Snyder Lake Trail [CLOSED]

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Glacier National Park

Snyder Lake Trail is a 8.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near West Glacier, 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 September.

Distance: 8.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,050 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

snow

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.

hiking
blowdown
over grown
6 months ago

Spent two nights camping at the lake. Lots of blow downs on the trail and at the lake but the lake itself is really pretty. Hiked to fish lake during the day as a day hike which was a highlight, though scrambling back up the trail through all of the downed trees was tedious. Went from dry to hail to snow our first night up and became even prettier with the snow covered logs in the lake. Trail was easy to follow even in snow. Until the temp drops below 25 or so you get to listen to shotgun blast cracking from the frozen cliffs as they cycle through thaw. Well organized, nice bar to elevate your food without having to find a tree and the privvy was top notch. Most folks seemed to think they could come up in tennis shoes and late in the day. It’s gonna take some time...

hiking
8 months ago

Very pretty trail, easy to hike into. Hiked this in May and got rained on most of the time but still worth the hike in. Would recommend for a quick day hike if you’re wanting to squeeze a couple hikes in, only took us about 3 hours to complete.

hiking
10 months ago

Meh

hiking
bugs
over grown
11 months ago

solid trail, areas of overgrown brush and lots of mosquitoes around the lake.

hiking
bugs
11 months ago

Second hike of the week. First couple miles steep but the trail is good and wide. Several overlooks to view a flowing creek and Mountain View’s. Also looking back at Lake McDonald. Once the trails splits to go to Snyder Lake the trail becomes more narrow with vegetation close. If you set out early before the dew is gone be prepared to get wet from rubbing the vegetation. Most of the trees were damaged from the fire in 2017. The new grass is tall with very little shade. Trail is easy to follow. Once we arrived at the lake we were a little disappointed at the vegetation all around the lake. You couldn’t access it without wadding thru the weeds. Lots of mosquitos We searched for a good spot to picnic but couldn’t find anything so we grabbed a seat on a rock. As we were leaving we did notice some benches at the food prep area. Don’t forget to look at this area. Plenty of good views of the mountains all around and several water falls very high up. The scenery is great but the lake was a disappointment. Not even close to Avalanche Lake. We spent about three hours to get there and a little over two to get back. The app says 8.8 miles but our phones said over 12 miles. Not sure...We were definitely beat when we got back. Anyway be you’re own judge on this hike. This is still an amazing park!!

hiking
bugs
over grown
11 months ago

hiking
bugs
over grown
11 months ago

This was a great hike! The trailhead for several hikes including Sperry Chalet start here. The trail wanders through a breathtaking ancient cedar forest and then begins a steep ascent up the mountain. Once you reach the cutoff to Snyder Lake (about 1.5 miles) the trail becomes much more level and less intimidating. This well maintained trail wanders through forest recovering from the 2017 Sprague Creek Fire. The plant growth is amazingly diverse, so many wildflowers! We walked through shaded and sunny areas. My only complaint was that the growth in some areas was waist high and the trail barely a foot wide. Once we arrived at the lake, the waterfalls coming from Mt Brown, Little Matterhorn, and Mt Edwards were impressive. Lunched in the Cirque while trying to fend off the mosquitoes. Bug spray is a must! As soon as we started our descent there was a traffic jam. A mama grizzly with two cubs was right in the middle of the trail! We watched and waited from a safe distance for about 15 minutes before she moved off. The rest of the hike was uneventful.

hiking
bugs
over grown
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

The end of the trail felt like entering natural fortress sort of formation towards the end - the lake is at the basin surrounded 180” by mountains. Spotted a lot of deers. Best part towards the end is lots of yellow flowers.

Wed May 15 2019

I did this trip late april 2017 be prepared for good snowcover and cold night on the snow. Beautiful first trail I hiked in glacier.

hiking
snow
Mon May 06 2019

I did this trail 5/5/19. I do not suggest this trail at this time in the season. The last mile or so is in several feet of soft snow that you sink into (picture attached of the snow on a bridge at the lake). I think this would be a good trip later in the season once the snow melts.

hiking
snow
Fri May 03 2019

This is a good morning or afternoon trail and wasn't very difficult at all. GPS says I made it to within .7 miles of the lake when deep snow made me turn back (3 May, 2019). There are not a ton of sweeping vistas on this hike like many others in the Park but it's a very pretty trail and fun to explore.

hiking
over grown
Sat Feb 23 2019

Tue Dec 04 2018

Solid hike for a workout. Did it with little snow at the beginning, and once up a 1000 feet, there was 2 feet of snow. Completed in 4 1/2 hours. The lake is surrounded by cool rock faces and decent mountains .

hiking
Thu Aug 16 2018

This would be a great option if you're looking for a workout and not much more. The initial climb is pretty grueling with no real scenery. There are some huckleberry patches beyond that which might attract some bears, although we didn't see any. The lake at the end of the trail makes for a nice spot to break for lunch before turning back.

Thu Jul 19 2018

At some points the path was so over grown you couldn't see the path. For moderately hiked I saw no other people for 6 miles so I made sure to make some noise. The lake was okay, I wanted to go further to the upper lake but felt like I was being watched so I turned around at the lower lake. Saw some bear fur and poop but didn't see any wildlife except for a deer that thought it would be funny to scare the shit out of me. Going up Sperry Trail was the hardest part, the rest was relatively easy. It was a decent hike.

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

Very nice trail condition. Beautiful cirque around the lake. Quite a few brown pine trees around lake and surrounding area, maybe 30%. Beetle kill? Or, residual damage from the fire that swept through the valley years ago? Not sure. From hikers coming down, we were told there was a mama grizzly and her 3 cubs walking casually on the trail toward the lake. Most hikers turned back. We forged ahead, but carefully! Bummed we missed (from a distance) the bears but we took all precautions to ensure we were heard and that we would not surprise them. On a Saturday, we were surprised by the number of available parking spots at the McDonald Lake hotel. After your hike grab dinner in the hotel (lodge). It was really good, the lamb shank was great!

hiking
Sun Jul 08 2018

Still very beautiful in the burned woods. First 1.5 miles were a bit hard on the lungs with the switchbacks but it eventually evens out. Wear sunscreen and a hat and bring lots of water!

hiking
Thu Jul 05 2018

Beginning part of trail is very steep with little scenery, wasn't super impressed. We were around 1/3 mile from the lake when we were forced to turn around because of a grizzly bear. We didn't see it, but a couple groups speed walking back from the lake warned us. They said the bear was moving our way on the trail, BIG (probably 500lbs), and used to humans (they talked loudly and clapped and the bear had no response). We decided not to risk an encounter.

Wed Jul 04 2018

Beautiful hike along a creek the whole way. Steep at first but then just a gradual climb. Burned areas coming back nicely. Snyder lake and waterfall well worth the climb. Encountered a young black bear on the return about 7:30 in the evening.

Tue Jun 12 2018

Great day hike! Good views and wildlife sightings, saw deer and a bear with her 2 cubs.

hiking
Sat Jun 09 2018

The first mile and change was a lot of switchbacks, maybe 1000 feet gain in that distance. Be ready. The remainder was less consistently uphill, through burned areas, a scree field, and over lots of little creeks (little bit of mud). We did the whole hike - it’s 8.5 m round trip - in three and a half hours. Beautiful at the end. A good day hike. Bring bug spray.

hiking
Mon Jun 04 2018

It’s a good trail with switchbacks. Some decent views

hiking
Sat Jun 02 2018

Excellent trail for a late May hike when other trails are closed. The lake is not huge but it’s surrounded by mountains which form a small valley. Makes for great views. The sound of the stream while hiking is also very nice. We saw chipmunks and deer during the hike. They are not afraid of humans. A bear was spotted by other hikers in the morning.

hiking
Fri Jun 01 2018

Great day hike with a little challenge. It was a wet cold day but worth every step. First 1.5miles is the steepest. 2.6 miles from Sperry Chalet turn, this part kind of drags on but you have amazing mountains on each side as you walk into the bowl. Fire from 2017 burned out that portion too but it helps for views. Did this with our 3 year old. Plan on 1.5-2hrs one way. Bring a jacket and hat for the lake cause it’s much colder there. Only saw a few other people. Would do this again.

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