The Highline Trail is now open for the 2014 summer season!
Hugging the western slope of the continental divide, the Highline Trail winds through alpine meadows from Logan Pass to Goat Haunt (the middle of Glacier Park to the Canadian border). This trail is a visitor and local favorite, and for good reason. The views from over 90% of this trail are laden with mountain peaks and wildflowers. This area is home to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pika, marmots, grizzly, black bear and the rare wolverine. The Highline Trail is an amazing place and the following is information to help those looking to hike it.
Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet
Most people have one day in which to hike along the Highline Trail. Logan Pass to Haystack Butte (3.5 miles) or out to Granite Park Chalet (7.6 miles) are the most popular destinations for day hikers. Most people who hike out to the Chalet make this a loop trip instead of out and back. You can either hike down to the Loop area (4 miles) where you can catch the free Park Service shuttle back to Logan Pass, or down to Many Glacier (9 miles). Although the trail down into Many Glacier is a great scenic option, you will need to figure out your own shuttle from there.
Spur trails from this section: Swiftcurrent Lookout and Grinnell Glacier Overlook.
Ways to access this section: Swiftcurrent Trail (Many Glacier), The Loop, Logan Pass.
LOCAL TIPS: You can also stay the night at the historic Granite Park Chalet, but don’t just show up expecting to get a bed. This place can book up to a year in advance. Granite Park Chalet does not have any running water so bring plenty of your own. They do sell snacks and drinks (so bring cash if you even think you might want something). There is a composting pit toilet for public use.
Granite Park Chalet to Goat Haunt
The lesser seen section is from Granite, north to Fifty Mountain camp, and on to Goat Haunt. Some people hike out to Ahern Pass as a day hike from Granite Park Chalet (9 miles roundtrip). This is an amazing section of trail and is a backpacker favorite. It is an extremely coveted backcountry permit to get (especially since it is part of the Continental Divide Trail).
Spur trails from this section: Ahern Pass, Sue Lake Overlook, Porcupine Lookout, and Kootenai Lakes.
Ways to access this section: Flattop Mountain (Packers Roost), Stoney Mountain Pass Trail (Belly River), Brown’s or Boulder Pass, Waterton.
LOCAL TIP: We recommend putting in an for advanced permit around March to try and obtain backpacking sites along this section.
Backpacking the Highline
For those that are looking for an extended stay, here are a few great itineraries that incorporate the Highline Trail:
- Belly River over Stoney Indian Pass to Logan Pass (recommended 6-7 days)
- Logan Pass over Browns Pass to Bowman Lake (recommended 6-7 days)
- Flattop Mountain to Goat Haunt (recommended 3 days)
- Goat Haunt to Many Glacier (recommended 2-3 days)
LOCAL TIP: We recommend incorporating a stay at Granite Park Chalet or the Prince of Whales Hotel at the end of one of these extended trips.
The “Mad Dash”
For those that are in fantastic shape (and a maybe glutton for punishment), you can hike the entire 30 plus miles of the trail in one day. This is called the “Mad Dash.” Since this “day hike” requires a long shuttle, some people like to camp in Waterton (or if you want to splurge, go for a night at the Prince of Whales Hotel).
LOCAL TIP: We recommend doing this earlier in the season to take advantage of the longer days.
Day Hiking the Highline:
Weather can change quickly and since most of the trail is at or above treeline you, are exposed to the elements. We recommend being prepared for any thing. This is a list of things we recommend bringing:
- Rain gear
- Sun protection
- Bear spray (and know how to use it)
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Optional: camera, binoculars, hiking poles
So get out on the Highline and see what all the fuss is about. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Guided Trips that incorporate the Highline Trail:
- Tuesday Highline Trail Hike (Haystack Butte and back)
- 3 Day Granite Park Chalet
- 6 Day Ultimate Chalet
- 5 Day Chalet Hike/ North Fork Float
- Custom Day Hike
- Custom Backpack Trip