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Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars

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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

no dogs

NOTE: This trailhead may have access limitations due to COVID-19. On a busy weekend, be prepared to park elsewhere and walk to the trailhead, as the park officials may be limiting parking. Please check with the park for more information. 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
2 hours ago

Absolute magic. Bring some bug spray. Bring a towel to dry off your feet after you walk in the water and you’re good.

hiking
4 hours ago

Absolutely stunning. As stated you MUST get there early or you’ll be adding 6+ miles to your day to hike up from the lake parking area. I arrived at 530 and hiked up to be at avalanche lake just after sunrise and the results were stunning. First to arrive it was peaceful and tranquil, a stark comparison to when I headed down around 8. Keep walking to the end of the trail and then follow the path to the left to hike to the base of the waterfalls. Will require some creek hoping, but absolutely worth it for the peace and quiet.

the lake is qorth it. beautiful views. pretty easy hike if you have hiked at all seemed more difficult for some inexperienced people. saw some deer. go all the way to the end of the trail and there is a little beach through the brush. don't stop at the beginning of the lake because there are tons of people

hiking
muddy
6 hours ago

Beautiful hike, with great views of the river at the beginning and multiple stunning views of the lake and mountains along the top. One of my favorites I’ve ever done!

The trail itself is amazing. Beautiful river early on, then a stretch through the woods, before the lake at the end - which is spectacular. Getting to the trailhead is hit or miss though. I entered the park at 7:40am on Saturday, and they had already blocked off the road at Lake McDonald (and Apgar soon after). So we had to wait around a couple hours before they let us up to Avalanche. So just be warned you might have to be patient. But the payoff was worth the effort.

hiking
muddy
2 days ago

Absolutely stunning view at the end. The trail is well-maintained and is not difficult. Beautiful waterfall and forest views along the trail.

rocky
2 days ago

Do not try this trail on a cloudy day. We began the trail at 7:30 a.m. and reached the peak around 11:30. The last half mile we were in a cloud and could barley see 30 yards ahead. And almost ran into the bear on the trial in front of us!! Extremely difficult but I’m sure it’s worth the view if we could have saw it. (You will also be really sore the next day)

hiking
2 days ago

This was one of the MOST beautiful trails I have ever done!!! It was just BREATHTAKING!!!

hiking
3 days ago

The first part of the hike is truly gorgeous with the river to your left, and then the end is so worthwhile with the beautiful mountains and waterfalls. We went when it was muddy, which was a little challenging. But overall, fairly easy to accomplish for those who are accustom to hiking. We had our parents with, and they have some physical issues (knees, back, etc) so it was definitely more challenging for them!

hiking
3 days ago

Muddy and very very heavily trafficked (could be since limited hikes are available) all in all beautiful view at the top that’s 100% worth it!

hiking
3 days ago

6/29/20 Just awesome. I hiked this 27 years ago and it was great to bring my family. Nice up and down hike, with a bit more incline as you get closer to lake. The east side of the park is closed thru the season so this is probably the best option available now for a family hike.

hiking
muddy
4 days ago

A moderate hike through some beautiful woods. Avalanche Lake was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Once you reach the lake I highly recommend walking along the bank further around past where most folks hang out and you find yourself even more intimately immersed below the numerous majestic waterfalls cascading down.

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

Got there around 6:45 and was done by 8:20. It was beautiful and totally worth the hike through the rain!

hiking
5 days ago

busy but amazing!! be there by 7:15 or be turned away. wear masks!!

Went on 6/29 and it was very rainy. We started a little before 8 and there were lots of people but not nearly as many people trying to get up there on our way back down at 10. So as everyone says, go early! We parked in the Apgar Campground thats still closed. Beautiful hike and tons of waterfalls flowing right into the lake which was spectacular!

hiking
5 days ago

Got to this trail by going in cedar trail then to it. This trail is amazing. There are plenty of places to pull off rest, look at the river and mountains . Once you make it to the Lake it is a reward .

hiking
bugs
6 days ago

Great trail. It was beautiful and not too difficult. The lake was gorgeous and made everything worth it. Saw lots of deer and chipmunks. It was also pretty buggy, so bring bug spray! We went around noon and didn’t see too many people on the way to the lake but on our way back there were lots of people.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful views along the way and the pay off is beautiful and well worth it!

hiking
6 days ago

Awesome hike! It’s a great hike to get close up to a glacially fed lake. Beautiful views of mountains with glacial streams flowing into the lake below.

hiking
7 days ago

What a beautiful hike. A lot of up hill but well worth it. Not too far either. 2.5 miles one way. We didn’t put bug spray on and got eaten by mosquitoes though. Lots of people. We had to get there by 7:00 a.m. just to get a parking spot. Go early because they shut the park down when they feel it is full and you will be turned away. This hike is SPECTACULAR!!!

hiking
7 days ago

This was my favorite hike in Glacier (though I wasn’t able to do many due to the closure). I am totally new to hiking, in decent shape, and considered this hike fairly easy. Plenty of shade, gradual, and beautiful scenery the entire way. The waterfall/rapids at the beginning are just as beautiful as the lake at the end in my opinion. If you go past the end of trail sign at the end of the lake you can walk on the snow pack at the end, which was really amazing to us.

hiking
bugs
great!
rocky
7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Absolutely beautiful and enchanting hike. If you’re a hiker, it’s a super easy trail but it’s still very enjoyable. We went all the way to the “end of trail” sign, and then continued past it to a smaller, more rugged trail (going over/under trees, steep inclines, etc.) and were able to get super close to the waterfalls after a very short walk. We also walked over the huge avalanche that had not yet melted from spring. I definitely wasn’t expecting to be able to make a snowball in late June on this trail! Highly recommend. The views both at the lake and a little past the trail end are absolutely spectacular! If you’re in Glacier, don’t miss this trail.

hiking
8 days ago

This was a beautiful hike full of nostalgic views and wildlife. We saw a few deer and a lot of chipmunks! We went super early to avoid the crowds, but truly enjoyed ourselves. Be aware of the constant hill inclines.

hiking
8 days ago

The most beautiful hike that I have EVER been on!!! This hike is a must do! As far as wildlife goes we saw one deer and a few chipmunks.

Tons of shade, relatively easy hike. Loved the view at the end!

hiking
great!
10 days ago

Shaded hike with a beautiful lake at the end. Easy hike with ups and downs. Well marked path runs along the river for a small portion of the hike. We arrived at the Avalanche parking area around 7:00AM and were able to find parking with no issues. On the way up, very few people. Around one hour later coming down, there were many groups going up. Did not see any wildlife along the way. By the time we finished, cars were being turned away.

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