Best Hikes in Lake McDonald / West Glacier

Location: Glacier National Park, Montana

Lake McDonald Hiking Trails

Looking back at Clements Mountain (8,760-ft.) towering above the Logan Pass area

The Garden Wall / Highline Trail

Distance: 4.0 - 11.6 miles (Round Trip)

One of my favorite trails in the park, this moderately easy hike along the western flanks of the Continental Divide features panoramic views of the Livingston and Lewis Ranges along with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Panorama of high peaks from Comeau Pass

Sperry Glacier

Distance: 7.6 - 18.4 miles (Round Trip)

This spectacular hike climbs through gorgeous Glacier Basin, passes beautiful waterfalls and lovely alpine lakes before climbing to scenic Comeau Pass, with panoramic views of Glacier’s high peaks. A short walk beyond the pass leads to the ice expanse of Sperry Glacier.

The Sexton Glacier on the eastern flanks of Matahpi Peak

Siyeh Pass

Distance: 9.2 miles (Round Trip)

A scenic ascent of beautiful Preston Park and then a steep climb up pretty meadows and talus slopes leads to Siyeh Pass and the Baring/Boulder Divide, where stunning views unfold to the Sexton Glacier, Matahpi Peak, the Baring and Boulder Creek Valleys and beyond.

Piegan Mountain and the Piegan Glacier

Piegan Pass

Distance: 9.0 miles (Round Trip)

Splendid views of the peaks along the Continental Divide and rimming the Siyeh Creek Valley are the highlights of this scenic hike to Piegan Pass (7,570-ft.).

Terrific views down the length of Gunsight Lake

Gunsight Pass

Distance: 19.4 miles (One Way)

Memorable backpack over Gunsight and Lincoln Passes travels by gorgeous Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson set amid towering peaks adorn with glaciers and waterfalls. Wildflowers and wildlife add to the hike’s delights.

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain

Siyeh Bend to Sunrift Gorge

Distance: 10.1 miles (One Way)

Stunning views of Preston Park, the Baring-Boulder Divide and the Baring Creek Valley are the highlights of this great hike circumnavigating the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain and Matahpi Peak massif. The hike uses the Glacier shuttle bus to complete the loop.

View from the Overlook

Hidden Lake Overlook and Hidden Lake

Distance: 2.6 - 5.2 miles (Round Trip)

Nonstop, panoramic views of the high peaks and alpine meadows around Logan Pass and a stunning overlook above Hidden Lake Basin make this one of the most popular outings in Glacier National Park. Extend the hike by visiting beautiful Hidden Lake.

Lake Ellen Wilson and Mount Jackson

Gunsight Pass from Sperry Chalet

Distance: 8.5 - 10.2 miles (Round Trip)

Cross two passes and travel above the shores of Lake Ellen Wilson on this superb hike with unsurpassed views of Mount Jackson, Gunsight Mountain, Lake Ellen Wilson and Gunsight Lake. Waterfalls, wildlife sighting and wildflowers add to the trail’s appeal.

Rainbow, Square and the Cerulean Peaks from the Lookout

Numa Ridge Lookout

Distance: 11.8 miles (Round Trip)

A lovely drive up Glacier’s North Fork Valley leads to Bowman Lake. Here the Numa Ridge trail climbs its namesake ridge to a working fire tower with fine views of the peaks rising along the southeast side of the lake and west across the North Fork Valley.

Edwards Mountain

Sperry Chalet via the Gunsight Pass Trail

Distance: 12.4 miles (Round Trip)

A sustained ascent through trees for 4.0 miles and then more open terrain leads to the foot of stunning Glacier Basin, the Sperry Chalet and Sperry Campground. The area is a great basecamp for visiting the Sperry Glacier, Lincoln Pass and Gunsight Pass.

Mount Vaught, McPartland Mountain and Heavens Peak

Mount Brown Lookout

Distance: 10.2 miles (Round Trip)

Breathtaking views of the high peaks of the Lewis Range to the north, the summits of the Great Bear Wilderness to the south and the Lake McDonald area reward hikers completing this strenuous climb to a fire tower on Mt. Brown’s southwest ridge.

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake

Distance: 6.0 miles (Round Trip)

This popular hike, traveling through a forest of red cedars, larches and western hemlocks, leads to photogenic Avalanche Lake. The first section of the hike enjoys fine views of Avalanche Creek. For more great views of Avalanche Creek, return via the Trail of the Cedars.

Mt. Brown towering above Snyder Lake

Snyder Lake

Distance: 8.5 miles (Round Trip)

This pleasant jaunt leads to pretty Snyder Lake set amid a rugged cirque. The trail is a nice early season option and offers a good workout. Areas burnt by the 2017 fire are recovering and now feature good views of the surrounding peaks.

Sacred Dancing Cascade

Johns Lake Loop

Distance: 1.9 miles (Loop)

This nice hike near the head of Lake McDonald passes peaceful John’s Lake and then wanders by Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls along McDonald Creek. Great hike for families or anyone looking for an easy stroll near the Lake McDonald Lodge.

View from the lookout

Apgar Lookout

Distance: 7.2 miles (Round Trip)

This nice hike ascends to an old fire lookout atop a shoulder of Apgar Mountain with partially obstructed birds-eye-views of the Lake McDonald area.

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Glacier National Park, MontanaMany GlacierSt MaryTwo MedicineLake McDonald