Pacific Northwest - Day 9 - Glacier Natl. Park - Avalanche Lake, Johns Lake, McDonald Falls

Glacier National Park Travel Blog

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Morning view over Lake McDonald

Another day in the impressive Glacier National Park. Today we had planned some shorter visits. We started the day enjoying some stunning outlooks over Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park.

Then we headed out for Avalanche Lake. The 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) (one-way) hike to the lake is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Understandable since the hike is not too strenuous, not too long, offers a variety of sights, a rewarding lake, and stunning views at the end. See it here on the map. The future for Avalanche Lake is uncertain. It is fed by the Sperry Glacier, and with the receding glaciers the lake may recede or shrink too.

The popularity of the trail was evident.

View on Avalanche Lake
Especially the first mile were we saw many co-hikers. But, fortunately, several flip-flop hikers turned back as soon as the trail kept going up. When we reached the north west tip of the lake the crowds re-appeared. Fortunately almost nobody continued the trail to the south eastern tip where we could enjoy the views in silence.

We made a second smaller loop hike, Lake Johns Trail. This 3.6-kilometer (2.2-mile) loop hike offers some nice features. The lake itself is really small, Johns Pond would maybe have been a better name. Still nice, the lake's calm water nicely reflects the surrounding mountains. The hike also includes two impressive waterfalls. First the Sacred Dancing Falls, followed by McDonald Falls. The latter gets lots of visitors from the Going-to-the-Sun Road side. But on this side the hikers have it all for themselves.

More pictures AND a video (!) below!

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Morning view over Lake McDonald
Morning view over Lake McDonald
View on Avalanche Lake
View on Avalanche Lake
Morning view over Lake McDonald
Morning view over Lake McDonald
Morning view over Lake McDonald
Morning view over Lake McDonald
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
View during hike to Avalanche Lake
View during hike to Avalanche Lake
Arriving at the north west tip of …
Arriving at the north west tip of…
Panoramic view on Avalanche Lake
Panoramic view on Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Mirror effect in Avalanche Lake
Arriving at the south east tip of …
Arriving at the south east tip of…
View on the surrounding mountain
View on the surrounding mountain
The surrounding mountains were cov…
The surrounding mountains were co…
Midway Avalanche Lake during retur…
Midway Avalanche Lake during retu…
Panoramic view on Avalanche Lake
Panoramic view on Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Creek
Avalanche Creek
Johns Lake, also reflecting capaci…
Johns Lake, also reflecting capac…
Johns Lake, also reflecting capaci…
Johns Lake, also reflecting capac…
The pedestrian bridge at Sacred Da…
The pedestrian bridge at Sacred D…
Sacred Dancing Falls
Sacred Dancing Falls
Sacred Dancing Falls
Sacred Dancing Falls
View during hike from Sacred Danci…
View during hike from Sacred Danc…
Your reporter at McDonald Falls
Your reporter at McDonald Falls
Evening view over Lake McDonald
Evening view over Lake McDonald
GPS profile of the Lake Avalanche …
GPS profile of the Lake Avalanche…
GPS profile of the Johns Lake hike…
GPS profile of the Johns Lake hik…
McDonald Falls
Glacier National Park
photo by: mrgishi