by Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider (Falcon Guides)
A popular and superscenic route along the Continental Divide in the alpine heart of Glacier National Park, starting at high elevation with no serious hills. The first 3 miles of the trail go along the Garden Wall directly above Going-to-the-Sun Highway. Some of it is on a ledge, which can be a little nerve-racking but beautifully unique. Then the trail gradually climbs up to Granite Park Chalet across the flanks of Haystack Butte and in the shadow of mighty Mount Gould to the north. (There has never been a haystack on Haystack Butte, but it looks like one.) To the south Heavens Peak, Longfellow Peak, and others dominate a fantastic horizon. You can also see McDonald Creek tumbling down to the huge lake with the same name. The entire route is on or near the Continental Divide. Do ’t forget to look behind you on this section for some stunning views. The hike is mostly flat with a few small upgrades, but nothing serious. It’s also extremely popular, so plan on seeing lots of people —and maybe a few mountain goats and bighorn sheep, too, that have become accustomed enough to hikers to freely show themselves. The trail itself is always in great shape. It opens in early July, and if you go soon after the opening, you may have to carefully traverse a few lingering snowbanks.
© Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.