Toddler Friendly Hiking in Glacier National Park: Hidden Lake Hike (Part 5 of our Banff/Glacier Trip)
To be honest, hidden lake isn’t so hidden anymore and for good reason. A gorgeous hike right off of the Going to the Sun road it starts out with quite a few stairs but after that you are rewarded by a flat walking path, lovely views of the lake, and some cute hiking buddies (aka mountain goats!).
We went later in the day after enjoying a lazy morning recuperating from our hike to Grinnell Glacier. We were hoping to catch the shuttle up to Hidden Lake after parking closer to the eastern side entrance. There are numerous shuttle stops and we tried to get as close as possible to Hidden Lake while still being able to park. Sounds like a good strategy, right? Wrong. All of the shuttles are full by the time they get anywhere near the Logan Pass visitor center (where the Hidden Lake trail starts). After spending about 30 minutes messing around with parking and waiting we finally ended up having my husband drop the rest of us off, park down the way, and then run a mile back to hike. So definitely be prepared to deal with crowds and parking issues if you venture to Hidden Lake. And learn from my mistakes! Most websites will recommend you go early to get a parking spot. We went later in the week and made it to Logan by 8:30am and still had no luck.
Know before you go: The Hidden Lake hike is just over 5 miles round trip. We chose to just do a very short portion of it and enjoy the gorgeous views and let our toddler enjoy the goats. It was great for a recuperation day after a longer hike. Parking is definitely a problem. If you are staying on the east side the way we did I would strongly suggest parking at the very first visitor lot and taking the shuttle from there OR going very early in the morning (i.e. before 8:30am when we tried).
Toddler friendly rating: 10/10. The first part of the hike has a rather long staircase but after that the trail is pretty flat. So much so that I was able to carry our toddler in the hiking pack for the first half of the hike (up the stairs no less!). The goats delighted our daughter and we loved the open views of the lake and valley below. It was a win for everyone! It is also a wide enough space that I would feel comfortable letting even an early walker toddle around some once you hit the flatter part of the trail.