🌎Moderate- Glacier National Park



Elevation gain


Route type

out & back

Enjoy this 5.9-mile out-and-back trail near Lake Mc Donald, Montana. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 28 min to complete. This is a very popular area for camping and hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are June through October. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail.

• Glacier National Park charges a fee to enter. For more information, please see https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/fees.htm
• SEASONAL ROAD CLOSURE: Roads in Glacier National Park, including Going-to-the-Sun Road are subject to seasonal closure. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/directions.htm
• WILDLIFE CLOSURE: Trails in Glacier National Park are subject to closures due to bear activity. For more information, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm For more information about safety while adventuring in bear country, please visit:https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/bears.htm

Learn more about AVALANCHE LAKE


The hike to Avalanche Lake is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park due to the lake’s incredibly clear blue waters and the stunning views you will encounter throughout your trip. You can find the Avalanche Lake Trailhead not far from the West Entrance of the park just past Lake McDonald. The Avalanche Campground is also close to the trailhead.

The trail starts south of the Avalanche Gorge Footbridge on the Trail of the Cedars and winds its way through old-growth cedars and hemlock forest. The boardwalk meanders along the roaring stream to a beautiful glacial melt lake fed by waterfalls from the surrounding alpine bowl.

After the Trail of the Cedars section, the trail gradually climbs along Avalanche Creek, featuring spectacular scenery and glimpses of birds and wildlife that inhabit the area. Plant enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse species of flora. The trail flattens out once you reach the lake.

The Trail of the Cedars is a popular stop along the Going-To-The-Sun Road, so it is recommended that you arrive at the parking lot early. The hiking trails in this area are known for bear activity. Please be prepared and know how to respond during wildlife encounters.

Accessibility: The Avalanche Trail portion is likely not accessible for visitors using wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or strollers. The most accessible portion of the trail is the Trail of the Cedars https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/montana/trail-of-the-cedars--2.

  • Parking
    Head off into the woods following the trail signs for Avalanche Gorge and Trail of The Cedars.
  • Avalanche Creek Views
    Views of the surrounding peaks from Avalanche Creek
  • Avalanche Gorge
    Check out the beautiful glacial water cascading down through the rocks of this gorge.
  • Pit Toilet
  • Boardwalk Through The Woods
    Well maintained boardwalk through the woods.