The Going-to-the-Sun Road is probably one of the best known parts of Glacier National Park, and the favorite hike at the top of Logan Pass is almost certainly the Hidden Lake. At only 3 miles (4.8 km) RT, it’s short enough for most visitors and the views make it well worth the hike. The trail is also fun; boardwalks transverse the tundra in many places, and if you go at the right time of year you may still find snow in places. I’ve hiked it twice, and both times the trail was very snowy – once was in June and the other was in August after an especially snowy winter/cold spring. There is also an option for hiking another 1.5 miles (2.4 km) (one way) to the lake, or (as I recommend) you can go to the lake and then return to hike Reynolds Mountain for a nice, long dayhike with even better views of Hidden Lake!
From the parking area, go up beyond the visitor center and take the trail that leads across the tundra with your back to the parking area. Last time I visited, there were no signs marking the maze of trails in this area – you’ll just have to figure it out or ask a park ranger for directions. The trail is paved for a bit, then it begins its ascent via a set of boardwalks. At some times of the year, snow covers the boardwalks and trail; posts have been set up to mark the trail. Follow these and, if there is no snow, stay on the boardwalk or trail as the tundra is very fragile. The trail is well-used enough that it is not at all hard to follow, even if it is covered with snow.
The trail winds its way around a mountain, at times quite flat and at other times up- or downhill. After 1.5 miles (2.4 km), the trail will suddenly begin a steep decent to the viewing area (overlook) of Hidden Lake. This is beautiful, especially in the sunshine (it was cloudy the day I hiked it – sigh). The platforms at the overlook are often quite crowded, but we’ve always found a space to look for a bit and take some pictures.
From here, you have the option of continuing down to Hidden Lake itself, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) further along the trail. I’ve never done this (hiking to lakes has never been my favorite thing to do), but I’ve heard from others that it’s nice. You can also hike back about a half a mile (0.8 km) to the Reynolds Mountain Trail – the views of Hidden Lake from the saddle are stunning, especially in the spring and early summer when waterfalls cascade down into the lake!
Return by the way you came. This is a nice little hike that will introduce you to the Logan Pass area and give you some great views, as well!
Key GPS Coordinates for the Hidden Lake Trail
Logan Pass Parking Area (Hidden Lake Trailhead): 48.695663N / -113.716747W (48N 41’ 44.3868” / -113W 43’ 0.2886”)
Early point on the Hidden Lake Trail: 48.695195N / -113.71916W (48N 41’ 42.7014” / -113W 43’ 9.0006”)
Start of the Reynolds Mountain Trail (approximate) 48.687788N / -113.737663W (48N 41’ 16.0362” / -113W 44’ 15.5862”)
Hidden Lake Overlook: 48.687219N / -113.741702W (48N 41’ 13.9878” / -113W 44’ 30.1272”)
Getting to the Hidden Lake Trail
The trail begins at the top of Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, 30 miles (48.2 km) from the junction with Camas Road near the Apgar Visitor Center (on the West Glacier side of the park) and 18 miles (29 km) from the beginning of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at St. Mary. Note that the parking area fills up quickly and you’ll likely have trouble finding a place to park. You can take the shuttle bus, but I have found it to be hopelessly inadequate for the number of visitors.
Round Trip Trail Length: 3 miles (4.8 km) if you go to the overlook; 6 miles (9.6 km) if you go to the lake
Facilities: Restrooms and park rangers at Logan Pass
Fees: $25 to enter Glacier National Park from May 1 to October 31; $15 November 1 to April 30 (valid 7 days). America the Beautiful (Interagency), Senior (Golden Age), Access (Golden Access), Volunteer, Military, and Glacier National Park Annual Passes also accepted.
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
This Week’s Featured Product!
This Falcon Guide offers readers nearly 60 hikes of varying lengths and difficulties in Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks. Looking over the trail list, I see many great hikes that I’ve done or have an eye on doing soon!
Tue Jan 23
Snow likely. Lows overnight in the low 20s.
Wed Jan 24
Snow showers early, with a steadier snow developing late in the day. High 33F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 90%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.
Thu Jan 25
Snow showers. High 26F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 80%. 1 to 3 inches of snow expected.
Fri Jan 26
Snow showers early becoming more scattered later. High 23F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch.
Sat Jan 27
Cloudy with light snow developing during the afternoon. High 19F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 70%. 1 to 3 inches of snow expected.