One of the things I looked forward to doing in Montana was hiking, but I had no clue what to expect. After hearing we’d be going on the Hidden Lake Trail my first thought was that it simply sounded beautiful, but I didn’t know much else. I can now say it’s one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve gone on and it’s even listed as one of the top 10 Glacier National Park Hikes!
Glacier National Park Hikes
With over 700 miles of trails, it’s safe to say that Glacier National Park has dozens and dozens of trails. This park gets about 2.2 million annual visitors, and with good reason.
Here are some of the most popular Glacier National Park hikes that you should consider on your visit:
- ICEBERG LAKE (9.6 miles)
- ST. MARY AND VIRGINIA FALLS (3.1 miles)
- HIGHLINE TRAIL (11.4 miles)
- GRINNELL GLACIER (10.3 miles)
- PTARMIGAN TUNNEL (10.5 miles)
Glacier National Park Map
You can also download a .pdf version of the Glacier National Park map here.
How to Prepare for the Hidden Lake Trail
My first recommendation for preparing for any hike, but especially a hike in Montana, is to hydrate. I was beyond embarrassed at the amount of huffing and puffing that I did and I would never classify this hike as difficult. The altitude was no joke for me but at no point during my time in Montana did I ever feel sick.
I also recommend coming equipped with bear spray. Amazon has an affordable option here. As you can see from the video above, we had barely put a dent into the hike before we were warned about a bear sighting. And while that sounds cool and exciting, it’s only fun from far away. When you find out a bear is just 20 yards behind you, it’s a different story.
Whether or not you’re with a group, be sure to have your bear spray and if you need to walk through an area where one could be hiding amongst trees or behind something, be sure to make lots of noise so that they know you’re coming.
Leave No Trace
Everything you brought into the park should be leaving with you. No exceptions.
Although I’ve never done it, I thought that burying something as simple as tissue after using the bathroom was okay. It’s not. Tissue isn’t going to disintegrate as quickly as you think it will and let’s not discuss the people who don’t even bury it. That tissue you leave in the outdoors can be ingested by wildlife, or will simply freeze in certain temperatures. And frozen things definitely aren’t breaking down or decomposing any time soon.
If you brought it with you, take it with you and dispose of it responsibly.
Hidden Lake – Glacier National Park
We drove along Going-to-the-Sun Road before arriving at Logan Pass. If you have a miniature bladder like me, I recommend using the bathrooms right next to the parking lot before starting your hike.
As I mentioned, I didn’t know what to expect on this trail so I wasn’t all the way surprised when it involved steps and a wooden planked walking path (aka a boardwalk). However, I was surprised to see how long it went on.
I actually read that the boardwalk is meant to keep hikers above the snow, which is a plus!
The Hidden Lake Trail is only 2.8 miles roundtrip but my goodness did it feel like an eternity. It was all worth it in the end to watch the sun go down while also having a perfect view of the lake. Next time I have to go much farther and I’ll be prepared.
Along the hike through meadows, you’ll see mountains every which way you look. Like the moon, cameras do it no justice. You must see it in person.
Wildlife on the Trail
We happened to constantly hear about the bear before we actually spotted it. I saw the tiniest glimpse of it going through some trees before I lost sight of it. And while we were looking in one direction, someone walking by alerted us that it had literally just crossed the path we were on while we were looking the other way.
Once it was time to leave the park, we made noise and left in a big group just in case we ran into it again. When we thought all was clear and that we could relax, we found out it was directly behind us and moving toward us. Whatever happened afterwards was a blur because I turned around, caught of glimpse of it, and speed walked the rest of the way and left everyone else to be eaten.
At the beginning of bear-gate we spotted mountain goats high on a cliff. My eyes could only really focus on one but there were three, seemingly two adults and a baby. Because this was my first time ever seeing a mountain goat, I was impressed and not left hoping for more wildlife sightings through the day.
Other wildlife living in Glacier National Park would be mountain lions, wolverines, lynx, moose, elk, and many more. Just make sure you have you camera ready to capture it all and keep a safe distance.