift and the trail exist in some locations. It is recommended to hike with appropriate hiking and self-arrest equipment, including an ice Axe, hiking poles, appropriate boots, and knowledge on how to use the equipment, and awareness of individual hiking skills and limitations. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.


It's not a good idea to make long range plans for this trail being open before mid July.
HighLine Trail opened to hikers July 19, 2008. Snowfall in 2008 was significantly less then snowfall in 2011. The Highline Trail opened July 29, 2011.


The HighLine Trail is one of the best view trails in Glacier Park. The HighLine Trail is also one of the best wildflower trails in Glacier National Park. The HighLine Trail opened July 8, 2010, which was not a heavy snowfall year. HighLine Trail starts at Logan Pass across from the Logan Pass Parking lot. There is a short narrow spot on the trail after the first quarter of a mile were you are directly above The Going To The Sun Road and up against a rock wall. There is a cable along the trail at this spot. If you are frightened by heights with sharp drop off right at the edge of the trail, then this isn't the trail for you. There was a small band of bighorn rams frequenting the Highline Trail, I managed to get clear of this narrow spot just moments before these bighorn rams appeared.

This is an easily accessible hike. Parking can be at a premium at Logan Pass. This trail is pretty narrow in spots. Frequently the complete trail to Glacier Park Chalet won't open until mid July because of snow on the trail. This is one of the best trails to hike when you don't have a lot of time as the views and potentially the flowers can be very dramatic after only a very short distance.

This photograph of a big horn ram with tracking collar was taken in August of 2005. Big horn sheep can frequently be found on the Highline Trail when the wildflowers are blooming. Remember that mountain goats and big horn sheep have the right of way on the Highline Trail. The Hidden Lake Overlook Trail usually has a more dense concentration of mountain goats. On the Highline Trail the mountain goats take to the rocky outcropping above the trail.

Granite Park Chalet will be open July 1, 2008 through September 6, 2008, you can buy snacks & water at Granite Park Chalet. It nice to sit at a table inside the Chalet and drink a semi-chilled drink. There is little to no shade on the HighLine Trail, being able to rest in the shade with water that you didn't carry for 7.6 miles is one of the simple pleasures of life.

One of the more popular options for those not into hiking long distances is to hike to Haystack have lunch and return to Logan Pass. Please be aware that depending on snow cover the more prudent choice would be to stop before the snow field that covers the trail before the switchbacks up to Haystack.


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