This was the fourth (and last – sigh) hike during our 2010 trip to Glacier National Park. We decided to do a popular but wildly visual loop on the Highline Trail from Logan Pass, along the Garden Wall to Glacier Park Chalet, then down to the Going-to-the-Sun Highway – returning to Logan Pass via the free park shuttle (11.6 miles roundtrip; 800 feet of elevation gain). This was our most crowded hiking day – I think we saw about two dozen people on the trail.
Unlike our last three hikes, the weather for this one was absolutely perfect for the whole day.
We began this section of the Highline Trail at Logan Pass with a traverse above the Going-to-the-Sun Highway along some cliffs,
then out into a traverse of the upper slopes of the McDonald Creek Valley,
and then some more cliff traversing,
before we entered open ground with views southwestward to the peaks across the McDonald Creek Valley.
We then followed the trail up and around Haystack Butte,
to a point where we were looking directly back toward Logan Pass,
and then we continued on north to where we could almost see Lake McDonald further down the valley.
At some point we became so fixated on the view out across the valley that we almost walked right past a herd of bighorn sheep grazing next to the trail.
An iconic marmot was also right on the trail, vying for our attention (and probably snacks too).
We reached Glacier Park Chalet – built early in the last century and, thanks to a renovation in 1995, still offering overnight accommodations – in time for lunch.
We had lunch with a view (but no marmot).
After that, it was down the Granite Park Trail,
through snags left by the 2003 Trapper Creek Complex Fire,
to the Going-to-the-Sun Highway, where we caught the free park shuttle back to Logan Pass. This was another day where we weren’t driven to the bar by storms.
The next day, we checked out of the Many Glacier Hotel, had breakfast at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex (with train-accessible cross-country skiing in the winter), then spent the day hanging out in Kalispell and Whitefish before catching the train back to Portland in the evening. We were home by lunchtime the next day.