44 Photos - Aug 30, 2014
Photo: Grinnell Overlook - one of the coolest places in the park.Photo: One more look at the area - The out-and-back hike from Logan Pass to the Grinnell overlook  was a little more than 15 miles.Photo: Gray skies at the start of our hike on the Highline Trail - Going to Sun Road below. For many people this is the scary part of the hike. That is why the park service provides a cable to hang onto during this stretch.Photo: The coat is off and she smiling.Photo: "Ussie" with Bird Woman Falls in background - Photo by Otto Tymer.Photo: More gray skies - We did the hike on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Because of the cool weather, there weren't many other hikers on the trail.Photo: Some sunshine - McDonald Creek and Going to Sun Highway belowPhoto: Lake McDonald in the distance.Photo: Bear watchers - We had just watched a huge grizzly rumble across that meadow below.Photo: That is Mardi coming up the steep .8-mile spur that leads to the Grinnell Overlook. You can see Granite Park Chalet toward the upper right of the photo.Photo: More hikers heading up to the Grinnell Overlook.Photo: Heading up to the overlook. The ridge-line is the Continental Divide.Photo: A couple hikers at the overlook (and on the Continental Divide).Photo: The Grinnell Glacier overlook on the Continental Divide.Photo: Grinnell Overlook - one of the coolest places in the park.Photo: Grinnell Glacier above the lake, and Salamander Glacier to right of lake.Photo: Mardi on her way back down to the Highline Trail - Granite Park Chalet in distance. You can see the burned area beyond the chalet (2003 fire).Photo: Granite Park Chalet - We decided not to do the extra .8 mile to the chalet (1.6 round-trip).Photo: Heading back to Logan Pass on the Highline Trail with Lake McDonald in distancePhoto: On the way back to Logan Pass we stopped to take a closer look at some stromatolites. A stromatolite is produced by the activity of ancient cyanobacteria - think of them as the fossil remains of colonies of cyanobacteria.Photo: The layers were produced as calcium carbonate precipitated over the growing mat of bacterial filaments; photosynthesis in the bacteria depleted carbon dioxide in the surrounding water, initiating the precipitation. The minerals, along with grains of sediment precipitating from the water, were then trapped within the sticky layer of mucilage that surrounds the bacterial colonies, which then continued to grow upwards through the sediment to form a new layer. As this process occurred over and over again, the layers of sediment were created. This process still occurs today at Shark Bay in western Australia. 
Source:  T.N. & E.L. Taylor. 1993. The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Rest time overlooking McDonald Creek - You can see a tiny portion of the Going to the Sun Road just to the left of Mardi's right foot.Photo: They're everywhere!Photo: Rams above McDonald ValleyPhoto: Photo: Photo: Use the arrow on your keyboard to advance to the next image.Photo: Photo: Photo: People gathered to watch the rams.Photo: Photo: 2-3 miles to go -  We started and ended at Logan Pass. The Going to the Sun Road can be seen below, winding its way up to Logan Pass.Photo: The Highline Trail is located between the Garden Wall (Continental Divide) and the Going to the Sun Road. Mardi is approaching Logan Pass and the end of the trail. Bishop's Cap can be seen on the horizon in the upper right.Photo: You can see the cable for people to hang on as they walk above the Going to the Sun Hwy.Photo: The next day:  We had planned to drive over to Many Glacier and hike up to the Grinnell Glacier (just below the overlook), but Mardi's feet said "no".  Instead we took Highway 2 to Browning, making some stops along the way.  This is the Issac Walton Inn in Essex.Photo: Goat Lick east of EssexPhoto: Marias Pass - The Continental Divide on Highway #2Photo: Road-side geology stop west of East GlacierPhoto: Lodge at East GlacierPhoto: South of Browning - on the way home (Helena) via ChoteauPhoto: The dashed red line is the out-and-back route that my wife (Mardi) and I followed (over 15 miles round-trip).

The thin, solid, pink line is the trail to Swiftcurrent Lookout - arguably the best view point in Glacier Park.

The Highline Loop Trail is the dashed blue line that descends to "The Loop" on the Going to the Sun Road.

The dashed green line and arrow show the first mile of the trail to Many Glacier. One on my best days of hiking EVER was about 15 years ago. I started at Logan Pass, followed the Highline, took the side-trip up to Grinnell Overlook, stopped by the Granite Park Chalet, hiked up to the lookout, and then continued on to Many Glacier. The hike ended up being about 20 miles - in perfect weather! After reaching Many Glacier, we had to drive back to Logan Pass to retrieve the vehicle we'd left there.

Another challenging option would be to start at Logan Pass, hike to the Grinnell Overlook, then to the Lookout, come back down to the chalet, and then finish at The Loop. I would estimate the mileage for this at 16-17 miles.