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This century-old shelter, made with local stone and wood, offers an experience that’s part Swiss Alps and part Wild West. It commands a sprawling front-porch view of the peaks west of the Continental Divide, with lingering sunsets that cast dramatic shadows across the deep valley it overlooks. The “chalet” is comfortable but Spartan; hikers share rooms, cook meals on a massive 12-burner stove (BYO food and eating utensils; the chalet has pots and pans), and fetch their own water from a nearby creek. But here’s why we really like it: By combining a stay at the chalet with a night at historic Many Glacier Hotel, you can make a 28-mile loop (approximately, depending on the trails you choose) that skirts some of Glacier’s best alpine scenery. From Logan Pass, hike 7.6 miles along the Highline Trail to Granite Park. The justifiably popular path passes under the gorgeous Garden Wall, a steep escarpment brimming with cascading creeks and wildflowers. Stay an extra day to explore the divide and look for grizzlies in aptly named Bear Alley. Then hike 7.5 miles to Many Glacier, going over Swiftcurrent Pass. Complete the loop via Grinnell Lake and Piegan Pass (see page 10), ending at Going-to-the-Sun Road. Catch a summer shuttle back to your car.
Season Early July and the beginning of September offer the best chance of getting your choice of dates.
Map BACKPACKER PRO Map Granite Park Chalet ($20; backpacker.com/promaps)
Get there Start at Logan Pass on Going-to- the-Sun Road. End at Siyeh Bend.
Cost/info $90 for first person, $73 each additional person in the same room ($16 extra for bed linen; rates could change for 2013); reserve space in October for next summer; graniteparkchalet.com