Apgar Lookout Trail

MODERATE 61 reviews
#20 of 114 trails in

Apgar Lookout Trail is a 7.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Columbia Falls, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2001 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

19 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

FYI In route you will travel on an unpaved road with a one lane bridge. No bathroom at the trailhead.

Went in the afternoon. The start of the hike is in a once burned forest in recovery not steep at all. Spots of shade. Lots of horse poop. I mean LOTS! The majority of the trail is exposed so be prepared for lots of sun and/or exposure to other elements.
Long distances between switchbacks on the steepest part of the trail. Decent sights along the way. View at the top of course made it worth it. Bring plenty of water and a snack for the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

It was steeper than I expected. Definitely worth the view at the top. Take plenty of water.

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

trail running
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Not a bad trail overall though it is pretty much uphill the entire way up....sooo that means downhill the entire way down....on the bright side this is one of those trails that will give you buns of steel ;D The top is quite nice and relaxing sitting on the lookout post chatting with other hikers.

Side note: my track is pretty accurate minus that very weird line...lol

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Made this hike in early August. Start early! 6:00 am. It is mostly exposed new growth area. The hike is moderate. Nice and easily elevated and shaded early on. The sun will be behind Apgar most of the early morning. Dusty trail. Nice views at the top of Lake McDonald.
The tower makes for a nice place to eat and relax a bit. Please don't feed the wildlife. They were becoming pretty aggressive at the tower.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

For the athletically fit and active, it is indeed a moderate trek. However, for the inexperienced and out-of-practice, it is much more difficult.

My family and I (there are six of us in total) hiked this trail on a Wednesday. Not a lot of people up there, but there were horse-back riders. Twice a week a trail ride will go up and down the mountain. They were a little difficult to navigate around, so try to go on a day when they won't.

We started our journey at 9:30 AM when it was still cool, but it became very hot very quickly. There's little to no shade on this trail. Additionally, the trail is very dusty. Expect to get your shoes and legs dirty.
I would advise hiking on cloudy/cooler day, or earlier in the morning to avoid the sun's aggressive afternoon rays.
Otherwise, be sure to apply sunscreen before hiking.

The first mile was the easiest- so if you're struggling early on, this might not be the hike for you. It only gets harder the farther up you go.
It's 3.65 miles up, and you climb approximately 2,106 feet, and most of that climb is after the first switchback. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to get to the top. It is important to note that we did take frequent (but necessary) stops to rest.

We spent about 40 minutes at the Lookout to rest, refuel and take pictures. The views are amazing! You can see Lake McDonald and the mountains behind it, the entirely of the West Glacier valley (including views of Lake 5 and Half Moon Lake), and miles and miles of untouched wilderness.
You need to bring at least 2 water bottles per person, if not more. I wish I would have brought 3.
Also, bring snacks (high in protein would be best).

Going downhill was easier, but hard on the feet. We all had good hiking shoes, but despite that all of our feet were sore by the end. It took us 1.5 hours to hike down. We were completely exhausted by the time we reached our car.

If you're looking for a challenging hike, you've found it. However, if you want a more relaxing hike that the whole family can enjoy, I wouldn't recommend this one.
If you do decide to hike this trail, just make sure you're prepared.