Best Hikes in Lake McDonald / West Glacier
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
Lake McDonald Hiking Trails
Distance: 4.0 - 11.6 miles (Round Trip)
One of my favorite trails in the park, this moderately easy hike along the western flanks of the Continental Divide features panoramic views of the Livingston and Lewis Ranges along with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
Distance: 7.6 - 18.4 miles (Round Trip)
This spectacular hike climbs through gorgeous Glacier Basin, passes beautiful waterfalls and lovely alpine lakes before climbing to scenic Comeau Pass, with panoramic views of Glacier’s high peaks. A short walk beyond the pass leads to the ice expanse of Sperry Glacier.
Distance: 9.2 miles (Round Trip)
A scenic ascent of beautiful Preston Park and then a steep climb up pretty meadows and talus slopes leads to Siyeh Pass and the Baring/Boulder Divide, where stunning views unfold to the Sexton Glacier, Matahpi Peak, the Baring and Boulder Creek Valleys and beyond.
Distance: 9.0 miles (Round Trip)
Splendid views of the peaks along the Continental Divide and rimming the Siyeh Creek Valley are the highlights of this scenic hike to Piegan Pass (7,570-ft.).
Distance: 19.4 miles (One Way)
Memorable backpack over Gunsight and Lincoln Passes travels by gorgeous Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson set amid towering peaks adorn with glaciers and waterfalls. Wildflowers and wildlife add to the hike’s delights.
Distance: 10.1 miles (One Way)
Stunning views of Preston Park, the Baring-Boulder Divide and the Baring Creek Valley are the highlights of this great hike circumnavigating the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain and Matahpi Peak massif. The hike uses the Glacier shuttle bus to complete the loop.
Distance: 2.6 - 5.2 miles (Round Trip)
Nonstop, panoramic views of the high peaks and alpine meadows around Logan Pass and a stunning overlook above Hidden Lake Basin make this one of the most popular outings in Glacier National Park. Extend the hike by visiting beautiful Hidden Lake.
Distance: 8.5 - 10.2 miles (Round Trip)
Cross two passes and travel above the shores of Lake Ellen Wilson on this superb hike with unsurpassed views of Mount Jackson, Gunsight Mountain, Lake Ellen Wilson and Gunsight Lake. Waterfalls, wildlife sighting and wildflowers add to the trail’s appeal.
Distance: 11.8 miles (Round Trip)
A lovely drive up Glacier’s North Fork Valley leads to Bowman Lake. Here the Numa Ridge trail climbs its namesake ridge to a working fire tower with fine views of the peaks rising along the southeast side of the lake and west across the North Fork Valley.
Distance: 12.4 miles (Round Trip)
A sustained ascent through trees for 4.0 miles and then more open terrain leads to the foot of stunning Glacier Basin, the Sperry Chalet and Sperry Campground. The area is a great basecamp for visiting the Sperry Glacier, Lincoln Pass and Gunsight Pass.
Distance: 10.2 miles (Round Trip)
Breathtaking views of the high peaks of the Lewis Range to the north, the summits of the Great Bear Wilderness to the south and the Lake McDonald area reward hikers completing this strenuous climb to a fire tower on Mt. Brown’s southwest ridge.
Distance: 6.0 miles (Round Trip)
This popular hike, traveling through a forest of red cedars, larches and western hemlocks, leads to photogenic Avalanche Lake. The first section of the hike enjoys fine views of Avalanche Creek. For more great views of Avalanche Creek, return via the Trail of the Cedars.
Distance: 8.5 miles (Round Trip)
This pleasant jaunt leads to pretty Snyder Lake set amid a rugged cirque. The trail is a nice early season option and offers a good workout. Areas burnt by the 2017 fire are recovering and now feature good views of the surrounding peaks.
Distance: 1.9 miles (Loop)
This nice hike near the head of Lake McDonald passes peaceful John’s Lake and then wanders by Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls along McDonald Creek. Great hike for families or anyone looking for an easy stroll near the Lake McDonald Lodge.
Distance: 7.2 miles (Round Trip)
This nice hike ascends to an old fire lookout atop a shoulder of Apgar Mountain with partially obstructed birds-eye-views of the Lake McDonald area.