Cracker Lake Trail

MODERATE 94 reviews
#7 of 119 trails in

Cracker Lake Trail is a 12 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near East Glacier Park, 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. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,650 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

no dogs

One of the most beautiful hikes in Glacier. It's fairly long hike and the scenery is great. You truly get to experience everything from crossing creeks on log bridges, trekking through the woods and then the final approach to cracker lake is a breeze. Make sure to plan accordingly and go the extra ~1 mile down to the lake shore. Gorgeous blue nestled below the Glacier and surrounded by mountains on all sides.

hiking
1 day ago

My group thought this hike was great. On the drive to trailhead, we saw a momma black bear and two young cubs foraging in a field along the way. Perfect way to start the day!

Gang of Coloradans here, so elevation didn’t impact us. Started at 10am thinking we would run into hoards of people, but saw probably 8 groups total, maybe 20 people throughout the entire hike (not including 2 horse trail groups). First bit is wooded and covered, people are right about the horse waste; not the best but also not the worst (like, get over it, share the trail). We were excited to see some different scat at about mile 2, looked like black bear had a great lunch. Steady incline, but manageable. Some steep areas, we brought hiking poles for the day hike but found they weren’t necessary. Saw a snake along the switchbacks, small and harmless. Pretty stream in the middle of the hike, another group mentioned seeing a moose in that area. Up and up included some open areas where coverage was sparse. When you’re about a mile from lake, coverage is gone — bring a hat! Sun was brutal. As it opened up, it was really beautiful and still ascending gradually. Lake itself is surreal, so turquoise and opaque. There’s a healthy shoreline along lake, for many groups to chill and enjoy.

We’ve been a lot of places and done many hikes, and this was one of our top purely for the lake experience. Don’t listen to the party poopers saying majority of it’s boring #takeahike — Bring bear spray and enjoy! Happy trails!

backpacking
3 days ago

Hiked hard . Swim in the lake baby. Started this hike behind Many Glacier Hotel. Lots of solitude. Not one of the more popular hikes. But let me tell you it is tough. You will have solitude. And you will be so glad that you chose this hike. Most folks choose Grinnell Glacier and miss this one.

hiking
12 days ago

Planned to do ptarmigan lake today, but it was closed to bear activity. Cracker lake ended up being a great hike. The first half is pretty boring though

backpacking
18 days ago

Looking to hike out Wednesday 8/1! Will possibly camp. Anyone want to join? Feel free to call or text 3108904775

-Chris

22 days ago

We did this hike on 7/20. This was one of the best hikes we've done! About 12 miles from the trailhead. We saw a black bear that crossed the trail about 2 miles in so bring bear spray!! Wouldn't say this trail was difficult (gradual climb the whole way except the last 0.5 mi to the lake) in nature but the distance was taxing. There's an outhouse at the end for the campers there. A lengthy day hike so go early! We went around 9:15 and we saw people once every 45m-1hour.

There were a lot of horse poop like the other reviewers have said. But there were girls that worked at the park who scoops them out of the way.


The views were breathtaking. Absolutely recommend this trail!!!

hiking
26 days ago

As other reviews have stated, lots of horse droppings on the initial stretch of the hike. I didn't consider this hike to be difficult, the inclines are very gradual. There is also a lot of shade in the beginning which was nice. There was a lot of bear activity when we hiked on 7/17/18 so carrying bear spray and being bear aware is essential.

hiking
26 days ago

As other reviews have stated, lots of horse droppings on the initial stretch of the hike. I didn't consider this hike to be difficult, the inclines are very gradual. There is also a lot of shade in the beginning which was nice. There was a lot of bear activity when we hiked on 7/17/18 so carrying bear spray and being bear aware is essential.

29 days ago

Did this one 2 weeks ago. Loved this one. Great scenery. Only thing I didn’t enjoy was that it had rained the day before and the 1st km or so was walking through a mixture of mud and horse droppings.

hiking
30 days ago

Majestic experience. My favorite lake in Glacier. Saw a young Grizzly.

backpacking
1 month ago

My fiancé and I did this as a 1 night backpacking trip the first week of July. It was challenging as the hike in is mostly uphill, and the first 1.5-2 miles are frequented by horse tours which make the trail extremely muddy and difficult to traverse. However the hike is beautiful, and the view of Cracker Lake is worth it. Be forewarned that it can be EXTREMELY windy at the campsite - it was hard to get the tent up. And the weather went back and forth between sunny/pleasant to cold/windy/hail with little notice. The campsite is located right on the lake, and is secluded with Mt. Siyeh directly overhead. It was truly a beautiful site if you can handle the weather.

hiking
1 month ago

Long hike but the view at the lake is one of the best in the park

hiking
1 month ago

did this hike 6/30 - very little snow - ok to navigate.

the first 2 miles of this trail was the absolute worst trail I've ever encountered. its 2 miles of horse shit and the smell of horse shit. its so unsanitary and unsafe it isn't even funny. they had bear signs up on this trail and I couldn't even look up the first 2 miles to be aware of my surrounding because it was just constant horse crap. after these 2.1 miles its ok. if I could skip the first 2 miles i'd give a 5*

hiking
1 month ago

Trail blows in the beginning. Hard to walk along the muddy horse tracks. It's totally worth the less than ideal conditions in the beginning though, as the scenery becomes more beautiful the further you go in. The lake was not as blue as we saw in other pictures when we got there, although that was probably due to the rain the day before.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely great hike. This is one of my top three hikes in Glacier. Trail conditions at the beginning were a little rough due to horses, horse dung, and mud. Once off the horsetrail, the conditions got better. A flooded stream crossing, and a few patches of snow were the only impediments.

1 month ago

The entire hike is beautiful and arriving at the lake was a spiritual experience for me. I also did the trail ride and the experience was enhanced by riding and sharing the trail with a horse.

hiking
2 months ago

Stop reading the reviews to figure out if you should hike this and get up there! The lake is incredible and definitely my favorite in Glacier so far!

It’s a long hike but as you can see with most other recordings, takes about 4 in a half hours of hiking. We had to walk through a lot of snow during the last mile here in early June and the lake had some crazy wind gusts, but it didn’t ruin the mood at all.

*edit - we saw a marmot

backpacking
2 months ago

My sister and I snagged a backcountry permit and backpacked to Cracker Lake two days ago. Based on other reviews/blogs we had read prior to going, we were really nervous about encountering a bear along the trail, but we made a ton of noise and luckily didn’t see a single one. The hike itself is mediocre; a couple steep parts and not a lot of views. The last mile and a half of the trail still had snowy parts, but we were fine with our hiking boots and trekking poles. Once you get to the lake, the views are phenomenal. Otherworldly; we were in such awe of this place! Camping was a breeze and waking up to the views of the lake was amazing. Definitely worth lugging 30 pounds of stuff up. It was about 70 during the day and got down to around 35 at night. This was one of our favorite parts of our roadtrip and definitely a must-see! Couldn’t recommend more.

hiking
3 months ago

Adored this hike on the most perfect day with a high of 60 degrees. Lots of wildlife. Once you reach the lake, the trot was totally worth it. We stopped for lunch and the way back was much faster. It was the perfect day hike length for my taste.

3 months ago

The trail got really long on the way back, especially for my pregnant wifey.

hiking
3 months ago

Looking to hike this in mid to late July with another person or small group. Normally would do this by myself but I’ve heard of a lot of bear and moose sightings in this area and rather not chance it. HMU if interested. 716 359 2077.

hiking
4 months ago

Lots of wildlife here - we saw a grizzly and others we ran into said they saw a Moose the same day. Had lunch at the lake.. It was spectacular!

hiking
8 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I've done and favorite that we did in Glacier. It's a fairly long hike and the scenery is great. You truly get to experience everything from crossing creeks on log bridges, trekking through the woods and then the final approach to cracker lake is a breeze. Make sure to plan accordingly and you MUST go the extra ~1 mile down to the lake shore. Gorgeous blue that I've never seen before nestled below the Glacier and surrounded by mountains on all sides.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful hike, long, but worth it. The views are spectacular and the water is a color I've never seen before! Great spot for an engagement! ;)

hiking
11 months ago

This is the prettiest lake on the planet. DO THIS HIKE. I'd say it's mostly moderate, with a few moments of hard. There are a few steep inclines, but they are all short and don't last long. They require quick bursts of energy and can be a little draining. I also woke up a little tired the day I did this one, so maybe that's why those hit me a little harder than they might normally. (I do 20 mile day hikes, and this was a "rest" day for me, so when I was expecting this to be moderate, those few moments of uphill threw me off a bit.) Oh yeah, there's also tons of horse poop along the trail, so breathing heavy and inhaling that fine aroma is kind of off putting. Regardless, this hike is an absolute must if you're visiting Glacier. Horse poop and all.

hiking
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Great trail, beautiful view at the end. However.... tons of horse poop. The whole way. (And the flies that go with it). I consider it a fair price to pay for an otherwise glorious hike, but i think it's worth mentioning to other hikers. Also.... lots of blind turns and overgrown bush right off trail- do NOT hike this without bear spray. There is a lake overlook just over 5.7 miles in, and a pit toilet another .75 miles or so further down by the back country lake camping area.

horseback riding
Saturday, July 22, 2017

The most beautiful ride I have been on.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

The only downside to this trail is that it is shared with horses. Other than that, the views at the lake are well worth the hike. It is some of the bluest water I've ever seen!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

This trail although long, 13.5 miles round trip, is a must.
The downside is in the beginning and end of the hike where the trail is for both horses and hikers.
The upside is the last third of the trail. It will blow you away. Highly recommended!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

After Grinnell Glacier and The 3 falls trail from Sun Point, this was more of a destination hike. The lake was beautiful surrounded by a massive stone bowl with glaciers and snow melt streams. Not as much to see until the end. Overall, a gradual incline most of the way with a couple of snow crossings.

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