Hidden Lake Trail – Glacier National Park Hike #1 – Tom and Priscilla
Our first hike at GNP started at Logan Pass. We snagged the last parking spot and headed straight to the visitor center to check trail conditions. It appeared that snow still covered the mountains at Logan Pass in July, despite the scorching sun. Priscilla wanted to go on the highline trail, and was sorely disappointed to learn that the trail was closed due to snow danger. Unfortunately, we visited 2 weeks too early. Feeling dejected, we went on the Hidden Lake trail instead, which was rated easy. We truly thought we were deprived of an adventure.
We soon learned there was never a boring trail in GNP. If the snow was completely melted and the boardwalk was accessible, then yes, it probably was an easy and relaxing walk. In early July however, the boardwalk was covered in deep snow. It was a make-your-own-trail type of hike, whichever path through the snowy mountain you could get a grip on. Trekking through snow was tough, and parts of the hike seemed to be on a 45-degree angle off the mountain side, where we were doing all we could to not slip and tumble into the valley below. Along the way, mountain goats came by to flaunt their mountain climbing skills, nimbly hopping and trotting on even steeper surfaces. At the end of the boardwalk section, there was a lookout to view the Hidden Lake – a beautiful, still, blue gem with parts of it frozen solid and covered in snow.
This trail actually had a surprise. Where the boardwalk ended was where the easy rating ended. After the boardwalk, there was an option to hike right up to the Hidden Lake. We continued on bravely, hiking steeply downhill, until we got to the final leg on the hill. There were no clear paths to descend this final steep and snow covered section. We watched as a few people stumbled and rolled downhill (they survived, albeit shaken). A fellow hiker described this best, “choose your own adventure.” Choose we did. Our adventure was sitting on our behinds and sliding down the hill. That turned out to be a surprisingly efficient and fun way to get to the bottom. Thank goodness for quick drying hiking pants!
And then, we arrived at Hidden Lake. We dipped our toes in the freezing water, and sat on the edge enjoying the magnificent view.
This was also a great spot for lunch and rest before mustering up enough energy to tackle the return journey. The steep descent was now a painful leg and lung busting upward climb, before finally stumbling back to the start, sunburned and worn out. This “easy” hike turned out to be anything but easy or boring. It was rather physically challenging, and views were phenomenal. We highly recommend this trail to anyone who plans to visit!
Priscilla Schmidt : @pristye