WEST GLACIER, MONT. –The popular Highline Trail at Logan Pass is anticipated to be open by Friday, possibly earlier. Hikers are encouraged to plan ahead and be prepared. Hikers may encounter rocks and mud on trails, eroded trail tread, and some snowfields on higher elevation trails across the park.
Due to recent mud and rock slides along the Highline Trail, both west and east-side park trail crews have been working to allow for public access on the trail from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte. On July 17 a rain event triggered numerous mud and rock slides in the area and deposited lots of rock and mud debris on the trail. Much of the tread, flat surfaces or step-like features built by trail crew, were washed out. In several areas of the trail, bedrock is exposed and hikers are encouraged to use caution. Often the bedrock is angled downhill, wet, and potentially slick. The use of hiking poles is encouraged in this area.
Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools. It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. Caution should be used near rivers and streams, as water may be extremely cold, and running swift and high. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.
There are over 700 miles of trail providing opportunities for short hikes and extended backpacking trips in the park. During July and August many of the more popular trails can be crowded. Visitors are encouraged to consider a lesser used trail or more remote trail during this time. For more information about hiking options, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm, contact the park at 406-888-7800 or stop by one of the park’s visitor centers.
Interested hikers may complete a voluntary day trip plan form that may help plan a trip and be a valuable tool for family and friends, and perhaps park rangers, if search and rescue efforts are needed. This voluntary form is not collected by the National Park Service, and is a courtesy form to help visitors plan day trips and communicate plans with family and friends. The form can be obtained at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm.
Glacier National Park is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. Hikers are encouraged to hike in groups, carry bear spray that is easily accessible, and make noise at regular intervals along the trail. Bears spend a lot of time eating, so hikers should be extra alert when hiking in feeding areas such as berry patches, cow parsnip thickets, or fields of glacier lilies. Hiking early in the morning, late in the day, or after dark is not encouraged. Trail running is not recommended as it has led to surprise bear encounters. For more information about recreating in bear country visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/bears.htm.
For information about hiking in the park, trail status and trail maps, visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.