Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars

MODERATE 356 reviews
#1 of 113 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.

DISTANCE
5.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
872 feet
ROUTE TYPE
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.

4 hours ago

Just got back from a three day hiking trip, and this trail was my favorite! It's so beautiful! Also it's nice that it isn't super long. It was a great place to just chill and relax by the lake.

hiking
12 hours ago

hiking
14 hours ago

We got on this trail around 9:30am and were lucky enough to snag one of the last parking spots. Needless to say, this trail is very busy due to it's accessible nature and close proximity to campgrounds and the park entrance.

The Trail of the Cedars was a nice easy stroll, and while the foliage was very pretty, anyone who's ever seen California's sequoias and redwoods won't be very impressed by the trees here. The hike to Avalanche Lake had a good amount of up and down, meandering through the forest next to Avalanche Creek. Once we arrived at the lake, the shore was overrun by people, so we hiked around the edge a little further and found an area where we could be alone, taking in the sight of countless waterfalls flowing into the lake.

For me, the highlight of this trail was Avalanche Gorge, featuring a beautiful creek rushing through smooth, moss-covered rocks, with impossibly aqua-blue water—this is the quintessential photograph from this hike.

I'd highly recommend pairing this with another short Glacier day hike—we started our morning at Hidden Lake Overlook then made our way down to the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake. Those two hikes put us in Apgar for a 1:30pm lunch, where most of the crowds had already moved on for the day.

1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

Completed this hike on 8/14/17. Get to the trailhead by 8am to hopefully secure parking. Don't stop at the first beach - go around the lake and you will be rewarded with more stunning views and a great oppty to capture a mirror image of the mtn.

hiking
2 days ago

Completed this hike on Sunday, 8/13/17. It is a short walk to Avalanche Gorge, which is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. You'll know it when you see it--a gorge of bright blue rushing glacial water. You continue up the trail two miles from the Gorge to Avalanche Lake. You follow Avalanche Creek for the first part of the trail, but it soon disappears; however, you can hear it for most of the hike up. Avalanche Lake is a gorgeous mountain lake, and the waterfalls draining into it down the mountains in the distance are quite a majestic sight to behold.

What stops me from giving this hike 5 stars are two things: 1. This is an easy hike and so it is heavily trafficked. Trying to pass slow groups of people taking up the entire trail was fairly annoying. 2. Dogs aren't allowed on this trail, so leave your fur babies at home. I actually camped at Glacier for the weekend and was very disappointed to see that many trails at Glacier are no-dogs-allowed.

hiking
3 days ago

3 days ago

Was a lovely hike. We hit the trail at 8:10am, but I wish we had gone earlier to watch as the sun rose. Lake was very low and not the beautiful blue you come to expect in Glacier, but it was lovely nonetheless. Perfect for kids and those not wanting a full day hike.

hiking
4 days ago

Not too hard, families and novice hikers can pretty easily do this hike. The view of the lake is amazing, we spent close to an hour there. Along the way you will hike through a beautiful, pleasant smelling pine forest with several awesome looks at nearby peaks. The trail is well maintained and easy to hike.

5 days ago

Beautiful and mesmerizing. The trail starts through cedars, then claims past a waterfall and up alongside Avalanche Creek until arriving at the lake, which is its own amazing sight.

hiking
5 days ago

5 days ago

Beautiful hike

5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

Very busy trail because of the popularity. Saw a black bear about 50 feet off the trail through the old forest in the beginning of the hike. Great experience, especially for being the first hike we did in the park. Go either late or very early for the least amount of traffic.

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

10 days ago

I've hiked this trail twice - once on my own and now with kids, ages 8 & 11. They loved it. Steady but moderate uphill through old forest with nice glimpses of Avalanche Creek. Great reward at the top with the lake. We had a great talk with forest ranger there.

11 days ago

Go early or late, very busy trail, for good reason. Walking through the giant hemlocks and spruces is very cool. A lot of good rocks for kids to climb along the way to the lake. The stream flowing through the boulders down the mountain great as well!

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Excellent, moderate hike. Great for ambitious kids! Heavily traveled, but recommend it.