Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars

MODERATE 564 reviews
#1 of 117 trails in

Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars is a 5.7 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
5.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
748 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

skiing

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.

hiking
12 hours ago

Absolutely gorgeous lake at the hike “summit”, and wonderfully cool and beautiful trail through cedar forest going up to the lake. It’s a little steep at times but otherwise moderate

hiking
16 hours ago

Beautiful trail! Well maintained and medium foot traffic. The lake was a great payoff and the ice cold water was refreshing on a warm day!

hiking
18 hours ago

For what this hike is it’s absolutely five stars. It’s not challenging at all and is great for the entire family and quite flat. The views are extraordinary at the end. Get there before 8 to beat the insanely large crowds that gather for this hike.

1 day ago

Great hike suitable for all ages! Take your bear spray and your camera

2 days ago

Easy hike. Beautiful payoff!

hiking
2 days ago

So pretty! We arrived at the park before 8 but by the time we were able to load a shuttle, it was after nine- keep that in mind! We shuttled from apgar- we didn’t want to take the chance on parking once we got up there.
Like others before me have said- go early to beat the crowds- somewhat! My advice to crowd haters like myself- go the extra mile around to the other side of the lake. You can be more by yourself. It’s a gorgeous hike

2 days ago

On the trail at 7:30 AM with few other hikers. Busier on the way back but not crowded. Beautiful easy hike. Gorgeous clear lake. Boardwalk section is accessible for all abilities and quite lovely.

3 days ago

Pretty rough going up at times. Make sure to bring water and snacks. The lake and backdrop of mountains and waterfalls were breathtaking and so worth the hike up. It took about 2 hours up and 1.5 hours back. So worth the journey.

3 days ago

Would give it a 5 if it weren’t so crowded! Awesome payoff at the end and the waterfall toward the beginning is great too. But man, tons and tons of people.

3 days ago

Great hike today. Lightly trafficked with a fantastic payoff on the beach looking up at the snowmelt waterfalls spilling into the lake.

3 days ago

We got to the trail head by 9am on a rainy day so it was not too crowded. By the time we made our way back at around 11am the trail was really congested which took some of the enjoyment out of it for me. However, Avalanche Lake is spectacular and worth the effort.

hiking
4 days ago

amazing trail! So much to see along the way and it never loses its appeal. The reward at the end is one of the most beautiful views you will ever see. Not difficult, but be prepared with good footwear and plenty of water. My 11 year old daughter had no problems on this hike and so much fun!

4 days ago

Loved the hike, but be aware that parking is hard to find during peak season. We had to walk an extra 1.5 miles due to limited parking. That said, the hike was well worth the extra effort and the lake at the top was a beautiful reward.

hiking
5 days ago

Excellent easy hike! we did it in the evening right before sunset (9PM). The trail is well maintained but with little views. But once the you get to the lake it is breathtaking! Def do it if you are visiting glacier!

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike! First part pretty much an uphill climb, but well worth the hike! We went to the far side of the lake closer to the falls and it is stunning from that side! Highly recommend it should you have time....wear bug repellent.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful easier hike. The sight of the lake is worth every step.
Difficult parking and busy with people. There is a pit toilet at the lake.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike! Lots of shade, lots of people. Some steep hills, but nothing too crazy :) hiked it with my husband who had our 1 year old in the baby carrier, my 13 and 10 year old. Spectacular views and the end of the trail was just stunning! Well worth it! Can’t wait to do it again! Right at the end by cedar trail we saw a deer about 20 feet from where we stood :D

Everything was awesome except that Parking sucked !

10 days ago

Worth it for the destination, Avalanche lake. Was muddy when we hiked. Very crowded, but on the other hand we felt safer with more people.

Parking is a little difficult. If you can't find parking at avalanche or cedar (right next to avalanche) you can choose to park further up the road and walk back.

There are rest rooms near Avalache parking area and one at the end of the trail ( that most people would avoid).

NPS also has ranger led hike option.

hiking
11 days ago

Easy hike. Crowded so arrive early (7-8ish) as parking also tough. FYI...pit toilet at end of trail for those who had a lotta of coffee...

11 days ago

Easy hike to a beautiful view of the mountains and the lake.

11 days ago

Easy, short hike to an amazing lake surrounded by waterfalls. We saw a couple of bears playing with each other about 50 meters from the trail.

hiking
12 days ago

I have hiked this the last two summers when we were in Glacier and we love it so much that next week when we are there again we will hike it again. For those that want to see beautiful off the road scenery this is a doable hike. Even kids and older citizens can make the walk and the entire time you are walking next to a beautiful stream with many awesome waterfall features.

13 days ago

Fun trail through forest. Good looking lake with multiple waterfalls flowing into it. My kids loved playing in water. I wish I could give this maybe a 3.5 but I think there is more to offer in the area that deserves 4 and 5 stars.

13 days ago

It’s a pretty standard hike. Elderly or those with children will enjoy it. There’s nothing technical and the lake is enjoyable to look at. Experienced hikers should steer clear as there’s little that distinguishes this hike from many others and it’s very crowded with slow people that don’t let you pass them.

13 days ago

Beautiful hike. Walk upstream next to a river for a good part of the beginning. Views are pretty for most of the way. At the top is a huge open area around a calm and quiet lake that has views of a couple of waterfalls. Friendly chipmunks who want your food! Didn’t see any other wildlife though. Not very challenging. Good for a pregnant lady like me! Recommend this hike. We arrived around 8:30 and got a great parking spot but that might also because it was cold and rainy. Stayed very dry on the hike nonetheless

hiking
16 days ago

I suggest going early in the morning to avoid the masses since it is easily one of the most popular trails in the park. If you start at 7 am on a weekday there should be limited amounts of people. Parking gets harder as the morning passes, so get there early!

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike with plenty of photo ops and sweet views as a reward at the end. Yes it rained, yes it was muddy but it’s a wilderness trail and one that’s doable for most people. Just take your time and enjoy. Oh had a black bear on the trail too. Just minding its own business. Nice!

hiking
17 days ago

Mostly uphill there, easy descent. View was absolutely worth it! Get there early as parking is limited. We got there by 8 am and there weren’t many spots left!

hiking
19 days ago

Amazing hiking! My wife and I completed this hike as our first trip to Glacier National Park. The photos we saw online seemed photoshopped but it was amazing to see that it was exactly as photographed in person. Beautiful views unlike anything we have ever seen in our travels (including New Zealand). Worth the trip!

hiking
20 days ago

Very heavily trafficked. We got there around 10 am and had to park one mile down the road from the trailhead in a turnout. There were lots of people on the first mile of the trail but then it thinned out. My advice is not to stop for any photo ops on the way out but hit them on the way back. The trail is mostly shaded but there are some breaks with nice views. Beautiful photo ops next to the creek near the trailhead. Bathrooms at trailhead and across the main road near the camp parking lot.

Load More