Apgar Lookout Trail

HARD 187 reviews
#22 of 135 trails in

Apgar Lookout Trail is a 7.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Columbia Falls, Montana that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,860 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Please note: Users report the access road may close seasonally. Please check with the park page for updates.

hiking
no shade
1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful views! Not an easy hike, up hill entire way to look out. Take your bear spray and hiking poles.

hiking
blowdown
no shade
3 days ago

My wife and I had a great experience even in sometimes poor conditions- hail. The view was worth it. I believe it’s a legit 4 mile out and back.

3 days ago

Nice hike with views most of the way; not enclosed by trees on the ascent as on many hikes.

hiking
bugs
5 days ago

One of the best routes I've done in the park. It has a couple of sections a little hard but otherwise it is great and the views are incredible. You can perfectly appreciate the West Glacier golf course from above before reaching the lookout. Better start the route early in the morning as the sun at midday makes it harder. Also, you will find fewer tourists at that time.

hiking
no shade
6 days ago

Views from the top were ok but you’ll find better ones elsewhere in the park. We started around 8:30am and any later would have made it pretty hot. Essentially just a series of switchbacks with views looking away from the park. It’s a good alternative if you get too the park too late to do the more popular ones since they fill up so early.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

I just did this trail today, the bears are out in force, make sure you bring your bear spray and report your sightings (time and location) to the rangers. The first 1.5 miles is relatively easy with an easy incline but has a few high brush areas. After that you hit a few switchbacks then a few long inclines. I would not classify this as a hard trail. The view is definitely worth it though.

hiking
bugs
no shade
15 days ago

Completed this on 7/06/2019. We started the trail at roughly 9AM which was a comfortable cool temperature - as it did get warmer and the trail offers little in shade protection. Starts out relatively flat and then quickly ascends at about 1.5 miles in. The remaining trail is all uphill; if you’re looking for good cardio and nice glutes give this trail a try. Because horses can also be on this trail, there is horse dung that you have to avoid. Biting bugs were manageable; they do disappear the higher up you go. Gave this a 4 star due to the ok view on top. Lake McDonald is beautiful, but because of Canadian fires...there was a strong haze in the sky and the lake lost its crystal blue colors. There are also pretty tall spruce trees that obstruct your complete view of the lake; hard to take a good picture. Also noticed the cell reception was great...that’s because the lookout tower is right next to a cell tower!

hiking
18 days ago

Trail starts off easy. Then turns into an uphill climb of switchbacks. It’s definitely worth the climb tho

hiking
no shade
18 days ago

A bit of a workout. Views at the top were nice. Be aware this trail is shared with horses, evidence of which may be frequently on the path. This also means it's not a technically challenging or interesting trail. I would not recommend this trail because it's boring: you are switchbacking up the side of a small mountain and the view never changes until you get to the top. You're looking out over the same valley the whole time. Since a fire burned off this area in 2003, it's almost all new growth and so almost the entire hike is not under cover. At the top near the lookout is a big monitoring station, so if you're expecting a rustic lookout only, you'll be disappointed.

hiking
20 days ago

There's a dirt road over a single lane bridge to the trailhead. We did the trail bc all the other trailhead parkings lots were full. great views up the trail with nice views of lake McDonald. fairly challenging and the second half is all uphill. weather was great in late June but about half the trail was without any shade so wear sunscreen if it's a sunny day!

hiking
snow
21 days ago

Easy Hike, just long and Steep! I went 21 April 2019. The access road to where this trail started wasn’t fully open so we had to hike about an extra mile. The look out was nice to look back out opposite Lake McDonald because the trees weren’t in the way. The lookout facing lake McDonald was heavily obstructed by hella trees but you could still see the lake with the Huge Mt’s that followed. All in all a good hike. Took my friend and I a little over 2.5hrs to get to the lookout. If you have snowshoes, BRING THEM! 90% was clear and easy for regular hiking boots but as we got closer and closer to the top more and more deep snow was in our way.

hiking
22 days ago

First mile is flat then the following 2.5 is straight uphill, pretty challenging but great views of flathead and MacDonald lake up top. Trail is in great condition but completely exposed the whole time

hiking
27 days ago

We started this trail only because all other parking lots were full. The trail was amazing, view all the time and bonus at the end because we didn't expect to see lake and snow mountains.

hiking
1 month ago

Very glad we did it. It seemed like the weather changed every thirty minutes. Hot with no shade, windy, raining, then hot again. We did the Johns Lake Trail before this and thought we would just go half way. We were feeling pretty good at half way and decided to trudge on. Don’t let anyone fool you. This is a tuff hike. Very steep. Trail was plenty wide but when meeting someone you almost needed to stop to let them pass. Great views all the way up. Two and half hours for us to get up and one and a half to get back down. We were definitely beat afterwards but very glad we did it.

hiking
1 month ago

My wife gives it a 3 ( and that was being generous). I like a challenging climb but to be honest I had no idea what we were getting in to. I should have used the app before heading out. We did not know we were about to climb almost 2000’. We got hot, took off layers, then got hit by a snow shower on top and could not see anything. Also regret we left our hiking poles behind.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike provides a great workout and great views. Has generally not been very crowded when I’ve gone. The views at the top are amazing. Once you get to switchbacks there is very little shade, so keep that in mind if it’s hot. Can also be buggy. Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Someone said that the views from this trail were "just ok" and that it wasn't even worth getting photos because of the houses in West Glacier as you go up...that person could not be any more wrong. My husband and I had a very difficult time with this trail, but the views from the top, and even along the way, were absolutely stunning. We're from Iowa, so we're not used to climbing mountains, but God dammit, if you want to climb a mountain, make it this one. Make sure your shoes are very comfortable and handle all types of terrain, take plenty of water, and go earlier in the morning if you can, the glare bear (sun) is hot in the afternoon and you will get sunburnt. There is a pit toilet at the top and some of the best views in Glacier. Good luck!

hiking
1 month ago

This was definitely a hard climb, and while the view was beautiful, not as amazing as those seen on other hikes. we ended up wishing we brought more water as the sun was intense (6/14).

hiking
1 month ago

This was a good hike. The trail had pretty wild flowers from bottom to top but was fairly crowded even in early June and the view at the top was just OK. There was a good view of Lake McDonald but there were so many houses and buildings around the river on the other side, it wasn’t even worth taking a picture. Having the bathrooms was nice but I would try a different hike if you’re on the west side. We saw no wildlife on the trail.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Tough hike for our 9 and 12 year old mid-western kiddos, but the the fire tower and views were second to none. Saw a male grouse presenting, and several ground squirrels (beasts) at the fire tower. We were dragging on the way up, but were singing on the way down. Suggest early start to beat the heat.

1 month ago

Nice. Not as scenic as some of the other trails but once you get to the look out, it has spectacular view of Lake McDonald and mountains to the Northwest.

hiking
1 month ago

Long uphill hike especially when you start at the river a mile and a half from the trailhead. Doh!!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Full disclosure I’m not a hugely experienced hiker, so take this with a grain of salt. We did this hike last Wednesday and it kicked our butts! This was a pretty steep incline for almost the entire hike. The trail itself was very well maintained. Definitely bring tons of water, food for the top, and sunscreen, there is almost no shade and total exposure for the entire hike. Great exercise and awesome views at the top! Was totally worth it, just make sure to be prepared!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

5/29/19. Clear skies, 80s. Well maintained. Somewhat busy. Pretty strenuous as it is uphill all the way. No shade, bring lots of water. Not a true 360 panorama at the top, but still a great view of the area. Slightly obstructed views of Lake McDonald. Great view overlooking the river to the south. Access to the trailhead is a one-lane gravel road and uphill (about 2 miles one way), which was rough since I biked it.

hiking
1 month ago

It was definitely a strenuous hike, but well worth it once you get to the top.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was great!!! We only wish there was a little more sunshine. The lookout at the top really highlighted the gorgeous scenery. A lot of the trail is surrounded by new growth because of a fire in the last few years.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a really nice hike. The access road is now open, although apparently they closed it for about an hour just after we arrived because they were paving. The trail is well-groomed, with only a small area where bushes were overgrown. It’s a real workout; we had to stop and take many short breaks on the way up. At the top, we say and ate for about half an hour while 5-6 deer roamed around and didn’t seem to mind us at all. We also saw some marmots (a group wrestling and running around by the trailhead and a few on the trail as well) but no signs of bears. We did wear bells and play music as we hiked because we saw only one person on our way up, and we didn’t want to surprise any big critters. Views were beautiful. There is also cell service and a pit toilet at the top.

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