Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars [CLOSED]

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Glacier National Park

Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars is a 5.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Mc Donald, 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: 5.7 miles Elevation Gain: 748 feet Route Type: Out & Back

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

skiing

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

closed

no dogs

This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options. 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.

hiking
4 days ago

Hiked in late July. A very nice hike, especially if camped at Avalanche Creek, as we were. Can be lots of people, especially along the trail of the cedars boardwalk at the beginning.

hiking
21 days ago

Beware - Roads still closed for this hike as of May 8, 2020.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most beautiful easy hikes in Glacier. Very little elevation gain and nearly the entire hike is shaded so it stays cool even in the dog days. The views of Avalanche Lake are worth the hike every single time.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, saw moose across from where we were at. Beautiful view

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was great, went in August 2019 and the weather was perfect, trail was dry. We did go early and parking was terrible. We thought we got their early enough but we had to circle the parking areas multiple times for a while it seemed. We ended up getting lucky that someone was backing out of their space. So go even earlier then you would think. A lot of the trail is through the forest beside a river, it was gorgeous and then when you reach the lake it opens up and you can sit and enjoy the views. Great hike and pretty easy, was crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

I only wish that I knew what I was doing as a photographer back when I went in 2016… Because the views at the end of this trail were stunning. They were a lot of people on the trail so it is definitely heavily trafficked. But my goodness the views were amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

Soooooooo worth it! The trail is very navigable, the earlier in the morning you go the better I regards to traffic. The views are unbelievable!

hiking
2 months ago

Just do it.

hiking
3 months ago

Breathtakingly gorgeous!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely worth it! My bf and I are not the most fit couple but we love to accomplish a hike on our trips. We challenged ourselves and this trail did not disappoint. We took our time and there are a lot of beautiful spots to stop and drink water. My knees are not in perfect shape so and am glad that I brought my hiking sticks. Take lots of water and snacks. Saw a bear at the lake!

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked Sept ‘19. Cedars section is easy and is on a boardwalk. Once you move to the Avalanche portion it gets more difficult. Some rocky up and downs that were a little slick even though it didn’t rain that day. All worth it for the destination point. Was easier on hike back to parking.

snowshoeing
icy
snow
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

A really beautiful end point. I spent time eating a snack and relaxing on the shore of the lake. Most of the trail leading to the lake isn't that exciting, in my opinion. Except in the beginning the trees and some creeks can capture your attention. It was relatively easy to hike. (July)

Easy trail and incredible views at the lake! No snow on the trail today! No bears either thankfully!

hiking
icy
snow
6 months ago

Very doable trail in the late fall/winter. Trail was well defined considering the snow and ice. Crampons are recommended. Bring bear spray! Although we did not see a grizzly bear we saw their tracks in the snow, so they have recently been in the area.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike and it doesn't take all day. More up hill going in but that's good because it makes coming back to parking area feel easier. Beautiful river and small rapids on way to Lake. look high on the step mountain sides across the trail and you may see the many mountain goats grazing. They're pretty far away and with the naked eye you will only see white dots. Bring binoculars. Smart phones cannot zoom in enough to get any good photos.

hiking
7 months ago

The hike was pretty and a nice change of pace from the more difficult hikes we were doing. It’s a good hike to do during bad weather because it’s less exposed—you’re hiking through the woods the whole time. It was raining and sleeting when we decided to skip our bigger hike plans and use this as our backup. That doesn’t mean it disappointed though! That creek is something else, so blue and so pretty, and the lake at the end was beautiful. Expect a lot of people on the trail with you, especially since this is a more family friendly hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Loved this hike..cedars are rad but it’s avalanche creek that makes it worth it. Hike it mid afternoon to see light hit the gorge. Beautiful stuff!

hiking
7 months ago

loved it! the views are outstanding, well worth the hike.

hiking
muddy
snow
7 months ago

We are locals and we love this hike. We have done it more times than I can count. Today we did this (after about 3 years of missing it due to too much traffic and no parking). We are more than grateful that not only we did it in the Fall but also later in the day than we normally would go. There weren't very many people on the trail (we got to the trailhead a little after 3pm). The trail was deceptively slippery (frozen muddy spots) in a few areas but overall wasn't terrible. There were some sloppy muddy parts of the trail, likely from today's earlier traffic. We saw a mountain goat up near the lake. I am glad we went today as I am not sure how many more opportunities we have this year to get up there.

Stunning water falls at the start and an amazing view at the top. Not a very hard hick for most people but a rather big payoff at the top!

Nice trail if you are short on time, enter west entrance, and want to see a mountain lake.

hiking
muddy
snow
7 months ago

Ok trail not a lot to see but lake is nice once you get there.. pit toilet is BAD!

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked 8/2019. Cedars part is Boardwalk and fairly crowded. Thins out as you take rest of trail. easy hike with a lot next to the river

Awesome views go all the way around the lake til the end for amazing views! If you get sunshine the reflection of the lake is like glass!

Easy to moderate hike. Good for families. Leyk is gorgeous. Saw limited wildlife.

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