Glacier National Park Information Home

Find us on Facebook

Top Places to See
Going-to-the-Sun Road

Glacier National Park
Pictures and Slideshows

Park Map

Lodges and Chalets
In Glacier Park

Camp Grounds
In Glacier National Park

St. Mary's Area

See Map Here

McDonald Area

Trail Map Here

North Fork Area

Southern Boundary

Two Medicine Area

Logan Pass Area

Many Glacier Area

See Map Here

Trail of the Cedars
Avalanche Area

Cut Bank Area

Chief Mountain

Goat Haunt Area

See Map Here

Services Available
In Glacier Park

Wintering In
Glacier National Park


Glacier Park - Johns Lake Loop

Johns Lake Photo

Our trailhead to this wonderful day hike, is just about a mile and a half east of Lake McDonald Lodge. We will start on the South side of "Going To The Sun Road". It will be a well marked parking area.

As we hike along Lake McDonald Creek. There are areas that we need to be very careful with children, as some drop offs are sharp near McDonald Falls. Being cautious in spots will not take away the great pleasure for both Adults and Children. This hike starts out wide and is well used. To make a loop back to your starting point, you will want to combine this trail with the McDonald Creek trail. It’s a very scenic and restful walk through lots of tall, cool, Western Red Cedars, and Mountain Hemlock. This 3 mile round trip will be a family delight. There are lots of shade loving forest flowers,  you will be serenaded with the chattering of different types of squirrels. We occasionally find Mountain Maple trees here and there that show off with their red and yellow leaves in the fall. There are also huckleberry and snowberry bushes that have colored leaves in the fall. All in all, this is a very pleasant cool refreshing walk for the whole family.

As we reach Johns lake we find it to be a small and quite shallow lake. It seems to be hidden in the forest with lovely water Lily plants all along the shore line.

As we stand by the lake, looking up over the elegant trees, to the north, we see two Mountains. Stanton mountain, which rises about 7,750 in elevation, and also Mount Vaught, at 8,850 feet .

McDonald Falls on McDonald CreekAs we continue we will avoid the trail sign leading toward Avalanche Lake, and stay on the Johns lake Trail to the left. We will once again go into a mystical, cool, forest. The trees here are so thick that very little sun finds it’s way through. We walk on the soft velvety green moss that makes everything have a green glow about it. There are not young trees here because of the absence of light. These old Mt. Hemlock reach high for their sunlight, and provide a moist floor for the thick moss.

Listen closely and you will hear the rushing waters of McDonald Creek just ahead. We will soon find a walkway across the road and a path to the lake. Crossing the creek, we can enjoy the lovely sights below. The bridge over the creek, leads us to a trail on our left. When we arrive at a spot where horseback riders are forbidden, the trail divides. We will stay to our left along the creek.

Watch for the many ducks in the water here. These are Harlequin ducks, with blue and red feathers. They also have black and white markings. Watch closely because they will not make sounds to alert you. These silent little ducks are native to cold waters as far away as Siberia. They are usually seen in late June to nest here, then go farther north for the winter, about the middle of August.

Our walk along the creek is a very pleasant one, as the water tumbles over the limestone rocks and cascades into reflective pools. We see the colors of the sky and the beautiful trees around us.

Soon we see the crashing waters of McDonald Falls, and then back into the hemlock forest.

McDonald Falls from the Road Photo

We follow the trail to a paved road that will take us to the ranger station, but we will being going to our left over the bridge of McDonald Creek. We will take lots of photos from this bridge, Lake Mc Donald and the Apgar Mountains are special views in the early morning and at sunset.

As we come off the bridge we will take the trail to the right and head on back to the car.

Our walk today of about 3 miles has been one we will long remember and want to do over  and over again. If you go during the summer, it will be refreshing to enjoy the cool shaded hike through the tall trees and if you go in the fall you will enjoy the turning of the leaves. Any time of the months that Glacier National Park is open, will be an unforgettable experience.

Johns Lake Loop was written by Verna Parks.




Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.

A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in North America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.

 Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife, geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.

Current Conditions
In Glacier National Park
Weather in Glacier National Park

Horses In
Glacier National Park

Horses in Glacier Park

Top 10 on the
Must See List

My Trip Through
Glacier National Park

Glaciers in
Glacier National Park

Wild Flowers In Glacier
National Park
Flowers in Glacier Park

New Bus

In Glacier National Park

Bicycles in Glacier Park

A Glacier Winter  

Fishing In Glacier
Fishing Information

History Of Glacier Park

History in Names

Animals in Glacier
Animals in Glacier Park

Red Buses
Of Glacier

Hiking In Glacier
Hiking Backpack






Glacier National Park Information
Glacier National Park Information and Pictures.

Subscribe To Be On
The Weekly Mailing List
For New Pages
Glacier National Park is the Place To Be
Comments & Suggestions
Write To Us Here

E-mail to Glacier Park

Glacier Park Information | Contact Us | About Us | Privacy
Terms of Use | Help and FAQ | Copyrights Compliance
Glacier Park Information ® DeerLake Designs LLC   Glacier Logo