Cracker Lake Trail

MODERATE 64 reviews
#7 of 117 trails in

Cracker Lake Trail is a 13 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 March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
13.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1686 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
7 days 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
11 days 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
2 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
6 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
8 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
9 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
10 months ago

10 months ago

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
10 months ago

The most beautiful ride I have been on.

hiking
10 months ago

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!

11 months ago

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!

11 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

Absolutely stunning! The color of the lake is truly spectacular.

backpacking
Friday, June 09, 2017

We went in late May and snow was still covering the majority of the last bit of the trail making it extremely difficult but the views could not be beat! We didn't see any grizzlies and our campsite had lots of cute marmots.

hiking
Sunday, March 05, 2017

If you prefer a quiet hike this is the trail for you. During the 14 mi hike in late July we probably ran into 10 people. It is also an equestrian trail so it might be a little stinky and hard to walk at the beginning of the trail depending on the weather. Most part of the trail is in the woods, until the end when the vista opens up for the valley behind and the lake ahead. Saw a moose, and the ground squirrels by Cracker Lake were adorable. There is an abandoned mine at the end of the lake. I watched a video after coming back from this hike - apparently there is a side trail that leads to the summits surrounding Cracker Lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyi0NYV4qUM
It seems pretty dangerous though - but you learn not to pee out in the open in this area even if you seem to be the only hikers around. They might be 1000 ft right above you, eating crackers and watching you for entertainment.

hiking
Friday, September 02, 2016

An easy hike for a couple in their mid 20's. Some scenery on the hike to the lake but it is definitely worth the trip for the views of the lake.

horseback riding
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The most gorgeous trail ride ever! Well maintained. Busy horse trail. If you are a private stock owner, check in with Swan Mtn Outfitters so that you can plan your ride around theirs. Park above Many Glacier Hotel. We went on a super windy day and the wind by the lake was fierce and cold. Hitching rails for stock at the lake. I highly recommend you add the Cracker Flats Loop to your trip. It's worth it.

hiking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

The color of water was unlike any place I've ever experienced--truly unique and breathtaking. Not as popular of a trail in our experience so the solitude was refreshing. The only downside was quite a bit of horse poop the first couple miles where they do rides---not a huge deal just wish I wore my hiking boots instead of trail runners.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Long hike. Beautiful views! The color of the lake is breathtaking when the sun hits it.

hiking
Friday, June 24, 2016

This is an absolutely beautiful hike. Although it is pretty long, it's worth it. Great scenery, may not be the hike for those who are deathly afraid of bears, but overall a great experience.

hiking
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cracker lake is a popular backcountry camp site. The scenery is beautiful and lots of wide life around the lake. Sunrise is the most amazing at the lake so definitely stay overnight if you can make it happen. There are only limited 3 campsites and permits are required.

hiking
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beautiful scenery throughout the trail, however, be prepared to yield to horses.

hiking
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Great moderate-long hike. Lots of bear area once you clear the ravine side. Perfect walk around a mountain and into a valley cul de sac with sheer cliffs framing a beautiful lake. Not one of those hikes which could be good even in bad weather, you need good weather. Start early and enjoy the day.

hiking
Thursday, August 29, 2013

A great two-day, one-night backpacking trip. Just like any hike in Glacier, it's a beautiful trek through Rocky Mountain wilderness -- although you aren't very far from the park road. Cracker Lake, the final point of the trip, is baby blue from the mountain silt. It almost glows when you top the lake's horizon line. When I was there, the lake was full of trout which seemed to be feeding on insects landing on the water during the evening, so we sat and watched the millions of expanding blue rings ripple across the blanket of blue. The best part is the camp sites. On a grassy ledge held up by ruby red granite above the lake, the campsites offer a gorgeous morning view when you wake up and unzip your tent. It's also where mountain goats hang out, so you might share your coffee with a white-furred friend. The campsite has a flag pole away from the sleep sites for hanging food. (Don't forget you're in bear country.) The only reason I don't give this trail a 5-star rating is because of the horses. I believe the first section (1/4 or 1/3 or so) allows horses, so once you pass that section, you're equine free. My group passed a group of riders on our way back. Yes, passed them. Aside from the horses, it's a scenic, moderately challenging one-night backcountry trip through northern Montana's Rocky Mountains.

hiking
Saturday, August 03, 2013

Love this hike. Be prepared to share the trail with horses for the first little stretch. Being old shoes because its very muddy the first 1-2 miles. This hike is long and drags out but I thought it was totally worth it. There's not too much traffic but heavy foliage in the first couple miles may make bear worried hikers anxious. Just bring bear spray. The woods are beautiful, the small canyon you reach halfway in is cool, the river is awesome, and the lake at the end is gorgeous. It has a unique color to it. Make this hike a day hike- it can take awhile. In my opinion it's not a bad hike at all in terms of difficulty. Just come prepared! Also bring a jacket for the lake- it can get chilly there with the wind.

hiking
Friday, August 17, 2012

I just finished hiking this trail... I thought it was long but worth it! I don't feel this hike was hard at all it was easy!! So beautiful!! I did get stuck behind the horses, but they let us pass after a ways.. Lots of horse poop!! But still worth it!! Loved it!!

hiking
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This is an amazing hike. It's uphill on the way in -- 6 miles w/ 1400 feet of elevation gain -- right though bear country. There is heavy foliage most of the first 4-5 miles. That foliage provides some nice shade, but also creates a situation where hikers could potentially surprise a grizzly or black bear. The trail follows Canyon Creek most of the six miles. Once you reach Cracker Lake, the terrain changes. The landscape opens up, there are few trees, and the views are spectacular. The lake is turquoise blue, because of the suspended glacial silt, and sits in a beautiful glacial cirque. The elevation of the lake is roughly 6000 feet above sea level. The rim of the cirque rises to over 10,000 feet. There was a big bull moose that moved around the side of the lake opposite the trail and the backcountry campsites. There were also two beautiful white mountain goats that walked among the tents and trails during our entire stay.

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