1. It’s really long. It takes the entire day to do the trail. (if you want to rest at all along the way) We left at about 9:30 and finished about 5:00
2. The last part of the hike called the Loop: a 4 mile downhill trail in open sunshine at the most tiring part of the day. It’s super hot! And going downhill for 4 miles seems like ten miles. It goes on forever.
3. You need to have a LOT of water with you, and when you get up to the mountain chalet, they do sell water: just $5.86 for 1.5 liter bottles. And when you get down to the Loop shuttle stop, after you've drunk all your water plus the expensive water, and you are totally about to pass out from dehydration, at the end of the trail, there’s no water and the shuttle doesn’t come all that frequently, and passers-by aren’t that excited to pick up hitchhikers to get back up to Logan’s Pass where your car is.
4. The part of the trail where they have the cable strung along the rock wall so people feel more comfortable is NOTHING in terms of freaky close to the edge of big drop-offs. I mean the trail is about 18 inches wide in many places, and it follows the side of the mountains so looking down at where you could fall could be a little frightening. So, just don’t look down!! Just look at the mountains all around you.
5. They totally scare you by telling you that there are bears all around the park, and you have to keep your eyes open. And you rent bear spray that you have to carry not on your backpack because it will take too long to grab it if you need it, but in your pocket for easy access, and they make you watch a video of how to use the spray, so you get super paranoid that around every bend there will be a bear, so you sing stupid songs and yell every once in a while so the bears will be scared and run away.
Top 5 Reasons you MUST do the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park
1. It’s the most epic beautiful hike EVER!!! They say it's one of the most beautiful hikes in the country.
2. I never thought I’d do the entire hike but I did. And if I, a 54 year old out-of-shape female can do it, so can you!
Lots of even older and way younger people were doing the hike. People up into their late 70’s-early 80’s were doing this hike, and kids like 8 and up were doing it. (plus a couple crazy parents were carrying their babies up)
4. It was quite a challenge, but the pay-off was totally worth it. But if you read the literature, it sounds kind of scary. It’s not even close to being as hard as you think. There’s only one pretty long, steep-ish switchback to climb, and one steeper straight up part, but that one is pretty short, and the rest of the trip is a gradual incline, you barely feel it. The thing that gets you is the length. Just when you think you might see the chalet, marking the end of the hike, you see the trail wind around another bend way up ahead.
And then when you see the chalet, it looks like it’s five miles away, perched way up on the mountain. Even when the sign says the chalet is 1.5 miles away, it still feels like a 3 mile hike. But the views you see and the flowers that are blooming everywhere can distract you from the length. And of course keeping your eyes open for the bears that everyone says are everywhere. It keeps you on your toes!
5. It is SO BEAUTIFUL!!! And getting to the chalet is such a great feeling. The view is spectacular. And at the end of the hike, going down the four miles of the Loop trail, when you think you’ll pass out from heat and dehydration because you ran out of water a long time ago, despite buying another 1.5 liter of water for $5.86 at the chalet, and the four miles feels like 8 miles in the burning sun, you finally see the Loop trail head/road, and then you realize that you still have to go around another bend, you finally see a quickly moving mountain stream that you know is rushing down the mountain and contains the melted snow and ice that you were just walking through up at the top of the mountain and you peel off your boots and socks and throw your burning feet into the water, and put the ice cold water on your head, it feels like HEAVEN!!!
And that is why you should put Glacier National Park on your list of places you must visit!!! And the Highline Trail is one everyone should consider doing. By the way, we didn’t see any bears, but we did see a mountain goat just sitting on a ledge, a couple mule deer, and some groundhog type animals and some other animals that were like squirrels but with short, flat tails.