Glacier National Park: Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars
After our amazing stay in Wyoming, we hopped back in the car for another long road trip stretch to… MONTANA! Yest another new state for me, and Big Sky Country did not disappoint. Our destination was Glacier National Park, and our home base for this leg of the road trip was beautiful Whitefish, MT.
Glacier National Park is very large. As in, it takes at least three hours to get from one side to the other. Additionally, lodging was somewhat limited as it was still peak season, and we decided on this trip somewhat last minute. Since we ended up staying in a town to the west of the park, it was really only feasible for us to visit the attractions on the western side of the park. The majestic views of the eastern side will have to wait for another trip!
Our first full day was a little dreary and damp. Good thing we had those rain ponchos! We stopped at the visitor center to get some info; good thing we did – we were told that the park was so crowded that the parking spaces near the trails were likely full. We were encouraged to take the shuttle, which was relatively easy and painless.
We opted for the hike to Avalanch Lake, which starts out with the very easy 1.0 mile Trail of the Cedars. Due to the excess humidity in this valley, it is not uncommon for the cedars to reach 100 ft in height, and 4 to 7 ft in diameter. Many of the trees in this area are 500 years old. It’s pretty cool to walk amongst that history. From the Trail of the Cedars you can find the offshoot for the Avalanche Lake trail, which was a relatively moderate hike at 4.5 miles roundtrip and an elevation gain of 730 ft (highest elevation: 4031 ft).
This ended up being the most crowded hike we did, and we would frequently catch up to, and cross paths with, other visitors. Despite this, it was a very relaxing day. Given the overcast skies and enveloping greenery, the ambience was very serene and calming.
The piece de resistance:
To be honest, it was a bummer that the weather was so “blah” because I’m sure a little bit of sunlight does wonders for the views in this place. Or maybe I’m just not an experienced photographer. In any case, on this particular day, the views weren’t as spectacular as some of our other hikes. Still, it was a cool sight to take in. And there’s just something about the hiking and the effort that it takes to get there – makes the end result that much more enjoyable. Kind of like the way food tastes so much better when you’re hungry!