Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is uniquely spectacular combination of Alpine meadows, scenic vistas, humongous landscape and the mountain wildlife. Park is a fantastic place to spend a family vacation.  With 700 miles of hiking trails everyone gets opportunity to choose from easy to strenuous hike at Glacier National Park.

The Best part of hiking at Glacier National Park is that you get a reward on reaching the destination with view of stunning landscape, blue water lakes or enchanting waterfalls. Also if you get lucky you might get to see either mountain goats, Bighorn sheep, marmots or the bear. So Always carry bear Spray while hiking any trails in Glacier National Park.

Scenic view of Hidden Lake with Bearhat mountain in back
Scenic view of Hidden Lake with Bearhat mountain in back

Where is Hidden Lake Trail

Hidden Lake trail is located at Logan Pass along the Going-To-The-Sun road. The trail head is right behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

Logan Pass Visitor Center is popular destination at Glacier National Park. So finding a parking spot is an issue during Summer or holiday weekend. I would suggest reaching the Logan Pass Parking lot before 8.00 am. If that is not possible second option is to park the vehicle either at Apgar Visitor Center in west or St. Mary Visitor center in east and then riding the free shuttle bus to Logan Pass Visitor Center.

Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail

Hidden Lake Trail caters to two scenic destinations- Hidden Lake Lookout and the Hidden Lake.

Hidden Lake Lookout is popular among visitors looking for an easy family hike that can be done with children. The short 2.8-mile trail has amazing views of Logan Pass, Mount Reynolds and Mount Clements throughout the entire hike.

Logan Pass is also home to another popular hike of Highline Trail. Hiking the Highline Trail is must for families looking for adventures.

Hidden Lake Trailhead board with bloomed wildflowers in the meadow

Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout

Trail Head: Logan Pass Visitor Center/ Hidden Lake Trail head
Trail Feature: View of Lake, Alpine Meadows and surrounding mountains
Round trip: 2.8 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy
Elevation gain: 460 feet
Best time to go: July- Season Closure

Family Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout
Hidden Lake Lookout

The hike to Hidden Lake Lookout begins from the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  On reaching the backside of Visitor center, you get to see paved road turning in to wooden board walk with rising stair way.  

The stunning view of Alpine Meadows bloomed with colorful wild flowers on either side of board walk with Mountain Clement standing in background is breathtaking. The trail is also known as Hanging Gardens Trail, but it is popularly known as Hidden Lake Nature trail.

Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout and Hidden Lake
Raised Wooden board Walk in Alpine Meadows at Logan Pass

The entire trail is completely open and exposed to sun and wind.  There is no shade along the trail.  So, Sunhats and light wind breaker jackets are good to have during this hike.

We hiked this trail just after few days Logan Pass was opened for season in mid-July.  There was lot of snow on the trail. It was bit difficult to cross the big snow fields.  But it was manageable with good waterproof hiking shoes.

Hiking the Hidden Lake trail Glacier National Park
Hiking the Hidden Lake trail
Mountain goat near to wooden board walk on Hidden Lake trail
Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout and Hidden Lake
Family with kids on trail to Hidden Lake Lookout
Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout
Snow on Hidden Lake Lookout trail

There were many Visitors crossing the snow patches in normal tennis shoes and sandals. All seemed to be happy as marching towards the lookout. But on return, way back they were having their shoes wet and possibly having cold feet bit frozen.

So I would recommend to always check for trail conditions at Visitor center before heading on trails. Wooden board walk is easy to walk with few rising steps. But it is not stroller or wheel chair friendly.

Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout and Hidden lake
Few Visitors going barefoot holding wet shoes in hand

Soon the wooden board walk turns to a regular muddy, rocky natural trail gaining some elevation. Don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the beautiful view of visitor center, parking lot surrounded with mountains and valley.

You can expect crowds on this trail to Hidden Lake Lookout as this is the most popular destination of the park.  Also, this trail guarantees the viewing of mountain goats and marmots.  If you are lucky you get to see bear or bighorn sheep.

We got to see many mountain goats on the trail to Hidden Lake lookout. There was a herd of mountain goats grazing in the meadows next to the lookout.

Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout and Hidden Lake
Snow on Hidden Lake Lookout trail in Mid July
Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout and Hidden Lake
Near to the Hidden Lake Lookout

There were few beautiful ponds next to the trails just before the lookout.  On reaching the Lookout, the view of Hidden Lake is amazingly beautiful with surrounding mountains.  The Bearhat mountain stands right back at hidden lake.

Hidden Lake Lookout is one of the best things to do at Glacier National Park.  Always bring some snacks on trail to keep the kids happy.

Mountain goat on snow field next to Hidden Lake Lookout
Mountain goat on snow field next to Hidden Lake Lookout
Visitors enjoying the beautiful view from Hidden Lake Lookout
Visitors enjoying the beautiful view from Hidden Lake Lookout
Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail Glacier National Park
View of Hidden Lake with Bearhat mountain in background
Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park
Herd of Mountain goats grazing near the Hidden Lake Lookout

Hike to Hidden Lake

Trail Feature: Lake, Landscape, Alpine Meadows
Elevation drop: 780 feet from Hidden Lake Overlook
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Round trip: 5.2 miles back to Logan Pass visitor center
Best time to go: July – September

For hikers or families looking for more adventure, continuing past Hidden Lake Lookout for another 1.2 miles you reach the Hidden Lake.  The trail starts with flat land from the lookout and then start descending down wards. The astonishing view of the Hidden Lake remains in the sight during the entire hike until you reach the lake.

The foot traffic reduces after Hidden Lake lookout and you can expect less crowd on this trail to Hidden Lake. Continuing descend on the route, the trail progressively gets steeper with many switch backs on getting closer to the lake. The trail drops 770 feet from Hidden Lake Lookout to the beach of Hidden Lake.  

Hiking on Hidden Lake trail
Hiking on Hidden Lake trail
View of Hidden Lake from the trail
Take a moment to enjoy the stunning view of Hidden Lake
Hike to Hidden Lake
Trail slowly losing elevation
Hike to Hidden Lake
Mountain goat next to Hidden Lake trail
Hike to Hidden Lake
Trail going down ward with steep switchbacks

I would recommend doing this trail with some company as this trail gets lonely and might get close encounter with wild life. Always carry Bear Spray while hiking in Glacier National Park.  Also make noise either by clapping or talking to make the distant wild life aware of humans. 

You get to see marmots playing in the meadows, mountain goats and some times a bear too. We got to see many mountain goats on this trail and some time we were scared as few mountain goat would follow us on trail.

On reaching the Lake, you find a secluded beach spot perfect for lunch or snack break.  The beach area extends in either direction giving the hiker the opportunities to explore little. Beware while relaxing on the beach, mountain goats like to give unexpected surprise by coming from back.

Crystal Clear Glaciated waters of Hidden Lake
Mountain goat coming back on the beach area of Hidden Lake
Mountain goat coming from woods on the beach area of Hidden Lake
Reflection of Mountains in to Clear water of Hidden Lake
Reflection of Mountains in to Clear water of Hidden Lake
Crystal Clear Waters of Hidden Lake
Crystal Clear Waters of Hidden Lake

The water of Hidden Lake is crystal clear and cool to soak your feet and feel refresh and start the hike back to trail head.  There is a pit toilet at Hidden lake in case someone needs to use.  The hike to Hidden Lake is 5.2 miles round trip with moderate climb.

Hike to Hidden Lake
Hiking back on steep trail from Hidden Lake to trail head

Trail to Hidden Lake is sometimes closed due to snow early in opening season or due to wild life. Check Visitor Center for trail updates and conditions. During our visit this year in mid July, the trail to Hidden Lake was closed due to increased bear activity around the Hidden Lake.

We had hiked to Hidden Lake early August last year during our first trip to Glacier National Park. There are so many Places and Things to do at Glacier National Park that all cannot be done in one trip. So we visited again this year for second time to explore more. And more we visit and more we keep on falling in love with Glacier National Park.

Have you been to Hidden Lake Lookout or the Hidden Lake? Feel free to comment below on your experience hiking at Glacier National Park.

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Hiking Hidden Lake Trail Glacier National Park
Hiking Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

14 thoughts on “Hiking the Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

  1. DESPINA PARTHEMOS

    This was so in depth and helpful! I’ve only hiked in Upstate New York but I would love to do something a little more heavy duty like this in terms of altitude

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