Johns Lake Loop Trail

Difficulty
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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.
0.5-1h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.1 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.
56 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The hike through Johns Lake Loop Trail is a relaxing walk through nature and boasts views of the surrounding cool grey mountains, rushing waters in the nearby creeks and gorgeous views of Lake McDonald. Spend a few hours basking in the beauty of Johns Lake Loop Trail and see why it is a popular destination for hikers. This trail is horse-friendly, so you may be hiking alongside some furry companions.

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Route Description for Johns Lake Loop Trail

The hike through Johns Lake Loop Trail is filled with beautiful scenery and allows you to slow down and enjoy nature. The hike is a popular one, and the parking areas do not hold a lot of cars, so it is best to arrive in the early morning or late afternoon to secure a spot.

The trail begins at the Johns Lake Trailhead. However, you will see a sign for the Avalanche Trail junction; make sure to veer to the left here to stay on the trail as a left turn will take you down a horse path. After hiking through a dense forest of Red Cedars and Hemlock trees, at 0.5 km, you will see a view of the lake and a small trail to the side that will take you to the shore.

Continue on this path, and veer to the left at the Avalanche Trail junction and head towards Sacred Dancing Cascade. At 1.0 km, you will come out to Going to the Sun Road, cross this area when safe to do so and come across the cascade, of which the name derives from a Kootenai phrase that translates to “a good place to dance”. Follow the footbridge and head left to stay on track. At 1.8 km, you will see McDonald Falls, and at 0.5 km past, you will arrive at North Lake McDonald Road, where you turn left to avoid walking on the Going to the Sun Road’s shoulder.

You will then cross over McDonald Creek, where you will see Lake McDonald, Belton Hills and the Apgar mountains. Keep your eyes open for a small side trail 15 m from the bridge that will loop you back to the trailhead.

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Getting to the Johns Lake Loop Trail Trailhead

To get to Johns Lake Loop Trailhead from Mcdonald Lake Lodge, head South towards the Lake McDonald Lodge Loop. After 0.3 km, turn left onto Glacier Route 1 Road/Going-to-the-Sun Road and arrive at your destination after 2.1 km.

Route Information

  • When to do

    April - October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    No pets, horses allowed

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Johns Lake Loop Trail Elevation Graph

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