There are many hikes in Glacier National Park, such as the Highline Trail, which is far out of the experience level of your average traveler. Just past this point is the Avalanche Lake Trail junction. When we visited Glacier NP, only parts of the park was open due to COVID. Photos. At the crowded and well-marked trailhead, begin immediately heading uphill alongside the sounds of glacial runoff. The contrast of the white water and the dark red rocks is quite striking. 7:00 am- 7:15 am: After we make our introductions, we will have an overview of the day’s itinerary followed by a brief training in bear safety procedures, Leave No Trace Ethics, and trail etiquette. TRY OUT AIRBNB The hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park begins from the Trail of the Cedars Trailhead, located 5.5 miles east of the Lake McDonald Lodge. 7:30am - 8:30am: Drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Trail of the Cedars. Read Is Travel Insurance Worth It? Ready to fly? Don’t leave home without your own: Lonely Planet USA’s National Parks (Travel Guide). While Avalanche Lake sits in the low-lying valley of the park, a hike to Hidden … Above the gorge, the trail follows Avalanche Creek for about a mile and then begins to work away from the creek towards the lake. A short distance away is a large beach area that provides plenty of space to soak-in the magnificent scenery. Avalanche Lake Trail is a half-day hike starting with the Trail of the Cedars then along the Avalanche Creek gorge. ... Lincoln Creek Trail South Boundary Trail to Lincoln Lake Trail Jct. We will answer all your questions in this one-stop guide! What we heard was the roaring Avalanche Creek (apparently they use the term "creek" very differently in Montana. The trail begins at a wheelchair accessible trail called the Trail of Cedars and starts 16 miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park along Going-To-The-Sun Road. / 5.8 mi. An easy hike up the two-mile long Avalanche Lake Trail provides the only access to the lake. Avalanche Lake. You should also check out our tips for finding cheap accommodation. Although the western segment of the loop is slightly shorter, the eastern side is far more scenic. This is also where you’ll find the shuttle that drops passengers off from Apgar Visitor Center. Unlike the Avalanche Trail, the Trail of Cedars is wheelchair accessible and is an alternative for hikers unable to continue to the lake. Here, travelers can either pitch their tent or park their RV to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the park overnight. The boardwalk along this portion of the loop encourages visitors to take their time as they pass through habitat more normally found on the Pacific Coast. There seemed to be quite a number of people on this trail. Fish Creek Bike Path 1.2 mi (1.9 km) Elevation gain: 25 ft (7.6 m) Trailhead: Turn right 0.25 miles north of the Lower McDonald Creek Bridge on the Camas Road. Many of these waterfalls originate from Sperry Glacier, which rests beyond Little Matterhorn and can't be seen from the lake. You'll also find several make-shift benches to rest on as well. At Avalanche Lake you get There are two shuttles in Glacier National Park, one starting from St. Mary Visitor Center and the other from Apgar Visitor Center. Even though you can complete the hike in just a few hours, you’ll still want to stop for a picnic and pictures by the lake. The hike to Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park, and for a good reason. @ document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); HikinginGlacier.com. Use Glacier's free shuttle service at this campground … With smaller crowds and cooler weather, you’ll be able to have some personal time with Mother Nature without having to worry about the tour groups. You simply follow the well beaten trail that weaves through the forest before it eventually leads you to the shores of the lake. Located along the Going to the Sun Road, this is a popular stop for tourists traveling along the scenic drive to take in all the sights of Glacier National Park. Don’t worry though, this glacier stream roars through the forest leading to the banks of the lake where you’ll see it again. The gorge actually runs for quite a ways before peeling off into the thick woods. After crossing the bridge and heading into the forest, a lot of people just put their heads down and completely miss this stunning gorge! The hike to Avalanche Lake might be the best "first hike" in Glacier National Park. Hats and sunscreen are both essential to avoid getting sunburnt. Intro. It’s not unheard of to have these beasts of the wild wander up curiously to hikers, especially if visitors have food in their packs. About half way along the Trail of the Cedars loop, we reached the fork that would take us to Avalanche Lake. Here you'll have an up-close view of the amazing power of glacially melted water as it rushes through the narrow gorge. The humidity in this valley allows the cedars to grow to heights of 100 feet, and diameters of 4 to 7 feet. Lonely Planet USA’s National Parks (Travel Guide), 40 Hiking Essentials That Anyone Visiting Glacier National Park Should Carry. Much of the old growth forest habitat in Glacier National Park resides along Lake McDonald and Avalanche Creek, on the way to the Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass—our world’s version of Middle Earth’s dark and damp Lothlórien, as compared to the airy Rivendell of … Dazzling hikers with its view of Bearhat Mountain, this is the spot where you’ll want to be sure to have your cameras ready. Length: 4.6 miles By Lina Stock on December 22, 2020 • Last updated December 23, 2020 • Leave a CommentThis post may contain affiliate links. Due to the high elevation, you’ll probably also need to bring sun protection. before using any information on this site. From there wind upwards through the forest for 2 miles to Avalanche lake. If you find yourself visiting Avalanche Lake during any time other than summer, you may want to bundle up. Maps. If you look carefully, you can even see the waterfalls trickling down from the mountainside feeding into the lake. My new book on the history of hiking has much more information about trail development in Glacier, as well as other anecdotal stories from the early years of the park. Trails Avalanche Creek Gorge This is a very popular Glacier National Park hiking trail, so you won’t be hiking alone. There’s also a picnic area where you can relax before heading out on your hike. The breathtaking centuries-old trees don’t stop at the Trail of Cedars. Two popular day hikes, Trail of the Cedars, and Avalanche Lake, afford visitors spectacular scenery and glimpses of birds and wildlife that inhabit the area. Hikers on the eastern portion of the loop travel along a raised boardwalk as they pass through a forest of ancient western hemlocks and red cedars. After turning left onto the Avalanche Lake Trail hikers will immediately encounter a short, but steep climb. Be sure to keep your eyes open; you’ll find all kinds of birds, deer, and sometimes bears on the trail to the lake. Taking you step by step, you’ll know each bend of the trail and how to prepare for your adventure. Trail Length: 4.5 miles round trip (out and back) Elevation Gain: 730 feet. An alternative option is taking the shuttle to Avalanche Creek. Cannon. Avalanche Gorge Avalanche Gorge. Hidden Lake Overlook. As you hike along the boardwalk of the Trail of Cedars, you’ll eventually come across a bridge built over a bubbling creek; this is the trailhead to Avalanche Lake. Your entire hike taking you to Avalanche Lake will continue to showcase all the beauty of the woods. It’s also the best place to enjoy the creek before you enter the gorge and begin heading up to the lake through the cedar forest. But where can you find out if this hike is right for you and how to prepare for your trip down the Avalanche Lake Trail? The start of the trail is also located about five miles from the McDonald Lodge if you’re coming from the east. Take your time to peek over the ledge and admire the colors of moss, trees and glacial water that squeezes between the rocks. Avalanche Lake Trail starts at the eastern half of Trail of Cedars. This area of Glacier National Park was named by Dr. Lyman Sperry. As you proceed up the rise look towards your right and you'll notice a very dense forest. Montana is known for being cold, so make sure you’re wearing long sleeves and a jacket just in case it starts getting chilly. We left at 6:15 am and arrived in the Avalanche Parking lot at 7:20 am and took the last spot. At almost 5 miles, it is definitely one of the most popular hikes in the park, and there is a good reason. Overview Avalanche Lake has a reputation for being one of Glacier National Park's 'must-do' short hikes. Avalanche Lake is a popular day hike in Glacier National Park, becuase of its easy-to-reach location, gradual elevation gain, and beautiful end destination! Glacier National Park--Avalanche Gorge and Lake 2008. The shuttles start running at 7:00 am, and the last shuttle leaves at Avalanche Creek at 4:09 pm. On a return trip later that summer Sperry would discover the glacier that now bears his name. The Avalanche Lake Trail is an out and back trail that stretches a total of 4.5 miles. I can’t tell you how many comments on Instagram I’ve seen from people that see a photo like ours above and admit they missed it. This is one reason why bringing bear spray is essential. Along the way, about 1.5-miles into the hike, there are … Setting off from Trail of the Cedars trailhead, you start your trek through a unique flora section, usually found on the Pacific coast. Although the western segment of the loop is slightly shorter, the eastern side is far more scenic. The hike to Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park, and for a good reason. No matter what trail you are taking on in Glacier National Park you should have a good pair of hiking poles. Required fields are marked *. Most Popular Hiking Times: Summer, mid-day. The most popular time of year to visit the park and hike to Avalanche Lake is from June to September. Be prepared for inclement weather and snow-covered, icy roads. When walking through areas where the brush is thick near the trail, be sure to talk with your friends or make noise so that any animals, namely bears, that may be near the trail will not be startled by your presence and can move away before you reach them. After leaving the gorge, the trail is fairly straight forward. Length: 3.4-mile … In mid-December the vehicle closure is moved to Lake McDonald Lodge for the remainder of the winter. For perhaps a little more solitude, as well as some varying perspectives of the surrounding mountains, hikers can continue on the trail as it follows along the western shoreline to the head of the lake. Upon reaching the confluence of Hidden Creek and Avalanche Creek, roughly 1.6 miles from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hikers will find hundreds of downed trees, the result of recent avalanches that thundered down the southern slopes of Mt. So pack your bags and lace up your boots; your journey to Montana starts here! At 2.3 miles hikers will finally reach the foot of Avalanche Lake. It’s not a smooth trail and it does have a slow grade. Avalanche Lake is a classic hike in Glacier National Park. While the 4.5 miles may be too much for elderly hikers, most people will be able to trudge their way along the path and enjoy all the beauty the trail has to offer. 2 miles About half an hour 500 feet Easy The first steps of your journey towards Avalanche Lake will take you through a different trail entirely. Then wind upwards through the forest for 2 miles to Avalanche lake. "that Avalanche Basin would be a most appropriate name for the place". Check ahead of time to see the most recent road status. Being of relatively low elevation compared to some of the other hikes throughout Glacier National Park, there isn’t a whole lot you need to prepare for your hike to Avalanche Lake. With its bubbling streams, forests teeming with wildlife, and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, this is an adventure you won’t want to miss. The trail starts at Trail of the Cedars and gradually increases in elevation. The only drawback will be the massive crowds. You can learn more about us here. We carried bear spray and luckily didn't need it. The connection for the Avalanche Lake trail is a short distance from the bridge. The campground is situated within trees keeping the area cool during summer months. Avalanche Lake Trail Avalanche Campground - Foot of Avalanche Lake/ 2.0 mi. Avalanche Lake Trail is a half-day hike starting with the Trail of the Cedars then along the Avalanche Creek gorge. The trail is only one mile long and takes under 30 minutes to complete. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/avalanche-creek-trail Check out: Best Hiking Poles: Top 5 + How to Choose the Right Ones. TRAVEL GEAR & PACKING If you’re short on time or think you won’t be able to complete the full hike, the Trail of Cedars is a great way to get out of the car and enjoy the great outdoors without an all-day commitment. In the summer, Avalanche Lake is a staple hike along Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Check out our packing lists and  travel gear guide to ensure you’re bringing the right items on your trip.BOOK YOUR FLIGHT Highlighting much of the beauty of the park, you’ll be exploring the Trail of Cedars, Avalanche Creek, and finally, be treated to stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. From the car or shuttle bus stop, stroll along the majestic Trail of the Cedars or warm up the legs with a short climb aside the pounding waters and carved walls of Avalanche Gorge. Avalanche Gorge from Trail of Cedars It starts immediately up a short incline over large granite boulders and parallels Avalanche Creek, giving you some nice views. One of the best hikes you can take in Glacier National Park to immerse yourself in the wilderness of Montana is the Avalanche Lake Trail. Projected Initial Clearing: Winter Status 10/19/2020 per 256 . Location: 77.1 miles northeast of Missoula. To avoid the crowds and be assured of a parking space, hike early or late in the day, especially during the summer. Avalanche Creek runs alongside the Trail of the Cedars. Glacier National Park, covering more than a million acres near the Canadian border, is mainly accessed by the Going-To-The-Sun Road and a half dozen shorter perimeter roads. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open from West Glacier to Avalanche Creek, weather permitting, through mid-December. Disclosure: In accordance with FTC guidelines, we disclose that we may be compensated if consumers choose to utilize links located throughout the content on this site. Protect your investment and yourself. Park at the Avalanche Picnic area or near the Trail of Cedars trailhead . Despite the snowstorms, sections of the Going to the Sun Road may still be open, but there’s no guarantee. Avalanche Lake Trail: The Best Hike in West Glacier When we visited Glacier National Park in early July, we had no clue the Going-to-the-Sun Road would still be closed to vehicular traffic due to winter snowfalls. Please read this Disclaimer / Privacy Policy It is spectacular in the warmer seasons, but transforms into a rarely seen beauty of a trek in the winter time. Fish Lake 2.7 mi (4.3 km) Elevation gain: 1,000 ft (305 m) Trailhead: Sperry Trailhead. The lake sits at the base of 8694-foot Bearhat Mountain, which rises almost 4800 feet above the lake towards the northeast. Your adventure to Avalanche Lake starts in the humble parking lot to the Trail of Cedars. While exploring the basin in June of 1895, Sperry saw and heard multiple avalanches roaring down the surrounding mountains, and agreed with his exploring party "that Avalanche Basin would be a most appropriate name for the place". This popular hike, traveling through a forest of red cedars, larches and western hemlocks, leads to photogenic Avalanche Lake. The park shuttle service runs from July 1st to Labor Day. ... Highline Trail - Grinnell Glacier Overlook/ 0.8 mi. If you’re still wanting to see the breathtaking views without so many other tourists, be sure to set off early or travel to Glacier National Park outside of summer. *Please note that times are approximate! Although not the most strenuous trail in Glacier National Park, you’ll probably want to do some research before you start exploring Avalanche Lake. Trail Description: The hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park begins from the Trail of the Cedars Trailhead, located 5.5 miles east of the Lake McDonald Lodge. During the summer months, expect some crowds on the beach, and tourists wandering along the edge of the water. No matter how you get here, this is the start for the Avalanche Lake Trail. Your email address will not be published. Additionally, the trail c Read our Disclosure here. The campground is situated within old growth cedar and hemlock trees, keeping the area cool during the summer months. The lake is rimmed with steep cliffs on three sides with numerous cascading waterfalls. Located on the western side of Glacier National Park, the trailhead to Avalanche Lake is easily accessible while driving on the Going to the Sun Road. The Trail of the Cedars, a wheelchair accessible trail, is a loop hike that begins and ends along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. 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