Monday, July 7, 2014

Glacier National Park - Avalanche Lake Hike

Avalanche Lake

After our long hike on Monday, we decided to take Tuesday off – Nicolas gave Casey a bath, and I did some laundry, and we just hung out at the RV Park. 

After our day of rest, we decided that we could get up early on Wednesday and tackle another hike – this one a little shorter, but more difficult with 500 feet of elevation gain.

Welcome to the park!


It was supposed to get up into the 90s on Wednesday, and with the Going to the Sun Road still closed parking could be a problem at the Avalanche Trailhead, so we got an early start.



As we started up the Going to the Sun Road, the clouds were still low over the mountains, and we could barely see the far end of Lake McDonald.

Early morning mist

Skipping stones on the lake


We stopped to enjoy the view, and Bryce just had to skip some stones on the smooth-as-glass surface of the lake!







It was so still and peaceful in the early morning!


Low clouds over Lake McDonald

Going to the Sun Road

We continued our drive past McDonald Lake, and soon reached the churning water of McDonald Creek where it flows into the lake.

I wouldn't want to fall into those rapids!

We stopped at the overlook, and were amazed at the quantity of water flowing in the creek – I’d say it looked more like a raging river!

Rushing water

We reached the Avalanche Creek Parking area, which was already full, but one loop of the campground had been set aside for day use parking.  We drove into the loop and picked a campsite to park in – this will be handy for when we get back – we’ll have a nice shady picnic table where we can eat lunch.

There were several of the Classic Glacier Tour Busses parked in the campground, waiting to pick people up.

Tour Bus

Starting the climb


We walked through the campground loop to the Trail of Cedars, which followed Avalanche Creek and led us to the Avalanche Lake Trail.

Avalanche Creek

The trail go through the woods, along the edge of the creek at first,

Avalanche Creek

Avalanche Creek


where the view was fantastic, and the boys found plenty of places to climb!


Like a little boy at the podium


They all got in on the action!


We were hiking in the shade most of the time, so it wasn’t too hot, and we didn’t see any mosquitos, or poison ivy.  We continued along, and spotted lots of interesting sights – trees growing out of other trees,

Trees growing out of a tree trunk



and an interesting spiderweb.





As we climbed higher, we left the creek, but got some great views of the surrounding mountains.


Beautiful view

After a final steep section, we arrived at Avalanche Lake,

Avalanche Lake

and Bryce headed right for the logs!  The Ranger-led tour had arrived ahead of us, so there was a large group of people hanging out by the lake, but we were able to find a log to take a snack break on.

Our feet were tired, and the lake looked SO inviting, the boys and I decided to take our shoes off and cool off our feet in the water.

Getting in a little deep, Bryce!

Cooling our feet

It was COLD!!  Not that we should have been surprised . . . we could see the snow above melting and flowing right down into the lake!

Avalanche Lake

We rested for about 30 minutes, enjoying the beautiful view,

Avalanche Lake

Mountains around the lake


while the boys continued to play!

Don't fall in!

Nicolas at Avalanche Lake

Handsome boys

Once everybody was rested and we all had our shoes back on, we headed back along the trail . . . it was a little easier going back – pretty much all downhill!

We got back to the car and had our lunch in the campground.  Afterwards, we decided to hop on the shuttle bus and ride up the Going to the Sun road as far as it was open.  We weren’t sure if the road would open before we left, so we figured we should try to see as much of it as we could.

The shuttles were running from the Avalanche parking area to the Loop, which is a little shy of Logan’s Pass.  Unfortunately, though, they don’t stop at any of the overlooks in between, and it’s hard to get any pictures through the bus windows.

We got off at the Loop, and since we weren’t doing any more hiking, we just walked around and took a few pictures before getting back on a shuttle to go back to Avalanche.

At the Loop

At the Loop










We went back to the RV Park for dinner, and later found out that the National Park Service opened Logan’s Pass and the entire Going to the Sun Road that evening.  So, we were going to be able to make the drive on Thursday – Yeah!


  1. Beautiful Hike!!! Bet that water was COLD!!! Glad to hear you will be Going To The careful and have fun:o))

  2. the going to the sun road is so worth the trip!!! sure hope it opens so you can see the whole thing!

  3. See, it from the top a must do in Glacier NP.


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