register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Hidden Lake - Hanging Garden Trail, MT

109 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MT > Western
4 of 5 by 2
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,646 feet
Elevation Gain 507 feet
Accumulated Gain 577 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.59
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
9  2012-08-14 Sun_Ray
50  2010-07-21 desertgirl
50  2010-07-21 tibber
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 574
Photos 25,551
Trips 838 map ( 10,398 miles )
Age 63 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep
Seasons   Summer
Sun  6:20am - 6:35pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Hidden Lake - worth finding
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
From the parking lot at Logan Pass, head up and west on the sidewalk past the Visitors Center toward the boardwalk and Mt Clements (the first 1/4 mile of the trail is paved). The parking lot can fill early and stay full all day. Consider using the shuttle.

The Hanging Garden trail/boardwalk can be covered by a little snow or a lot so be mindful of that. Most of the time, if the trail is snow-covered, a path will have been made for you to follow. This hike does have some elevation so be prepared for it boardwalk or no. However, who wants to rush anyway when you can turn in any direction to observe many incredible scenes including the mountains, St Mary's Lake, little waterfalls, the wildflowers and of course, the critters like squirrels, hoary marmots, Big Horn Sheep and Mountain Goats.

It is important to stay on the trail or boardwalk as much as possible to protect the arctic plant life in the area. Initially you will be walking thru alpine meadows filled with Glacier Lilys and other flora along with sub alpine evergreens. You will also notice the red rocks called Argillite (many years ago they were a mixture of iron and mud and were under water). As you climb the gradual slope you will get a great view of the Garden Wall and the Going-to-the-Sun-Road (GTTSR) below it.

As you get to the top of the hill by the evergreens, there is a little pond off to the south. You still have a little ways to go up and around a couple corners before you reach the overlook. This area has a little more dense vegetation and is more than likely where you may start to see the bigger wildlife. At the Overlook you get great views of Hidden Lake nestled in a cirque about 750 feet below you (it extends quite a ways south) and the surrounding mountains including Bearhat Mtn to the West, Sperry Glacier can be seen to the southwest and of course, Mt Clements is behind you.

From the Overlook you can descend nearly 800 feet for another mile and 1/2 to the lake itself. There are four switchbacks and some of the terrain is steep. Once down at the lake you can walk around it and get some great photos, especially of Bearhat and Reynolds Mountains. Do remember you have to come back out. However, the sun stays up until around 9:30 so you have plenty of time. The weather can change abruptly so it would behoove you to bring appropriate attire, even for this short hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-08-10 tibber
  • goat haunt map st mary map mcdonald map
    area related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Hidden Lake - Hanging Garden Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
This hike starts at the Logan Pass Visitors Center with most of it on a wood boardwalk. It's around 8000 feet and starts straight up. It was my first hike in the Park and I started becoming concerned about the elevation, but it turned out that this was as high as we'd go on our trip. Judy and I missed the posted sign saying that the trail to Hidden Lake was closed and we could only go as far as the view point. Ranger told us, when we finished the hike, that salmon were spawning in the lake and grizzle bears were attracted to them. Our first hike and we see Mountain Goats in several places along the trail. :y:
Hidden Lake - Hanging Garden Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After having a nice breakfast, doing some last thot shopping and checking out of the Rising Sun, it was off to Logan Pass so that we could take one more hike off of my "always wanted to do" list. However, we had to stop along St Mary Lake to take photos of Wild Goose Island. It was beautiful. Then up to Logan Pass after a short construction stop.

Before heading up to the TH: Angela to Ambika, "Do you think we should take our trekking poles?" Ambika "no we shouldn't need them".
The trail was covered 75% in snow. As we continue to maintain our grip on the snow Angela says to Ambika, "I think the poles would have helped." ;) Ambika replies, "I thot it was a boardwalk all the way".
We only got to walk on very few exposed pieces of the boardwalk. Once we got just behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center on the paved part of the trail, one could see a lot more snow than land. We quickly forgot about that as a couple squirrels were having aggressive playtime out in the meadow among the Glacier Lilys and Pink Mountain Heather. The squirrels were quite hysterical.

As we continued up on to some of the snow, you couldn't help but be awed by the Garden Wall and Continental Divide mountains; such an incredible view. We also saw a trio of ravens in front of us circling and landing and goofing around in-between a rock ledge. Up a little ways were some snowboarders taking advantage of the snow covered slope. A couple young men passed us and we saw that they had ice axes. We would later see them climbing the south slope of Mt Clements.

We walked gingerly along the trail, mostly on the snow. This wasn't an easy feat as we had already hiked 20 miles in the last two days including crossing 20 snow fields on the Highline the day before. There was quite a bit of people traffic too and while it is annoying, I'm just glad the folks were out enjoying such a glorious day in such a magnificent place.

We finally got to the top of the first hill only to be greeted by nothing but a snow trail until the top of the next hill. In fact, the track split in two but it seemed most were taking the high road up and the low road back. We took the high road coming and going. It was a little tougher crossing on this as it would get a bit slanted and as the sun warmed the snow, it got just a bit more slippery. I thot for sure at the top of the next hill the Overlook was "close" but Scout was having none of it.

As we got near to the lake (hence Hidden Lake) we couldn't see there seemed to be some more vegetation and with that came more wildlife. We saw some mountain goats and a deer in the brush. We also some fellows carrying their skis off to the south of us. Not sure at all where they were headed. There were so many distractions it was hard to focus on one topic at a time.

After maneuvering around a downhill slope to avoid sliding down on our bottoms, we soon arrived at the Overlook and I finally got to see the Hidden Lake. You know I've seen so many pictures of this and Iceberg Lake and yearned to visit them both for so long...and now I got to see them both almost back to back. So I guess the old adage applies here: "It's never too late to start hiking". We sat here and enjoyed our leftover steak and potatoes before making the return trip.

On the way down we were greeted by more mountain goats and of course, lots more people. We did go off trail ON THE SNOW to try and get a better photo of the reflection in the pond. We gingerly continued to make our way down and then finally it happened. Ambika slid down on her tush. She had her big camera backpack so I was surprised she didn't go down earlier. Well then I help her up and not a minute or so later, down I go and then Ambika hits the deck again too. Some other people saw this and thot it was rather entertaining. So I took a picture of Ambika to commemorate the event. Fortunately, we stayed upright the rest of the way.

Back near the bottom we were treated to a hoary marmot show. He looked like he was just watching all of us. His front legs were spread eagle for awhile: it was so funny. And then to the other side of this, another hoary marmot and her little one were carrying on. And the wildlife show is still not done as we can see in the distance across the GTTSR, a bunch of Big Horn Mountain sheep. We put our stuff in the car, check out the Visitors Center and then before we leave the lot, we walk across the road to get some up close and personal pictures of the sheep. This one sheep was sitting not too far from us. It was amazing.

But the day didn't end there as we drove to Avalanche Gorge on the GTTSR. All of a sudden the skies let loose with rain and a little hail interspersed too. We ended up pulling over below Haystack Falls and decided to have our lunch to wait out the storm (as we wanted to get some good photos of Haystack Falls). Once the rain subsided, Ambika took out her tripod and got some most excellent pictures of this totally cool falls. And then it was on to The Trail of the Cedars.

I also did the Hike Description for this hike.


Permit $$

Glacier National Park
$30 per car(week), $12 bike/foot(week), $50 annual View Current Entrance Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
The three most popular places to access Glacier are from St. Mary, East Glacier and West Glacier, Montana. St. Mary is located on Highway 89, one mile east of the Going to the Sun Highway. East Glacier is just east of the park at the junction of Highways 2 and 49. West Glacier is the western entrance to the park and is on US Highway 2, north of Kalispell

Within Glacier National Park, there is a free shuttle service that takes you along "Going to the Sun Highway".
page created by tibber on Aug 10 2010 6:45 pm
help comment issue

end of page marker