Avalanche Lake Trail Spring 2015, Glacier National Park
Anyone who follows my website knows that I have written about the Avalanche Lake Trail a few times. It is one of the first trails to open in the spring, as the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens to Avalanche Lake Campground before it opens to Logan Pass or in its entirety later in the season. You can pretty much count on being able to drive to the Avalanche Lake Campground and hike to Avalanche Lake starting in May.
It is also an easy hike, depending on what shape you are in. The elevation gain is only around 500 feet. It has a few small hills, but anyone can do it if you give it time!
This year, I have already been reminded of the most critical thing I can tell you about Avalanche Lake:
Arrive early to ensure you get parking!!!
The parking lot fills early even this time of year, because the road is open past Avalanche Lake up to the Loop (not all of the way to Logan Pass generally at this time of year) to bicycles. So even though the road is closed to vehicles past this point, tons of people love to ride their bikes past here along the creek. (This is also a great option if you love to ride bikes!) Because you can count on all of the vehicles who plan on riding their bikes needing to find parking as well, the parking is crowded. Summer months are even worse.
My recommendation is to arrive before 9 a.m. to ensure a parking spot.
This year I saw way too many people parked illegally, along the road, in bus stop areas, handicapped, you get my point. Beat the crowds so you won’t have to stress. The first pullout after Avalanche Lake is quite a ways back, so it is okay if you are riding a bike, but you wouldn’t want to walk it if you plan on hiking to Avalanche Lake.
As usual, Avalanche Lake is stunning this time of year as it still has snow up on the mountains, and you are likely to see wildlife. We got to see a bear this year across the lake.
Here are some of our photos from May 2015: