August 7, 2017 by Deborah W. Trotter
Last summer my husband and I had the time and the good fortune to visit both Grand Teton National Park and Glacier National Park, two of our favorites. Located in Wyoming and Montana, respectively, the two parks are about 450 miles apart. We were disappointed that we missed peak wildflower days in the Tetons, and I was worried about finding the same to be true in Glacier. What a difference a few degrees of latitude makes!
When we arrived in Glacier on August 6, the wildflowers were waiting for us. They seemed to be everywhere, coloring the rock walls and hillsides along the Going to the Sun Road, and dressing up meadows in every direction. If the wildflowers are blooming, one of the best ways to see them in number and variety is to hike the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall, starting at an elevation of 6,646 feet at Logan Pass.
The trail is fairly level after an initial downhill section, and the Garden Wall portion parallels the path of the Going to the Sun Road well below. The trail is rocky, can be a little muddy, varies in width from “yes, you can easily pass me here” to “no, you can’t pass me just here,” and is very popular. Your efforts will be rewarded with seemingly endless blooms, stunning scenery, and most likely wildlife sightings.
Although the trail continues to the Granite Park Chalet 7.6 miles from Logan Pass, and beyond, we went out about 2 miles and returned. The following photos capture some of our experience.
This mountain goat came down the hillside and commandeered the trail, so we had to stay still and let him pass much closer than the recommended 25 yards. (Yikes! We could have touched him. If he had gotten ornery, he could have butted us off the sheer edge.) The marmot and the bighorn sheep below were greater distances away, but my camera’s zoom lens brought them closer.
So, when are you going to Glacier National Park?