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Glacier Park
The Garden Wall

The Garden Wall – 7 miles round trip

The Trailhead begins on the Highline Trail on the north side of Going-to-the-Sun Road, across from the Logan Pass Visitors Center.

We chose mid August to hike this trail because the wildflowers and wildlife are plentiful now. In the first quarter mile we see a mountain goat and her kid at close range, feeding on the various plants. These animals frequent this area and have become accustomed to close encounters with the public. They are, however, wild animals and need to be given their space so we watch them from a reasonable distance. The wildflowers are plentiful and since there is a lot of water flowing through the plants the trail can be very wet. If you are afraid of heights this trail may not be for you after walking a quarter-mile. At this point you need to pass on a narrow ledge high above Going-to-the-Sun Road, which can be an adventure for some or just plain nonsense for others. There is spectacular beauty along the trail with wildflower gardens designed by nature and water flowing through the colorful plants as they cascade over the ledges.

Mountain Goat Photo

Mountain Goat along the Highline Trail

We encounter a lot of ground squirrels, chipmunks, and pika busy gathering and storing food for the long winter. More mountain goats are spotted in the higher areas.

You can expect to see snow in the Haystack Butte area where wildflowers are blooming as soon as the snow melts. This hike is an experience to remember, beautiful and filled with wildlife and great views of the valley below.

Haystack Butte from Road Photo

Haystack Butte

The Garden Wall is what is called an Arete. It’s a very narrow sharp edged wall that goes for miles between St. Mary Valley and Lake Mc Donald Valley. Over thousands of years, glaciers have been at work carving out this wall. The road traverses this narrow wall and gives us all a good view of just what glaciers have formed in the past. The sights will keep you amazed. It was formed by two separate Glaciers, one on each side of the mountain. Carving off the sides to leave this narrow wall.

We must make sure of the vehicle regulations before driving our own cars across. The rule is we must have a vehicle no longer than 21 feet {including bumpers }and no wider than 8 feet. Rental cars that will fit into this category, can be found in towns nearby. If you would rather not drive, and want to keep your eyes on the scenery, you might prefer to take the shuttle service

Photo of Flowers at Visitors Center

Looking toward the Highline Trail

You will be able to go on hikes along the way. The Highland trail is one of the most popular. This trail is long, and is for the rugged hiker indeed. It  starts and runs for 11.6 miles from the loop parking lot along cliffs and through high country fir trees. You will love the sights along the way stopping for a well deserved rest and lunch at the Granite Park Chalet.  Animals that are frequent visitors of this area are the big horn sheep, not timid beast in the least. Our hike will come to an end at the Summit Lot, on the "Going To The Sun Road.

Happy Hiking !!!!

The Garden Wall by Verna Parks & Janet Rapelje.  

 

 

 



Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.

A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in North America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.

 Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife, geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.

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