Glacier National Park Information

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Hiking in West Glacier

West Glacier is the gateway to the park because of the proximity of airports in Kalispell & Whitefish. There are many vendors in the area offering accommodations, dining, guided raft trips, horseback rides, etc.  There are also a couple of major car campgrounds.

Lake McDonald is close to the entrance to West Glacier and is the largest body of water in the park. It is 10 miles long and has a maximum depth of 472 feet.  The country is characterized by low, east-west ridges rising into rugged peaks. Forests are on the eastern shore of the lake and the western shore shows evidence of the 2003 Robert Fire.

Hikes around Lake McDonald tend to pass through thick forest without many views.


West Glacier Hikes

Trail Name Trailhead Distance (Return) Time (Return) Elevation Gain
Apgar Lookout Take Apgar horse corral rd to a Y intersection. Keep left and go over bridge, go for another mile. Take first right follow rd. for 0.5 mi to trailhead 5.6 miles  (4.5 km) 1 to 3 hours 1,835’
Avalanche Lake Across from the Avalanche Picnic Area on the Going-to-the-Sun Rd. 4.6 miles (7.4 km) 2 to 4 hours 505’
Fish Lake Across the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald Lodge 4.6 miles (7.4 km) 1 to 3 hours 1,000’
Huckleberry Mountain Lookout Follow Camas Rd. northwest out of Apgar. Trail on rd. 6 miles northwest of Apgar, on left 12 miles  (19 km) 6 to 8 hours 3,403’
Johns Lake Loop Follow Going-to-the-Sun Rd from Lake McDonald Lodge for 1.5 mi. Park @ Johns Lake Trailhead on right side of road. 2.4 miles (3.9 km) 1 to 2 hours 100’
Lincoln Lake Marked on Going-to-the-Sun Rd., 1.5 miles southwest of Lake McDonald Lodge 16 miles (26 km) 6 to 10 hours 2,250’
McDonald Creek From Lake McDonald Lodge take Going-to-the-Sun Rd fro several miles to junction with North Shore Rd. Turn Left, cross bridge and trailhead will be on right hand side of road 6.8 miles (10.9 km) 3 to 5 hours 200’
McDonald Lake Trail From Apgar, follow the Camas Rd north for 9.8 mi, right at Fish Creek Campground. As road turns to gravel, look for info sign with parking area. 13.2 miles  (21.2 km) 6 to 10 hours 160’
Mount Brown Lookout Across the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald Lodge 10.8 miles (17 km) 3 to 5 hours 4,305’
Snyder Lakes Across the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald Lodge 8.8 miles (14 km) 2 to 4 hours 2,047’
Trail of the Cedars Across from Avalanche Picnic Area on Going-to-the-Sun Rd. 0.7 miles (1.1 km) 20 to 60 minutes minimal
Trout Lake Take Going-to-the-Sun Rd. 0.5 mile east of Lake McDonald Lodge to North Lake McDonald Rd. Turn onto rd. Pavement will end shortly after bridge; pass the ranger station 0.5 mi to trailhead. 3.5 miles (5.5 km) 1 to 3 hours