How many of you have been to Glacier? Any favorite spots you would recommend as must see areas?
One of our hopes for this extended adventure was to be able to spend time in one area and see as many sites as possible. Sites that most people on a ‘vacation’ wouldn’t get a chance to see. The last few weeks in Glacier really have us wondering if we will be able to see and do all we want. The park is the size of several states and is a true hiker’s paradise. That is, very few roads and a lot of short (6 to longer mile) hikes to get to something ‘big’. We’ve joked that we love this area so much we may end up living here, at least that would give us a chance to explore to our heart’s content. We might also be able to keep up with our Blog posts. 🙂
Right now we are quite a bit behind on our posts. Over the last few weeks we have visited Two Medicine, Lake Mary, several falls, Polebridge, Whitefish… We have plans to get into the trails around Bowman Lake and definitely Many Glacier, as well as several other spots in the Park. Forgive us if we run out of adjectives to describe this area. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, each is appropriate and will surely be overused by us over the next several posts.
Setting Moon over Mt. Oberlin.
Sean has even begun trying to remember some of the positive adjectives used in his favorite TV show, BBC ‘Top Gear’. We have often found ourselves at the end of a trail just awestruck by what we are seeing.
Sherry’s new favorite photo.
On our second trip to Logan’s Pass, we decided to leave much earlier in the hopes of finding a spot in the parking lot or at least in the smaller pull off area about a half mile from the west side of the pass. We entered the park, from the West Entrance near Apgar at about 8:30 AM. There was already a fairly long line at the check in station and we were concerned about finding a spot. Regardless, it was a gorgeous day, a little cooler than the last several and relatively cloud free. For this trip, we planned pretty well and had our backpacks loaded with some hiking snacks, water and a change of clothes, if needed. We also planned out two trails we wanted to explore. The first was the Hidden Lake Trail, the other was the High Line. Our priority was Hidden Lake, with a thought that we could do a little of the High Line depending on time, Sean was looking forward to getting some great photos of waterfalls and mountain vistas. He was bringing along two lenses and a tripod to get really steady photos. Unfortunately, he forgot the tripod and had to stand very, very still for some shots. : )
Our drive up the Going to the Sun Road was gorgeous. This time around, we decided to skip the turnoffs and try to make good time to the pass. We found ourselves in a long line of cars weaving up the road. Many bicyclists made the going rather sporadic and a bit scary as we reached the narrowest parts of the road. Still, a fun and scenic drive up to the pass. As we got closer, we realized our chances of finding a parking spot in the lot were going to be very slim, so we did use the lower area and spent some time photographing Bighorn Sheep at the trailhead before hiking to the pass.
Big Horn Sheep near the entrance to Logan Pass
The park rangers at the Visitors Center were very helpful with all the visitors, answering questions and also giving ranger talks on a variety of topics. One of the things we both have commented on is how helpful all the rangers have been. On an earlier hike, we had one walk with us for a stretch, talking about the park, places to see and being very personable. I wish we had gotten her name so we could have passed on a positive comment to her bosses. Anyway, the visitors center was very crowded and we only took a short time to look around before hitting the a Hidden Lake Trail.
The trail starts behind the visitor center and is another very well traveled trail. In fact, most of the trail, to the lake overlook, is a wooden board walk.
From what we gathered, this helped to protect the delicate ecosystem at the pass from tramping feet. Periodic signs along the trail asking visitors to stay on the path helped reinforce our thought. : ). The start of the hike we were greeted with tremendous views of ‘Alpine Flowers’, and wildlife from Marmots to Prarie Dogs and Sherry’s other favorite, Mountain Goats!
Marmot under part of the boardwalk.
We first saw several goats standing on a snow field along the side of the Mountain.
Big Horn on the snow field on Mt. Oberlin.
This little one started bleating for mommy just a few seconds after we took the photo.
It was amazing to see them walk along the steep rocky face! It was even more amazing when we rounded a bend to see one munching on some food just a few feet away. Fortunately, there was a family between where we were standing and the goat. They were trying to get their children in close for a great photo opportunity. OK, yes, that was sarcasm. : ). It was this hike that gave us some great examples for our future ‘snarky’ post about some of our fellow tourists. But, later for that. This hike was just too beautiful.
As I said, most of the trail was a boardwalk. There were several places where we walked over stoney ground and even some snow! Crazy, snow on the ground in the middle of July! Beautiful little ponds created from snow runoff, waterfalls and tremendous views.
Small waterfall and snow field along the hike to Hidden Lake.
When we arrived at the lake overlook we learned the rest of the trail was closed. The Grizzlies were feeding near the lake and doing other bear stuff that made it dangerous to hike near them. So, we stopped at the overlook for some photos of the lake and surrounding mountains.
It was well worth the hike. Our hope is that the Bears settle down enough for us to do the complete hike before we have to leave the area.
Gunsight MTN and Sperry Glacier in the distance.
After lingering for a while, and eating a light snack, we headed back for the Visitors station. Along the way, we decided to check out the first mile or two of the High Line Trail.
Another angle on Hidden Lake
We didn’t go far this trip. Just far enough to know we needed to come back prepared for a long day on the 6 mile, one way, hike. Another must do hike for us.
For more photos from this post, go to the following link:
At the Trailhead for the Highline Trail.