Lake McDonald Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
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.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
22.0 km
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.
380 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Lake McDonald Trail is a great opportunity for hikers to get out into the wild and explore Glacier National Park. This hike takes you through much of the fire damage that took place years ago but also showcases the regrowth that is happening. Take in the views of Rocky Point while enjoying lunch and keep your eyes peeled for a bear or moose.

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Route Description for Lake McDonald Trail

Lake McDonald Trail is a beautiful, kid-friendly trail that will give the whole family a work out. This area is bear country, so make sure to bring some bear spray and speak aloud while hiking to alert any bears of your presence, so you do not startle them.

Travel from the trailhead at North Shore Lake McDonald Road and begin your hike. You will trek through wetlands in the beginning and will see a lot of the damage from wildfires in previous years. Without the shade from the trees, you will take in a lot of vitamin D, so make sure you come prepared.

You will continue on the shores of the lake until you reach a nice sandy beach. As you keep moving, you will come across stunning Rocky Point and can sit and enjoy lunch with the family. Walking a little bit further, you will come across some elevation and Fish Creek. Some hikers decide to head back here as this is an out-and-back trail.

Find more epic hikes in Glacier National Park

Insider Hints for Lake McDonald Trail

  • Ensure you bring sunscreen and a hat as some areas of this trail can be sparse for shade
  • Bring Bear spray
  • This trail can be considered a point-to-point as well; if you would like to continue on the trail, make sure to park a car at the other end

Getting to the Lake McDonald Trail Trailhead

To get to Lake McDonald Trail from Apgar, head North toward Apgar Loop/Lake View Drive and turn right. After 1.3 km, turn left onto Glacier Route 1 Road/Going-to-the-Sun Road and after 7.6 km you will arrive at your destination.

Route Information

  • When to do

    April - October

  • Backcountry Campsites


  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Lake McDonald Trail Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Lake McDonald Trail Reviews

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