McDonald Creek Trail

EASY 48 reviews
#15 of 119 trails in

McDonald Creek Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Essex, Montana that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
213 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

no dogs

hiking
28 days ago

Beautiful trail that runs along the creek for the first half and then thru the forest and ends up at spectacular water falls.
Trail marking is a little confusing as it is signed John's lake, but just keep walking by the creek. After the forest keep going all the way to the end, past where people stop at a viewing area on the other side of the creek and you will be rewarded with a gorgeous view.
Spotted deer, and a mama moose with a baby swimming across a marshy area before the forest.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, I highly recommend this one!

1 month ago

Nice and easy. We hiked it with 2 toddlers. The scenery was gorgeous. Plenty of shade and close enough to touch the river in some places.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike along the river for the first half and through the forest on the back half. Toward the end of the trail you will come out and see a bunch of folks on the other side of the river but keep going as you will some nice water features just beyond that.

There was a moose on the trail that hikers behind us saw and we saw its tracks on the way back. Well worth the time and a chance to see game.

hiking
1 month ago

We saw a black bear within 250’ feet of the trailhead on 6/29/18. Mosquitos were manageable overall, heavy in a few spots. Nothing a bit of bug spray can’t fix. I wore loose clothes and was mostly left alone — no bug spray for me.

Hike was very cool. The half alongside the river is beautiful. The back half was peaceful and quiet, we didn’t see anyone after the trail broke from along the river. We walked the entire trail to the waterfall. It was worth the extra effort. Brush has grown over the trail in a few areas. Did the hike with a 7 year-old and it was pretty easy for him. Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was awesome! Especially if you make it all the way to the end you are rewarded with a small waterfall. A lot of people said the in-between part was boring but my husband and I loved the whole thing. The veiws we're absolutely stunning and perfect for photography if you're into that! We even got to see a moose in the water. :)

hiking
1 month ago

Less traveled and more beautiful even than Avalanche trail. Wonderful trail. We only did the half that runs along the river. Great bridge and spectacular views. Even able to get down to water. I loved this trail!

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail overlooking a scenic whitewater creek. Not too difficult or time consuming! The first half is better, but if you follow it to the end you’ll be rewarded with more beautiful scenery!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice little walk....:the views of MacDonald Creek are amazing. It’s a great walk when you need a nice slow recovery day. Shady and cool! Mosquitos can be a little bit of bother!

5 months ago

Such a fun and easy hike. Great for the whole family. Breathtaking views

hiking
11 months ago

An extremely beautiful nature trail - the first half which is where most people stop is at the horse loop , but I highly advise to keep going until the end (even though it's extremely secluded and creepily silent at times). The end of the trail brings you to the opposite bank of an awesome waterfall & cliff jumping area filled with fish!!!

P.S. Beware that the water is extremely ice cold so you will lose your breath if you are not prepared.

hiking
11 months ago

The beginning of the trail is presently obstructed by a number of downed trees. Suggest instead you start about a mile up at the horse crossing from John's Lake and head north from there.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

hiking
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This was a perfect walk to take our dogs on. The creek was gorgeous. Great if you're looking for a leisurely stroll with beautiful scenery!

Monday, August 14, 2017

This was a great trail to go on for a first hike. There were multiple places along the trail where out met the river, and the view at each spot was great.

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Easy trek on a well maintained trail. Best for those who want an enjoyable walk but may not be used to hiking or as a follow up to a more strenuous excursion. It felt a bit underwhelming after so many beautiful crystal clear lake hikes in the park.

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

We wanted an easy mellow hike on this day. Feeling a little sore from the day before. This hike was perfect. It hugs the river most of the way and provides lots of shade walking thru deep woods. There are several spots to take a dip. The water was cold but refreshing. We walked all the way to the top where you can see a series of small connected waterfalls. The water here was turquoise blue and crystal clear.

hiking
Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Great, but added 3 miles as we had to walk up from mcdonald lodge as going to sun road was not open up to trailhead (early may)

hiking
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Plenty to see along this trail, and the water keeps your ear good company. We enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

As described, this is a very easy hike that's great for all ages. Lots of beautiful sights. Cool stones and clear water along the bank. This was the last hike we went on before leaving the park. We were there at the end of the season so there weren't many other hikers which was nice. Not sure it would have been as fun during busy season, but still one worth doing even if it's busy.

hiking
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Easy hike but the north end just kinda faded away... wasn't sure if I was at the end since the trail narrowed abruptly and became more over grown.

walking
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This is an easy walking trail. Well marked, pretty well traveled and popular. Great photo opportunities along the water.

hiking
Monday, November 02, 2015

Great easy hike. Very scenic and great picture opportunities. Follows the creek with some ancient rock formations. Awesome experience definitely recommend the hike. Trail is easy and clearly identifiable. I would think it is a great ski or snowshoe trail.

recorded McDonald Creek Trail

hiking
7 days ago

21 days ago

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23 days ago

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28 days ago

1 month ago

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