Hidden Lake Overlook hike

Glacier National Park
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Hidden Lake Overlook hike

Distance: 2.6mi
Elevation: 541ft
Time: 1-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.4 Overall Rating
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We can hardly think of a better short hike in the world that rivals the view from the Hidden Lake Overlook in Glacier Park. And if you’re lucky there will be some handsome Rocky Mountain Goats nearby on the trail!

Hidden Lake Overlook hike Map

Getting there

Take the Going-to-the-Sun Road and park at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Be aware the parking lot is typically full between 8:30am and 4pm. Get here early or late. There is also public transportation from other parking lots on the GTTS road.

I’ve done this 14 people have done this
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About

When to do

June through September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Extreme

Route Type

Out and back


Hidden Lake Overlook
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Hidden Lake Overlook hike

This hike is some-kinda-wonderful, but you won’t be alone. There are literally hundreds of people doing this route, and for good reason. The overlook is stunning. Beyond stunning. One of the best of the best. And it’s only 1.3mi each way!

Early in the season this hike retains a lot of snow. In mid-July we saw a father with his kids carrying ski gear up to get some turns in. We heard people ask him “Are you going skiing?” He didn’t even reply, and frankly we were left wondering what the people asking the question thought he might be doing besides skiing.

Our last trip in mid-July was very snowy, with only about half the hike without powder. As early evening approached, the snow was melting, and the trail was quite wet. We didn’t mind as we had our good, sturdy leather boots (thank-you Zamberlan!), however people in sandals or running shoes were having a tough time.

From the parking lot, head towards the visitor center. Walk behind the visitor center and you will see a load of people heading up towards Hidden Lake Pass. This entire route is through alpine gardens, which makes it stunning. These meadows, known as “Hanging Gardens” are fragile, and much of this path is on a boardwalk, designed to preserve the fragile grasses of this area.

As you look up, you will see Clements Mountain towering on your right, with waterfalls coming down early in the season. On your left you will see Reynolds Mountain. It goes without saying it’s worth it to stop and look behind you. Towering above the Visitor Centre is Mount Pollock, with Mount Piegan on the right. You can also pick out the start of the wonderful Highline Trail, which takes you along the Continental Divide to Granite Park Chalet.

But you’re continuing ahead. As you rise, cross a stream or two, which hopefully means there are some Rocky Mountain Goats nearby. As you come over a pass there is often a pleasant little tarn or two on your left, which can offer some beautiful photos with reflections when the sun is right and the wind is low. From the pass you get an idea of the beauty that lay ahead, with Bearhat Mountain dominating the view.

As you descend a short distance, you’ll get to another wooden boardwalk, boasting more wonderful views. Hidden Lake is dominated by Bearhat Mountain rising directly above. To the right you can see Mount Cannon in the distance, while to your left the Dragons Tail leads from Mount Reynolds and connects with Bearhat Mountain.

Early in the season, Rangers often close access to the lake as bears are feeding on salmon (at least that is what they said, we’re impressed the salmon get from the Pacific all the way to Hidden Lake!). Later in the season, once the path is open, you have the option to continue another 1.4mi down to Hidden Lake. This is a pleasant walk and there are nice views from the lake. If you have the energy, hike down the 771ft to the lake, but remember you need to climb back up!

Your route back is the same as the way you came up. This is a great time to perfect your glissading skills if there is still snow, but please BE CAREFUL!

Insider Hints

  • Be prepared for snow, we used microspikes in mid-July there was so much snow. Poles and good boots were very helpful. With that said, people were doing this hike in flip-flops, so it can be done, only with discomfort and more danger, in a wide variety of footwear.

  • Going after dinner is a great time, as the light is fine, the crowds low and more animals are around!

Comments

Kristina Norm 5 months ago

Really crowded place but it's worth doing it at least once in a lifetime. It sort of introduces you to what Glacier is all about.

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Wyatt Thomas 5 months ago

Beautiful hike and love seeing the mountain goats, but it is very busy.

9.0 Overall Rating
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MaggieRoy 6 months ago

It's a must-see place in the Glacier Nacional park since it has a great overlook, visitor centre, educational walk, lots of animals roaming around and is in the middle of the park.

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1h 00m Time Taken
ishita_war 6 months ago

amazing overlook lots of wild animals like mountain sheeps chipmunks and some other rodents that we don't know the names off and the overlook is beautiful but very crowded

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0h 30m Time Taken
SJ 6 months ago

Fun little hike to Hidden lake, but it was very busy.

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stocRob 6 months ago

That's the place where everybody is getting their nice pictures from. It's a must see place. We saw an Amish family with a selfie stick there so that made our day.

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Ronny 6 months ago

loads of chipmunks and similar rodents running around. A bunch of people taking pictures. A good holiday walk. I even saw a big beaver sitting on the mountain. They said it's not a beaver, so it might've been something else.

8.0 Overall Rating
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1h 15m Time Taken
Burokai 6 months ago

The most crowded place in the park but the views were amazing. Lots of chipmunks and other wild animals such as mountain goats can be spotted and it's a must see if you are in Glacier Park

10.0 Overall Rating
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1h 00m Time Taken
8 Comments

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