Loop Trail  Glacier National Park


Loop Trail to Granite Park Chalet 

  • The Loop Trail to Granite Park Chalet
    8 miles (round trip) gains 2200 feet
    Since the Roberts\Trapper peak fires in 2003
    there isn't much shade between
    the Loop and Granite Park Chalet.
    there is no Free water available at the Chalet
    (the signs tell you there is No Potable Water)
    you can buy snacks, sodas, and water at the Chalet during season
  • No Snow 7/7/13 Two trees crisscrossed on trail as of 7/7/13 ~ easy to go under or around if your not a horse
  • Huge fields of blooming Glacier Lilies on the meadow as you approach the chalet
  • There was two miles of snow on 7/2/11 during a major snow year
  • Strenuous hike

Logan Pass Trail Map

loop trail sign
glacier lilies blooming on Highline Trail at Granite Park Chalet

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

Clear of snow to Chalet as of June 28, 2013

Logan Pass opened on July 19, 2012
Logan Pass opened on June 21, 2013 to through traffic
I hiked this trail in August 9 2012 to the Garden Wall Trail. Access to The Loop closed to motor vehicles on 9-19-11.

There are 6 trees down on the trail. 09/25/2011
Trail DEPOSTED: 9/27/11
Trail POSTED: for bear frequenting 9/7/11
Trail is clear of snow as of 8-30-11 with one tree down, BUT snow is predicted for 8-31-11 above 6,000 feet. Trail as of 8-30-11 is dry no creeks running along trail except at bridge!
Granite Park Chalet Staff reports bears along the Loop Trail as of 8-30-11.
Wildflowers blooming in meadow around Chalet 8-30-11.
9-5-11 More reports from hikers of bear activity on the Loop Trail and near Granite Park Chalet.

NPS Trail Report 8/31/11
Loop - Granite Park Chalet ~ 4.0 mi. Snow Cover: 0%, 08/09/2011
Trees Down: 1, 08/09/2011
Initial clearing scheduled for: Trail is clear of downfall and debris from the Loop Trail head to the second switchback (approximately 2.5 miles) Snow line is within a quarter mile above the second switchback. Depths range from several feet to more than 8 feet at the Chalet and Campground. Caution should be used as water is running under the snow, causing bridging. 6/29/11

According to the latest NPS Trail Crew Report the Loop Trail as of 8-8-11 is clear of snow. Not sure when the snow melted in the meadows below the Chalet but there is a chance for large glacier lily blooms on this trail just below the chalet. Granite Park Chalet opening was delayed from June 28, 2011 till July 2, 2011.

Glacier Park Chalet outbuildings photo on right.
The chalet was designed by architect Samuel L. Bartlett and was built in 1914. From what information I can gather these outbuildings were built later.

The Loop Trail starts at the Loop. If you get to Apgar between 7:30 am and 8 am you can use the Free Shuttle to the Loop and not be rushed for time. Otherwise you will need to park at the Loop, the Loop parking area fills up quickly. This is a hot, exposed trail, great views, lots of wildflowers but bring a water filter or LOTS of water.

The Loop Trail used to be a heavily wooded trail up to Granite Park Chalet until the Trapper Peak Fire of 2003. There is a poster out showing a wall of flames at the Loop. Now the Loop Trail has underbrush but little in the way of shade.

The positive side is that you have great views of Heavens Peak. This is another one of Glacier Parks horse trails masquerading as a hiking trail. It is a steep climb with lots of switchbacks up to Granite Park Chalet. One of the traverses seems to be endless. The Granite Park Chalet opens July 2, 2011 through September 9, 2011, you can buy snacks and water at Granite Park Chalet.

cow parsnip ~ Herculean maximum. Caution "The juices of all parts contain a photo toxin that can act on contact with skin and exposure to ultraviolet light, causing anything from a mild rash to a blistering, severe dermatitis, depending on the sensitivity of the individual." (wiki) There are sections of the Loop Trail were cow parsnip is already 6 feet tall as of 7-8-10. I normally wear long sleeve shirts but on this hike I was wearing a short sleeve T shirt and now have a rash on my left arm.

The Trapper Peak Fire almost made it to Granite Park Chalet.
The front entrance to Granite Park Chalet is built near a cliff which drops off in front of the chalet so without a helicopter it is not possible to get a front view of the chalet.

Since the Trapper Peak Fire of 2003 this is a good trail to experience up close the effects of a large, hot fast moving forest fire. 2010 was a great wildflower year, as of 7-8-10 wildflowers were blooming on the lower parts of the trail, then once you get back into the forested, unburned section of the Loop Trail you will be hiking through fields of glacier lilies. glacier lilies bloom shortly after the snow melts, so the first fields are now blooming, higher up on the final meadows below Granite Park Chalet the snow is still 4 feet deep in places so once the snow melts there the glacier lilies will be blooming. Brings extra socks, the higher part of the trail is wet and snow covered. Once you get to Granite Park Chalet there is no snow on that bench.

The end of the long switchback marks the half way point to Granite Park Chalet. It also marks the start of more alpine wildflowers after you enter the woods above this point. The lower portion of the trail used to have lots of small waterfalls into mid July that is no longer the case with the much higher night times temps resulting in a quicker melt of the alpine snow.

For the west side of Glacier Park this trail frequently has lots of wildlife, deer, a various assortment of birds and bears. It is important to make your presence known when going around blind corners.

The photo of Heavens Peak shown below was taken about half way up the Loop Trail.

Granite Park Chalet is a major trail junction.
The Highline Trail runs north and south from the Chalet.
Swiftcurrent Pass Trail goes east over the pass and drops down into the Many Glacier Valley.
The Loop Trail goes west down to The Going To The Sun Road.
The main branch of the Highline Trail goes south to Logan Pass.
The northern branch isn't a day hike but eventually ends up in Canada.
The junction to the Swiftcurrent Lookout Trail is a short distance to the east along the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail.
The junction to the Grinnell Garden Wall trail is a short distance to the south along the Highline Trail.

heavens peak, Glacier National Park © Shawn Coggins trail sign, Glacier National Park © Shawn Coggins