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A distance of about twenty miles, the Highline Trail begins at Logan Pass on the Going to the Sun Road and then runs north, to Fifty Mountain Campground, following the Continental Divide. The trail then merges into the Waterton Valley Trail, which will take a backpacker from the campground down to Waterton Lake on the Canadian border.
Known as the Garden Wall, this page will cover the most scenic, and popular part of the trail. A distance of 7.6 miles, the Garden Wall of the Highline Trail runs from Logan Pass to the Granite Park Chalet. With many flat spots and only gradual inclines, the hike between Logan Pass and the Chalet is quite easy in comparison to other hiking trails in Glacier National Park.
As the trail runs primarily out in the open, just above or frequently at treeline, the views provided from the trail are spectacular. You can hike further, if you wish to. The video above shows a 15.2 mile hike.
Views From The Trail Are Spectacular!
Instead of turning around and walking back to Logan Pass, another very nice benefit of a hike on the Highline Trail is that a hiker, upon reaching Granite Park Chalet, can then choose to take a shorter trail directly down to the Going to the Sun Road. Called the Loop Trail, used to get back down to the Going to the Sun Road.
The Garden Wall of the Highline Trail, has outstanding views and is a perfect place to view wildlife, especially ground squirrels, grizzly bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and is relatively flat. It needs to be noted that the trail is probably one of the most hiked trails in Glacier and is immensely popular. Hikers looking for solitude will almost certainly not find it on this trail.
There will probably be fewer bears is the one benefit! Bears do not like to be where people are located. I highly recommend that you look elsewhere, if you're looking for solitude! A hiker should expect some fairly gradual, long climbs and descents, while the trail is relatively flat.
Hang On To The Cable!
Anyone should be aware that it can be very windy on the trail, who is planning a full hike down the Highline Trail and Granite Park Chalet. The trail generally runs above the treeline and its high elevation pretty much guarantees some good winds.
Since getting stuck in a cold rain on this trail is a very good way to have a miserable hike and due to its location on the Continental Divide and the elevation, any hiker should have a good rain jacket with them, preferably made of gore tex.
A warm piece of fleece clothing is another thing hikers will probably want to have on this hike. It can get rather cold, fast, when the wind kicks up on this trail. The lack of motion, when you stop for lunch, will quickly cool you down making a warm piece of fleece clothing feel real good on all but the hottest days.
Other things to include: at least 2 quarts of water per person, with 3 quarts recommended if you are continuing your hike down to the Loop, bear spray, sunglasses, sunscreen, a lunch, and a video or digital camera.
Water supplies will only be available if there is snow up in the higher peaks, because the Highline Trail crosses many seasonal streams and creeks. Most of the snow will be gone, making these streams dry, by mid August. Fitting into your backpack, the best way to carry this amount of water is by using a Hydration System.
Generally, the trail is pretty rocky. Hiking this trail with only a low cut hiking shoe or sandals is a superb way to end up with a broken or sprained ankle a very long way from the trailhead. Providing rock solid ankle support, I highly recommend that a hiker have a good quality sturdy hiking boot.
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