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The Most Amazing Hiking Trails in Glacier National Park

We've had the chance to hike in some of the most beautiful locations in the US. Glacier National Park is one of the most gorgeous places to go hiking.

Here's our top 3 hiking trails in the park:

Avalanche Lake Trail (via the Trail of the Cedars)

© The Wild Catts - Andy and brother-in-law, Jeremy, hike into Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Glacier National Park. Nestled up against the mountains with crystal clear alpine waters, it truly takes your breath away. The trail is approximately 4.6 miles round-trip with less than a thousand feet of elevation gain, making this hike perfect for school aged children and older and mildly active adults.

The trail itself contains waterfalls, forest views, mountain views, & creekside walking, making it an ideal hike for anyone.

If you're looking for a great family hike, then Avalanche Lake will not disappoint!

@The Wild Catts - Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake Trail Details
  • Distance: 4.6 miles round-trip

  • Elevation Gain: 821 feet

  • Trail Info: Limited parking at the base, so arriving early would be beneficial

  • Best time to hike: Early summer to late fall

  • Restrooms: Located at the trailhead and one on the trail

  • Time to Complete: 2-5 hours, depending on speed of travel

  • Difficulty: Moderate

John's Lake Loop

John's Lake Loop begins at a non-descript pull-off on the side of the road. You begin hiking through mossy forest and follow a horse trail at the start of the loop (or the end, depending on which way you enter). Unfortunately, the horse manure made the first half-mile a little unpleasant, but we were excited to see some horses riding the trail while we hiked. Our kids are a little obsessed with horses, so it ended up being a added bonus to this gorgeous hike.

Once you make it past the horse trail, the signage is a little unclear. Follow the signs to "Avalanche Trail," which will actually take you on this loop. As you continue down the trail, you'll come across beautiful forests, John's lake, gorgeous streams & waterfalls, and walk alongside the McDonald Falls.

©The Wild Catts - John's Lake

I didn't have high expectations of this hike based on how we started out (manure!), but by the end of the hike, I was oohing and aahing over all the gorgeous views. Definitely a must-see if you're in Glacier National Park!

©TheWildCatts - Sacred Dancing Cascades

©The Wild Catts - Sacred Dancing Cascades on John's Lake Loop

John's Lake Loop Trail Details
  • Distance: 2 mile loop

  • Elevation Gain: 225 feet

  • Trail Info: Limited parking at the base, so arriving early would be beneficial

  • Best time to hike: Early summer to late fall

  • Restrooms: No restrooms

  • Time to Complete: 1-3 hours, depending on speed of travel

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Baring Falls

I wish we had given ourselves more time to explore this trail! We had a chance to check out the beautiful St Mary Lake and hike to the Baring Falls, but there were three other falls we missed entirely! Our kids were a little tired and hungry by the time we made it here, so we didn't fully get to experience it like we would have liked!

©The Wild Catts - Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Unlike many other areas in Glacier National Park, there was plentiful parking at the trail head. It's a short trek (approximately 0.2miles) in from the Sun Point Nature Trail to Saint Mary Lake, and then a winding and beautiful lake-side hike down to Baring Falls (approximately 0.9miles from the lake to get there). The trail continues on with multiple waterfalls along the journey, but we turned around at Baring Falls and came back due to children hitting the end of their emotional endurance.

Next time we're at Glacier, we're planning a day trip to see all the waterfalls along this beautiful trail. As it is, we're grateful for the gorgeous views we got see!

©The Wild Catts - Baring Falls

Other things we loved (and didn't love) about Glacier

Driving the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier is an experience, in and of itself. The stunning vistas of Glaciers & sweeping vistas will take your breath away. It's quite a commitment to make as the road takes approximately 2 hours, start to finish and is approximately 50 miles. Between hikes and stops, it took us the full day to enjoy this road and what it had to offer.

The main drawbacks were that we only had a three-day pass to explore the hikes along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, so we had to squeeze as much in as we possibly could. This & the crowds at every stop (with limited parking), made enjoying everything Glacier has to offer a bit challenging. I'd love to come back in the late spring before school lets out to see if the park is less crowded and to enjoy the beauty of snow-capped mountains.

As it was, the three days we spent exploring Glacier were some of the most beautiful hikes we've done!

©The Wild Catts - Glacier National Park

In Lands I Never Saw—They Say
In lands I never saw—they say
Immortal Alps look down—
Whose Bonnets touch the firmament—
Whose Sandals touch the town—

Meek at whose everlasting feet
A Myriad Daisy play—
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

- Emily Dickinson


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