Is This Trail the Absolute ‘Best Hike’ in Montana?
It's a great choice from Travel and Leisure, but how can you pick just ONE trail in Montana and call it the "best hike" in the entire state?
If you were to narrow down the best options, looking around Glacier National Park is a good start. West Glacier to be specific, but even then, choosing just one is tough. As with anything deemed "the best", it all depends on your taste, ability, and the time you have available. (Spoiler alert: Montana's 'best hiking trail' doesn't allow dogs.)
So how do you feel about a challenging 15 mile out-and-back in high elevation? The Highline Trail in Glacier National Park was named by Travel and Leisure magazine as the best hike in Montana. There's a lot to like about this trail, but it's not for the out of shape or anyone afraid of real wilderness.
Ironically, this trail is also called the Highline Loop, although as stated above it's an out-and-back...not a loop at all. Since the Highline Trail is located within Glacier National park, you'll have to have a pass or pay the park fee to get in no matter what time of year.
If you want to see the winning choices from across the country, check out Travel and Leisure's "Best Hikes in Every State." It's pretty handy if you love the outdoors and find yourself in another state looking for a good trail.
The Highline Trail does give you just about everything you'd want in a Montana hike. Rivers, glaciers, waterfalls, a real trail, etc. According to AllTrails.com:
Explore this 14.9-mile out-and-back trail near Siyeh Bend, Montana. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 6 h 59 min to complete.
This is a very popular area for backpacking, camping, and hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.
The best times to visit this trail are June through October. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail.
The Highline Trail will offer you over 2,500 feet in elevation gain, which is no small feat. This hike really isn't for beginners, and considering how remote you'll be, getting injured or becoming exhausted is NOT a good idea.
This hike is very well reviewed when we take a closer look. Recent feedback about the Highline Trail include comments like this:
- "if you're just camping or doing a day-trip, this is the one trail to not skip! start at Logan for the best views and to avoid the switchbacks near the loop. if you aren't game to go all the way, aim for the Grinnell glacier overlook and turn back to Logan from there. be prepared for wet / water — I was without a rain jacket and regretted it"
- "The most challenging hike I’ve ever completed. Absolutely amazing views the whole way. We clocked 16.3 miles round trip. Didn’t make it to the overlook because we were cooked."