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54 votes

Lake McDonald

West Glacier, Montana 59936 USA

Free to Visit
  • Independent
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“a classic glacial feature”

Lake McDonald Valley is the hub of activity on the west side of Glacier National Park. Once occupied by massive glaciers that carved this area thousands of years ago, the valley is now filled with spectacular sights, hiking trails, diverse species of plants and animals, historic chalets, and the grand Lake McDonald Lodge.

Ten miles long and nearly 500 feet deep, Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park, is a direct result of glacial carving. High peaks surrounding the lake all show evidence of the power of glaciers to carve even the hardest of rock. The powerful glaciers that carved the broad "u-shaped" valley that Lake McDonald sits in also carved smaller hanging valleys with wonderful waterfalls that are accessible by numerous hiking trails.

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Reviewed by

  • 20 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
August 08, 2016
Rated 4.0

Beautiful lake!! It's wonderfully clear! There's so many entrance points to the lake because it is so large, you're sure to find somewhere along it where you can be at least somewhat secluded. Be aware: It is ALL rocks, no sand, so make sure to bring water shoes!! Otherwise you might have some foot pain! No seaweeds, so that's a huge bonus.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 631 Helpful
April 18, 2017
Rated 4.0

Around Lake McDonald, there are four campgrounds, a visitor center, and loads of nearby day hikes, and close lodges and restaurants. Plus, you can rent boats, and even schedule a horseback ride. You'll definitely want to hit up Going-to-the-Sun Road if you visit Lake McDonald.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 16, 2013

A gorgeous view of Glacier Parks mountain range.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
April 26, 2017
Rated 5.0

This place is beautiful! I have dipped my toes in at multiple points on this lake. There is nothing better than being in this beautiful place, with fresh air, wilderness all around, and miles upon miles of peaceful hiking amongst wildlife. The most popular spot on the lake. in my opinion is in Apgar village. So, if you are looking for a quiet lake experience, pull over at one of the view points lower on Going to the Sun Rd. and stroll down one of the footpaths to the lake. It is 1 million percent worth it!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
March 17, 2017

Is there any possible way to purchase a small bag of these stones???? Pls reply

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Reviewed by
Donna Hull

  • Road Warrior
  • 38 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
September 04, 2016
Rated 5.0

If you have the chance, visit Lake McDonald in the winter. All of the concessions and lodging inside Glacier National Park will be closed but there are places to stay and eat in West Glacier. And here's why you should visit: seeing (and photographing) the snow-covered mountain reflections in the lake is pure magic. Although most of Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed in winter, the park service keeps 10 miles plowed to Lake McDonald Lodge. Stop along the way to take those gorgeous photos of the lake that I suggested. The, park in the lot at the closed lodge to hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski as far as you'd like on Going-tho-the Sun Road.

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Lake McDonald

West Glacier, Montana
59936 USA

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