Glacier National Park Information

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Glacier Park Information
McDonald Lake Area

Lake McDonald is the longest and deepest lake in the park, carved 472 feet deep in places and 10 miles long by glaciers. Kootenai Indians called this the Yakilahkwilnamki, “The Sacred Dancing Place” and held ceremonies on the lakeshore. The sparkling clear waters and prominent mountain views no doubt contribute to the lake’s continued popularity. This well-used area has been developed with four campgrounds, the west side visitor center, visitor services at Apgar Village, and an amphitheater. Historic Lake McDonald Lodge is near the head of the lake, where a boat tour is available. Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses the southern boundary of the lake. This road provides easy access to the lakeshore and banks of McDonald Creek, which empties into the lake. There are easy woodland trails to be pursued in this valley, including paved trails at Apgar Village and Avalanche Creek. The National Park Service conducts interpretive programs and guided hikes in the area. The Lake McDonald Valley sits just beyond the West Glacier entrance station and can be reached from the east, via the Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass.

McDonald Creek after the Fire
View looking from the bridge on McDonald Creek.

  1. McDonald Lodge - in Glacier National Park

  2. Lake McDonald - Apgar Lookout- 3.3 miles - Left on un-maintained gravel road past West Glacier horse corral, then over Quarter Circle Bridge 1.5 miles. Elevation climbs 1,850 feet

  3. McDonald Creek Bike Path - 2 miles - Asphalt bicycle path 50 yards south of Apgar visitor Center suitable as a nice ride for the entire family.

  4. Fish Lake- 3.0 miles - Sperry Trailhead across from Lake McDonald Lodge. Elevation climbs 1,000 feet

  5. Granite Park - 3.5 miles - Granite Park Trailhead, 24 miles from Apgar on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Elevation climbs 2,200 feet

  6. Mt. Brown Lookout - 5.4 miles - Sperry Trailhead across from Lake McDonald Lodge. Elevation climbs 4,325 feet

  7. Snyder Lake - 4.4 miles - Sperry Trailhead across from Lake McDonald Lodge. Elevation climbs 2,150 feet

  8. Sperry Chalet - 6.4 miles - Sperry Trailhead across from Lake McDonald Lodge. Elevation climbs 3,450 feet

  9. Trout Lake - 4.2 miles - 1.5 miles west on the North Lake McDonald Road. Elevation climbs and descends 2,100 feet

  10. John's Lake Loop - 3 miles - 1.3 miles north of McDonald lodge on the opposite side of the road.
    Trailhead is marked John's Lake 0.3 miles, parking is enough to hold about 8 cars. Trail loops around and takes in a lot of forest scenes and waterfalls.

Lake McDonald

John and Carol Free playing the Alpen Horns.