The Hike to Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park, June 2013
My birthday week in June 2013 was a beautiful, sun-filled week. What better way to spend a day in the sun than with a hike to Avalanche Lake, in Glacier National Park?
I have mentioned before that Avalanche Lake is one of my favorite, (and easiest) hikes in Glacier National Park.
The hike is just over 2 miles each way. You will park at the Avalanche Creek Campground on your way up toward Logan Pass, just past Lake McDonald. The Avalanche Creek Campground has a nice area next to the creek to have lunch, with flat rock beds creating a serene area.
As always, go earlier in the day to ensure you can find parking and to avoid the crowds on the trail.
The trail follows Avalanche Creek for a short time, before it veers off and up to the right. Except for a few hills, the hike is relatively easy, with a 500 foot elevation gain.
Most of the trail you will be surrounded by beautiful trees, and large rocks covered with moss.
Don’t miss the hollowed out tree!!
About halfway up, there is now a stunning view of Mount Canon and Hidden Creek, thanks to an avalanche that knocked over 50 trees back in the winter of 2010 / 2011.
When you reach the lake, there is a nice beach area to stop and have lunch at. There are benches provided, and should be used, because the ground can be extremely wet, making it hard to sit down anywhere to eat your lunch.
Early in the season is an especially nice time to hike to the lake, because the spring runoff creates stunning waterfalls cascading down into Avalanche Lake.
The sound from the lake is incredible! You are so far away from the waterfalls still, and yet, you can hear them so well.
Watch out for the chipmunks while you are eating! They have clearly been fed by a lot of people, as they will climb up your leg, take food out of your hand, and even dig in your bag for food if you turn your back!
The lake is cold, but you will see people swimming in it on occasion. I have swam in it in the past, but that might not happen again. 😉
There is no access past the lake to the surrounding mountains. The lake is extremely closed in, surrounded by steep slopes.
This lake is also a great place to see black bears, particularly in the spring. Carry bear spray, and make noise. I wouldn’t worry too much about bears here though, there are so many people frequenting this trail, that the bears don’t seem too phased by human activity. Don’t get too close, and let them be.
We saw one black bear along the lake edge while we were there. We also saw one deer running through the woods.
My little one loves hiking, and she loved Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park! Don’t miss this hike if you visit Glacier!
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog