Great Hike: Logan Pass
You can’t hike all day in Yellowstone, shower, then head out to Glacier and expect to arrive at anything resembling a reasonable hour. Regardless, that’s what I did and by 1:30 AM I was at my campsite at the East Entrance to Glacier. When in awoke the next morning I was greeted by some of the most beautiful weather I’ve ever experienced and there I was in one of the most dramatic landscapes in the U.S. The stage was set for an excellent day of hiking adventures.
As during previous visits to Glacier I was planning to focus my attention on trails which were easily accessible from Going to the Sun road which cuts east-to-west along the middle of the park. Due to construction projects to enhance the road, only the first 16 miles were accessible from the east entrance. Though this complicated my logistics this was OK because at least I could still hike Logan Pass, the gem of Glacier hikes.
Logan Pass is special in many ways. It is the elevation high point along Going to the Sun, it is where the primary Visitors Center can be found, and the Continental Divide runs along it’s path. In addition, you’re close to many peaks, you can take-in immense vistas, and there are many high elevation animals to be seen such as mountain goats. It’s one of those special places in this world that takes your breath away and hiking the trail allows you a variety of perspectives on its wonders.
As I wrote the excited description above I realized it was immense praise. Not because what I wrote wasn’t true but because Glacier has a huge bounty of natural wonders that are accessible through hikes … and I had selected Logan Pass as the best. Due to time constraints I only sampled three other trails on this trip but I know from past hikes that the variety and quality of paths is exceptional.
There are trails which lead to glaciers. There are circuit hikes around pristine lakes. There are paths which parallel rivers and falls. All this is in the context of the tall, glacier-molded mountains of the northern Rockies. Mix in blue skies, warm weather, and very little traffic (it’s season’s end) and you have the making of near-paradise.
During prior visits I had not made the effort to visit the northwest corner of the park, a valley called Many Glaciers. My wife and I had recently watched a show about National Park lodges where Glacier’s was featured and I knew the lodge to be deep in this valley. Since one of the best trails for visiting a glacier originates in Many Glaciers I made the special detour. It was worth it. While very remote, it’s a stunning setting.
As I made my way to Spokane, I circumnavigated the south of the park. This took me by the Western Entrance to Glacier so of course I entered. Primarily this detour was to stop and make a cup of coffee for my long drive but I couldn’t help but drive the six miles of Going to the Sun highway that was not under construction. A Ranger had told me of some lovely hikes originating near the Western Entrance and wanted to see their trailheads (for next time).
There is so much stunning nature to seen in Glacier National Park.
I will have to return…hopefully with family in tow!by