Explore the most popular lake trails near Essex with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
22 hours ago

Lake was nothing special, barely even visible really. The part of the trail on the south of GTTSR (which is where the lake was) was pretty boring, just a bunch of felled trees, and that is where the majority of the incline on this trail was. I would just do the north portion, which is also the beginning of McDonald Creek Trail. Very pretty hike along the rushing water. Horses also use portions of the trail. Make sure to have bug spray! There is a sign for the trail head on the south side of GTTSR, with room for about 6 cars to park, or you can turn north just past it (if driving towards the East) for more parking (and the better part of the trail). Got there around 0830 and we go the next to last spot on the southside, I assume there were still plenty on the north side. The 13 and 15 year old were pretty bored with this one.

Beautiful! Keep going to the beaches and see the most beautiful lake of cold water! Nice and shady the whole way.

hiking
1 day ago

For your very beginner or family with kids or older adult with decreased endurance or activity level.

Awesome lake in a bowl at the end.

Hiking along this trail was easy and very enjoyable.

hiking
3 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous lake at the hike “summit”, and wonderfully cool and beautiful trail through cedar forest going up to the lake. It’s a little steep at times but otherwise moderate

Beautiful trail! Well maintained and medium foot traffic. The lake was a great payoff and the ice cold water was refreshing on a warm day!

For what this hike is it’s absolutely five stars. It’s not challenging at all and is great for the entire family and quite flat. The views are extraordinary at the end. Get there before 8 to beat the insanely large crowds that gather for this hike.

Great hike suitable for all ages! Take your bear spray and your camera

Best Hike Ever! Don't stop at the first, or even second spot at the lake, keep following the trail for more secluded/better views. Incline was very gradual. Gorgeous rushing water along parts of the trail. Was able to do this trail with my 16 month old on my back, and my husband had our almost 3 year old on his back, we had no problems. 13 and 15 year old loved this hike too.

A nice hike , be in shape and bring water. A very good hike but also a good work out . The views are amazing ! Well worth it.

We did this hike on Wednesday 7/11. It was perfect for our family which included our 5 children ranging in age from 1 to 8. Definitely bring bug spray. We hung out by the lake (which is more like a pond) with the mountains in the background and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. I believe we crossed onto McDonald’s Creek trail too because we also walked along the river. It was really enjoyable.

Easy hike. Beautiful payoff!

So pretty! We arrived at the park before 8 but by the time we were able to load a shuttle, it was after nine- keep that in mind! We shuttled from apgar- we didn’t want to take the chance on parking once we got up there.
Like others before me have said- go early to beat the crowds- somewhat! My advice to crowd haters like myself- go the extra mile around to the other side of the lake. You can be more by yourself. It’s a gorgeous hike

5 days ago

Easy shaded loop with great view of falls and a bridge crossing.

On the trail at 7:30 AM with few other hikers. Busier on the way back but not crowded. Beautiful easy hike. Gorgeous clear lake. Boardwalk section is accessible for all abilities and quite lovely.

Pretty rough going up at times. Make sure to bring water and snacks. The lake and backdrop of mountains and waterfalls were breathtaking and so worth the hike up. It took about 2 hours up and 1.5 hours back. So worth the journey.

Would give it a 5 if it weren’t so crowded! Awesome payoff at the end and the waterfall toward the beginning is great too. But man, tons and tons of people.

Great hike today. Lightly trafficked with a fantastic payoff on the beach looking up at the snowmelt waterfalls spilling into the lake.

We got to the trail head by 9am on a rainy day so it was not too crowded. By the time we made our way back at around 11am the trail was really congested which took some of the enjoyment out of it for me. However, Avalanche Lake is spectacular and worth the effort.

amazing trail! So much to see along the way and it never loses its appeal. The reward at the end is one of the most beautiful views you will ever see. Not difficult, but be prepared with good footwear and plenty of water. My 11 year old daughter had no problems on this hike and so much fun!

Loved the hike, but be aware that parking is hard to find during peak season. We had to walk an extra 1.5 miles due to limited parking. That said, the hike was well worth the extra effort and the lake at the top was a beautiful reward.

Excellent easy hike! we did it in the evening right before sunset (9PM). The trail is well maintained but with little views. But once the you get to the lake it is breathtaking! Def do it if you are visiting glacier!

Great hike! First part pretty much an uphill climb, but well worth the hike! We went to the far side of the lake closer to the falls and it is stunning from that side! Highly recommend it should you have time....wear bug repellent.

Beautiful easier hike. The sight of the lake is worth every step.
Difficult parking and busy with people. There is a pit toilet at the lake.

Beautiful hike! Lots of shade, lots of people. Some steep hills, but nothing too crazy :) hiked it with my husband who had our 1 year old in the baby carrier, my 13 and 10 year old. Spectacular views and the end of the trail was just stunning! Well worth it! Can’t wait to do it again! Right at the end by cedar trail we saw a deer about 20 feet from where we stood :D

Everything was awesome except that Parking sucked !

Worth it for the destination, Avalanche lake. Was muddy when we hiked. Very crowded, but on the other hand we felt safer with more people.

Parking is a little difficult. If you can't find parking at avalanche or cedar (right next to avalanche) you can choose to park further up the road and walk back.

There are rest rooms near Avalache parking area and one at the end of the trail ( that most people would avoid).

NPS also has ranger led hike option.

Easy hike. Crowded so arrive early (7-8ish) as parking also tough. FYI...pit toilet at end of trail for those who had a lotta of coffee...

hiking
14 days ago

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.

Easy hike to a beautiful view of the mountains and the lake.

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