We wanted to hike one of Glacier’s most popular and most fantastic trails – The Highline Trail. The trail starts from the Logan Pass Visitor Center, elevation 6,646 feet, and follows along a ridge high up in the mountains. It runs almost parallel to the Going-to-the-Sun road, the park’s main road. For the most part, though, the traffic noise isn’t noticeable that high up. Maybe it ‘s because the cars on that road have to travel about 25 miles an hour because of all of the twists and turns leading up to the Pass. We drove the Going-to-the-Sun road at least four different times and at no point did I get bored. The vistas are something that I could never tire of. Enormous forest covered mountains shrouded in clouds, with glacial rivers flowing far down below in the valleys.
But I digress. High up on the Highline Trail, the view was much better. We were able to walk through some of the waterfalls that, in a car, you were only able to glimpse – and even that is only the human-curated structure that they were allowed to flow through on the road. This water was snowmelt, so it was still extremely cold – that high up, there is no time for the sun to warm the water yet.
There were some places on the Highline Trail – especially near the very beginning– where the trail was only about 8 or 9 feet wide. This makes it necessary for people take turns walking, as most will get nervous near a sheer drop-off. We even saw a family walk by us, with two kids maybe around 11-12 where the parents were using their hiking poles as second handrails to keep their kids away from the edges –since they were walking behind their kids, it kind of looked like they were herding their children –which, in a way, I guess they were.
One of the main reasons that the Highline Trail is so popular is that it leads to the still operational Granite Park Chalet – a National Historic Landmark overlooking Grinnell Glacier. There are rooms for rent and most people hike in to spend a night there. We saw several families with pack-laden parents and children trudging up the trail with the end goal of staying in a fantastically beautiful location. We didn’t make it as far as the Chalet. We made it to Haystack Pass and ate lunch with a stunningly beautiful view of the mountains, and returned to Logan Pass.