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Highline Trail

 5.0 (3)

Length


19.9 Miles 32.0 Kilometers


3,618' 1,103 m

Ascent

-3,650' -1,113 m

Descent

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

30%

Max Grade (16°)

7,414' 2,260 m

High

5,830' 1,777 m

Low

Shared By Tom Hollo

Conditions


Unknown

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A popular, flat, long traverse with stunning views, wildflowers, and frequent wildlife sightings.

Tom Hollo

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids may enjoy the views along this trail, but probably may not be able to handle the entire southern portion if too young, and should be held close on the cliffs section.

Always carry bear spray and know how to use it. Although the southern portion of this trail is flat, it is long and ends in a dry, hot burn area - carry plenty of water and do not attempt the entire southern trail unless you are reasonably fit. Practice "Leave No Trace" principles. The northern section of this trail has areas that carry snow that is sometimes impassable late into the season.

Description

This trail traverses the western side of the continental divide. The southern half starts at Logan Pass and heads northwest 7.6 miles to Granite Park Chalet. The northern half continues 11.9 miles to its intersection with Waterton Valley and Flattop Mountain Trails.

The southern half is commonly done as a day outing, starting at Logan Pass and ending at The Loop via Granite Park Trail. You can park a second car at either end for the return trip or use the shuttle service. The views of McDonald Creek valley are constant and breathtaking.

Starting from Logan Pass, follow the signs north across Going to the Sun Road to the trailhead. The trail goes through a meadow then hugs a series of cliffs on the slopes of the Garden Wall Divide. A cable bolted to the cliff wall is available during the summer, as the cliffs are sheer, but the trail is wide and this section is brief. The cliffs transition into steep, grassy slopes that you traverse for miles, occasionally crossing streams nice for resting and refilling water. After about 2.5 miles, you reach Big Bend, a rock field, then head uphill via switchbacks over a saddle on the east side of Haystack Butte. Fit hikers can take a detour to summit the butte. From the saddle, the trail continues its traverse with a gradual incline then shifts to a decline on its way to Granite Park Chalet.

About a mile before the chalet the Garden Wall Trail splits off to the right and climbs sharply for a mile to an unbeatable overlook of Salamander and Grinnell Glaciers. Worth the detour for fit hikers. Those doing the day loop continue to the chalet (food & bathrooms available) then take Granite Park Trail 4.2 miles down to The Loop. Note that trail passes through a west-facing burn area that gets very hot and dry at a day's end.

The northern section of the trail is less frequented but equally spectacular. Several areas harbor snow late into the season that is sometimes impassable. Doing this section in a day via looping back on the Flattop Mountain Trail is arduous but possible if very fit. It is easier to camp at Fifty Mountain Campground and hike out the next day.

From the chalet, the trail continues its traverse north toward Ahern Peak with great views of several drainages and mountain ridges. Just before the peak the trail turns sharp left at a junction with a short, steep spur up to Ahern Pass. The traverse continues around and up toward its terminus, with a final spur detour to an overlook of Sue Lake.

Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers are diverse and abundant on the steep grassy slopes that make up much of this trail, if done in the late spring or summer. There are few trees.

Wildlife sightings are common. Keep an eye out for mountain goats in the meadows near Logan Pass or high in the cliffs/mountains to your right as you hike (but watch your step, as the fall would be treacherous in parts). Big Horned Sheep are also frequently seen up on the slopes. Lower down, keep an eye out for ground squirrels and marmots. Deer are common in the burn area heading down from the chalet to complete the single day loop.

Please do not feed wildlife

Contacts

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jul 7, 2018
Vikas Asthana
0.5mi
Jul 4, 2018
Faith Stout
only hiked to the chain hand rail
Aug 28, 2017
Rebecca Smith
Aug 22, 2017
Caitlin Verboon
Nov 29, 2016
Korey Peterson
3mi
Oct 5, 2016
nic sev
Aug 27, 2016
Emily Madore
Aug 4, 2016
shornet shornet

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#1

in Belly River

#268

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
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#1

in Belly River

#9

in Montana

#268

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252 Views Last Month
1,964 Since Sep 3, 2015
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I have a terrible fear of heights. Sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, the impending feeling of doom that overtakes you. Precipice in Acadia was terrifying for me. Angels Landing in Zion is out of the question. I can't get beyond Scouts Landing. I did this hike without a care. The path is wide enough for two people to pass and there is a chain. It didn't trigger my fear of heights at all. Aug 25, 2017

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