Cracker Lake Trail [CLOSED]

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Glacier National Park

Cracker Lake Trail is a 12 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Babb, 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

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

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. 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
4 days ago

The hike back is a bit meh compared to other glacier options, not bad just a lot of tree covering. BUT the end is so worth the journey. Incredible views. Check out the mine above the lake too! Super cool. Saw five! Grizzlies on our overnight trip, many deer. The whole experience was incredible.

17 days ago

Long day as I combined Iceburg and Cracker together. (2 years ago this July) The water of this lake was such an interesting color best described as a milky blue. Beautiful area.

hiking
3 months ago

Tied for #1 best hike I have ever taken!! The views are unbelievable and the terrain is incredible the entire way. Although people may complain about the first 1.7 miles being shared with horses, this should NOT deter you from this trail. the switchbacks take you up to a lookout over prime grizzly country, a mule deer walked straight up to us on the trail - we moved so she could pass by. There were beautiful wooded areas, a trek over rubble by the stream, a bridge over a river, wildflowers, and of course, the initial reason for the hike.... the most beautifully colored lake I've ever seen in my life! Not only was the color of the water surreal, the rocks were beautiful as well!! I highly suggest this out & back trail!!

hiking
7 months ago

Although the lake and its surrounding mountain walls are spectacular (with the former's unique color being beautiful), I found the approach hike less scenic than Iceberg Lake or Grinnell Lake/Glacier. It's definitely worth doing, overall!

hiking
8 months ago

Like others have said the first bit is muddy. Fairly easy hike and the reward at the end is amazing. The lake is super blue.

hiking
8 months ago

Trail is as described by others. Came up short of the lake and campsite due to bear activity.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this hike today, first couple of miles were rough only because of the deep muddy ruts and manure left by horses. Once you get past that the hike was great, short stints of uphill, then levels out and repeats till you get to the lake. Super windy most of the way.

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

I hiked this with a church group and we had the best time together. The trail was pretty muddy and covered in horse droppings. That was the first 1.7 miles of the trail. This was also a little more irritating on the trek back as we were tired. I took my 11 & 9 year old on this hike and I would say it was probably a little too much for them (and they've been doing big hikes all summer here). Overall the trail has a few switchbacks. It felt as if we gained the majority of our elevation in the last 1.5 miles. The lake is absolutely beautiful and totally worth every step. I'm still glad that I did it and I look forward to many more hikes in our beautiful park.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked this yesterday (9/8). It was a beautiful view at the end (albeit cloudy), but I’m not sure it was worth how long it is considering the rest of the hike is pretty non-eventful view wise. It also was pretty muddy and horse poop filled for the first 2 miles, then spotty amounts of horse poop the rest of the way. I wouldn’t do it again, but I’m not mad we hiked it either.

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

Beautiful view of lake at end of trail. First 1.3 miles is muddy and full of horse droppings

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

started this hike at 10am on a tuesday after labor day. ran into 8 groups total the entire day. definitely recommend going on a week day. parking was a close call at 940am with around 6 spots left. the hike is fairly moderate with only a few spots that made me huff and puff. THE LAKE IS WORTH THE TRIP! EXTREMELY BLUE WATER!. I brisk walked with some jogs here and there and made it to the lake in about 2hours. im not that fit stamina wise but found this trail forgiving. i kept a fast past throught the entire hike completing it in about 4.5 hrs. DO THE TRAIL!

hiking
8 months ago

I tried to do this by linking up with others. They didn’t want me to join. So I didn’t go. BUT, the first part of the trail is socked in with trees and it’s narrow. Being prime bear season, I didn’t feel safe solo. Have a group to do this hike. I was sad I missed it but happy I didn’t turn into bear treats.

hiking
8 months ago

This was well worth the hike to see such Beauty

hiking
9 months ago

Overall this is a moderate difficulty trail despite being 20 km round trip. the grade is pretty mild throughout, including the switchbacks. Most of the hike doesn't provide much for views until about 8km in where it opens up to alpine meadows. Cracker Lake is stunning making the destination worth the distance. The trail was pretty beat up from equestrian use until the end of the Cracker Flats Horse Loop (4km???). Other than that the trail is in excellent shape.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike and amazing Lake. Only bad part was the rain turned the trail into a river of horse poop.

hiking
9 months ago

We got up around 5:45am to make it to the trailhead before 8:00am because we saw on AllTrails that the parking lot fills before 8. This was 100% true and we were glad we read the reviews ahead of time. The lake was amazing and worth the early wake up call! The color was spectacular! We walked around all the smaller trails to the lake and my garmen read 13.8 miles by the end. The majority of people kept a healthy distance from the lake which was nice to see because it is absolutely pristine.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a beautiful hike! We did not see any bears which I was thankful for! You get a nice variety of scenery as well as some fun bridges to cross. I could see that the trails had a lot of horse poop however there was always a way to walk around it and it’s only the beginning. Just wear some nice boots and it’s not bad. Switchbacks were the steepest part but even those were pretty easy. Overall it felt pretty easy but probably gets it’s rating for the length. We found great fellow hikers for company and afterwards had a wonderful lunch and spent time at Many Glaciers Lodge. It took us from 7:30 - 1:30pm and stopped for about 30 minutes for lunch at the lake.

hiking
9 months ago

Started at 0800 and got to the lake by 1030. We, unfortunately, didn’t see any wildlife ;). Beautiful hike with lots of variation throughout the hike. I would highly recommended!

hiking
9 months ago

It’s really a shame that the first two miles of this hike are so disgusting. They could at least make two separate hiking trails for horses and humans so you don’t have to trudge through horse shit. It rained while we were on the trail and the way back was horrendous. Aside from that, the lake was very pretty. I doubt I would ever go out of my way to do this trail again though.

recorded Cracker Lake Trail

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Probably one of my favorite hikes. Lots of blind spots and spotted a bear on the lake so beware. Even on a cloudy day the lake was gorgeous

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

Nice long but very flat hike!

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing!!!

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

The first mile of the trail was muddy with horse poop. It's definitely possible to do it without boots, as long as your willing to jump. The rest of the hike is amazing. The trail is lined with wild flowers and berry bushes. Part of the hike goes along a river. The view of the lake at the end of the trail is AMAZING. The color is spectacular on a sunny day. The trail wasn't very busy. When we got to the lake, there were only 4 other people there. I definitely recommend going on this one.

recorded Cracker Lake Trail

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Parking is a big issue so arrive before 8 or don't bother to go. First 1.7 miles or so are along a bridal path so you're hiking in shit, but after that it's a gently uphill the whole way to the lake. I sat near where people come over the last hill and get their first glimpse of the lake and every single person was speechless at the color of the lake. One girl said better than anywhere in Italy and another person said just like Banff's Lake Moraine. Pretty solid company.

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

Hiked this yesterday and it certainly did not disappoint. Try to heed the warnings about parking. Arrived around 7:50 and there were a surprising number of cars and spots were filling quickly. We’re not the most physically fit couple but found the evaluation gradual and not too strenuous. The reviews about the first two miles are accurate so be mentally prepared for the muddy/horse poop covered terrain in this segment of the hike. It definitely slows your pace. Highly recommend water proof hiking boots for stability and there are a few spots that go over mild streams. Even met a lovely couple from Wisconsin that joined us for our journey in to the lake! If you plan on taking a dip in the lake be prepared for some very, VERY cold water. It’s definitely worth it though! No bears but our group did spot some big horns on a mountain in the distance. Otherwise, the hike was absolutely stunning and well worth the sore muscles.

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

Although the trail to Cracker Lake isn't as interesting as some (perhaps because we hiked it on a largely overcast day), the turquoise lake and its surroundings are stunning. But a WARNING: Don't hike this trail after rain; we did so, spending the first 1.5 mile -- nearly a quarter of the trail -- hopscotching to avoid mud that horse parties had churned up. Once at the lake, recommend going to the large rock feature near the far end of the lake for lunch and beautiful views. It would be helpful to arrive at the parking lot above Many Glacier Hotel early (or spend a lot of time circling the lot waiting for someone to leave).

hiking
9 months ago

love this hike! it's not very crowded and the trail leads to a beautiful glacier lake you can walk down to. its a little annoying the first mile or two when it's a shared horse trail, but the views at the end make up for it. also, pretty wildflowers

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