Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Best Lake Hikes in Glacier National Park

As a result of its topography, as well as the heavy amounts of snow that fall during the winter, Glacier National Park is home to 762 lakes. Lake McDonald, on the western side of the park, is the largest in area at 6,823 acres, the longest at 9.4 miles, and the deepest at 464 feet. Most lakes in the park, however, are much smaller. In fact, only 131 lakes actually have a name, including "No Name Lake" in the Two Medicine area.

Fortunately for hikers, many of the trails in Glacier Park lead to, or end at a lake. Below are a few of my favorites:

Cracker Lake - Cracker Lake in the Many Glacier area has to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The lake has the most magnificent turquoise color you’ll ever see. If you could ignore the magnificent scenery of the surrounding mountains, it would still be well worth the hike just to see the amazing color of the lake.

Iceberg Lake - One of the most popular hikes in Glacier. And for good reason. This is a great opportunity to see icebergs floating in a gorgeous alpine lake. You’ll also have commanding views of the Ptarmigan Wall, an arĂȘte, or thin ridge of rock separating two valleys that have been carved by glaciers.

Gunsight Lake – A great hike if you’re looking for solitude. In addition to visiting an extremely beautiful alpine lake, you'll also pass Mirror Pond along the way, which just might be one of the most scenic spots in the entire park.

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail - Take an easy stroll around Swiftcurrent Lake for some outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley. As a bonus, you may even see a bear or a moose along the way.

Hidden Lake - This extremely popular hike, starting from Logan Pass, visits the Hidden Lake Overlook where you’ll have outstanding panoramic views into the heart of Glacier. This hike would’ve definitely ranked higher if it weren’t for the crowds.

Redrock Lake - An outstanding choice for an easy hike. The trail visits two picturesque sub-alpine lakes. Look for moose feeding near the shore of Fishercap Lake.

Cobalt Lake – The trail to the lake travels through several open meadows in the Two Medicine valley. Along the way you’ll pass Rockwell Falls, and you might even see a moose.

Avalanche Lake – The hike to Avalanche Lake begins on the Trail of the Cedars where you’ll pass though a forest of ancient western hemlocks and red cedars. You’ll also see the amazing power of glacially melted water as it rushes down Avalanche Gorge.

Snyder Lake – Great choice for a hike from the Sperry Trailhead near the Lake McDonald Lodge, especially if you’ve already been to the Sperry Chalet, and have no desire to make the 4250-foot climb up to the Mt. Brown Lookout.

Upper Two Medicine Lake – An easy hike to the highest in a series of three glacially fed lakes that dominate the Two Medicine Valley. The lake sits in a large basin surrounded by the jagged rocks of four mountains.

Hiking in

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