Bookmark and Share

The Best of Glacier National Park is a detailed guide to the best of all that Glacier has to offer. From the best photography spots to the greatest day hikes and best wildflower meadows, this book contains all the don't-miss features of Glacier Park.

Hidden Lake Overlook

Trail Features: Outstanding views, Alpine meadows, Wildlife Hidden Lake Overlook
Trail Location: Logan Pass Visitor Center
Roundtrip Length: 2.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 540 Feet
Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 400 Feet
Highest Elevation: 7152 Feet
Trail Difficulty Rating: 3.78 (easy)
Parking Lot Latitude 48.69539
Parking Lot Longitude -113.71826

Trail Description:

The hike to Hidden Lake Overlook begins from the west side of the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Once on the back side of the visitor center, after climbing the stairway, stay towards the right and look for the Hanging Gardens Trailhead. The trail is more commonly referred to as the Hidden Lake Nature Trail.

The entire length of this hike is completely open and exposed as you proceed through the alpine meadows known as the Hanging Gardens. At this lofty elevation visitors should normally expect a lot of sun and wind. You should also expect extreme crowds, as this is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Parking can also be an issue during the peak tourist season. If you wish to avoid the crowds I highly recommend starting your hike as early in the morning as possible.

Garden Wall

The trail begins as a paved surface, but soon turns into a raised boardwalk after only a short distance. At this elevation snow tends to linger around well into the summer. The boardwalk helps to keep hikers above the snow, slush, mud and rivulets. Once the snow melts, however, the Hanging Gardens becomes an incredibly beautiful carpet of wildflowers.

Clements MountainAs you proceed upwards during the early portions of this hike, 8760-foot Clements Mountain will dominate the view directly in front of you (see photo on right). Look towards the north, on your right, for some outstanding views of the Garden Wall (see photo above). Standing towards the northwest is 8180-foot Mt. Oberlin.

A little more than a half-mile from the visitor center, after climbing a series of steps, hikers will reach the end of the boardwalk section. From here the trail shifts to a more southwesterly course, and begins heading in the direction of 8684-foot Bearhat Mountain. Both 9125-foot Mt. Reynolds and 8016-foot Heavy Runner Mountain will be on your left.

Even relatively late into the season it's very likely you'll have to cross over a couple of small snowfields as you proceed towards the overlook.

At just over a mile from the trailhead hikers will reach a small rise, and then will pass a couple of small ponds on your left. Just beyond this section, roughly 1.2 miles from the trailhead, you'll reach the Continental Divide where runoff from snow and rain begins flowing towards the Pacific Ocean.

Hidden Lake Overlook

At 1.35 miles hikers will arrive at the Hidden Lake Overlook where you'll enjoy outstanding panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. From this vantage point Bearhat Mountain is the dominating feature above Hidden Lake. Looking directly towards the west is 8952-foot Mount Cannon. Towards the south is 8750-foot Fusillade Mountain, and towards the southwest you'll be able to see Gunsight Mountain and Sperry Glacier in the far off distance. Mountain goats are fairly common in the area surrounding the overlook. You should also keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, marmots, and even wolverines. Grizzly bears are also occasionally seen in the area as well.

mountain goats

The trail continues for another 1.4 miles down to the northeastern shore of Hidden Lake, which sits at an elevation of 6375 feet. Along the way the trail drops almost 770 feet. For more information on the hike to the lake, please click here.

Perhaps the most famous person to ever hike this trail was George H. W. Bush. In 1983 the then-Vice President hiked to the shores of Hidden Lake to fish for trout.