Panorama from the Hidden Lake Overlook hike in Glacier National Park, Montana
Panorama from the Hidden Lake Overlook hike in Glacier National Park, Montana

Hidden Lake Overlook Trail

Glacier National Park
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Hidden Lake Overlook Trail

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

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

We can hardly think of another short hike in the world that can rival the views from the Hidden Lake Overlook in Glacier National Park, Montana. In addition to witnessing some spectacular views, you might get lucky and spot some handsome Rocky Mountain goats nearby on the trail!

Hidden Lake Overlook Trail Map

Getting there

To get to the Hidden Lake Overlook Trailhead, 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 to avoid the crowds. There is also public transportation from other parking lots on the GTTS road.

I’ve done this 38 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 Trail
Elevation Graph


Hidden Lake Overlook Trail Description

This hike is some-kinda-wonderful, but don’t expect to be alone on the trail. 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!

Trail highlights

Hidden Lake

Located in Glacier National Park, Hidden Lake is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Flathead County, Montana due to its relatively short trail and breathtakingly scenic views of the surrounding alpine landscape.

At an elevation of 6375ft above sea level, the lake is surrounded by picturesque meadows that are filled with wildflowers during the summer, and rugged mountain peaks like the distinctive Bearhat Mountain that towers overhead.

Find more epic hikes in Glacier National Park

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

HikerNolifer 1 year ago

Breathtaking! The water, the mountains! Wow!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1h 25m Time Taken
Miranda Q. 1 year ago

This hike is full-packed with the crowd! I wasn't able to take a decent photo of mine with no one in the background.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Suzy TQ 1 year ago

Like everything else in the park the hike was beautiful. Definitely worth the walk from Logan’s Pass.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1h 15m Time Taken
CamilaP. 1 year ago

Nice walk most of the way and very safe. Easy, short, rewarding hike.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Taylor Amanda 1 year ago

Breathtaking the water the mountains great. The trail is reasonably good to take with kids.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Tom Pack. 1 year ago

The view is very rewarding at the end of the miles hike and we saw all kinds of wildlife

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Winston M. 1 year ago

Awesome trail. Great hike in Glacier National Park. It's heavily trafficked, but it's still worth doing.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Eden Meyk 1 year ago

Need to wait a couple of minutes to get a parking space. I was annoyed and was already planning to leave when I was able to get one.

10.0 Overall Rating
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dylanm 2 years ago

Incredible scenery but the crowd was unbelivable.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Darren K. 2 years ago

It was a short but exciting hike. We enjoyed the amazing views. The flora and fauna were incredible too.

10.0 Overall Rating
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26 Comments Show all

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