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Highline Trail + Grinnell Glacier Overlook

Glacier National Park (USA)

Simply put: One of the best day hikes in the world.

Hiking Difficult

21 km
758 m
1.5 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.3 km
Highline Trail + Grinnell Glacier Overlook Map

The Highline Trail is one of the top hikes in the entire National Park System. In terms of effort to views ratio, it cannot be beat. It is quite popular, but its popularity is well-earned!


One plus of this route is the variety of options available. For instance, you could hike outbound on the Highline Trail and return back on the Highline. You could also take the Highline Trail over to the Swiftcurrent Valley and come down the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. This would require having two cars. The other option, which is the one covered here, starts with the Highline Trail and then comes down on the Granite Park Trail to finish at "The Loop." Note, "The Loop" is located a short distance from Logan Pass, the starting point of the trail, so a short shuttle trip is required.

Part of the appeal of the Highline is its openness. The trail features open views the entire way. At the same time, the trail is relatively flat. So take your time, smell the flowers, and take in the views. This section of trail features some of the most impressive wildflower displays to be found anywhere!

This route passes through prime bear habitat, so pay attention to your surroundings. It is recommended to hike in a group and to carry bear spray.

Also, if you want to see mountain goats during a visit to Glacier National Park, this is the trail to see them. Multiple mountain goats have been spotted every time I have hiked this route. They are always a treat to see!

If hiking the Highline, the side trip to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook is a must. The side trip adds about 1.5 miles to the route and is quite steep. Despite this, it provides one of the most epic views in the entire park. You get to stand right above the magnificent Grinnell Glacier! The crowds thin out on this side trip, too.

Once past the overlook, the famous Granite Park Chalet is not much further. This chalet marks the end of the Highline section of the day hike. Cherish this spot, as it is a worthy destination! It is possible to stay overnight in the Chalet. Regardless, food and drink are available for purchase here.

If descending on the Granite Park Trail, over 4,000 feet of elevation loss awaits. It is not as scenic as the Highline stretch but still offers great views in the distance.

Overall, this route avoids backtracking, and it features some of the best views in the park! The Highline Trail should not be missed by anyone visiting the park.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area