One of the great things about mountain parks like Glacier National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park is that they give regular people easy access to the tundra. What, you don’t want to hike 8,000+ vertical feet or over 10+ miles just to get a glimpse of spring wildflowers at 10,000 feet? No problem, if you’re in Glacier, just drive up to the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center, park your car, and hike the Highline Trail or the Hidden Lake Trail. Now that there’s a voluntary shuttle system, you can even leave your car on the edge of the park or in the campground, maybe at Apgar, take the shuttle to the pass, hike the Highline Trail all the way down to the Loop, past the Granite Park Chalet, and pick up the shuttle again at the Loop. The shuttle system makes these kind of long, one-way hikes possible, and it allows you to enjoy the amazing views from the Going to the Sun Highway without worrying about tearing off your rearview mirrors or rear-ending the dude taking an iPad pic out the window ahead of you.
Or at least it would, if everything wasn’t still buried in snow.
We were warned by a crazy campground host on the way to Glacier that the entire park was still snowed in, that the pass wasn’t open, and that we wouldn’t even be able to get in. It wasn’t that bad, but every trail I wanted to hike was still snowed under. In July! It’s amazing. If you really want to hike the high elevation trails, you’ve got to visit Glacier in August or September, but you’ll be risking new snow in late September. And that means that everyone else is also trying to visit in August or September. May we suggest the shuttle?
In between the rain and snow and crowds, we managed to find some sun and incredible beauty on the trails that were open in Glacier: