Hidden Lake Overlook
|Trail Features:||Outstanding views, Alpine meadows, Wildlife|
|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|
The trail to the 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 stairs, stay towards the right and you’ll find 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. Visitors should expect a lot of sun and wind at this high elevation. 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 crowds I highly recommend hiking the trail first thing in the morning.
The trail begins as a paved surface for a short distance, before turning into a raised boardwalk. 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 a carpet of wildflowers.
As you proceed up trail 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.
After climbing a series of steps, a little more than a half-mile from the visitor center, 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. 9125-foot Mt. Reynolds and 8016-foot Heavy Runner Mountain will be on your left.
Even late into the season it’s very likely you’ll have to cross over a couple of small snowfields as you proceed up to the overlook.
A little more than a mile from the trailhead you’ll reach a small rise, and then you’ll pass a couple of small ponds on your left. Just beyond this section, roughly 1.2 miles from the trailhead, hikers will reach the Continental Divide where snow and rain begins flowing towards the Pacific Ocean.
At 1.35 miles you’ll reach the Hidden Lake Overlook where you’ll find outstanding panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. From this vantage point Bearhat Mountain is the dominating feature above Hidden Lake. Looking towards the south you can even see Gunsight Mountain and Sperry Glacier in the far off distance. Mountain goats are fairly common in the area around the overlook. Also keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, marmots, and even wolverines. Grizzly bears are occasionally seen in this area as well.
The trail continues for another 1.5 miles down to the shores of Hidden Lake, which sits at an elevation of 6375 feet. Along the way the trail drops almost 770 feet on a rough and steep decline.
Perhaps the most famous person to ever hike this trail was George H. W. Bush. In 1983 the then-Vice President hiked to Hidden Lake and fished for trout for several hours.