Avalanche Lake Trail

Glacier National Park, Montana

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9 Reviews
4 out of 5
Avalanche Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Flathead County, Montana. It is within Glacier National Park. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 3,449 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,134 feet.
Distance: mi Elevation: ft
Avalanche Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Flathead County, Montana. It is within Glacier National Park. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 3,449 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,134 feet. This trail connects with the following: Trail of the Cedars.
Activity Type: Hiking, Trail Running, Walking
Nearby City: Glacier National Park
Distance: 2.5
Elevation Gain: 1,134 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 3,449 feet
Top Elevation: 3,971 feet
Additional Use: Camping
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Parks: Glacier National Park
Elevation Min/Max: 3449/3971 ft
Elevation Start/End: 3449/3449 ft

Avalanche Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A half-day hike from Avalanche Creek trailhead to Avalanche Lake, 3.1 miles (4.4km) one way. The Avalanche Lake Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park, due to its gentle grade and spectacular destination.

Hikers seeking solitude should go elsewhere, as throngs of bear bell–bedecked tourists are a given at the height of the season. The hike begins at the Trail of the Cedars, a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that winds between the boles of huge cedars and cottonwoods to Avalanche Gorge."

"A family favorite, the hike to Avalanche Lake takes about 2 hours and affords previews of several ecosystems, from the sheltered understory of 500-year-old cedar trees alongside a roiling stream to a pine forest where deer flick their tails to the final reward: emerald-green Avalanche Lake rimmed with melting snow and enlivened by mountain goats on cliffs above."

"The Avalanche Lake Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier, due to its gentle grade and spectacular destination. Hikers seeking solitude should go elsewhere, since throngs of bear bell–bedecked tourists are a given at the height of the season."

Avalanche Lake Trail Reviews

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9/2/2010
Despite having arthritis throughout my back, at age 56, this was a fairly easy hike, with some moderate climbing interspersed with level areas to recoup. There were a lot of people on this trail, very few fully geared as we were--some were young kids, one with flip flops, shorts, and a giant bag of cheetos puffs--but it's best to keep in mind that between 7,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the weather in Glacier can change in minutes. We arrived at Avalanche Lake and continued to the west end along a lightly used trail (in fact, we saw only two other people on that stretch). Reaching the west end the temperature suddenly dropped 25 degrees, a strong wind rose up, and the sky opened up on us with rain, thunder, and lightning. Our light-weight rain jackets and hiking boots kept us warm and dry but I had to wonder how those kids in flip flops and shorts were dealing with it. The rating system here goes only to 5 stars; if we could, we'd give Avalanche Lake trail (the trail--not necessarily the people on it) 6 stars. It's absolutely beautiful. Hike the full bottom trail first--the Cedars Trail, pack in a light-weight tripod if you can, and bring an actual camera... don't rely on just a cell phone.
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7/25/2009
Incredible view and beautiful lake with multiple very high waterfalls feeding the lake. Azure-blue glacial color. Reasonable climb if you have not acclimated yet. Fit hikers will have not problem. Note that this is a very popular trail and you will not have any solitude at all anywhere on the trail.
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7/2/2009
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8/21/2008
Wow! My Catherine and I hike a lot and, to be honest, wow is always appropriate because she is always with me. That aside though, we thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It is a popular trail for many reasons. Rain was falling lightly when we hiked it and so the number of human encounters was light and the rain had enhanced the waterfalls when we arrived at the lake. The gorge along the way and the lush forest made the trail extremely welcoming. It was an easy trail and down all the way back. God parted the fog when we arrived at the lake like a curtain and what lay behind was astonishing! There were six waterfalls and all were thrashing and loud even at the distance that they were from us! A truly beautiful experience!
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8/1/2008
Probably one of the best day hikes I've ever taken. Great view at trail end. Trail was very wet at certain points but nothing to hard.
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7/16/2008
Even though this trail is popular, it is a great one! There is the beautiful gorge that thunders and pushes water through it and results in a beautifully water eroded gorge. Deer stand close to the trail and are not even bothered by the many hikers. Avalance Lake is beuatifully blue. I recomend going in the later part of June/July because we could not see the blue of the glacier. It was still covered by snow. But none-the-less, it was a great short and easy hike.
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9/1/2005
Great trail, but it does have some ups and downs. It is not completely flat. Plan on splending some time at the lake. The lake view is amazing. Look for black bear.
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5/7/2003
Avalanche Trail is an excellent hike of moderate difficulty. Spectacular views as you climb up into the higher elevations. Make sure you keep your eyes open for mountain goat, elk, and moose. The peaks surround you once you have reached the lake, and what a sight it was!
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7/1/2002
Yes, there a crowds. And a great finishing view of the waterfall laden mountain looming over the lake. But the lush deepness of the surrounding forest as you walk was the highlight of this hike for my wife. It has become the standard of comparison for all hikes promising deep dark forest. We hiked it in 1988 - so this review may be a bit dated!
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Jun 2018