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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.

Length 8.8 mi Elevation gain 2,050 ft Route type Out & Back
Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Snow No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (124)
Photos (249)
Recordings (78)
Completed (241)
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Lorna Levine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2020
Hiking

As everyone has indicated, this was an easy parking and accessible trail. We took it due to rain, wind and colder temps higher up. It was a good jaunt uphill initially. We had intended to do Fish Lake Trail, but the direction wasn’t indicated on a further in sign so we ended up on this one. It was beautiful, yet uneventful with no unexpected views. Decided to turn around early due to rain/sleet just short of the lake.

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Zachary Lambert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

The views of the lake were massive! Most of the forest is burned out due to a forest fire back in 2017, so that was sad to see, but it made it to where the trail was remote for our group. Early in the hike there’s some epic views of lake McDonald too! The eleavation gain was actually just over 3,600 so be prepared and bring plenty of water! There is also backcountry camping at the lake if that’s your thing!

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Steve Riedley
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Hiking
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Richard Libby
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Hiking
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Michelle Ciesielski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking

This trail’s biggest bonus is how it’s less popular and parking is easier. We started early (7am) and were pretty much the only ones there until we started walking back. There is opportunity to rock scramble on the other side of the lake and see a little waterfall. The lake is not quite as nice as other ones we had seen on the trip, thus the three star review. You are exposed and in the sun for a good chunk of it, so wear sunscreen!

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Colleen Willis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 9, 2020
HikingNo shadeOver grownRocky

As others have said, I hiked this trail due to the parking availability. There was a lot of sun exposure once you get to the Snyder Lake extension of the initial trail. Not the most colorful hike! There are a lot of burnt trees and the mountains are all rock, but in my opinion the hike is pretty and the views of the mountains are consistent and pretty astonishing.

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Julien Duhautois
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Hiking
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Scott Potosky
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Hiking
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Ashley Bennett
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Hiking

Great inclines, way less crowded than any of the other trails in Glacier, which was nice.

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Andy Stolz
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Hiking

Pretty easy hike the whole way. The first bit is a little steep. After the turnoff for Snyder, it is definitely a little overgrown with lots of bugs. There are a TON of flea beetles on the plants that are overhanging the trail. They’re not a problem though, unless you just hate bugs. I’d wear pants if I did it again. But it’s beautiful up there!

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Billie Howard
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BackpackingGreat!

McDonald to Gunsight Trek 2020 - Downhill portion of day 4 from Snyder Lake to the Trail Junction. 08-14-2020 - So this was our 4th day out (see itinerary below). Start: 08-11-2020 / Sperry Trailhead 08-11-2020 / Snyder Lake (max of 3 nights per permit) 08-12-2020 / Snyder Lake 08-13-2020 / Snyder Lake 08-14-2020 / Sperry (Max of one night allowed per permit) 08-15-2020 / Gunsight Lake (max of 3 nights per permit) 08-16-2020 / Gunsight Lake 08-17-2020 / Gunsight Lake 08-18-2020 / Lake Ellen Wilson (Max of one night per permit) Exit 08-19-2020 / Sperry Trailhead Today takes us downhill to the Trail Junction 2.7 mostly in the burn area, but nice moderate trail, before heading UP HILL to Sperry Chalet area and the campground there. For what ever reason, this was our most difficult day. Not sure why, except that due to covid neither of us had done the conditioning we normally would have, and this day it showed. See the recording for "Gunsight Pass Trail" dated August 14th for the second part (UP HILL PORTION) of the trail we did this day. Sorry I did not record it as all one hike, but I wanted to keep the Snyder portion separate from the main trail to Gunsight Pass & ultimately Gunsight Lake.

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Billie Howard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

McDonald to Gunsight Trek 2020 - Day 1 - The trek to Snyder Lake 08-11-2020 This was day 1 of 9 days and 8 nights we were able to get back-country permits for on a first come first serve basis at the Back-country permit office in APGAR. This itinerary was the longest hike (most days) available on a single permit at the time on August 10th. 2020. Our itinerary was as follows: Start: 08-11-2020 / Sperry Trailhead 08-11-2020 / Snyder Lake 08-12-2020 / Snyder Lake 08-13-2020 / Snyder Lake 08-14-2020 / Sperry 08-15-2020 / Gunsight Lake 08-16-2020 / Gunsight Lake 08-17-2020 / Gunsight Lake 08-18-2020 / Lake Ellen Wilson Exit 08-19-2020 / Sperry Trailhead Great first day. The trail from the Synder Lake Junction is a little longer than stated on any map or sign but that’s ok as it is really only moderately difficult as it is not nearly as steep as part of the trail coming up from the Lake McDonald Sperry trailhead across the street from the Lodge parking lot. You will quickly loose the trees on the Synder Lake portion of the trail due to the Sperry Fire a few years back. The advantage is it opens up the landscape a little. If it is warm weather, hike or backpack this portion Early in the day. There are 3 campsites at Snyder Lake. The one closest to the cook area is in my opinion THE BEST. The 2nd one is next and the 3rd or furthest from the cook area is the worst because it is Immediately next to the trail where ALL of the day-hikers walk by starting around 10:00 am to as late as 5:00pm. Out of necessity, we camped there the first night of 3 and then moved to the more desirable site the next morning. Snyder Lake is a Beautiful Lake!!!! The scenery around you is stunning at times. Tucked away in it's own cul-de-sac the changing light conditions can be stunning at times. We spent 3 nights at Snyder and for our 2 day hikes one was to the falls that feed the lake from Upper Snyder. The second hike was a class 3 scramble with a very short class 4 scramble up to Upper Snyder Lake via the chute above the boulder field on the west end of the lake. After climbing the chute (watch for loose rocks if you climb this with a friend!!!!) the trek to the upper lake was basically brush whacking. No set trail. But the payoff is the upper lake. It is larger than Snyder Lake itself and is fed by several waterfalls. And....you will most likely finally be ALONE! After 3 nights at Snyder Lake our trip takes us to Sperry for 1 night before moving on to Gunsight Lake.

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Robbie Matthews
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Very pretty. Lots of wildlife. Trail becomes very dense once breaking off at the fork.

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Tiffany G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

We enjoyed this, but enjoyed other hikes in the park a bit more. I personally liked the beginning in the woods with challenging ascent. Once you reach the next segment, there are wonderful wildflowers that smell divine in the breeze. Very lush vegetation .. which actually scratches the legs a bit if you’re wearing shorts like me. However, the fire damage to the trees is sad, and that’s a near constant sight through 3/4s of it. It is a nice hike to get the blood flowing but nothing that will knock a person out with views compared to other trails in the park. We didn’t see too many people on the trail so we made some noise as we rounded corners. Did not see bears.

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Aaron Spieler
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A park ranger had recommended this hike, so I decided to give it a try. Once you split off from the main trail, the path gets very narrow and has several sections that are overgrown. Wear long pants if you are likely to get itchy. Also, the pond at the end is not very large and there are only a few spots to get into the water. The views are still spectacular though which is why I still give it 3 stars.

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Andrew Davis
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HikingGreat!Over grown

My wife and I did this trail today. This is a easy hike but note this is a bushy trail at points after you depart from the Sperry Chalet trail. IWe saw a very friendly deer on the trail, no bears. The bugs were out and as long as you use bug spray you will have no issues. We left the Lake McDonald trailhead at 6:40am and were in the shade the entire way up and hit the sun about 10 minutes into our descent. Start early as it will be a furnace in the afternoon. The Lake itself is ok, not nearly as picturesque as Avalanche Lake, Lake Ellen Wilson, Hidden and on and on. Why the park Service has not created a path from Snyder to the upper lake is beyond me. Oh well. We did see several parties at the campsite area and many folks on the trail. All in all, we are glad we did it but will not likely do it again. The trail is in great shape and you have to work hard to get lost on it. Enjoy.

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Sam Brar
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 16, 2020
HikingBugs

First 1.5 miles very steep. Pretty forest. Rest of the way was overgrown and buggy. Lake was underwhelming.

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Chuck Hickey
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HikingBugs

Hiked the trail today. Took 45min to do the first 1.8mi to the turn off to the lake. The trail is uphill until that intersection. From the turn off to the lake took another 1.25hrs to the lake. The trail has the scars from the past fires and a lot of low brush leaning over the trail. lots of sun on this portion of the trail. A bear was heard on the final push to the lake. once there the mosquitoes were swarming. we did not have bug spray, but it was still cool so the bugs were not bitting much. after a 30min snack, we headed back and made it back in 1.5hrs. we enjoyed the hike and the views at the lake. Would rate this as a moderate trail for those in good hiking shape. Rate this as difficult for those not used to going up steep grades for an extended period. there are three campsites and a pit toilet at the lake and reports of lots of fish bitting on a spinning reel.

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Ed Rafferty
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Hiking

Elevation gain is challenging initially which transitioned into gradual gain with full sun exposure in burnt out forest. Heavily over grown for a mile + due to low traffic. Lake is underwhelming at the end. We were forced off the trail a mile into the decent by a momma grizzly and two large “cubs”. Scrambled off her trail about 60 ft as she rose up to smell and look at us, then she moved on. Way too close of an encounter, but the adrenaline led to a very quick 3 mile decent. The lightly traveled trail definitely requires bear spray from my perspective.

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Fritz Kramer
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HikingOff trailRocky

It was a fantastic trail. No doubt the first bit was steep but once you get past that the entire trail is within a very scenic valley. We managed to see 4 different mule deer and heard about some nearby black bears. Of course the lake at the end is incredible. I’d highly recommend!!!!

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Abby Knipp
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MuddyRocky

Its a nice trail overall. the first 2 mi are all uphill but once you pull through its easier. the views of the surrounding mountains are cool, the lake is okay but yes lots of bugs. get there early! I got there at 730 and it was almost full

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Colton Frazier
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HikingBugsMuddyOver grownRockyWashed out

Cool hike, not as busy as some of the shorter hikes nearby. Quite rocky and on a narrow pathway once you make the turn off the main trail. Lots of little stream crossings throughout. Beautiful bowl with streams feeding into the lake, make sure you go on a clear day if possible. Mosquitos the whole way but much worse at the lake. Enjoy!

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