- Physical DifficultyThis 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.
- Technical DifficultyThis 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.
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 for Avalanche Lake
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 0.8 km. 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 1.1 km 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 for Avalanche Lake
- 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 to the Avalanche Lake Trailhead
From the entrance to West Glacier, turn right on the Going to the Sun Road and continue for roughly 27.4 km to the Trail of the Cedars trailhead.
Avalanche Lake Elevation Graph
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Avalanche Lake Reviews
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