Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake

A rain forest walk to a subalpine lake

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On summer days in Glacier National Park, families walk the Trail of the Cedars boardwalk and climb the path to Avalanche Lake. One of the more popular routes, the easy connected trails go from a rainforest to a rugged cliff-rimmed subalpine lake.

From the trailhead, the 0.9-mile Trail of the Cedars follows a boardwalk through a pocket of Pacific rainforest. It contains ancient trees. Drooping hemlocks, western red cedars and black cottonwoods fill the canopy that shades Pacific yew and Devil’s club.

At Avalanche Creek, a bridge affords a look up the water-carved, red rock Avalanche Gorge. Although the trail loops on pavement back to the parking lot, you’ll want to turn uphill for Avalanche Lake. At the top of Avalanche Gorge, peek down, but avoid slipping into its powerful rushing water.

From the gorge, the path works up the forested valley. It passes through trees pushed over by avalanches and past large erratics (boulders) left from glaciers. At 1.9 miles, the trail reaches the lake. Waterfalls pouring from the hanging
valley above feed the lake.

Find the trailhead on the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Since its parking lots fill up before 10 am, plan to arrive early.

At A Glance

Avalanche Lake
Glacier National Park

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