Granite Park Chalet via Highline Trail and Granite Park
7 reviews Glacier National Park #3 hike out of 199 in
6 hrs 11 min
This is a difficult one way trail in Glacier National Park.
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First let me qualify my rating, I gave it 3 stars based on the Gaia rating of "Yes, I would hike this again." In terms of scenery this trail is top notch and as for wildlife viewing potential, well, my wife and I have seen nearly everything from a hiker narrowly evading a charging grizzly to mountain goats to bighorn sheep and everything in between. As for the hike itself, its not particularly challenging. If you are fit and well prepared it's nothing more than a long walk. The spur trail up the Garden Wall trail to the glacier overlook is strenuous, but well worth the effort. I recommend getting to the Logan Pass parking lot early, between 6-7am. You'll get to hike most of the Highline Trail in cool temps and watch the dawn light bathe the mountains and wake up the valley. Make the push up the Garden Wall trail and have some lunch, stop at the Chalet for the novelty of it and just before popping out onto the road, sit in the creek under the bridge and cool off before taking the shuttle back up.★ ★ ★
Got to the Logan Pass parking lot at 6:50AM on 8/9/2018 and the parking lot was about 1/2 full. According to shuttle driver parking lot is completely full by 8AM. There is only one bottle filler at Logan Pass - the visitor center does not sell any liquids and there are no sinks or drinking fountains, so bring whatever water you will need with you as the lines at the bottle filler were very, very long. Unfortunately the skies were pretty hazy from the western wildfires. Views were still pretty good, and you could tell that on a clear day they would be spectacular. The trail to the Granite Park Chalet is in good condition and easy to follow. The part with the cables is hilariously wide (can easily fit two people walking side by side with no trouble); not sure why they put it there. The trail down from the Chalet to the Granite Park camping area is to the right of the Chalet (as you're looking at it from coming up the trail); there was a clothesline installed in front of it when we were here today. There is a building down in the Granite Park camping area and they have the area around it cordoned off; the detour trail is a very steep section over rocks but you can see the trail that you're supposed to pick up so it's not too difficult to find your way. From the campgrounds to the shuttle stop is a very miserable 4.2 miles of completely exposed, hot, dusty, multi-use (horses) trail. The majority is downhill, though there is a brief bit that's slightly uphill as you're (finally) nearing the end. Be sure you bring lots and lots of water and sun protection! A ranger met us at the bridge just before the shuttle stop and asked if we had bear spray as there was a black bear sow with two cubs on the trail, but we didn't actually see her. The shuttle ride back up to Logan Pass was uneventful. Traffic coming down from the pass (at about 3PM) was busy, but someone had broken down going down to Apgar and that was causing quite a back-up. Still, I would recommend not being on the Road to the Sun during the hours that they forbid bicycles from traveling on the road (this year that was 9AM to 4PM).★ ★ ★ ★