Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars

MODERATE 177 reviews
#1 of 91 trails in

Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Essex, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

5.8 miles 872 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Start south of Avalanche Gorge Footbridge on Trail of Cedars; gradual climb through old growth cedars and hemlock forest along roaring stream to glacial melt lake fed by waterfalls from the surrounding bowl, wildlife - deer, bear. May be accessible if Going to Sun road is closed. Adjacent to Avalanche campground area. Avalanche campground in located in one of the most popular sections of Glacier National Park west of the Continental Divide. The campground is situated within old growth cedar and hemlock trees, keeping the area cool during the summer months. The campground accommodate tent and RV campers, however only 50 sites will accommodate vehicle lengths up to 26 feet. Potable water is accessible in the campground, and restroom facilities are equipped with flush toilets and sinks with running water. Bring your hiking boots and binoculars if you are staying at Avalanche Campground. 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. Plant enthuisiasts will appreciate the diverse species of flora.

13 days ago

Nice easy hike, great distance views of the waterfalls once you get to the lake, on the far mountains! This trail is an easy hike, but start at first light and you can have a hour or so with very few people, after 9am not so much!

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

This was a very pleasant hike back to Avalanche Lake. The trail traversed along Avalanche Creek which had the most beautiful aqua blue water. The Lake was so still that the sky reflected in it, making it a great photo op.

1 month ago

3 months ago

Gorgeous hike with amazing clear flowing water, beautiful forests and a glacial lake vista at the end. We arrived at the lake at around sunset and it was stunning. Moderately strenuous.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful sights to see throughout this relatively easy hike, and the lake at the end is a great payoff

hiking
4 months ago

Nice fun hike with a great view of the beautiful lake at the end.

hiking
4 months ago

This is considered the most popular trail in Glacier and I certainly understand why. You are walking through a temperate rainforest while walking past Avalanche Gorge, Avalanche acreek and finally, to the end of Avalanche Lake. Be sure to make the effort to go to the far end of the lake, it has a more attractive view.

Be sure to take some water and a lunch to enjoy at the lake.

4 months ago

Great. Easy hike to end our trip to GNP. Striking turquoise lake with three waterfalls cascading from the extremely tall canyon walls.

hiking
4 months ago

Easiest hike of trip, The ALT is distinguished most by its deep canopy of cedar and hemlock. Recommended for anyone who can comfortably hike a few miles. Very modest ascent going in and you'll be back out to your car in no time on the return. The lake is as jaw dropping beautiful as typical to the park and the canopy is enchanting.

In peak season, come early. Parking at this most accessible trail is limited. We were lucky to find a space in the early off-season!

hiking
4 months ago

Because of the ease and accessibility as it relates to the fantastic views upon arrival at Avalanche Lake I would highly recommend this if you are short for time or are not a seasoned hiker. We hiked it in the shoulder season so it was not as busy as I'm sure it gets. We also saw mountain goats and deer.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a trail people told us to skip - they said, it is too busy. We ended up seeing plenty of deer, and even a black bear! Had a picnic, it was perfect. Would highly recommend.

5 months ago

5 months ago

5 months ago

Super fun trail! And absolutely beautiful stream. My 5 year old even made it up and back down.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a beautiful hike that starts out through the beautiful and easy Trail of Cedars. Once the Avalanche Lake Trail starts, you do have some moderate climbing, but the beautiful views of the stream and waterfalls to your left will quickly take your mind off the climb. Once you get to Avalanche Lake, you will not only have a sense of accomplishment, but you'll have an amazing view of the lake and many pines that have been swept into it. you can hike all the way down to the end of the lake, but the trail stops there. Be sure to take a raincoat. My hike began with clear, sunny skies, but the rain followed soon after. All in all, I highly recommend this hike if you're in beautiful Glacier. The trailhead is not far from West Glacier. Parking is very limited due to the very popular and easy Trail of Cedars hike, so get there early if you can or you may have to wait until later in the evening.

hiking
5 months ago

Pretty easy hike through the cedars, along some nice falls, and out to the lake. Its a good hike with a slight bit of elevation, but go early before it gets crowded.

5 months ago

the trail follows a river for the beginning of the hike. It is a beautiful ending. there was a black bear near the water. we saw a deer in the woods too. we didn't take hiking poles and did fine. we went later in the afternoon 4pm there were less crowds and saw the sun lower over the mountains making great photos. it took us 1 hrs to the lake and 40 min to return.

hiking
5 months ago

Easy hike to very rewarding views at Avalanche Lake. Fun trail run back down!

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail with moderate elevation change. Hiked with my 10 year old cousin who didn't struggle at all. Great views of the creek. Final destination is Avalanche Lake which offers breath taking views. Main spot for picture taking as well as a few secluded spots to avoid potentially heavy traffic. Went swimming in the lake. FREEZING but worth it!