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Avalanche Lake Guided Day Hike In Glacier National Park

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8-Hour Duration
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This tour begins in Columbia Falls and lasts 8 hours from start to finish
Moderate Difficulty
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A moderately difficult hike up to 5 miles round trip with 750 ft. elevation gain
May - September
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This trip is available to book from May through September
Entry Reservation Included
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No additional Vehicle Reservations are required. Park entry fee not included
Local Highlight
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Hike one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park with an experienced guide


Discover one of the most popular and beloved lakes of Glacier National Park with a family-friendly and educational day hike to Avalanche Lake. 

Embark on an in-depth journey with this moderately challenging hike, stretching up to 5 miles with an elevation gain of 730 feet, one of the most sought-after adventures in all of Glacier National Park.

After arriving in Glacier National Park your trip begins with a scenic drive past the stunning Lake McDonald, leading to the Trail of the Cedars trailhead. Here, you'll delve into an educational hike through a boardwalk that meanders through an ancient forest, densely populated with western red cedars and western hemlocks. As you ascend along the Avalanche Lake trail, you'll be enchanted by the sights of avalanche blowdowns, massive glacial erratics, and a spectacular glacier-fed cirque basin that is sure to leave an indelible impression.

As you continue along the trail, your knowledgeable and experienced guide from the Glacier Institute will provide you with a deep education on wildlife, geology, and history, enriching your hiking experience with fascinating insights into the park's natural wonders.

Avalanche Lake Highlights

  • Moderate Difficulty - One of the most popular and family-friendly trails in the park, this trip makes for a great day hike for most active families and those who prefer to keep hikes under 5 miles roundtrip.
  • Iconic Views - Avalanche Lake is one of the many picturesque lakes throughout Glacier National Park. Be sure to pack your camera!
  • Expert Guides - Knowledgeable guides from Glacier Institute will share information about the wildlife, geology, and history of the area along the way.

Ready for Another Hike?

Glacier National Park is a hikers' paradise with over 700 miles of trails to explore. If you're looking for more hiking experiences check out our guide to The Best Hikes in Glacier National Park.

Important Information

  • All participants must be able to hike ~5 miles and 750 ft of elevation gain
  • Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes online prior to the hike. A Vehicle Reservation is NOT required. Participation in this hike with the Glacier Institute acts as your Vehicle Reservation.

What's Included

Roundtrip Transportation to/from Glacier National Park
Knowledgeable Guide
Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservation
Guide Gratuity
Food & Drink (optional add-on)
Glacier National Park Entry Pass

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservation?

You do NOT need a Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservation for this tour, however, you do need a Glacier National Park Entry Pass.

Where can I purchase a Glacier National Park Entry Pass

If you do not carry an annual or lifetime pass you can purchase a Glacier National Park pass online at recreation.gov. We recommend purchasing a 7-day Private Vehicle Pass (1 per group) which can also be used for entry with your own vehicle or car rental.

How difficult is the hike to Avalanche Lake?
The hike to Avalanche Lake is considered moderate with under 5 miles roundtrip and roughly 750ft elevation gain.
How big is the group we'll be hiking with?

Group hikes have a maximum of 13 people and a minimum of 3.

Can I expect to see wildlife?
Seeing wildlife is a always possibility on any hike in Glacier National Park, but it's never guaranteed. Wildlife viewing in GNP can be less common than expected and hiking in groups generally keeps wildlife further away.
Should I be worried about bears?

Each guide has undergone in-depth bear safety training and is knowledgeable of numerous safety techniques. Bear and other wildlife encounters are always a possibility in Glacier National Park, and if you would like to learn more about bear safety check out our travel guide Bear Aware: How to Stay Safe in Glacier National Park.

Know Before You Book

Minimum Age: There is no minimum age to join this tour
Subject to cancellation if tour minimum (3 guests) is not met.
A Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservation is NOT required.
If and infant or baby sits on an adult's lap on the shuttle, there is no need to buy a ticket for the infant or baby.
A Glacier National Park Entry Pass is required for this tour, see FAQ for more info.
This tour has a 72 hour cancellation policy. Tour cancellations made by email or phone call prior to 72 hours before the activity start will receive a full refund. Cancellations made less than 72 hours out will not receive any refund and must be paid in full. NOTE: 5% Deposits paid in the Book Now, Pay Later Payment Plan are non-refundable under all circumstances.

Quick Facts

Glacier Park

8h 00min

Guest Rate

Itinerary • 8h 00min • 4 activities

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Join the rest of your group and meet your guide at the Glacier Institute before heading toward the park.

15 minutes
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A scenic drive along the Flathead River before following Going-to-the-Sun Road along the shore of Lake McDonald.

1 hour
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Begin your journey hike with a slow incline to Avalanche Lake. Your educational guide will make frequent stops along the way as you learn more about park wildlife, geology, history, and more.

5 hours 45 minutes
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After completing your hike begin the trek back to Columbia Falls.

1 hour