Exploring Glacier National Park, August 27, 2014.
When we took this trail with the kids back in the early 90s, it had been a lot earlier in the year and a good part of the trail was over snow fields remaining from winter.
After seeing how difficult finding parking was the day before, we took the shuttle from Apgar. When we got to Logan Pass, the parking lot was full again.
The trail begins on the west side of Logan Pass Visitor Center. It has outstanding views, including alpine meadows and, often, wildlife. The trail to Hidden Lake Overlook, the destination for most that hike it, is 3 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of 540 feet. The highest elevation reached is 7152 feet.
The trail is rated as easy. However, that rating assumes good physical condition. People out of shape or unused to the elevation may well have difficulty. We saw a few people having difficulty.
After the snows melt, the ground in this high alpine hanging valley – a valley carved out by a small tributary glacier that joins with a valley carved out by a larger glacier – is covered with colorful wildflowers, thus the name for the trail, Hanging Garden.
We saw several hoary marmots along the hike.
I spotted our first mountain goat on this trail at the top of a snow field remnant.
We saw more a little ways up the trail on cliffs on the opposite side of the hanging valley.
There were quite a few mountain goats. As they moved down the rocks, more appeared. Unfortunately, I left my camera in the wrong setting and most of the photos I took are badly over-exposed. Shooting RAW format, though, lets me recover some of the detail that would be lost shooting JPG.
We got to the Hidden Lake Overlook just in time for lunch – mine was trail mix (nuts, fruit, and chocolate), though I had granola bars and peanut butter crackers along as well. The image below is a panorama created with my iPhone.
A lot of other people were there when we were, eating their lunches or snacks and taking in the scenery. The trail is one of the most popular in the park, but, for the most part, we didn’t have any issues with overcrowding.
Another mountain goat showed up along the trail not long after we started back towards the trail head.
Below, part of the eastern stretch of Going to the Sun Road and, in the distance, St. Mary’s Lake.
At the visitor center, while I was waiting for Karen to get back from the restroom, I spotted a bighorn ram and ewe about 50 yards or so to the east. By the time Karen got there, there had disappeared into the trees.
On the way up in the morning, we had to transfer to a smaller bus at Avalanche Creek. In the afternoon, we rode the same bus all the way to Apgar.