The Hidden Lake Trail leaves from the Logan Pass Visitors Center along the Going to the Sun Road.
During the Fall of 2006, we took a train from Portland to Glacier. We did three short trails (Hidden Lake, Avalanche Lake, and Snyder Lake) along Going to the Sun Road, which during the busy summer season I wouldn't even consider. However, since it was October, and the trails were pretty lonely, we were given an opportunity to do some good day hikes that we wouldn't normally see.
The train is a very good way to get to Glacier, from the major northwest cities. From Portland or Seattle, the train leaves in the late afternoon, and you can be hiking in Glacier early the next morning. Definitely the best way to go.
Since the Hidden Lake Trail is above treeline, the scenery is pretty amazing. Only a few small sub-alpine fir dot the landscape of rolling meadows. Leaving the Logan Pass Ranger station, the trail climbs gradually up the ridge along a well constructed boardwalk. The path tops out at 7000 feet, with 8,760' Clements Mountain rising to the north, 9,125' Reynold's Mountain to the south.
The overlook viewpoint is reached at 1.5 miles from the visitor center. The view of Hidden Lake is quite spectacular, as it fills it's Glacier-carved valley, wrapping around the very impressive 8,684' Bear Hat Mountain. Look to the south for a piece of the Glacier-Draped Gunsight Mountain peeking over the smaller ridges and peaks at the head of the valley.
From the viewpoint, the path slowly drops as it traverses along the southern flanks of Clements Mountain. Apparently the mountains in this part of the park were at one time at the bottom of a sea. The sandy seafloor formed ripples from the wave action, which was then hardened and eventually thrust 7000' above sea level. The hardened ripples are still evident in the rocks as you descend to Hidden Lake. The trail eventually hits a switchback, where the grade steepens to fall at the shore of Hidden Lake. There is a nice rocky beach along the north shore, as well as a pit toilet and a couple of campsites.
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