GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
Granite Park - 2 members in 4 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
4 triplogs
login for filter options
Aug 12 2021
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 608
 Photos 31,839
 Triplogs 1,299

67 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
The Highline Trail - Garden WallWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 12 2021
tibberTriplogs 1,299
Hiking7.70 Miles 654 AEG
Hiking7.70 Miles   5 Hrs   28 Mns   1.89 mph
654 ft AEG   1 Hour   24 Mns Break
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Sadly our time at the Chalet had to end.  There was nothing but blue sky today.  It's amazing the difference in the beauty of the photos during overcast or partly cloudy sky vs all blue sky; nonetheless it was still another incredible day in Glacier National Park hiking on a very nice, but somewhat crowded trail for nearly 8 miles.

We did get to hike in the shade for the first three miles so that was nice.  The view toward Heavens Peak and the Chalet were crystal clear and beautiful.  The Fireweed was blooming in many areas.  We did spot a couple bucks in the meadow below us.  Our views toward Lake McDonald were outstanding as coming from this direction, you don't have to look to the side but forward.  Beyond the lake the smoke haze was building up again after a couple days of it being gone.  I don't know if I mentioned that Montana usually has around 70,000 acres burn in the summer but this year it is 700,000 :o  and it's still burning, though less intensely as the temps cool.

A little further up the trail was the animal show as we saw a cute baby marmot and two Big Horn Sheep. Just before we topped out this last hill in the shade, we noticed people on their phones.  Tina needed to verify her Covid-test appt in Cut Bank so she was able to call to confirm (required for her to get back to Canada).  I took a photo and texted it to some people.  So we now call this, cell phone hill :lol: (there is little to no coverage in most parts of the Park).  Next we waited for a grouse to finish drinking from one of the little drainages.

After climbing the last couple inclines, stepping aside for lots of people traffic, we arrived at Haystack Butte which one could call the Grand Central Hiking Station of Glacier National Park as there are people everywhere.  We arrived a little after 11:30 so we had a snack which was biscuits we had made at the Chalet and huckleberry jam, yum!  From where we were sitting I saw some people from Room 8 hiking so I yelled hello over to them.  I snapped a couple photos of their group as they started their descent of Haystack Butte.

While sitting there, Tina saw Matt (another Glacier Chatter), a fellow we were going to meet up with to hike out.  He was up hiking in the BOB and had planned to hike out part of the trail with us.  We hung out for awhile, the weather was so nice. After finishing our snack, we started down the switchback of Haystack Butte.  From here we hiked in and out of tree-lined trail, past some water drainages and cascades and still stepping aside as we encountered more people traffic which gets even more interesting once you approach the cliff; especially with the narrowness of the trail.

We finally made it to the hysteria of Logan Pass with all the vehicles and people everywhere. I do have to say, I like the hike south better in the first third or so from the Chalet but I much prefer hiking north from Logan Pass on the first half. And ideally, broken clouds is the preferable photographic condition.

We headed down to pick up Tonto 3 at the Rising Sun and then to St Mary Lodge for a late lunch. Next we drove via Hiwy 49 (Looking Glass Road by Two Medicine) over to East Glacier where we had rooms booked. Tina and I prepped for our three day backpack and then we all headed over to Serrano's🌮 for a very late dinner (an hour wait even at 7PM). Food and drink was exceptional as usual. We got our drinks just in time as at 8, the Reservation was in booze shut-down for their 3 day sober up holiday.

2 part video:
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
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.
1 archive
Aug 10 2021
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 608
 Photos 31,839
 Triplogs 1,299

67 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
The Highline Trail - Garden WallWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 10 2021
tibberTriplogs 1,299
Hiking7.88 Miles 1,416 AEG
Hiking7.88 Miles   5 Hrs   6 Mns   1.74 mph
1,416 ft AEG      35 Mns Break
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Finally we get to go to one of our original plans for our ten day Glacier Park foray. We stayed at a Rising Sun cottage, our fourth different place in four nights. We had left Tina's car up at Logan Pass so this AM we parked Tonto 3 safely in the lot at the Rising Sun store and went to wait for the shuttle. The shuttle was packed and you take it as far as Sun Point to get on a bigger shuttle that was also packed; we were just glad we didn't have to wait.
Fortunately it was a nice day as we took out on the Highline Trail for our two nite stay at the Granite Park Chalet, my third time there (2011, 2018 (both times with Wendy and this year).


We were lucky the trail was open :) as they had closed it the day before for a rock slide; the trail crew cleared it that day. We encountered one hiker coming back that was holding on to the makeshift rail and using his hand to hide his eyes from the steep drop off. The trail really is plenty wide but if you're afraid of heights... Anyway, I got him on video as I was filming at the time and he was, at least, smiling.

It had rained recently so there was plenty of flowing water thus the trail could get slippery in places. There was still plenty of flora to keep your attention but not as much as I've seen the previous three times I've hiked the trail. The sky was hazing up again due to the lingering fire activity both in California, Oregon and Montana (and one fire on the west side of the Park).

There was continuous human traffic which took awhile to get used to; I'm sure they felt the same about us. Of course we had our bigger packs on so people would inquire if we were backpacking or going to the Chalet. Needless to say, many folks were quite jealous, as I would be of them if they were staying there too. A lot of folks would ask how we got get reservations and other questions. We would always try to answer them. FYI: when reservations open mid-January you go online and hope for the best. We have learned that signing up for two nites increases your chances of getting a reservation and/or signing up for a workshop. We signed up for the Ahern Pass Geology workshop. In fact, this year, we also got our Sperry Chalet reservation but we couldn't do both.

The sky was overcast for our whole hike which was wonderful as in 2018 Wendy and I baked our way to the Chalet as it was pretty toasty. I snapped some pics of the conga line going up the very long Haystack Butte switchback. We had also heard there was a grizzly and sows just below the switchback so the line had stopped for a bit. At Haystack Butte which is almost 1/2 way, we stopped to have a snack. We saw three people climbing up the side of the Garden Wall; had no idea where they were going.

And now we have a little more climbing and a few more down and ups before you get to the great visual of almost all of McDonald Lake. We saw a grouse close to the trail and I got a chance to get some good pictures. There were a couple of them here. There were very large patches of Fireweed from time to time that really stood out in the muted light.

There's this one last corner you get around and you can now see Swiftcurrent Mountain in the distance with the Lookout on top. And just a little further, you get your first glimpse of the Chalet which is one of those looks so close but is far away yet. However, the trail is pretty much easy peasy from here. And as we started heading north, we saw some Big Horns and Mountain Sheep up on the side of the Garden Wall. I think someone pointed them out to us which was also the case for much of the wildlife we would see. We would also share this same knowledge with others. I did have to do some major zooming but got some decent photos.

As we walked through a particularly beautiful and colorful rocky section, a Golden-Mantled Squirrel (looks like a chipmunk) wanted to be a youtube star :D so I obliged as it scampered on top of some flat rocks right next to the trail. And as I said previously, with the overcast day, the colors of the Glacier Park rocks stood out even more. We spotted another Big Horn on the side of the wall and later saw a deer in between the trees on the downside. The trail to/from the Grinnell Overlook was its usual conveyor belt of people. I still haven't done that and would really like to. Sadly, a hiker fell to her death from the overlook a few weeks later :( .

We did encounter what I thot were hutterites and talked with them for a moment. They were actually from Indiana and were Amish; I should have known by the straw hats -- the rest of their garb was hutterite-like. One of the girls was struggling as they had come up the 2600 foot 4 mile Loop Trail so I suspect they didn't go much further. We would see more of them at the Chalet; one with a baby.

The Chalet had lots of visitors that were using the restrooms. You could buy water and food at the Chalet but couldn't stay inside if you weren't a guest. We got our room number 16 in the Annex; I had stayed in Room 15 in 2011. You have to listen to their spiel and they handed us off between hosts. We made up our beds and then put in for our kitchen time. Before we went to get water, I asked other guests if anyone needed water as I figured as long as I was carrying one jug, I could carry another. There were these older folks that took me up on the offer.

We made the trek down to get some water about 1/4 mile away and filled the jugs and water bladders. The water would not need to be filtered which was nice. I wanted to make sure we got enough water so as not to have to make the trek again. It was very windy when we were outside as would be the case for a lot of our time here in Glacier Park... well for my Montana trip in general.

At 7:30 they have a coffee hour where they provide the water and a speaker, which in this case would be our guide for tomorrow's workshop. He comes up for a week or so and does geology workshops for the Chalet guests. You also meet the hosts. Afterward I just walked around trying to get sunset pictures and luckily I wasn't disappointed :y: . We didn't stay at the main Chalet too much longer after that except to get more blankets as it would be a chilly nite and there is no electricity thus no heat.


Three videos:
Part 1 [ youtube video ]
Part 2 [ youtube video ]
Part 3 [ youtube video ]

WATCH: 7.46 miles in 5 hours 7589 feet with 114 avg bpm, 148 max (48% at zone 3, 26% at zone 2) burning 1592 calories. Beginning temp 65.8, mostly cloudy with 49% humidity finishing at 2:38PM.
 Geology
 Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Stromatolites
 Meteorology
 Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Sunset
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
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.
Jul 30 2018
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 608
 Photos 31,839
 Triplogs 1,299

67 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet, MT 
Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet, MT
 
Hiking avatar Jul 30 2018
tibberTriplogs 1,299
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,924 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   6 Hrs      1.62 mph
1,924 ft AEG   1 Hour   3 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
writelots
This year, Wendy was finally going to get to do the Highline Trail to the Chalet. That was our plan in 2011 but with the latest opening ever of the Going to the Sun Road, the Highline Trail didn't even open until Jul 26th or 27th I think it was. This would be my second trip on the Highline, the first being with Ambika, July 20th in 2010 when we crossed 20 snowfields. Today, despite heavy snowfall this winter, there would be no snow crossings and the waterfalls weren't nearly as plentiful but the people were. Everyone was nice, however.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We decided to have breakfast at the KOA. We were waiting for 1/2 hour between our order time and getting the food so we had them box it up and ate just a bit of it. So much for a hardy breakfast. We had to catch a ride with Bill and they were hiking Divide Mountain so we didn't want to hold them up. I guess we had asked the day before if the KOA would store our luggage while we were gone and they said yes so we had to drop that off. We would be staying there for two nites once we got back.

Bill dropped us at the St Mary VC where I was going to go in and get my Pass and we were going to take the morning shuttle. Well you can't get it at the VC you have to go where they check in the cars. So I walk out and around to the road and over to get my America the Beautiful Senior Park Pass. I've been so excited about getting this so I said proudly, I need to buy my pass and I'm so excited. The ranger seemed a little surprised at my giddiness as I handed over my credit card and drivers license. I proudly took my pass but only had a second to admire it as the Shuttle Bus was pulling up so I had to race back to the parking lot.

As we got on the Shuttle I asked the driver if this would be an express trip and she said no, we had six stops but as it turned out, we only had to stop three times: Rising Sun, St Mary Falls, and Siyeh. I ate the rest of my breakfast on the way. After using the restrooms I go to pull out my trekking poles and the one won't lock. Come to find out one of the pieces was stuck up in the pole. While Wendy fiddled I checked to see if the Logan Pass VC had poles and they did for $40. However, by the time I got back, Wendy was able to widdle that piece out so that the z-poles would lock; I was so happy.

After the obligatory pictures at the Logan Pass sign we crossed the road to begin our hike. As we rounded the corner the Glacier National Park greeters were there so we filmed them and admired them for a bit. The greeters just happened to be about a half-dozen Big Horn Sheep eating the grass almost next to the trail. What a way to start the hike! They would cross the trail and then we moved on. The first part of the hike of course is along the ledge above the Going to the Sun Highway called the Rimrocks. It's a pretty narrow ledge but they have a hose wrapped railing for your assistance if you need it. Sadly a couple weeks earlier a female grizzly fell to the Going to the Sun Road and had to be euthanized :(

And already the stopping and going and passing and waiting had begun. This would be the norm for nearly the entire hike. However, it is what it is and you just have to make it your own venture. We enjoyed the flora and views along the way. Wendy brot her big camera so she made good use of it and we did have all day to get to the Chalet. Your views back to the Logan Pass area and its mountains is always impressive. Today, we would see people at the top of Mount Oberlin. I guess that ascent has become popular over the years so I may have to investigate it.

Once done with the ledge you get to hike right next to the hillside so it's easy to get a closer look at the flora without having to bend too much. Oh and the flora was out in spades and lots of different flora. As we continued on between the longer lines of people you eventually make your way out into the lesser steep mountainsides. It was difficult filming as ahead of us was bright sunshine and we were in the shade. And as you looked to the west, the residual smoke from the CA fires was obstructing what is usually a great view down the McDonald Valley.

We eventually made our way closer to Haystack Butte. In 2010, the whole side of the climb up to Haystack was covered in snow. We got some great pictures. Now it was covered in dead bear grass stalks that Lee got to enjoy when they were alive and filled the hillsides last summer; I was so jealous! So up we went and did the big long switchback to the saddle where we would have lunch. We went off to the west where there was the perfect table rock for us to sit at; well us and a pesky chipmunk. We enjoyed our views of the Livingston Range with many other hikers that's for sure.

We still had some elevation left to go and I thot once past here, the hordes would dissipate but that wasn't the case. We continued on enjoying the continually changing landscape from the garden wall to the McDonald Creek and Valley below us and mountains ahead of us. We walked past several waterfalls, some flowing more than others and stopped to photograph or hiked past those that were photographing. As we got closer to the elevation top, Wendy exclaimed that she felt like butterflys between the caterpillars. What a perfect comparison to how we felt for this entire hike.

We rounded a couple more corners before we could finally spot the Chalet way off in the distance. The mileage left seemed shorter than that view. We rounded one area that usually has water coming off of it. Here we found some nice shade and stopped for a little break as it was a bit warm. A few moments later someone was walking by and said "Sue". Well I knew Sue was hiking in (a glacier chatter) so I asked if she was THE Sue and it was. She was hiking in with her family to stay at the Chalet for THREE nites, lucky girl. Oh, and there is a coincidence to come. We would pass each other from time to time for these last couple miles.

The next section we went over reminded me of the rocky area coming off of Gunsight Pass as the rocks are so colorful. A little past here we met two other very young hikers that were from Tucson. They would be doing the Grinnell Overlook Trail on their way to the Chalet. Later I would get a picture of them as they started up that rather steep trail. Once we finally got to the intersection there were a few people mulling about and several hikers coming and going. It was getting pretty warm by now and I think the heat was getting to a few of these folks. The heat wasn't bothering me at this point as we only had less than 1/2 mile to the Chalet.

Along the way we crossed a drainage and an area that was filled with Wild Chives so I had to get several pictures. And then there's that last little hill up to the Chalet. Once again there were quite a few folks milling about. It's a nice resting place before you continue your hike which for most folks was down the 4 mile Loop Trail (2700 feet elev loss) to the GTTSR. People were also stopping to get snacks or drinks. The Chalet refrigerator sells Gatorade and Water for a hefty fee. I decided a gatorade sounded pretty good so I grabbed one of those.
--------------------
We got our Chalet tour and were shown our room. Our packs were a bit heavy as we brot lots of stuff with us for our stay. So we unloaded a lot of that in Room 2 and then made the 1/4 mile trek to get some water for our bladders for tomorrow's hike and for our water bottles. We trekked back, that last hill is a bit steep, and up to our Room IN the Chalet on the east side. Lo and behold, who is in the room next to us: Sue and her family.

I was glad we got to stay IN the Chalet as it's much nicer, especially with the balcony. While the other side of the Chalet has the spectacular view of Heaven's Peak and the Livinston Range, we had shade and a view of Swiftcurrent Mountain and the Garden Wall to the south where we could keep an eye on hikers of the Grinnell Overlook. I think the reason we got IN the Chalet instead of the annex is because we were staying for more than one nite.

Well we put our chairs out on the balcony, brot out our snacks and huckleberry lager, propped our feet up on the rails, and listened as Wendy played her ukulele. Sue's family joined in on the song too. We signed in for 6:15 dinner hour and Wendy made us a pot pie. Some of the crew got in on that action cuz she made a lot. It was very good. At 8PM was the program for the evening which was a talk by a geologist who had just been over at the Ahern Pass for a workshop. We learned lots of new things (For example, we learned Granite Park is not granite but Purcell lava or specifically pillow basalts. The Purcell lava flow is 1,075 million years old.) and he had some great stories about Ahern Pass to tell; some very frightening when he was trying to get back over to the Belly River ranger station.

Jeff Kuhn is a trained geologist and a long-time veteran of Glacier National Park. He has worked seasonal positions as a Back Country Ranger in the Belly River area, fought fires as a member of the Glacier National Park Hot Shot Crew, and worked as an employee at Many Glacier Hotel. Jeff is currently employed by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality as a program manager and hydrogeologist. He is one of the leaders of various Guided Interpretive Workshops they offer at the Chalet including Alpine Wildflowers, Birding at Treeline, Grizzly Bears, etc. http://graniteparkchalet.com/workshops.html#highalpine_

We got to ask him about Boulder Pass geology as we told him we couldn't find much information on it. (We were at Boulder Pass last year). He said the reason is they never got to conclude the studies of GNP geology as the programs ended. And as I think I mentioned somewhere, Glacier Park has layers and Boulder Pass takes you to the top layers of the park's geology.

Last the evening concluded with a beautiful setting sun which was to our NW. It was a treat to watch. Once in our rooms, they tell you to speak very softly as the sound carries and that is for sure. You hear EVERYTHING and sometimes end up participating in the conversation :lol: . There might as well be no walls really.

Here are the six videos of our hike in and our afternoon/evening at the Chalet:
Part 1 - [ youtube video ] including our greeters and along the ledge
Part 2 - [ youtube video ] below the Garden Wall, above GTTSR and people traffic
Part 3 - [ youtube video ] getting closer to and at Haystack Butte
Part 4 - [ youtube video ] from Haystack Butte
Part 5 - [ youtube video ] the Chalet is within view but farther than you think
Part 6 - [ youtube video ] about a mile to go and at the Chalet
 Fauna
 Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Bighorn Sheep
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
once again, what didn't we see. Pretty much all of the normal Glacier Wildflowers were somewhere along this trail.
_____________________
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.
Jul 16 2017
avatar

 Guides 29
 Routes 329
 Photos 9,738
 Triplogs 924

40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
The Highline Trail - Garden WallWestern, MT
Western, MT
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2017
FOTGTriplogs 924
Hiking21.02 Miles 5,521 AEG
Hiking21.02 Miles   8 Hrs   53 Mns   2.46 mph
5,521 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was one of my last hikes in Glacier and one of my more ambitious. I started at Logan Pass and then took the Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet, and then Swiftcurrent Pass and the lookout. I returned the same route and also made a detour up the steep, but short Glacier Overlook Trail on the way to Granite.

The hike was Glacier at its finest. The Highline Trail was one great view after another, highlighted by the ever present Heaven's Peak, the Glacier Overlook Trail and the bumper crop of bear grass along the trail. Granite Chalet was an interesting place and very scenic, but nothing overly exciting. Switfcurrent Pass was windy and the summit and lookout even windier, but the views superb and some of the best in that area of the park. I returned the same route I took to the lookout tower and finished up pretty quickly thanks to the downhills and nice trail.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
2 archives
average hiking speed 1.93 mph

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.

helpcommentissue

end of page marker