Elevation Gain: 171 m (560 ft) Avalanche Lake is located in a cirque on the west side of the continental divide. Massive mountains surround the lake, providing an unforgettable scenic experience. The lake itself is named for the numerous avalanches that roar down the surrounding mountains. For those of you lucky enough to get to Avalanche Lake on a warm day soon after the trail opens in May, you will be treated to the sights and sounds of many avalanches, which is quite a sight if you have never seen one up close before. During spring and early summer, these avalanches turn into dozens of waterfalls that cascade down from the highest peaks. Avalanche Lake is perhaps the most heavily used backcountry lake in Glacier National Park. An easy hike up the two-mile long Avalanche Lake Trail provides the only access to the lake. There is also a trail along the lakeshore which will take you near the major waterfalls. The trail itself is one of the first trails to open in the park as well, as it's low elevation allows the winter snows to melt off usually by early May.
The trailhead, which is located 6 miles from West Glacier up the Going-To-The-Sun Road, has decent parking and a campground. It is impossible to miss when on the Sun Road. If you plan on hiking this trail, do plan on arriving early. Even though there is lots of parking, on busy days during the summer, parking can become scarce after noon.
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