We rarely hike a trail more than once. We only make an exception to this rule if the trail is either near our home or extra spectacular. Glacier National Park’s Hidden Lake Trail is definitely the latter. We first hiked the trail in 2010. It was the dream day hike: epic views, short mileage, and lots of wildlife. We decided it was time to relive that experience this year, and we’re glad we did.
The trail begins at Logan Pass, behind the visitor center. The amazing views start immediately. Clements Mountain with glaciers at its base dominates the scene. Alpine meadows spread out on either side of the boardwalk path.
We scanned the cliffs looking for mountain goats and bighorn sheep. No luck there. Instead we spotted a weasel dashing under the boardwalk and into its hole 20 feet away. You never know what you’ll find!
After a short one-and-a-half mile walk, the trail reached the Hidden Lake Overlook. The lake and surrounding peaks were unbelievably beautiful.
While taking in the views at the overlook, we heard people murmuring of mountain goats a quarter mile further up the trail. We moved onwards eager to see these fascinating creatures.
The rumors were correct. We found five mountain goats, including a youngster, resting in the shade off to the side of the trail. We sat down on a large rock slab to observe them from a distance. Mountain goats can withstand fierce winter blizzards but are poorly adapted to the heat. To keep cool on this hot day, they napped in the shade, only occasionally getting up to move to a new spot.
When we weren’t watching the mountain goats, we were simply enjoying the sunshine and glorious views.
Then, as if the hike couldn’t get any better, a bighorn sheep came around the edge of a rocky outcrop right below us!
A minute later several of his friends followed. They found some tasty plants and began grazing.
As the sheep ate they gradually worked their way closer to Hidden Lake. Bighorn sheep are large animals, but the enormous peaks all around seemed to shrink the sheep to miniature size. (Sheep are barely visible in bottom left of image below.)
Anna’s trail name of “North Star” came from her love of maps, and she was excited to mentally connect Hidden Lake to the rest of Glacier National Park. She learned that the outlet of Hidden Lake, named Hidden Creek, flows into Avalanche Creek, which we had hiked alongside a few days earlier. We could visualize the course this water would take.
We lingered above the lake for a long while, but finally it was time to go. The walk back down to Logan Pass was quite scenic in its own right.
Hidden Lake is one of those places that as soon as you leave, you start plotting your next visit. We’ll be back!