Lake McDonald Trail

EASY 20 reviews
#35 of 117 trails in

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.

13.7 miles
1246 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly




nature trips







wild flowers


no dogs

20 days ago

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 ....

22 days ago

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.

9 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

Good easy spot. Nice pretty lake.

trail running
11 months ago

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.

11 months ago

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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beautiful. Gr8 starter hike!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

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

nature trips
Thursday, March 08, 2012

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

15 days ago

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thursday, July 09, 2015