Hike to Glacier National Park's Hidden Lake
Montana › Logan Pass
Added by Greg Owens
Short day-hike to great views of Hidden Lake and Bearhat MountainMountain goats are frequently seen along the wayBighorn sheep are frequently seen in the parking lot5.6 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’.
- Day pack
- Hiking boots
- Bear spray
- Rain jacket/windbreaker
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Gorgeous views! Definitely worth hiking down to the lake!
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!
Look For The Goats
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.
Glacier's (Not So) Hidden Lake
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.
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!
Take a Dip
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.
More Adventures Nearby
Camp at Cherry Creek Campground at Hebgen Lake
Montana / Cherry Creek Campground
In early November we drove from Big Sky to this free campsite located on the southern part of the lake. The road is dirt but mellow. We saw no other campers the entire 2 days we were there.
Hike to the Natural Bridge Falls
Montana / Natural Bridge State Monument Parking
Although this recreation area is at minimum 30 minutes out from any town, the road leading to the location is amazing and allows for some sweet views.