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Logan Pass, Glacier National Park

Logan Pass is located in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. Sitting at 6,646 feet above sea level, this section of the national park was traditionally considered one of the most challenging access points leading across the Continental Divide.

It’s the highest point reachable by car in the national park and on the going-to-the-sun road, and it is only accessible when there is a distinct lack of snow as the roads here are virtually impossible to plow.

Logan Pass is a hugely popular attraction in Glacier National Park and has some of the most stunning scenery likely to be encountered.

The Logan Pass Visitor Center is located at the summit straddling the Continental Divide, and visitors to the pass not only get the chance to see some amazing vistas but there is also an abundance of wildlife in this region.

The History of Logan Pass in Montana

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Native Americans used Logan Pass as an access point to the expansive valleys below it. The Kootenai Indians were known to use this pass in the winters with the use of snowshoes as they headed from west to east.

They called it “where packs are pulled in a line” –a reference to the great cliff just below the pass where they literally had to pull themselves up on a rope by hand with their packs behind them on a line.

Obviously this made the use of horses impossible, and it is thought they returned to the Flathead Valley via an alternate route that was possibly further to the south.

Once Glacier National park came into being around 100 years ago and Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed, the park took shape and Logan Pass quickly became one of the park’s prominent visiting points. 

Logan pass was named for one Major Willian R. Logan, who was the first superintendent of the park and made some outstanding contributions, one of which was the decision to hire park rangers and to make more trails within the park.

The Logan Pass Visitor Center

the logan pass visitor center

The Logan Pass Visitor Center is quite small and doesn’t actually have that much to offer—but it’s somewhere to pick up a snack or a souvenir, not to mention the fact that the history of Going-to-the-Sun Road is displayed inside.

The center also offers some decent insights into the expected weather in different areas of the park—especially the ones with no phone app coverage. It’s also a good place to get updates on any potential closures.

The view from the center is panoramic and although not the best you’ll see around here it’s still impressive. The visitor center is open during the summer season on the east side, but the pass is normally closed in winter due to avalanche hazards.

Fishing at Logan Pass

fishing at logan pass

The parking area to reach Hidden Lake, the main fishing spot closest to Logan Pass, is at the Logan Pass Visitor Center located right at the top of the Going to the Sun Road.

Hidden Lake offers some excellent fishing for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and is relatively easy to access, thus it does receive heavy fishing pressure.

Most of the fishing pressure is at the end of the Hidden Lake Trail, close to the lake’s outlet. The lake receives substantially less fishing pressure further down the lake.

As you might imagine in any water with high fishing pressure, the fish are not quite as easy to snag as in the backcountry lakes, meaning some degree of patience may be necessary. The conditions can be quite windy as well due to the elevations at the top of the continental divide.

Having said that, Hidden Lake is not that massive and is relatively well-protected from potentially high winds, so many anglers can fish with some success from either a portable pontoon boat or a float tube.

As the trail up to the lake is pretty easy and also well-maintained, many anglers bring their own portable boats without too much difficulty.

No motorized vessels are allowed here, and all fish need to go back into the water due to the high fishing pressure.

Hiking

Logan Pass is nestled near many of the park’s peaks, and from this spot, you can see Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Mount Oberlin, Reynolds Mountain, and Bearhat Mountain.

Plenty more peaks come into view as you hike away from the Visitor Center, and although top-notch hiking is available all over the park, in the vicinity of Logan Pass most people make their way to the Hidden Lake Trail and the Highline Trail.

The Hidden Lake Trail

the hidden lake trail

This is the trail often seen in pictures with its boardwalk section that makes the 3-mile, out & back hike a bit easier. Anyone hiking this trail encounters open meadows before coming to the beautiful Hidden Lake overlook. There could well be a few mountain goats along the way too.

On the way back, you’ll also get a view of Garden Wall, another popular trail at Logan Pass. The trailhead for the lake trail is 18 miles from the eastern entrance, starting out at the Visitors Center.

The Highline Trail

The Garden Wall section featured along the Highline Trail offers hikers some real insights into the beauty of Glacier National Park. This section is relatively easy to hike and stretches between Logan Pass and the Granite Park Chalet.

You probably will catch glimpses of wildlife like mountain goats and bighorn sheep along this moderately difficult route too.

The trailhead also starts at the Logan Pass Visitor Center parking lot and runs for 7.6 miles, taking most hikers around 5 miles to complete.

The Gunsight Pass Trail

This trail is ideal for any backpackers who want to get into the backcountry regions of Glacier National Park.

You can hike shorter sections of this moderate to difficult, 20.6-mile route if you wish, like the 7 miles to Gunsight Lake. Because this hike is one-way, you can take a shuttle back to your car.

The trail leads through forest terrain and past glaciers and gives you some of the best of Glacier National Park including elevation gains of 3,000 feet.

The trailhead for Gunsight Pass is on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, between St. Mary Lake and Logan Pass. You can find it at a turn which is also for the overlook for Jackson Glacier.

Piegan Pass Trail

This moderate to difficult, 12.8-mile out & back hike runs from Siyeh Bend to Many Glacier Lodge and features some incredible views along the way.

Crossing Piegan Pass you’ll encounter an array of wildflowers and cover a wide range of elevations and cross creeks. The Piegan Pass Trailhead is on Going-to-the-Sun Road, 3 miles east of Logan Pass.

It begins at the Siyeh Bend parking area. The average time of this hike is commonly over the 7-hour mark, and the route contains elevations of 1,670 feet.

The Siyeh Pass Trail

This 10.3-mile route is a popular hike in the national park and has even been called the best day hike in Glacier.

It starts out at Siyeh Bend parking area and then takes you across a rustic wooden bridge and scenic meadows as you head across creeks and rocky slopes with elevation gains of over 2,000 feet.

This is a reasonably challenging trail but the views of waterfalls and wildlife are the payoff. The Siyeh Pass Trailhead is on Going-to-the-Sun Road 3 miles east of the Logan Pass.

Conclusion

Logan Pass is undoubtedly one of the hot spots of Glacier National Park and the state of Montana.

With views to die for and a plethora of multi-terrain trails to choose from, it’s no surprise that this hugely popular, elevated Montana spot keeps the visitors rolling in year after year.

 

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