Another West Glacier adventure. The total hike from the parking lot totals to about 5 miles roundtrip and has about 500 ft of elevation gain. All in all, solid hike for friends and families of all ages! 4ish/5
You’ll start your day out at the Avalanche parking lot – unless you’re motivated as hell and start from Lake McDonald Lodge (add 12 miles to your trip you freaking ANIMAL)! This is one of the easiest and most accessible hikes in the park, so expect parking to be a major hassle (get there prior to 9am for best results in terms of finding a decent parking spot and having a piece of trail to yourself). As you begin your hike, you’ll be on the Cedars Trail – regardless on where you join the loop, it will guide you to the Avalanche Lake trailhead, so long as you follow the signs and down mosey around.
The trailhead will be due south of the bridge on the Cedars trail. Once you find the trailhead, you’ll begin your first short ascent before hitting relatively flat terrain. The uphill here is about 100 yards or so, meaning it won’t be too bad no matter your fitness level. Once you finish this first pitch, be sure to make your way over to the stream near the trail as there are some pretty cool rocks and stream pools nearby. Just watch your footing, as a trip could result in a bad time.
As you continue the trail, you will find that you go from being near the stream to more wooded areas. While this will feel like it lasts a long while, it will only last for about a 1/2 mile or so. You will continue your push and break out of the thicker area to make out Bearhat Mountain to the north.
One final push through a semi-wooded area will lead you to your first opportunity to see the lake. It will be a small area to walk around that’s littered with downed logs (almost like a beaver dam). You’ll make out the glacial wall and Avalanche Lake from here. If you continue down the path, there will be more opportunities to get yourself down by the lake. I personally pushed about another 1/4 mile down and got a secluded piece of real estate right along the water’s edge – next time I’m bringing a blanket and my guitar haha.
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Get out there and enjoy YOUR adventure! Mahalo friendos!