Trail of the Cedars

Difficulty
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Very 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.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
1.4 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.
15 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Trail of Cedars takes you through a forest of Western Hemlock and Red Cedar trees along a boardwalk that is stroller and wheelchair friendly. Explore the amazing views that the trail has to offer, the highlight being the footbridge over Avalanche Creek that showcases the Avalanche Gorge below. If you want to see Avalanche Creek up close, climb the short but steep trail to get to the banks and see the power that the glacially melted water has as it rushes through the gorge.

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Route Description for Trail of the Cedars

The Trail of Cedars is a very popular hike, especially in the summer months, for good reason. This trail is one of two in all of Glacier National Park that is stroller and wheelchair friendly, making it a favourite among families. During peak months, parking can be an issue due to its popularity, so arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon may shake some tourists.

The Trail of Cedars is a short walk through the soaring, ancient Western Hemlock and Red Cedar trees that takes you through a winding boardwalk where bright green ferns and mosses blanket the forest floor. The humidity in the air in this particular area makes a perfect breeding ground for Red Cedars to grow and reach heights of 30 m or more. Some of these trees have been situated in this forest for over 500 years.

Halfway through this trail, you will come across a footbridge over Avalanche Creek that looks down on the Avalanche Gorge. Just past the footbridge is the Avalanche Lake Trail junction, which, if you choose to climb, will take you to the shores of the gorge. The climb is short but steep; however, you will be rewarded with seeing the power of glacially melted water as it pushes through the gorge.

If you wish to continue on to see Avalanche Lake, keep walking for another 2.6 km.

Continuing on the loop of the Trail of Cedars, the boardwalk will end and you will continue the rest of the loop on a paved trail. Passing the Avalanche Creek Campground and will take you back out to the road from where you began.

Insider Hints for Trail of the Cedars

  • Bring the whole family on this easy and accessible trail
  • Extend your vacation at the closeby McDonald Lake Lodge
  • Take a drive down the Going to the Sun Road and find yourself surrounded by mountains and incredible views

Getting to the Trail of the Cedars Trailhead

To get to the Trail of Cedars from Mcdonald Lake Lodge is quite simple. Head South out of the McDonald Lake Lodge loop and turn left onto Glacier Route 1 Road /Going-to-the-Sun-Road. Stay on this road for 9.0 km and the Trail of Cedars will appear on your right hand side.

Route Information

  • When to do

    April - October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Trail of the Cedars Elevation Graph

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