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Lake McDonald Trail is a 13.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Essex, Montana that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Length 13.7 mi Elevation gain 1,246 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Fishing

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Beach

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (49)
Photos (67)
Recordings (28)
Completed (183)
Daniel Butters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeOver grownRocky
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Daniel Butters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 16, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeOver grownRocky

pretty overgrown but the route I was told to take to get to the campground. No shade due to the old fire damage. Not many views of the lake. This trail can be done as a walk through but not much payoff. camping required permit.

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Terry Wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 22, 2019
Hiking

Not a difficult hike. Much if it is a little distance from lake so you don’t see a lot of great views. Some areas where you can trek down to the water. Recommend doing the Rocky Point section as it has some good views. I don’t think this hike is worth the time except if you have some time to burn.

Travis Bonnett
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Hiking

Amazingly beautiful trail. Well worth the time.

Lisa Crawford Belcher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2019
Hiking

I did not complete this trail. It runs above the lake, with limited views of the lake, but lots of views of the underbrush and old burned trees among the younger trees. Parts of the trail were overgrown and I wondered if I was on the right path at times as the mosquitoes had there way with me. I would recommend stopping at Rocky Point, the rest of this trail was underwhelming for me.

Peter Disbury
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2019

This is a nice intro hike into the National Park, with an abundance of WILDFLOWERS, lake views, the mountains to the N.E offer nice photos too. Pretty easy stroll along the shoreline and you may get lucky and see a bald eagle along the shore. I like this as a post hike after a strenuous hike the previous day. It is a pretty easy hike.

Dianne Altuna
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 20, 2019
Hiking

Easy hike/walk out to Rocky Point and beyond. Saw one deer, and many humans!!!

Stone Conroy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2019
Hiking

Not too buggy, lots of deer

Francine Kier Llerena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2018

Beautiful, nice walk. Bring a picnic mat and hot chocolate / wine.

Brian AP-Exploring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2018
Hiking

Hiking along this trail was easy and very enjoyable.

Kelsey Matson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2018
Hiking

I did it in early June. A nice lake hike along Lake McDonald. There's a lot of overgrown greenery and you're likely to get wet. Wear long sleeves and pants.

Jaimie Johnson
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Hiking

It's definitely not the best trail in the park but we loved it. We were able to sit at the shore for a snack while checking out the breathtaking view. INSECT REPELLENT IS CRUCIAL!

Nick Giuttari
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A good portion of this is through an area that was destroyed by fire... first couple miles wasn’t too bad but then started running into trees that had fallen across the trail ... after about 25 trees to traverse over I decided to turn around and head back to my jeep ... After paying $30 to enter the park to do this trail I feel like it hasn’t been maintained at all ... Waste of $30 ....

William mangione
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 26, 2018

Fairly easy. Well maintained. Beautiful views of Lake McDonald in first couple of miles. Bear spray is always recommended in Glacier, but insect repellent is essential on this trail.

Wayne Walk Jr.
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Hiking

Hiked this trail from Fishers Creek Campground up to the Backcountry Campground. There were many trees down across the trail. Views were okay. Good lake views. Not a very heavy traveled trail.

Jeff Dowdy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 31, 2017

Nice trail but very few shaded areas. You have to start of near Fish Camp Campgrounds and head to Rocky Point Trail and then the trail splits. They are marked but the posts on some markers have been knocked down. Trail starts off with some elevation gain and slowly brings you down to water level about 1.5 miles in. It was ultra hot today so we didn't bother to go further without shade. We turned back to Rocky Point for shad and crisp cool water. We did score some huckleberries thought.

Thomas Sears
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Good easy spot. Nice pretty lake.

Jennifer cooper
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Running

I ran this one while my husband rested from hikeing. I started at the lakemcdonald west shore/Rocky Point trail head. I ran about 5 miles out where I came to part of the campground and the lake, then decided to come back. I ran with a large camelback, bear spray, and my phone playing music because there was very few people on this trail. The views of the mountains were amazeing, the only complaint I have about this trail was it was over grown, so if Inwas hikeing I eould have been a little irritated by all the brush smacking my legs. I was running so I wasn't as focused on it, and the views r pretty awesome for a trail run. It was a little hilly in spots, definetly not flat, but one can always walk the hills.

Carlie H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 27, 2017
Hiking

Easy 2.5 miles each way to Lake McDonald Campground. Beautiful beach. Secluded trail without a lot of other hikers. Longish one-lane dirt road to trailhead.

Jim Salyers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 23, 2014
Hiking

Beautiful short hike that begins on the west side of Lake McDonald. The trail goes through a previous burn area providing new growth for many types of wild flowers. The trail on the Trout Lake side has been buried in avalanche debris fields in a couple of areas. Outstanding view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

ActiveChic 79
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 26, 2012
Hiking

Beautiful. Gr8 starter hike!

Nicole Atkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 12, 2012
Hiking

One of the most beautiful and serene lakes I have ever seen!

Brian Newman
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Nature trips
First to Review

hiked the southern end of the Lake McDonald, lake was real calm but very cold due to the amount of snow still around.

Vella Uriostegui
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking
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