The Granite Park Chalet hike starts from the loop and climbs upwards to the chalet. From there you can ‘base camp’ and do all sorts of hikes. Swiftcurrent Lookout is a popular day hike from the chalet as well as the Grinnell Glacier Overlook. The views are what I’d call mild on this hike, but they do get better when you reach the chalet.
The ‘loop hike’ up to Granite Park Chalet wouldn’t be my first choice for hiking in Glacier. It’s more of a ‘means to and end’ type of hike that leads you to other really awesome views. It is beautiful in it’s own right as you can see from the photos, it just doesn’t make my list of top 10 hikes in Glacier. I’ve always hiked it as part of the Highline Trail which starts at Logan’s Pass, and comes right by Granite Park Chalet, ending at the loop where you can get a shuttle back to your vehicle. Combined that way, it’s one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park!
Round trip to Granite Park Chalet is 8.4 miles, with an elevation gain of 2,450 feet. About 3.5 miles up the trail, there is a back country campground if you don’t want to stay at the chalet. The hike is a bit of a leg burner, especially if you’re carrying a backpacking load. Later in the season, (usually by mid July) the Highline Trail will open, and the going is much easier from that route. Reservations must be made in advance for the chalet and the backcountry camping, (book early because space is limited).
The wildflowers are usually particularly good on this trail, so that’s an added bonus since there’s not as many views.
The Park is having a record year for beargrass, (the flower in the above photo). Each beargrass plant only blooms every 5-7 years! Every so often, the ‘stars align’ so to speak and there is an abundance of showy spires.
On the way back, there’s a creek running near the end of the trail. We like to stop and soak our tired feet before heading home to make dinner. Tonight, it’s The Best Chicken Caesar Salad (a favorite ‘after hike’ dinner)!