Highline Trail

#10 in Best Things To Do in Glacier National Park
Highline Trail picture
GlacierNPS/Flickr

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Free Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

One of the most popular hiking trails in the park – and one of the most strenuous – the Highline Trail follows the Continental Divide and features stunning scenery of glacial valleys, alpine meadows and a famous ledge called the Garden Wall. Here, the trail narrows to just a few feet and the drop-offs are known to terrify those with a fear of heights. The park service has installed a hand cable along this stretch of the ridge for safety. Because the trail is 11 miles round-trip, it's not considered suitable for novice hikers (although there is a short loop to visit only the Garden Wall). The Garden Wall is located a quarter mile from the trailhead for those who prefer the shorter hike.

To reach the one-way trail, travelers recommended parking at The Loop (located around 13 miles east of Lake McDonald Lodge) and hopping on the free park shuttle up to Logan Pass, where the trailhead begins.

Recent hikers noted that advance planning is necessary to take the shuttle back to your car, and many suggested arriving early at Logan Pass to secure a parking space. Many recommended hiking from Logan to Haystack Pass and back, noting that the lower part of the trail is difficult and lacks the spectacular scenery of other sections of the trail. Most visitors reported seeing a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, goats and bears. Access to the trail is free with park admission. To see a list of shuttle times, visit the NPS website.

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More Best Things To Do in Glacier National Park

Apgar Nature Center1 of 9
Lake McDonald2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Apgar Nature Center

Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers. The nature center features interactive activities for kids: children can feel a grizzly bear's fur, listen and identify birds by their "songs" or create their own puppet show. Educational displays detail plants found in the park and teach about the habitats of the vast array of wildlife. Ranger-led talks and other programs are held in the outdoor seating area.

Recent travelers recommended making this visitor center your first stop in the park to gather important information on road and weather conditions, bear sightings and trail closures. Families particularly enjoyed the junior ranger programs and special activities, and many visitors were impressed with the restaurant, the helpful staff and the free Wi-Fi. Many also noted that this is the place to park for free shuttle service and park tours.

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GlacierNPS/Flickr
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