Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hiking the Highline Trail to the Haystack Pass…

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The last time we were visited Glacier NP two years ago we hiked the 11.5 mile trail known as the Highline Trail. That was one really great hike… but also very tiring. We remembered the trail in sections with the first section being from Logan Pass hugging cliffs to the Haystack Pass, then the section from the saddle across mountain meadows to the Granite Park Chalet and lastly the grueling stretch from the chalet downward to the Loop parking area where we caught the shuttle back to Logan Pass to our car.

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This time we packed a lunch and decided to forgo doing the entire 11.5 mile hike and opted instead to hike slowly to the saddle, have lunch and then hike back to Logan Pass. Hiking only a mere 7 plus miles instead of 11.5 sounded better because both of us recalled despising that last four miles of the longer hike which was pretty much straight downhill through a previously burned forest. We didn’t find that last section fun nor very appealing.

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The trail seemed to have more people on it this year but they thinned out as we hiked beyond the first mile and even more so before we reached the second mile. The scenery on this hike was simply breathtaking as the timber gave way to sub-alpine flora. Wildflowers were fairly abundant but not nearly as prolific as when we last hiked this trail in the month of July. The bear grass which was so magnificent in our July 2014 hike had already finished flowering for the most part in August of this year.

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We did see some mountain goats high atop the mountain ridges above our trail and also ran across a lone ruffed grouse who showed us the way on the trail for awhile before wandering off into the brush. As always, when in Glacier, we were staring in wonder at the beauty of such a place and are ever thankful we as a society were wise enough to protect this beauty.

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As we reached the saddle for lunch we enjoyed looking across the horizon and down to Lake McDonald far below. The Going to the Sun road also squiggled like a snake below the trail. Little cars moved slowly toward Logan Pass… Lunch was fantastic at the top and it is always amazing how good a simple sandwich can taste on the hiking trail. Topping it off with a few grapes we finished up and started the slow 3.6 mile trek back to Logan Pass.

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We are glad to be here a month as it will give us time to explore a few new trails but we decided we had to start with some of our favorites while the weather has been so great…

NOTE: We are in Kalispell Montana until September 12, 2016. Then we will head over toward Spokane Washington most likely…


  1. What a beautiful hike. It is so gorgeous. I agree a simple sandwich tastes great after some exercise. Great photos!

  2. We love that kind of scenery. Have never spent any time in Glacier, although we have been in the similar Waterton Lakes area just north of Glacier National Park. Need to go there.

  3. Very smart idea!! The last four miles of that trail downhill just about did me in. I could barely walk when we got to the flat. My knees were really hurting. Not fun. We wouldn't do the last four again. So glad the mountain goats were out for you:)

  4. We did that Highline trail but only went about two miles. Still magnificent. I'm impressed with your stamina.

  5. We did that Highline trail but only went about two miles. Still magnificent. I'm impressed with your stamina.