Lake McDonald Valley

Glacier National Park

Greener and wetter than the St Mary Valley, the Lake McDonald Valley harbors the park’s largest lake and some of its densest and oldest temperate rainforest. Crisscrossed by a number of popular trails, including the wheelchair-accessible, 0.8-mile Trail of the Cedars, the area is popular with drive-in campers, who frequent the Sprague Creek and Avalanche Creek campgrounds, as well as winter cross-country skiers who use McDonald Creek and Going-to-the-Sun Rd as seasonal skiing trails.

The 2018 Howe Ridge fire, ignited by lightning, burned for more than a month in the area northwest of the lake and destroyed more than a dozen historic landholdings; the Upper McDonald Creek trail was still closed as of June 2019.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Glacier National Park attractions

1. Lake McDonald Lodge

1.37 MILES

On the northeastern shore of the lake, this rustic lodge, first built in 1895 as the Glacier Hotel, is the park’s oldest hotel. Replaced by a newer Swiss…

2. Apgar Village

6.96 MILES

Supporting little more than a couple of lodges, a gift shop or two, a recommended outdoor gear outfitter and a restaurant with an adjoining window for ice…

3. Apgar Visitor Center

7.05 MILES

This LEED–certified center with a large parking lot and free wi-fi signal is 1½ miles north of West Glacier at the west end of Going-to-the-Sun Rd. Catch…

4. Glacier National Park

9.78 MILES

The rival of any of the United States' most spectacular national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park is…

5. Bird Woman Falls

9.81 MILES

Standing at the artificially created Weeping Wall, look across the valley to this distant natural watery spectacle; the spectacular Bird Woman Falls drops…

6. Logan Pass Visitor Center

10.16 MILES

In the most magnificent setting of all the park's visitor centers, the building has park information, interactive exhibits and a good gift shop. The…

7. Logan Pass

10.19 MILES

Perched above the tree line, atop the wind-lashed Continental Divide, and blocked by snow for most of the year, 6646ft Logan Pass – named for William R…

8. Weeping Wall

11.16 MILES

Located 2000ft below the iconic Garden Wall, the glistening Weeping Wall creates a seasonal waterfall that was formed when Going-to-the-Sun Rd…