It's been a tough summer for both trail and road crews at Glacier National Park, but the popular Highline Trail at Logan Pass is anticipated to be open by Friday, July 27, and "possibly earlier," according to a park spokesperson. However, the good news for trail fans comes with a caveat: "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."
In addition to the usual challenges of clearing snow from the high-elevation route, recent storms have compounded work for trail crews. 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.
Here's an update on trail conditions from the park staff as of July 25th:
"As a result of the storms, much of the tread, flat surfaces or step-like features built by trail crews 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."
The Highline Trail begins at Logan Pass, where the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road crests the Continental Divide at an elevation of 6,640 feet. Parking spaces at Logan Pass are at a premium during July and August, especially after mid-morning, so another option to reach the area is by the park's free shuttle service. If you're hiking a trail, just keep in mind the schedule: the last shuttle of the day leaves Logan Pass at 7 p.m.!
You'll find additional information about hiking in Glacier on the park website and at visitor centers.