One of the most popular Glacier hikes is Avalanche Lake, and it’s with good reason. The stunning lake has a backdrop to die for as the mountains rise quickly behind to form towering peaks. At only 6 miles round trip, it’s a relatively short hike for a beautiful view. Due to the limited hikes in West Glacier, though, it’s one of the most visited trails, so expect a constant stream of hikers.
Even though it has plenty of hikers, it still has bear activity, so make sure to spray and hike in groups of two or more. When bears are hanging around, they will close the trail to ensure hiker and bear safety. Let’s dive into Avalanche lake, one of the top hikes in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Hikes in Glacier National Park Montana – Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake Trip Details
Length: 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 750
Crowd Level: High
Parking Availability: Limited without shuttles
In non-COVID times, you’d hop on the shuttle, and they’d drop you off at Avalanche Lake. However, with the shuttles closed in 2020, parking is a bit tedious. To beat the crowds, I suggest going early for sunrise or sunset.
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This works on two fronts. One, you don’t have to deal with large groups of people, and the lake will be glassed over, creating a stunning reflection. If you do go early/late, make sure to make noise as you walk. This trail is notorious for having bears on it; the last thing you want is to turn a corner and spook a bear.
Hiking into Avalanche Lake Glacier National Park
My group was four deep, and we just sang and yelled the entire two miles down the trail. It’s one of those things that’s pretty fun – though someone watching from afar would probably find this insane. But, on the other hand, if you hike Avalanche lake in Glacier National park during the day, there will be plenty of people on the trail, and bears shouldn’t be of any worry.
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The first part of the trek is the Trail of the Cedars, which has you walk on a boardwalk. After a half-mile, you’ll get onto the Avalanche Lake portion, and it’ll wind you up the trail to the lake. Regarding the hike difficulty, Avalanche Lake is one of the Glacier hikes meant for anyone. The trail is well maintained, and at less than 1000 feet of elevation gain, people of all ages should be able to do it. (There is a bathroom at the end to ensure the area stays clean.)
Overall, this hike probably won’t take you more than 3.5 hours, leaving you plenty of time to do other hikes in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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