Avalanche Lake Spring 2022 Bike and Hike


The forecast called for a lovely spring day on Kristen’s birthday, so we decided to load up the bikes and head on up to Glacier National Park to bike, then hike up to Avalanche Lake.

On the west side of the park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed at Lake McDonald Lodge. When they’re not working on the road, you can bike up the road. This year, they are restricting how far up you can pedal after they analyze avalanche risk. Make sure you check with the park before heading out to see where you can bike and how far you can go.

Biking was allowed up to the Loop, but we opted to bike to Avalanche campground and then hike up to Avalanche Lake… or whatever seemed fun to us.

While a bit chilly, we had some sunshine, the Varied Thrushes were singing and McDonald Creek was flowing at a good rate. The pedal up alongside the creek is gorgeous, backdropped by the stunning mountains that we never get tired of. We paused at the overlook for McDonald Falls, but opted to pass up some of the other stops to get on the trail.

After about 30 minutes of biking, we arrived at Trail of the Cedars. Wow, there’s a lot of snow still! There were the briefest of sections that were melted to the ground, but we spent 99% of the time walking on snow. Thankfully it was packed down and still cool enough to be stable.

The birds were singing and the gorge was beautiful as always with it’s clear, emerald water, red rocks, and green moss with whitewater tumbling down from above. We hiked up along the gorge, then into the dark forest.

So much snow blanketed the ground! (Did I mention this?) Any day now, we’re going to get some warm weather and it’s going to start melting out in a big way. The creeks and rivers will swell, but today, we walked on it.

As we got higher up, we were able to see waterfalls dropping off Mt. Cannon and more blue skies. More sunshine filtered through as we got closer to the lake, where we eventually popped out.

Being this early in the year, we only passed a handful of people which made it super great. There were less than a dozen people total at the lake and we found a bench that had melted out and had lunch.

As we sat there, the clouds gradually loosened their grip and we sat in more and more sunshine. The light reflecting off the snow was crazy bright and made for a warm lunch.

I had been looking up at the hillsides for goats and across the way for bears. I could see what appeared to be bear tracks on the far slopes that seemed to check out the various wet slab avalanches that had sloughed off from above.

After sitting for awhile, the maker of these tracks popped out along the opposite shoreline to the delight of everyone there. We watched this grizzly dig in the snow looking/finding something that interested it.

We took one last view of the mountains and the bear, then headed back down to our bikes and pedaled back in the sunshine.

Previous trips to Avalanche Lake and biking Going-to-the-Sun Road are:

Avalanche Lake

9 responses to “Avalanche Lake Spring 2022 Bike and Hike”

  1. Thanks! I appreciated your video and commentary!
    Could you please recommend trails and locations that are dog-friendly near Glacier National Park, especially in and near Swan Mountain Outfitters, West Glacier Division , in West Glacier?

    • You’ll obviously be going outside the park for hiking with a dog. I like Stanton Lake off the top of my head. Beyond that, there are numerous trails that head into the National Forest on the south side of US Hwy 2 that you can explore. I plan on doing some of that personally in the future, but don’t have much to add at this time. 😀

  2. Wow, looks like an amazing day! The grizzly footage was awesome 👊🏻 Happy Birthday to Kristen and thank you for sharing!

  3. the griz had left the lake and headed down the trail towards us… i got video and photos!!! i will send you a photo via PM on FB! (i sent you a message there…) was a great day!

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