The Garden Wall

HARD 31 reviews
#9 of 131 trails in

The Garden Wall is a 14.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near West Glacier, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
14.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,507 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

hiking
6 months ago

Parking available at Logan Pass. Highline Trail shares a parking lot with Hidden Lake Trailhead, so lot generally fills prior to 08:00.

Climbing up the Garden Wall was previously a bucket list item of mine. Almost a year ago, researching the Highline Trail prompted my father and I to spawn a trip to Montana. Twelve months and thousands of miles later, we clipped our packs and proceeded past the Highline Trailhead. The trail begins somewhat intimidatingly, carved into a mountainside with sheer cliffs to your left, metal handrail to your right. This marks the most unsettling portion of the trail. Gradually separating from Going to the Sun Road, the hike gradually increases in both serenity and enjoyability.

Arguably Glacier's most recognizable image- Reynolds Mountain behind Oberlin Bend- presents itself around 2.5 miles into the hike. The Highline Trail encounters dramatic scenery shortly thereafter. Haystack Butte sits behind a 180-degree view of Glacier National Park, a welcome backrest to the breathtaking vistas of Mount Cannon, Mount Gould, Reynolds Mountain, and Mount Oberlin bathed in sunlight. This vista could surely knock you off your feet. Presently, views of McDonald Creek Valley with sporadic forest occupy the mind until the Garden Wall junction.

Devoid of switchbacks, deceivingly steep, and rocky, the Garden Wall spur demands respect. This 0.6-mile cut shoots up over 800 feet in elevation over the western drainage basin. In return, however, this magnificent venture yields perhaps the greatest views in Montana. Indeed, even before the glacial overlook, the western views of Heavens Peak and waterfalls are- for lack of better term- unforgettable. Yet the climax of the Garden Wall is undoubtedly Glacial Overlook. A steep trail suddenly turns flat, dotted with four trees, and you emerge on a saddle between Peak 7980 and Peak 8479.

The view's reveal is unrivaled by anything I've ever done. Ralston Peak in Tahoe, Eagle Peak in Yosemite, Frigid Air Pass in Colorado; these falter in comparison to the dramatic uncovering of Upper Grinnell Lake. Three steps mark the difference between rock obstruction and complete vista. It's impossible to take in everything at once: indeed, the insurmountable slopes of Mount Gould giving way to Grinnell Glacier is stunning enough. Throw in the crystalline waters of Upper Grinnell Lake, the distant Lake Josephine, Allen Mountain, and you're overwhelmed by beauty.

Upon emerging at the Glacial Overlook, I thought the view couldn't possibly get better. Then, heeding the advice of fellow hikers, I trekked an additional 200 feet towards point 7980. The vista expanded. Almost the entirety of Grinnell Drainage Basin was visible, ranging from Salamander Glacier to Lake Sherburne. This additional trip, even after 800 feet of grueling ascent, marked the complete climax of this hike.

Everything thereafter is simply dispensable gravy. Admittedly, the descent down to The Loop is decent at best; surely my expectations were inflated by Heaven spilling onto the Garden Wall. Granite Chalet is little more than a historic tourist trap, the Granite Park Trail weaves through the remnants of a devastated forest, and the 3,500 feet of descent don't lift spirits. However, if we were to walk through a mosquito-infested hellhole laced with the occasional muddy leech, this hike still would've commanded five stars. The experience of the Garden Wall is simply that powerful.

My father and I begun hiking at 06:45, passed two groups of hikers, and escaped a swiftly-moving third. We had the Highline Trail to ourselves thereafter. I would recommend hiking by 06:15 if you desire serenity; even if you don't mind crowds, an early start is integral to sunrise views. Our two-man crew was the second group up the Garden Wall (summit 09:15). After a 25-minute experience of ripping winds and scintillating vistas, we passed some 25-35 people on the descent.

If you have a single day to spend in Glacier, this is your trail. Don't overthink it. This is perhaps Montana's most remarkable view, on Montana's most acclaimed trail, in Montana's renowned national park. Above all, it was worth waiting an entire year for.

trail running
6 months ago

Awesome trail! A large group of us wrapped a week long trip with this trail run. Lots of up and down with killer views. The last half mile up to the peak is painful but totally worth the view on top! Busy, but as expected for early August. We started early to avoid the crowds and to get a parking spot at the Logan Pass visitor center. Very runner friendly, but watch the sharp drop offs! Wildlife everywhere and plenty of shaded areas for a quick water break. Will do it again if I get the chance!

hiking
6 months ago

Fantastic trail with awesome views the entire way. Steep for the last 0.6 miles before the turn around but worth the view.

*when you get to Garden Wall overlooking the valley at the turn around walk up the other side of the pass another 0.1 miles as it make the view much more breathtaking.

trail running
6 months ago

Another great run/hike in Glacier! Lots of wildflowers, gradual grade until the last .80 miles then it got very steep. But worth the views! A lot of people but not overly crowded. week day run for us.

hiking
7 months ago

I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone who wants to see great views of Glacier! Wake up early and park at Logan’s pass and start hiking on the Highline Trail. We Started around 7:30 and the trail was very busy already with groups of people. My fiancé and I just took our time and took a lot of pictures on our way. Just about 2-3 hours later the rush of hikers calmed down as they all got ahead of us. The trail was more enjoyable once they all passed. I would definitely recommend hiking up to Grinnell Glacier Overlook. It is very difficult as you gain 1000 feet of elevation in .6 miles, but the views are jaw dropping! Make sure to go all the way to the top in order to see everything. After that we hiked to the chalet for a bathroom break and down to the loop. From the loop we got a shuttle back to Logan’s Pass. Besides the overlook, the trail is relatively easy and mostly downhill, unless distance is an issue for you.

hiking
7 months ago

All I have to say is wow! Steep ascent with gusty winds at times make this not just challenging but extremely rewarding. I would not attempt this without being in great shape. This trail is only .6 miles long itself but shares the trail with high line making it the distance listed on this app. The view of Grinnell Glacier is unreal but make sure you go all the way to he top for the best views. Mid July and we experienced hard hail at our ascent. Be prepared!

hiking
7 months ago

We hiked on 7/5/2018. This is the greatest hike for day hikers in the park!
1. Route: I started from the Logan pass, took the garden trail/ highline trail, detoured at the 7 mile to Grinnell glacier overlook (out & back), passed by the Granite Park Chalet, and ended up at the trail head of the loop. (I did not take highline trail back to Logan pass. )
2.Great view: you will pass snow, bushes, water falls, pine forest, meadows and creeks.
3. Location of the detour to Grinnell Glacier overlook: The overlook is 7 miles from Logan pass down and 4 miles with 2k elevation gain from the trail head of the loop. The trail to the overlook is 0.6 mile one-way with elevation gain of 1000ft, very strenuous.
4. Gears: We did not use hiking poles but it is recommended if you want to go to the overlook. The road up to the overlook is steep and narrow.
5. Road conditions: some part of the trail was covered by snow and water.
6. Wear: most people end up short sleeves w/ long sleeves carried w them.
7. Water: bring at least 2L water per person.
8. Commute: if you take the shuttle from Apgar Village, you have to get off the shuttle at Avalanche Creek Shuttle Stop to transfer to small size shuttle to get to Logan pass. It took us TWO hours to commute by shuttle bus from Apgar village to Logan pass. The large shuttle takes about 23-24 people (leave 4 seats for people from other stops) and small shuttle takes 14-15 persons from Avalanche. I had to wait for the second shuttle for both locations.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is a must do in Glacier - unless big exposure is a no-no. The views are just amazing. We hit a cold pouring-down rain from the Granite Park Chalet to The Loop. If we are in Glacier again this is a re-do for sure but we will hope for a clear sky. I would not classify this trail as hard unless the elevation or distance is a problem for you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Definitely take the trail from Logan Pass and go up to the wall (it's worth the difficult incline), then down past the chalet to the loop. My only reason for four stars instead of five is the sheer amount of traffic on the trail and having to pause to pass.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Tough jaunt up to the window, but once there you are greeted with some amazing views of both sides of the divide!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The view is worth it, but it's definitely recommended that you be fit enough to handle the elevation gain and drop. The unparalleled view, however, really makes the struggle worth it.

hiking
Friday, July 28, 2017

Whole family loved, loved, loved this trail. Fav was the Glacier Overlook even though my asthmatic kids did have to pause a moment as the air was tougher to catch their breath. Can't wait to do it again!

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Amazing. The wall ascent was tough, but the view from the top, wow. Lots of traffic today, but worth every bit of the pain I'm going to feel tomorrow.

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

I've hiked this twice on my way up the Highline, worth every step although a bit tricky in a windy hail storm.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Amazing views that photos do not do justice. I saw a herd of bighorn sheep 10 feet away, plus a mountain goat. Lots of exposure to the elements on the way back so be prepared. Views from the chalet are amazing.

hiking
Sunday, August 04, 2013

Awesome hike. Really easy, great views, and cool wildlife. I went just after it stopped raining and fog was covering the whole valley below. So beautiful.

hiking
Saturday, October 13, 2012

One of the easiest hikes in glacier except for the distance, and for that reason probably the busiest trail in Glacier Park. Spectacular views the whole way. Took the spur up to Grinnell Glacier, up all the way, but worth it, great views. So many waterfalls along the trail. Recommend starting at Logan Pass, After the chalet it's all down hill. Had a ride waiting to pick me up at going-to-the-sun-road.

hiking
Monday, October 01, 2012

This is a very popular Glacier Park hike for serious hikers. Part of the Highline trails, owing to spectacular vistas, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and low level of difficulty by starting at Logan Pass. The trail follows the west face of the Continental Divide, maintaining a relatively constant elevation to Granite Park Chalet, from there the trail heads down to the Going-to-the-Sun road at "the loop". Elevation gain 830, elevation loss to the loop 3025. Many spur trail options off this trail, including the 8/10 trail up to a notch in the Garden Wall for a view of Grinnell Glacier which I recommend highly. Spent 10 days hiking @ Glacier & it could have been 30. Glacier is a serious hikers paradise, IMO.

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