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Hidden Lake Overlook
4 Photosets

mini location map2022-07-17
51 by photographer avatartibber
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Hidden Lake OverlookWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking3.53 Miles 637 AEG
Hiking3.53 Miles   2 Hrs   49 Mns   1.35 mph
637 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Written 9-12-2022: I had picked up Ambika at Glacier International airport (parking is very expensive, so beware) the nite before and we were lucky enough to stay at my cousin's place in Whitefish. The next day, after having a delightful breakfast in downtown Whitefish that included Huckleberry French Toast, we headed east to Glacier National Park.  However, we had to stop at the West Glacier KOA Cafe to pick up some Huckleberry Bear Claws.  These are a nice substitute if you can't make it up to Pole Bridge to pick up the original.

Our drive on the Going to the Sun Road was very nice as it always is; it had just opened a few days prior.  We decided to stop at The Loop to get pictures of the snow covered Heavens Peak.  We were lucky as we were able to park rather easily every place we stopped including Logan's Pass.  We had a late start so I think that gave us the opportunity to get parking.  The Wall was weeping so that is always a treat and we stopped at Haystack Falls which was flowing in earnest.  I wanted to stop at the Overlook just before Logan Pass but this time, no parking was available.  At Logan Pass we were anticipating making a few rounds but were lucky to make one small quarter loop to a parking spot.

We geared up for this short hike to Hidden Lake Overlook and we took our poles as last time in 2010, we didn't and ended up falling a couple times on our way down.  The sun was out, there were people everywhere.  We were so pleased to see the Glacier Lilies out in full force :) ; just like 2010.  As we headed up the boardwalk, we got to see some Bighorn Sheep in the distance.  We would see them a lot closer on our way down.  The boardwalk would soon give way to snow, lots of white and very slippery snow.  We would get one break to walk the boardwalk before we continued on snow again; until we got toward the top when the snow gave way to a dirt path.

I eventually figured out that by stepping in other people's footsteps, I could get better traction in the snow.  I saw all sorts of footwear as we made our way up with the throngs of others.  People were all over the mountain. However, it wasn't that bad and made for some interesting pictures. The route was marked with tall stakes as to the correct path. As long as it wasn't too slippery, Ambika and I stayed near them until we got to a bit of a people jam.  I had started up a hill that I had seen others following even though it seemed we should continue straight a little further.  One of the hikers said the trail was across rather than up so I came down from where I was.  I slipped but caught myself, however, I must have stretched a tendon as later in the evening and the next day, I had a hard time maneuvering my leg.

This area we crossed over had turned into a slide that people were coming up to and sliding down quite a bit on their behind.  It actually looked like a lot of fun as long as you stayed in the lane.  We had a little more snow to go over before hitting the trail that was running with water.  They had a late snow storm up here and thus, a late melt off.  We were glad to be on dirt for the most part as we made our way to the Overlook.  We did see a Mountain Goat in the distance and watched as he made his way toward us.   Seeing mountain goats is commonplace along this part of the trail.   We saw the same back in 2010.  Soon we were at the Overlook with breathtaking views :y: of Bearhat Mountain and the lake below.  The water was intensely crystal blue and still had quite a bit of snow around it and snow-covered ice on it. In the distance to the southwest you have great views of the snow-covered Gunsight Mountain.

We hung out and and had a snack before making our way through the crowds and back down the even more slippery snow.  Foot sliding every now and then seemed to work well.  The mountain goat was now on the north side of the trail entertaining the onlookers including one who was getting a selfie, the person, not the goat :D .  Of course, the scenery is as fabulous coming down as it is going up.  Your view into the St Mary Valley is so incredible, not to mention the view to the Garden Wall.  Off to our southeast was another mountain goat so once again, I had to get pics and a movie as he made his way toward us.  The wide expanse of snow made for some great photos but this was definitely a case of "stop and shoot" or you'd end up on your butt.

Finally back to the boardwalk we would get another animal show.  This time a fairly large herd of Bighorn sheep.  There seemed to be two in charge and the rest would follow.  And yes, they seem to eat Glacier Lilies.  Once again, I had to get several pictures and some movies.  As we continued down, it was interesting to see the choice of footwear including a couple where the guy was wearing flip flop sandals and carrying ski boots and skis.  I wonder if he realized how slippery this snow was at 4 in the afternoon?

This was a great little warm up hike in preparation for our backpacking trip.  The weather was expected to be bad tomorrow so it was good to get this one in.  We drove down to the St Mary KOA and checked in and got a homemade KOA pizza delivered; it was actually pretty good.

Video 1 is on the Going to the Sun Road of Heavens Peak, Weeping Wall and Haystack Falls  [ youtube video ]
Video 2 is hiking up to the Hidden Lake Overlook including Glacier Lilys galore and some wildlife of course  [ youtube video ]
Video 3 is hiking down from Hidden Lake Overlook featuring lots of snow cover, some Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep  [ youtube video ]

I have to say, after reviewing my photoset from 2010, I think I got even better pictures back then including some great critter shots [ photoset ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
the substantial rating is mostly for the Glacier Lily and Western Springbeauty as there was still so much snow, not many other wildflowers were showing.
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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