Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hiking Glacier National Park Part II

After 4 exploratory trips using our car on Going to the Sun Road, we decided to take the shuttle. Why we didn't take it sooner, I don't know, but it seems that the park got a lot busier this week after a couple of slow days. We were noticing that the trailhead parking lots were full by about ten, so we decided it was time to take the shuttle and we are so glad we did! The shuttle buses are convenient, stopping at all the main campgrounds and lodges, and they seem to be new and are very comfortable. The bigger ones (there are two sizes)  have racks for bikes although we have found only two trails in the park that are suitable for biking.
Avalanche Gorge at the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail
Today we went to the Avalanche Lake was a 45 minute shuttle ride (with stops along the way) but we were busy watching for wildlife along the road, so we didn't  mind. Avalanche Lake Trail is a 2.5  mile hike one way from the shuttle stop. The trail gains 500 feet in elevation, although it seemed like a LOT more when we did it. It's a steady, steep rocky climb almost all the way. We saw little toddlers with their moms and dads, and very old people doing the trail, so it's for everyone! Except are NOT allowed to have pets on the trails as dogs can be confrontational with bears. We saw two people with dogs on the trail today, I guess they couldn't read the signs, pictoral and written! The trailhead starts near Avalanche Gorge along Trail of the Cedars. 

You start a steady climb through heavy forest but the trail is nice and wide for the most part.....
The forest is carpeted with these plants and berries....

You pass by rushing Avalanche Creek......

You pass the evidence of why Avalanche Lake trail is caused "Avalanche"...there is some severe damage from more than one avalanche that can be seen as you hike the trail. And just when you think there is no end to the climbing and you are huffing and puffing (if you are not in the best shape like us,) then, you start to see a very different landscape around you and in the distance.....
approaching the end of the trail
And you come out in the clearing, and........VOILA! You are at Avalanche Lake which is fed by meltwater from Sperry Glacier......

There are logs to sit on and eat, and we just sat and pondered about the beauty of this lake, the setting, the five waterfalls cascading off the mountain, and it was just so peaceful. We sat for quite a while, giving thanks that we get to see such beautiful things, and then we set off for the downhill hike all the way back to the shuttle stop, a total of 4.8 miles today...and Eldo awaits his foot massage....gotta go! 
Two little boys admiring the view at Avalanche Lake
Tomorrow we head for Missoula, Montana for a few days, and we are going to get to catch up with some fellow blogging friends, Sherry and David, In the Direction of Our Dreams. We've been dogging their heels for awhile now, and for a bit we were headed in opposite directions, they are heading to Glacier soon. But we are going to end up in the same RV park in Missoula, MT for the next couple of days, which will be great! It's always wonderful to meet people you have befriended in the blogging world.  See everybody in Missoula!


  1. Looks like a hike for our list.
    Glad to hear you liked the shuttle. It will be great for "anti drivers" like me :-)

    Thanks for all the information so we can be well prepared for Glacier. Glad you'll be here a few more days so I can get a picture of the 4 of us!