Hiking to the Hidden Lake Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana
The Hidden Lake overlook is a popular hike leaving from Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.
The hike takes you 1.5 miles one-way, with an elevation gain of 460 feet, up to a lookout point of Hidden Lake.
The hike begins as a paved trail, but then is mostly a raised boardwalk, and you will be joined by a lot of other people on this hike. The boardwalk is actually misleading, it is more steep than it looks. It isn’t a difficult hike, but it does become more difficult if you pack small children!
You follow the path behind the visitor center, and continue to your right (or straight) on the path that heads toward Clements Mountain straight ahead of you. This will take you up toward Clements Mountain, and then veer to the left around it.
You will finally reach some trees and a small lake on your left, and you will know that you are almost there!
There is then a nice spot to look at the lake on some rocks before you reach the designated boardwalk area that is the overlook.
This hike is completely exposed to the elements. What I mean is that there is no shade. No trees. No bathroom. Nothing. You cannot escape the sun, so be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses. I wanted to change into shorts after I started hiking, and there is no place to do this. There are no trees to hide in to change. This spot can also get quite windy, so it’s best to pack extra clothing accordingly. Also note that if you do this hike early in the season (June / July), there is likely to be snow on the trail as you get closer to the overlook.
The open meadows you pass for the majority of the hike are referred to as the Hanging Gardens, and early in the season (July / August), there are beautiful wildflowers blooming, and you will have many opportunity to take photos. Even if you don’t complete the entire hike, you will enjoy walking the boardwalk and taking photos.
This is also a great place to see mountain goats in Glacier National Park.
I have two main tips for this hike:
1. Start your hike early.
You should arrive at Logan Pass early to begin your hike. This is due to the severe parking issue that Logan Pass has. There is very limited parking, and the parking lot will most likely be full by ten a.m. If you don’t get there before the lot is full, you will end up doing laps (with several other vehicles), trying to get a parking spot. You will probably have to chase someone to their vehicle and ask if they are leaving — as happened several times with us after we parked. If you get there early, you can avoid this problem.
The other reason to get there early is so that you will not be hiking in the heat. It does get hot at the top of Logan Pass during the summer months, and hiking up to the overlook is much more enjoyable if you are not sweating. As I noted above, there is no shade along this hike, another reason it can get hot.
2. Continue walking past the designated lookout spot for the best views.
The lookout has a nice boardwalk area where you can stand. However, to get the best views of Hidden Lake, (if you are not going to hike all of the way down to the lake), is to continue along the trail past that point toward the lake. There are many large rocks to enjoy a lunch, and the views are spectacular. You can see more of the lake than you can at the actual designated lookout.
I would suggest that you continue hiking to Hidden Lake. Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park is just absolutely breathtaking — a nice rock beach, and the clearest water you will ever see!! You have already come this far, why not continue?
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog