Avalanche Lake hike is the best first hike in Glacier National Park that everyone should do!
On July 7, 2020, we arrived at Glacier National Park at around noon and were able to hike Avalanche Lake at around 4 pm on the same day. Road access to the east side of the park was closed up to Avalanche due to snow conditions and road work. After about an hour, luckily, park officials reopened the road access to Avalanche Lake right at the turn to Lake McDonald Lodge. We decided to do the hike Avalanche knowing we’d be able to finish the hike before it got dark.
Because of such limited access to the park, Avalanche Lake hike was the only popular and decent hike option. We walked by many families with kids and groups of people including people who did not even have masks on. Regardless, we managed to hike further to the end of the lake and were able to find a more secluded area to sit, take a ton of photos, and just simply enjoyed the view!
How to get there: Avalanche Lake trail access is the same as the Trail of the Cedars.
Location: From Glacier West Entrance, you’d drive along the right side of Lake McDonald. Drive past Lake McDonald Lodge and follow the sign to Going-to-the-sun road. Parking is at the Avalanche Lake parking lot.
Pass required: National Park Pass. I have the annual America the Beautiful Pass, and that gives me access to all National Parks.
Distance: 5.7 mi round trip, 3+ hours
Elevation Gain: 748 ft
Kid and family-friendly hike. No dogs allowed. Wheelchair friendly, especially in the first half of the hike to Trail of the Cedars.
Overall, I’d rate this hike as easy to intermediate. It’s a fun and beautiful hike with striking waterfalls along the hike and a dozen that cascade down at the lake. Avalanche Lake is so clear, and its aquamarine color reminds me so much of Colchuck Lake but times it by ten! The red Cedar trees are so tall and beautiful.
OUTFIT DETAIL: long-sleeved shirt (worn underneath): EVERLANE (I thrifted this V-neck top at the Goodwill, but anything from their Pima cotton range is excellent!) | jacket: MARMOT (I got it on sale at REI, so I’m not sure about the model. Similar HERE) | leggings: LULU LEMON | socks: DARN TOUGH VERMONT | hiking boots: KEEN | hat: APPLE (bought at their HQ San Jose location)