So, this post continues our time in Glacier National Park.
Read Days 1-3 here, Day 5 here, Day 6 here , Day 7 here & Day 8 here, Read my post on 101 Things to do outside of the park here & Read my posts on the East side from when we visited in 2021 here
On day 4, we planned on hiking the Hidden Lake Overlook and the Highline Trail. Both trailheads are located at Logan Pass and right across the road from one another.
I had read that the parking for these two hikes filled up very quickly so we needed to arrive early. My hubby reluctantly agreed to leave by 7:00 am. The drive from our hotel to Logan Pass takes an hour.
Once again, we were awaken to another beautiful sunrise.
Before heading out, we packed a picnic lunch since the only place for food was at Rising Sun….since that was at the very end of the Sun Road, we knew we would be wanting to eat lunch before getting to that part of the park.
Driving the Going to the Sun Road
In 1932, after three decades of construction, almost 500,000 pounds of explosives, and more than $2,000,000 in costs, the first automobile drove the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The road is 50 miles long…Without stopping, it takes at least 2 hours to drive the full 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Logan Pass is the highest point on Going-to-the Sun Road at 6,646 feet. Logan Pass is 32 miles from the west entrance and 18 miles from the east entrance.
The road is usually open from early June thru mid-October.
The views were awesome!
One of two tunnels on the Sun Road
There are two tunnels, one on either side of Logan Pass, that motorists will drive through. The East Side Tunnel is 408 feet long, while the West Side Tunnel is 192 feet in length.
I was taking lots of pictures from the car but I was having to shoot towards the sun so a lot of my pictures didn’t turn out that great.
Portions of the road hug the mountainside as it traverses over steep drop-offs and steers through tight curves…it can be a little nerve wracking!
Due to very little clearance with oncoming traffic, vehicles longer than 21 feet or wider than 8 feet, are prohibited between Avalanche Campground and the Sun Point parking area.
Tip: Download the Gypsy App for the Sun Road…it will guide you down the road letting you know where each stop is located…it also tells you about the history of the park. It costs $4.99 but it’s worth it!
Haystack Creek….sadly, this was the location of a fatality just 2 yrs earlier.
More views along the way to Logans pass
A shot of Triple Arches….known locally as the Garden Wall.
More shots along the way
Arriving to Logans Pass…it’s the highest point on Going-to-the Sun Road at 6,646 feet.
Sadly, we arrived too late and there wasn’t a parking space to be found so we had to continue our drive along the Sun Road.
Going through the second tunnel
More shots along the road
We stopped at the Jackson Glacier Overlook
Jackson Glacier is the 7th largest remaining glacier in GNP. There are only 25 remaining glaciers in the park compared to 150 in 1850.
There are several hikes that start from this location.
Click here for more popular things to do in the park
After this stop, we continued our drive
We made another quick stop and spotted some wild huckleberries
More of those incredible views!
It was smoky from all of the fires burning out West.
We pulled over at a pullout and took pics of St Mary’s Lake
St Mary Lake is the second-largest lake in Glacier National Park. The 10-mile long lake offers a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities including elk, mule deer and both grizzly and black bears.
Click here to book a boat tour for St Mary Lake, Lake McDonald, Many Glacier & Two Medicine lakes.
We saw lots of beautiful wildflowers blooming
After this stop, we continued our drive along the Sun Rd.
Of course, I was taking hundreds of pictures along the way!
You can see Wild Goose Island in the distance
Next we stopped at an overlook to get a better shot of Goose Island…this is one of the most popular stops in the park.
Wild Goose Island is a tiny speck of land that dots the waters of St Mary Lake in Glacier National Park. The island rises only 14 feet from the surface of the water yet is in the center of one of the most often photographed locations along the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.
If you’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Shining” (the one with Jack Nicholson), it is Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island that is depicted during the opening sequence to the film.
While at this stop, we spotted a waterfall in the distance
We continued our drive and stopped at the next pulloff…it appeared to be some sort of boat launch.
We stayed here a while so my hubby could work on his rock skipping skills 😉
The views were amazing
After this stop, we arrived to the Rising Sun area.
Tip: For 2023, the Rising Sun area will be as far as you can drive from the East entrance without a reservation.
This was the area where they were making people turn around as the East side of the park was closed due to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation prohibiting tourists from coming onto their reservation due to Covid.
Click here for 6 jewels of the East side
Click here for camping near Rising Sun & here to book a tour of Sun Road in one of the famous red buses
We stopped in at the Rising Sun General Store and purchased a few souvenirs.
Read reviews here of Two Dog Flats – the restaurant at the Rising Sun Motor Inn
Click here to book a stay at the Rising Sun Motor Inn & here to read reviews
We then headed to the nearby picnic area to have lunch
It was a bit nerve wracking knowing that we could attract bears while we ate!
After lunch, we walked a short trail to the water’s edge.
We spotted this old tree and thought it would be the perfect spot for pics.
Or a nap 😉
After leaving here, we continued our drive to Sun Point Overlook which was 10 mins from Rising Sun.
Views along the way
Click here and here for a detailed list of stops and pullovers on the Sun Road
There were a lot of burnt trees in this area.
More views along the way
After a few mins of driving, we arrived to the parking lot for the Sun Point Nature trail..the trail to Baring Falls also starts from here.
The trail to Sun Point begins at the former site of the Sun Point Chalet which lodged visitors from 1913 to 1942.
Click here to read about the historic chalets and lodges in the park
The very short walk (0.1 mi)will take you to a rocky outcrop overlooking St Mary’s lake and the surrounding mountains.
The views are breathtaking!
It was very windy!! You can forget having a good hair day up here!!
After leaving the Sun Point trail, we walked over to the other side of the parking lot and hiked to Baring Falls.
The falls is only 1.2 mi roundtrip on an easy, flat trail. However, you can also hike to Virginia Falls and Gunsight Lake on this same trail.
Views along the way
There are lots of burnt trees still visible from the 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire.
There were quite a few people at the falls when we arrived.
Some were even swimming beneath the waterfall.
I could have sat in this spot all day!
After staying here for about an hour, we headed back to our car.
There were lots of flowers blooming on the trail
Shots on the way back to the parking lot
Once we left here, we headed back towards the West Entrance.
The drive from Sun Point back to Apgar Village takes 1 hr 15.
Shots along the way
Headed back towards the 2nd tunnel…this is one of those shots that everyone tries to take when driving the Sun Rd.
We passed the Weeping Wall.
The Weeping Wall is a natural waterfall that seeps out from the side of the Garden Wall, and is fed by runoff from snowmelt
We made another quick stop at a pullout and snapped a few pics
Once we arrived back to Logan Pass, we pulled into the parking lot to see if we could find a parking space…this time we found one!
So, we decided to go ahead and hike the Hidden Lake Overlook.
There are plenty of restrooms here and a visitors center
Starting the trail…it’s about 3 miles roundtrip and mostly on a wooden boardwalk…the elevation gain is about 500 ft.
The views were incredible!
This trail closes frequently due to bears so make sure you have bear spray!
The wildflowers were in full bloom!
A few shots along the trail
We saw a few mountain goats and even had one join us on the trail…..this is why the bears hang out here!
I couldn’t stop taking pics…as usual! 😉
After about an hour, we finally arrived to the overlook…the views were amazing!
Unfortunately, it was a bit hazy and smoky from the fires out of CA so my pics weren’t the best.
A lot of people will continue the hike past the overlook down to Hidden lake . However, if you choose to do this, just know that it’s all down hill going and all uphill on the way back…you will gain 900 ft elevation on the way back!
This little guy was hoping to get a snack
After spending about 45 mins here, we headed back.
Views on the way
We spotted more mountain goats on the way
The sun finally came out and the smoke had cleared so the views were a lot better!
My hubby taking pics
The views were so incredible…I highly recommend this hike!
After about 45 mins, we made it back to the parking lot…we decided to walk across the street and hike the Highline trail.
As we were walking, we stopped for a quick pic in front of the Logan Pass sign …Logan Pass has the highest elevation in the park.
Starting the trail
This trail is a must…it’s the most incredible and popular trail we hiked.
You can hike as far in as you want and turn around or continue your hike to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook which is around 11-13 miles roundtrip.
Shots from the trail
We came up on a mountain goat and her baby..
We continued along the trail…however, the wind was blowing so hard we felt it wasn’t safe for us to continue as this trail is a complete drop off the side of a mountain!!
After taking a few more shots, we turned around and headed back.
Shots on the way back
After leaving here, we headed back towards our hotel
We stopped off at the Red Rock Point…this is a great place to spend a day swimming and picnicking.
After this stop, we decided to head to a small food truck just 15 mins outside the West Entrance called, The Wandering Gringo Cafe.
We both ordered the chicken burrito and it was huge! The food was really good but a little too spicy for me.
The restaurant only offers outside seating and only takes cash
Read reviews here
After leaving here, we headed back to our hotel..but first, we drove by the historic Belton Chalet..when it opened its doors in the summer of 1910, the Belton Chalet was viewed as the pinnacle of modern hospitality in the west and welcomed visitors by train from across the country.
After getting back to our hotel, we sat outside and enjoyed the view before calling it a night.
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for days 5 & 6!
Read Days 1-3 here
Click here for shuttle stops in the park
Click here for biking in the park
Click here for road status in the park