One of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park is the ~4.5 mile round trip out to Avalanche Lake. The hike is moderate for Glacier NP with a steady but manageable hike up to the lake. We knew the hike would be crowded so we made plans to start ridiculously early, getting to the trailhead just before dawn was breaking. We had soft light for the whole hike up because clouds were rolling in and through the mountains.
The hike up was mesmerizing. We lingered along a stretch where the trail parallels a rushing creek carving through moss covered rocks. We lingered on trails winding through forests completely covered with moss. And then when we reached the lake, we lingered along its shores.
The lake itself was stunning in a variety of ways. It was gorgeous and flat. The thick clouds were still rolling in and out in such a way that the lake would be invisible and then come clear again. We caught some views of the mountains behind the lake, complete with waterfalls tumbling over steep cliffs (pictured above). I got the sense that on a different day, these mountain slopes would be stunning behind crystal blue waters.
We spent a long time at the lake, shooting time lapse (check one out here) and enjoying the magic of the morning. There were less than 10 people at a time in the broad viewing area of the lake. On our way down the trail, though, we must have passed over 200 hikers..Like I said, this is a popular hike. We enjoyed so much of our morning that we can't wait to do this hike again (and we'll start super early again).
Round Trip: ~4.5 miles, ~750 feet elevation gain