Monday, October 24, 2016

Glacier National Park, Part 3, Hanging GardenTrail to Hidden Lake Overlook

When my husband and I visited Glacier National Park this past August, we were astounded by its natural beauty!  We spent many hours driving along its Going-to-the-Sun road to admire all its scenery, but we also wanted to do a hike during our visit, as the park contains over 700 miles of hiking trails. Happily, we were able to find a parking spot at Logan Pass one afternoon, where we were to embark on the Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake. Logan Pass is on the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park and at 6,646 feet elevation is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun road. We had tried two other times to park in the Logan Pass parking lot during our park visit without success. The American National Parks were very popular destinations this summer, and many parks broke attendance records, including Glacier National Park.

If you click on to enlarge the photo collage above you can see the trail map of the hike we were going to take.  It was 1.5 miles long with an elevation gain of 460 feet.  The official name of the trail is Hidden Lake Hanging Garden Trail, and you will soon see why!

All photos will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on

The beginning of the trail consists of boardwalks that rise along in height with steps as needed. Hikers are asked to stay on the boardwalks to preserve the alpine meadows.

As you can see there is an abundance of wildflowers in this area, so many concentrated in these alpine meadows that they have been aptly nicknamed the "hanging gardens."

Between the surrounding mountain views and the profuse array of wild flowers along the trail I found myself stopping often, while hiking, to take photos.

I believe the fluffy white flower in the upper right of this photo collage may be Bear Grass. Bear Grass is a native plant to Glacier National Park and is found only in Northwestern North America. It does not grow every year in the park, and sometimes there can be several years between cycles before it is seen again.

We continued the hike...looking forward....

...and back, so as not to miss an amazing view!

Beauty was everywhere we looked.

We climbed higher and higher....

...and eventually the trail turned form boardwalk to natural terrain.

We could hear and see the gushing water of melting glaciers all around us! The water was icy cold. If you'd like to see a short video of this melting glacier you can see it on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page on this link, or on my Mille Fiori Favoriti Instagram on this link.

Click to enlarge the photo above to see the waterfalls and streams of the melting glaciers.

Looking back, we could no longer see Logan Pass in the distance.

There were more gorgeous views ahead.

We spied a white mountain goat in the distance.

We then spotted quite a few more along the trail, one of which climbed onto some glacier ice to cool off.  The mountain goat is the animal symbol of Glacier National Park.

Climbing higher with more spectacular mountain glacier views!

We now encountered some bighorn sheep.  A trio ran right in front of us on the trail and then ran off into the woods.

Finally, we saw the Hidden Lake ahead!

We stood on the overlook platform, with many other hikers who made the journey, one of whom kindly offered to take our photo. It felt wonderful to have been able to see this magnificent panoramic view of the lake. The trail continued further towards the lake, with a descent of 800 feet, but since it was late afternoon we did not go further.

A placard at the overlook tells the sad story of how the Earth's warming trend is not only melting the glaciers at an alarming rate but also allowing the forest to grow higher, which will in turn effect the alpine balance of the environment.

After we turned around, and began to descend the trail, we could soon see the Logan Pass parking lot again far in the distance.

We heard the squeak of a large yellow bellied marmot before we had a view of him, sunning himself upon a rock.... well as many smaller rodent type animals scurrying around.

We passed by the Logan Pass Visitors Center, but because of the late hour of the day we did not go inside.  Hanging Garden Trail to Hidden Lake was one of the highlights of our visit to Glacier National park and I'd highly encourage all visitors to walk this trail and enjoy all the fabulous views and flowers along the way!

We returned on the Going-to-the-Sun road to continue seeing the sights in Glacier National Park--more of the spectacular beauty of this park to come in the next post.

Glacier National park, Part One, Many Glacier, can be found on this link
Glacier National Park, Part Two, Trail of the Cedars, can be found on this link.

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