McDonald Creek – 5mi / 8km
McDonald Creek is a whitewater creek that chatters and bubbles its way down to Lake McDonald. It is a relatively level trail that can be done early in the spring all the way into late fall. From the trailhead, you enter a lush rain forest with tall cedars towering overhead. The first 0.5mi/0.8km to powerful McDonald Falls is ADA accessible.
From the falls, you travel right along the creek upstream to a bridge near Sacred Dancing Cascade. All along the way, various waterfowl such as harlequin ducks can be spotted. Follow the creek upstream until you come to a backwater channel beaver pond. From the pond, the trail works its way deeper into the forest and comes out by a wonderful whitewater section of trail. (A seasonal creek may need to be forded to reach this last section of trail in early spring.)
Trailhead: At the head of Lake McDonald, turn onto North McDonald Road and follow it across the bridge. The trailhead is located shortly thereafter.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 200ft / 60m