Glacier National Park’s popular Highline Trail is now open, nearly a month ahead of last year’s opening.
Stretching for 7.6 miles from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet, the mostly level trail skirts the steep face of the Garden Wall and offers views of wildflowers, wildlife and many of the park’s stunning peaks and valleys.
The trailhead is located across Going-to-the-Sun Road from the Logan Pass parking lot.
The upper Highline Trail, about 12 miles from the chalet to the Fifty Mountain Campground, is also open but still has winter hazards, including snow bridges, snow drifts and icy sections that may require extra caution and equipment.
In 2014, the Highline Trail didn’t open until July 20.
From the chalet, hikers can take an alternate, 4-mile trail back to Going-to-the-Sun Road. The 0.8-mile portion of the trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook also is open.
Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said it is one of the earliest known dates that the Highline Trail has been cleared of snow.
Hikers are encouraged to be careful of remaining snow hazards and to carry bear spray when hiking in the park. Be on the alert for black bears and grizzlies, and avoid possible bear feeding areas, such as berry patches, parsnip thickets and fields of glacier lillies.
For more information about hiking in the park, including east-side trailhead closures, call 406-888-7800, visit www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm or stop by one of the park’s visitor centers.
— Samuel Wilson / Daily Inter Lake