Looking for a great trail near Essex, Montana? AllTrails has 17 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails around Wayfarers State Park or West Shore State Park, we've got you covered. Ready for some activity? There are 9 moderate trails in Essex ranging from 1.4 to 16.1 miles and from 3,202 to 7,664 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

views

bird watching

nature trips

lake

wild flowers

wildlife

forest

no dogs

walking

river

trail running

dog friendly

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Very beautiful trail along the river. I don’t know where it got the name McDonald “Creek”! We used it as a nice easy walk, the day after the Highline Trail!

hiking
2 days ago

I would classify this as a moderate trail. Great views and well kept trail. The lake is beautiful.

hiking
2 days ago

Dope

hiking
6 days ago

Sooooo many mosquitoes! I’m from mosquito county but this was insane. There were times I had to run just to keep them off of me and if I stopped even for a moment they would swarm all around me. There was some pretty creeks in the trail but I was running for the mosquitoes too fast to notice them. It also needed a lot of maintenance. Most of the trail was overgrown and the brush was as tall as me and there where some areas where the trail totally disappeared.

Amazingly beautiful trail. Well worth the time.

hiking
9 days ago

This is an easy hike. It is a nice warm up. You follow the river for the most part. There is a short section the veers away from the water, but most of the hike is very picturesque.

camping
bugs
9 days ago

Love this hike! Went for a few days camping. Lovely views from every direction. Bring insect repellent. Would agree with previous hikers that the trail is more moderate than easy...for those with small children. Overall would definitely recommend.

hiking
11 days ago

I did not complete this trail. It runs above the lake, with limited views of the lake, but lots of views of the underbrush and old burned trees among the younger trees. Parts of the trail were overgrown and I wondered if I was on the right path at times as the mosquitoes had there way with me. I would recommend stopping at Rocky Point, the rest of this trail was underwhelming for me.

hiking
muddy
over grown
12 days ago

Dog friendly trail. First bit is intense- practically straight up. But afterwards it’s a relatively easy trail. Great views, lots of shade. Muddy spots today and areas where water runs over the path, hiking shoes would make this trail more enjoyable than sneakers (my sister wore sneakers and wish she’d had boots on). Ran into a few other groups of hikers- all friendly, some with dogs as well. Some great views along the trail, worth it to stop at some of the lookouts and not race to the end.

hiking
13 days ago

Perfect early morning hike, nobody around and very quiet... great way to experience the feel of the area without a huge commitment in time or energy. Walk slowly and enjoy the show.

hiking
13 days ago

This trail is well worn and easy to navigate. Fairly, steep at first, but then levels out and is a beautiful walk the rest of the walk. Don’t pull off too early once you see the lake! If you walk a half mile more around (continue on the trail), there is a quaint campsite that you can sit and relax. Saw various wildlife: Canadian geese, an osprey diving for fish, frogs, and heard some howling across the lake. Be sure to bring bug spray - lots of mosquitos. Also be watchful of stinging nettle when get get near the lake.

Hiked on 7/1/19. Nothing to really enjoy about Johns Lake. The rest is enjoyable but plenty of stops along the road to see without the hike.

hiking
bugs
snow
20 days ago

After parking at the Lake McDonald Lodge, we found the trailhead directly across the street. We started the hike around 8:30am, reached the chalet at 11:30am, took a 30 min break, and ended the hike at 2pm. About 15 mountain goats greeted us at the chalet, all of whom were a little over-friendly. We hurried down from the chalet after the bugs began biting. The ascent was moderate and steady, and the views were more than worth the time and effort. If, however, you can only choose one trail in GNP, I would stick with Highline.

hiking
22 days ago

Nice trail through the woods; when you get to John’s lake, it isn’t easily accessible with a lot of muck and fallen trees in the way. No place to really sit at the lake and enjoy the view...at least when we were there. Continue on across the ‘Sun Road and loop around along the river. Nice views of the river and rapids when you cross it again before you finish

Would recommend this to anyone looking to get after it. Takes awhile to get back there but it is really worth the views!

hiking
23 days ago

We set out to do the Sperry Chalet hike, but my wife wasn’t feeling too well that morning. We got to the junction for Snyder Lake and decided to go that way since it is a shorter hike. Then she felt uncomfortable when the trail got to be about 12” wide with tall vegetation on either side, so we abandoned and turned back. Looks like we might wait for the Sperry Chalet to be rebuilt and come back for an overnight through-hike...

hiking
23 days ago

Nice trail through the woods, saw multiple deer, & enjoyed the river falls & river cascades. Beautiful, easy hike.

This is a nice intro hike into the National Park, with an abundance of WILDFLOWERS, lake views, the mountains to the N.E offer nice photos too. Pretty easy stroll along the shoreline and you may get lucky and see a bald eagle along the shore. I like this as a post hike after a strenuous hike the previous day. It is a pretty easy hike.

hiking
24 days ago

We did this hike on June 20th with our three young kids and two dogs in the pouring rain. It’s a beautiful trail. Like others have noted, it has a few steep sections in the beginning but my 6yr olds had no problem. The lake is absolutely beautiful and worth the hike. We did encounter a black bear approx 30ft off the trail approx 1.25 miles into the hike in a clearing of shrubs. It stood up and stared at us. I unguarded our bear spray and we began singing loudly and making noise so it ran away up the mountain. We also heard wolves howling on the other side of the lake.

hiking
25 days ago

Great family trail. The lake is hard to see but the river steals the show. Nice bridge over the river and waterfall views. Plenty of great photo ops. The stroll through the woods is very pleasant.

hiking
25 days ago

nice short trail. John's Lake is hard to see, but the loop shows a lot of different things in a short span. Great for families!

hiking
25 days ago

Great and easy hike!

hiking
26 days ago

Easy hike/walk out to Rocky Point and beyond. Saw one deer, and many humans!!!

hiking
27 days ago

easy hike. great views of the creek!

hiking
bugs
28 days ago

We really enjoyed this hike! Simple and easy. The views of the river are gorgeous. We used this trail as a restful walk between strenuous hikes. Hiked on 6/17/19

I parked at the closed road, and after checking the posted trail closures, I walked beyond the gate and across the vehicle bridge to reach the true trailhead for McDonald Creek, which was open according to NPS information. The trail stretched east from the head of Lake McDonald on the north side of the creek. The path takes you through breathtaking old growth Cedars and Hemlocks lining the rushing turquoise waters of Creek. I was surprised to be alone for most of the 5 mile trek as this trail is a popular one on the westside of Glacier. I passed beautiful cascades and finally reached an outlet from the main waterway that is calm and still. I had hoped to see a moose or other wildlife in this area but all was quiet. I was a little nervous to be alone in such a secluded area so I beat a hasty retreat back down the trail, calling "hey bear" all the way. Otherwise, a very well maintained trail with little challenge. The scenery made the trip worth it, though.

hiking
bugs
30 days ago

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