Highline Trail

Thursday, July 28, 2022

On our second day in Glacier National Park we hiked the Highline Trail.

We had done this hike on our previous visit in 2011 and Greg really wanted to do it again. We weren’t sure we would be able to. The trail had been closed to dangerous lingering snowfields and had only re-opened a few days earlier.

We got up early and entered the park before they were even checking people’s Going-to-the-Sun Road permits. We arrived at Logan Pass at 6:50am. As we got ready we watched a steady stream of cars pouring in. We couldn’t see the entire lot, but I’m guessing it was full by 7:30.

Temps were in the mid-50s when we started hiking at 7:40. It felt warm for 6,600′ so early in the day.

Highline Trail

We were in the shade for most of the morning as we headed north:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

We passed some wildflowers which I took super fast photos of. Greg kept trying to stop and linger over the flowers, but it was far too crowded for that:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

The views of the surrounding mountains were amazing, and kept getting better:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

This trail has a lot of exposure, which doesn’t bother us:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

This picture gives you a little bit of an idea of how crowded the trail was. We didn’t go more than two or three minutes without passing someone, or someone passing us:

Highline Trail

We crossed a snowfield and then the level trail we had been walking on began climbing up the side of Haystack Butte. We had good views from the trail during this climb:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

We reached the shoulder of Haystack Butte where we crossed a huge patch of snow:

Highline Trail

There were some glacier lilies nearby from where the snow had just melted:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Just beyond the snow was a great viewpoint where we paused to take in the view:

Highline Trail

We decided to continue up the Highline Trail a bit further.

Highline Trail

Looking back at Haystack Butte:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

We didn’t go too much further before deciding on a turnaround point. We had never intended to do the whole thing since we were sore and tired from yesterday’s hike. We sat down by a gurgling snowmelt creek and enjoyed the view:

Highline Trail

Far below we could see McDonald Creek and the lower section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Then we turned and headed back. All the early-morning hikers were long gone and the crowds had thinned considerably, so the hike back was much less stressful:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

At one point we saw a marmot on the trail:

Highline Trail

We alternated between gawking at the views and watching where we going:

Highline Trail

Highline Trail

Looking back at Haystack Butte, which is the flat-topped one on the left:

Highline Trail

When we got back to the trailhead we did not approach our car until we had peed and gotten water and made sure we were ready to leave because we suspected someone would follow us to our spot and want to grab it. We were right. We threw our packs and gear in and headed down the road aways to park in some shade and have a snack. While we were sitting by the parked car we saw a black bear! It looked like a yearling. It crossed the road and was only about 100 feet away. Fortunately it just kept going and didn’t get close. No photos, unfortunately, but that was pretty cool.

Gaia stats: 8.2 miles, 1,080′ elevation gain