Avalanche Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
10.1 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
202 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake is a classic hike in Glacier National Park. Setting off from Trail of the Cedars trailhead, you start your trek through a unique flora section, usually found on the Pacific coast. Continuing past roaring glacial waters of Avalanche Creek, and through a field peppered with avalanche remnants, you come to the beautiful lake cradled by snow-swept mountain peaks.

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Route Description

During the busy season, once the road is fully open to vehicle traffic, it becomes tough to find parking here. Either plan to arrive very early in the morning, or take a shuttle from another area of the park.

This is a popular, renowned family-friendly hike! The old-growth cedars and hemlocks, lush greens ferns, and mosses mirror the verdant scenery blanketing the Pacific coast more than anywhere else in the park.

The trek begins at the Trail of the Cedar trailhead. You can start the walk from either direction. After walking for around half a mile, you will reach the junction for Avalanche lake. The lake is either just before or after (depending on which direction you start) a bridge traversing the rushing waters of Avalanche Creek. Once you reach the Avalanche Lake trail, you will embark on a short ascent before continuing along the path adjacent to the creek for 0.5 mi. Eventually, you'll enter the woods.

At the point where Hidden Creek and Avalanche Creek meet, roughly another half-mile ahead, there will be significant debris from the many avalanches that erupt throughout this area. Continue along the trail for another 0.7 mi until you reach the base of Avalanche Lake. There is a little beach a short distance away that makes for a decent rest spot before you return the same way you came.

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Insider Hints

  • The walk to Avalanche Lake is a wonderful accessible hike in the park, perfect for anyone who cannot hike far.
  • Parking here gets extremely crowded since it is also the Trail of the Cedars parking. Therefore, it is vital to get there early.
  • Consider staying the night at Avalanche campground to get ahead of the crowds. It is a first come first serve with 87 sites.

Getting There

From the entrance to West Glacier, turn right on the Going to the Sun Road and continue for roughly 17.0 mi to the Trail of the Cedars trailhead.

Route Details

  • When to do

    May - September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

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