Today dawned bright and clear. We decided to drive into the park and up to Avalanche, about 14 miles up the Going to the Sun Road. There was a significant backlog getting through the pay station to enter the park. Yellowstone had an express lane for pass holders which really worked well. Glacier didn’t and so the lines were slow to process.
Once we entered the park, we drove up to Avalanche. On the ride there are many turnouts and overlooks that are well worth stopping for. We weren’t going to stop at these until the way back because they are all on the left side of the road. But the lake was so calm, you could get a great reflective image in it.
Lake McDonald with mountain reflection
When we arrived at Avalanche, we fount that there isn’t enough parking there while the road is closed further on, so they used a campground loop and let you park there. We were able to get one of the last spots.
Then we went for a walk on the Trail of the Cedars. It is about .8 of a mile, but when you add all the other walking from the parking spot down through the campground and out to the trailhead, it was slightly under 2 miles.
Avalanche Creek running down the mountains.
The path is an easy walk and is either paved or wood decking the whole way. That made it an easy walk. While crossing the bridge over Avalanche Creek, we came across a couple exchanging their wedding vows! What a scenic spot for it!
I Do! I Do Too!
The walk is all through a forest and it is very quiet and serene. We didn’t see any wildlife but we could hear many birds.
The Cedar trees in this area thrive because of the readily available moisture. Unfortunately, it is so easily available, that the tree’s root system spreads out near the surface. As a result, it is quite common to see these trees tipped over with their root system showing.
Fallen Cedar tree root system.
After the walk, we thought about taking a shuttle 8 miles further up the road where cars aren’t yet allowed. But after waiting 20 minutes, our line hadn’t moved much and we were still about 45 minutes from even boarding a shuttle, so we abandoned that plan and started our return drive.
At one of the many pull-over spots, there was a ramp down the side of the mountain about 30 feet and you got a great view of the river flowing. There was a really fast current at this point.
We went to Lake McDonald Lodge which is at the eastern end of the 10 mile long lake. Before the road was built, the only way here was by horse or boat. The lodge area is full of blooming flowers.
We also took a 1 hour long boat tour of the lake. There are many great scenic views of the mountains from the lake and this one is one of the best.
Looking east from the boat tour.
The De Smet, our boat for the tour.
The boat is made out of wood and was built 80 years ago by a local boat builder. There are other similar boats of his on the other lakes in the park.
As you can see, today’s adventure was full of beautiful scenes for our eyes to behold. In fact there were way too many to put on this blog.
Tonight we are planning on going to a ranger talk at the Apgar Village outdoor amphitheater.