Glacier National Park: Trail of the Cedars & Avalanche Lake


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We spent Day 4 of our Montana trip with Glacier Guides and Montana Raft Company. In the morning, we met at the company’s West Glacier office and our guides Josh and Brianna made their introductions. We piled into two vans and headed into Glacier National Park through the Western entrance.


We parked in the Avalanche parking lot and began our hike on Trail of the Cedars. Trail of the Cedars is a short, flat, accessible loop where you can stroll through huge old-growth cedar trees. The NPS, which normally has a ‘let it burn’ policy when it comes to wildfires has said that this is one of the few areas it would fight to save in the event of a fire due to the unique 400-600 year old trees found here.


The boardwalk side of the loop had been damaged by Spring storms, so we took the wide dirt path on the other side.  Midway through the loop, we reached Avalanche Gorge, a pretty waterfall rushing through moss-covered rocks.


From there, we picked up the trail to Avalanche Lake. Though this hike is about 5 miles roundtrip with 740 feet in elevation gain, it wasn’t too difficult for the group to keep up a good pace. The ascent isn’t steep. it is more of gradual climb over rolling hills through the forest.


Once we got to the top, the trail opened out onto a beach with log benches where we rested a bit and took in the awesome sight of Avalanche Lake in its amphitheater.


Sperry Glacier sits on a shelf above the lake and several waterfalls run down the side of the mountains from the glacier to the lake.


Our guides then led us to a more secluded rocky beach where our group enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch before heading back down the trail.


We were back at the Glacier Guides headquarters in plenty of time for our afternoon rafting adventure.


Location: Going-to-the-Sun Road, East Glacier Park, MT 59434, USA

Designation: National Park

Date designated or established: 5/11/1910

Date of my visit: 6/25/2018