The Highline Trail to Haystack Pass
|Trail Features:||Outstanding views, Alpine meadows, flowers|
|Trail Location:||Logan Pass|
|Roundtrip Length:||7.2 Miles|
|Total Elevation Gain:||825 Feet|
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:||229 Feet|
|Highest Elevation:||7024 Feet|
|Trail Difficulty Rating:||8.85 (moderate)|
|Parking Lot Latitude||48.69657|
|Parking Lot Longitude||-113.71813|
The hike to Haystack Pass begins from the Highline Trailhead, located on the north side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass. To avoid congestion and the frequently full parking lot at Logan Pass, you may want to consider taking the free shuttle up to the pass.
The Highline Trail is an extremely popular hike; and for good reason. At every step, and every turn, hikers will have absolutely spectacular scenery as the Highline follows along the Continental Divide, also known as the Garden Wall in this area. The exceptionally beautiful views, the excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, and the wildflowers, all combine to make this a hike you'll remember the rest of your life. If you're looking for solitude, however, you won’t find it on this trail.
At roughly one-quarter of a mile from the trailhead hikers will arrive at the famous ledge with the reputation for terrifying those with a fear of heights. In most places the ledge, hanging like a shelf along the Garden Wall, is only six to eight feet in width, and has drop-offs of roughly one hundred feet or more down to the Going-to-the-Sun Road below. This segment lasts for only three-tenths of a mile, but may seem forever if you have a fear of heights. Fortunately the National Park Service has installed a hand cable along this stretch of the trail. My advice is to not let this deter you, as this is one of the most scenic trails in America.
From the rimrock area the trail continues to hug the cliffs and slopes of the Garden Wall, and does so for most of its length to Granite Park. Throughout the early portions of the hike Mt. Cannon, Mt. Oberlin and Heavens Peak will dominate the views towards the west.
Roughly 2.5 miles from Logan Pass the slopes of the Garden Wall begin to shallow out. Soon you'll begin the only major climb of the day, a short section of trail that takes hikers up to Haystack Pass.
At 3.6 miles, after climbing roughly 275 feet up one long switchback, hikers will reach Haystack Pass. At an elevation of 7024 feet, the pass forms the saddle between 7486-foot Haystack Butte and the Garden Wall, which at this point is technically the southeastern flank of Mt. Gould. With its outstanding panoramic views, Haystack Pass is also a popular spot for a snack or lunch break.
Many people prefer to end their hike here, but if you still have the energy, the magnificent scenery continues all the way to the Granite Park Chalet and beyond.