Hike to Glacier National Park's Hidden Lake

Logan Pass, Browning, Montana, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5.6 Miles

Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Short day-hike to great views of Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain. Mountain goats are frequently seen along the way. Bighorn sheep are frequently seen in the parking lot. 5.6 mile roundtrip hike.

One of Glacier National Park’s most accessible gems, the overlook for Hidden Lake is just a short distance from the Logan Pass Visitors Center, but the views along the way make this perhaps the best short hike in the park. All four times I’ve hiked this trail, I’ve seen at least half a dozen mountain goats along the path, and in some years, the beargrass is thick on hillsides high above the lake.

Getting there:

The trailhead for Hidden Lake is at the back side of the Logan Pass Visitors Center. From either end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, head up to Logan Pass and park in the sizable yet often filled parking lot. Restrooms and water are available here.

Things to know:

Glacier National Park is home to the largest grizzly population in the lower 48 states, so hiking with bear spray is highly recommended. The Logan Pass area is busy, and I’ve never seen a grizzly there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. On occasion, the trail past the overlook is closed because of grizzly activity. The area is fairly open and can be windswept, and violent thunderstorms can spring up on summer afternoons. Snow can fall even in August; I’ve been at Logan Pass in the middle of the summer in a near white-out.

Exploring:

At an elevation of about 6650’, the trail begins as a paved path and turns into a series of boardwalks that climb through meadows bursting with wildflowers during the summer. Reynolds Mountain and Clements Mountain dominate the skyline as you head up, and the prominent peak at the foot of Hidden Lake is Bearhat Mountain. The deck overlooking Hidden Lake is just under 1.4 miles up the trail with a climb of about 500’, and you are almost certain to see mountain goats between the visitors center and the overlook. Especially since this area is so scenic and so accessible, it is usually busy, but at least half the crowd stops at the overlook. So, if you’re looking for a longer, quieter hike, keep going past the overlook and down to the lake, where you reach the northwestern shore after another 1.4 miles and a descent of a bit over 750’.

Pack List

  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Hiking boots
  • Bear spray
  • Rain jacket/windbreaker
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
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Reviews

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Labor day weekend hike. Arrived at Logan Pass about 8 am and began the hike to Hidden Lake. A few other hikers continued down the trail from the overlook, but no other anglers on the lake, we continued another half mile or so around the lake away from the hikers enjoying the beach and started casting. The fish were jumping, actively feeding, and we started throwing dry flies. It was a unique experience, as due to the Sprague Creek fires it was socked in with smoke. Between the 2 of us we caught 10 beautiful Cutthroat Trout in the span of a couple of hours, which was more than the osprey caught while we were there. There is no permit required to fish at Hidden Lake, catch and release only. The hike in is definitely worth it, even do-able for two 40yo out of shape fisherfolk. A bucket list item checked off!

5 months ago
5 months ago

We hiked down to the lake with our kids (11, 9, 6) and it was fabulous. Late September it was windy and cold, but we bundled up and had a great time. We saw a marmot, but unfortunately the goats seemed to be tucked away out of the cold. Can't wait to come back and do this one again in the summer!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Probably the most popular day hike in Glacier, but still worth it. Definitely try for sunset as the hike back down goes much quicker and you should make it down just after dark (bring a headlamp of course). And certainly look out for the goats...super fun to watch and they're not shy at all.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Hidden Lake is a great easy hike in GNP, but the crowds of people can be a bit of a deterrent. The views are worth doing this hike once, but I would suggest other hikes in the area that will provide equally beautiful views with less crowds.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Once, I made the mistake of starting this hike in my chaco sandals (it was mid-summer!) only to come across a ton of snow halfway up the trail! I carried on, determined, but my hike could have been much more pleasant with proper foot wear!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This is a favorite in Glacier, the boardwalk allows for simple hiking, and the views are unbeatable. The hike down to Hidden Lake can be difficult on the knees as it is a rapid descent, but not too much of a problem. To complete the hike, it is necessary to take a dip in the FRIGID lake. Also, take a break and eat lunch on the shores of the beach- it is a great place to relax. The ascent back to the overlook is a bit of a scramble, but this hike is vital for anyone who visits Glacier National Park.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Go swimming! You won't regret it. We also ran upon some Grouse and chicks in August. Great hike.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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