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. Situated on the eastern edge of the maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest, the Lake McDonald Valley also marks the extreme eastern limits for these trees. Then wind upwards through the forest for 2 miles to Avalanche 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. Most Popular Hiking Times: Summer, mid-day. Above the gorge, the trail follows Avalanche Creek for about a mile and then begins to work away from the creek towards the lake. There seemed to be quite a number of people on this trail. The trail is only one mile long and takes under 30 minutes to complete. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "ad2fc39c7522d4cbe7c660e842ce79f0" );document.getElementById("g97c0059f5").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); We are David & Lina Stock, a married couple from NW Wisconsin who have been traveling together since 2001. You simply follow the well beaten trail that weaves through the forest before it eventually leads you to the shores of the lake. You should also note that this is an extremely popular area, which means parking can be an issue during the middle of the day, especially during peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds and be assured of a parking space, hike early or late in the day, especially during the summer. There are two shuttles in Glacier National Park, one starting from St. Mary Visitor Center and the other from Apgar Visitor Center. Holland Falls National Recreation Trail. The trail starts at Trail of the Cedars and gradually increases in elevation. One of the only concerns travelers have when hiking the Avalanche Lake Trail is bears. No worries, we have put together a guide highlighting the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park. The spur to Avalanche Lake is at the midpoint of the Trail of Cedars loop, just after you cross the bridge spanning Avalanche Creek (if you are coming from the east, as we did). 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. Avalanche Lake is a classic hike in Glacier National Park. A six-mile out-and-back trail along a cascading creek. Due to the high elevation, you’ll probably also need to bring sun protection. The Trail of the Cedars, a wheelchair accessible trail, is a loop hike that begins and ends along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. 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 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. Trailhead: Avalanche Picnic Area. Avalanche Creek Campground, West Glacier: See traveler reviews, candid photos, and great deals for Avalanche Creek Campground, ranked #14 of 14 specialty lodging in West Glacier … The connection for the Avalanche Lake trail is a short distance from the bridge. At the crowded and well-marked trailhead, begin immediately heading uphill alongside the sounds of glacial runoff. You can continue the hike for 0.7 miles around to the other end of the lake. When we visited Glacier NP, only parts of the park was open due to COVID. Want to know about visiting Glacier National Park during a certain time of the year? 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. This trail is near the Avalanche campground area which is located in one of the most popular sections of Glacier National Park west of the Continental Divide. After crossing the bridge and heading into the forest, a lot of people just put their heads down and completely miss this stunning gorge! All rights reserved. Photos. Setting off from Trail of the Cedars trailhead, you start your trek through a unique flora section, usually found on the Pacific coast. In less than a tenth-of-a-mile you'll arrive at the banks of Avalanche Creek. After about an hour of exploring the forest and playing along the banks of the creek, you’ll be blown away as the woods give way to reveal the jaw-dropping views of Avalanche Lake and the mountains standing proudly at its borders. After you eat all your snacks and take plenty of selfies, all that’s left is to start the trek back to the parking lot. We left at 6:15 am and arrived in the Avalanche Parking lot at 7:20 am and took the last spot. Hidden Lake Overlook. Location: 77.1 miles northeast of Missoula. 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". Although no longer in direct contact, the trail continues to loosely follow the creek up to the lake. The hike to Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park, and for a good reason. The Trail of the Cedars, a wheelchair accessible trail, is a loop hike that begins and ends along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. If you look to the left after you cross the bridge and begin climbing, you’ll see where the gorge starts to form and how it develops from there. Along the way, about 1.5-miles into the hike, there are … *Please note that times are approximate! 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. Get a discount with AirBNB and learn how to maximize your savings with up to $100 in discounts.PROTECT YOUR TRIPDon’t forget your travel insurance! After leaving the gorge, the trail is fairly straight forward. Compare prices and book with our custom-built hotel search engine. Divergent Travelers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Along the Avalanche Lake Trail, there’s only an elevation gain of about 600 feet. 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. 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. Avalanche Lake Trail. Though hikers will no longer be able to see the stream, you'll still be able to hear the rush of cascading water for the remainder of your hike. This is also where you’ll find the shuttle that drops passengers off from Apgar Visitor Center. Dazzling hikers with its view of Bearhat Mountain, this is the spot where you’ll want to be sure to have your cameras ready. This area of Glacier National Park was named by Dr. Lyman Sperry. If you are unfamiliar with Glacier National Park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the main artery of the park. At the very least, be sure to have at least 2 liters of water per person and a few snacks. Avalanche Gorge from Trail of Cedars Thanks to its incredible scenery and close proximity to the West Glacier entrance, it's also one of the park's most popular hikes. Although the western segment of the loop is slightly shorter, the eastern side is far more scenic. You can learn more about us here. Take your time to peek over the ledge and admire the colors of moss, trees and glacial water that squeezes between the rocks. 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. Avalanche Lake. ... Highline Trail - Grinnell Glacier Overlook/ 0.8 mi. A short distance away is a large beach area that provides plenty of space to soak-in the magnificent scenery. Trails The most popular time of year to visit the park and hike to Avalanche Lake is from June to September. The hike to Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park, and for a good reason. It can accommodate tents and RV campers, however there are only 50 spots for vehicle up to 26 feet long. TRY OUT AIRBNB The shuttles start running at 7:00 am, and the last shuttle leaves at Avalanche Creek at 4:09 pm. ... Lincoln Creek Trail South Boundary Trail to Lincoln Lake Trail Jct. Your adventure to Avalanche Lake starts in the humble parking lot to the Trail of Cedars. Avalanche Campground in located in one of the most popular sections of Glacier National Park west of the Continental Divide. If you look closely at the cliffs and mountains that surround the lake you'll notice several long waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet as they make their way towards the shore. Details . / 5.8 mi. From Avalanche Campground, you will take the Trail of the Cedars to its junction with Avalanche Trail, then continue two miles along Avalanche Creek to the lake. Taking you step by step, you’ll know each bend of the trail and how to prepare for your adventure. 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. The trail is 4.6 miles round trip and offers many nice views of the stream and surrounding mountains. Lonely Planet USA’s National Parks (Travel Guide), 40 Hiking Essentials That Anyone Visiting Glacier National Park Should Carry. The humidity in this valley allows the cedars to grow to heights of 100 feet, and diameters of 4 to 7 feet. @ document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); HikinginGlacier.com. 7:00 am: Meet outside of The Glacier Institute Field Camp Library/Office. US National Parks Bucket List (All 62 Parks By State), 25 Best Things to do in Whitefish, Montana, 6 Reasons to Stay at the Grouse Mountain Lodge When You Visit GNP, Best Hikes in the USA: 15 Stunning Trails You Cannot Miss, St George, Utah Guide (What to Do, See & Eat), 15 Amazing Hikes in Grand Teton National Park That You Cannot Miss, Tips for Hiking the Avalanche Lake Trail in GNP, 15 Glacier National Park Hikes For All Skill Levels, Ultimate Crystal Coast NC Itinerary (What to Do & See). The Avalanche Lake Trail is an out and back trail that stretches a total of 4.5 miles. The hike to Avalanche Lake might be the best "first hike" in Glacier National Park. The lake is rimmed with steep cliffs on three sides with numerous cascading waterfalls. We use Skyscanner to compare prices and book flights. If you find yourself visiting Avalanche Lake during any time other than summer, you may want to bundle up. Length: 4.6 miles. At the Trail of Cedars/ Avalanche Creek Trailhead, you’ll find a large parking lot, perfect for pulling over and exploring the trail before you head back out onto the scenic drive. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open from West Glacier to Avalanche Creek, weather permitting, through mid-December. About half way along the Trail of the Cedars loop, we reached the fork that would take us to Avalanche Lake. 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. An alternative option is taking the shuttle to Avalanche Creek. "that Avalanche Basin would be a most appropriate name for the place". 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. Right next to the parking lot, you’ll also find the Avalanche Creek Picnic and Campgrounds. Your email address will not be published. Some of the trees in this area are more than 500 years old. No matter what trail you are taking on in Glacier National Park you should have a good pair of hiking poles. One thing that may give more independent hikers second thoughts about hiking the Avalanche Lake Trail is that it can get quite crowded during peak months. With the ice and slush gone, you can explore the park without having to worry about the weather. Lucky for you, the Avalanche Lake Trail is easily accessible by all visitors, no matter how old (or young) you may be. Required fields are marked *. Plant enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse species of flora. We carried bear spray and luckily didn't need it. 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. 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