West Glacier, MT 59936
Lake McDonald Description
The largest lake in Glacier National Park, this beauty is 10 miles long and nearly 400 feet deep (which makes swimming "exhilarating"). Looking up from the beach, you'll see a mountain crest that forms Lake McDonald's backdrop. This is Garden Wall, the birthplace of the glacier that etched the valley. Rent a boat, swim, fish, go for a horseback ride, or hike along the shore. Whatever you do, this lake is a great introduction to the grandeur of the park.
Lake / Pond
Toddlers & Pre-K: Bring towels and a change of clothes; if you take a dip in the lake, every breeze will chill little ones past endurance.
School-Age Kids: School-age kids might not notice the exceptional scenic beauty here (though you certainly will), but they will notice the range of activities and abundance of skipping stones.
Pre-Teens & Teens: If your kids enjoy hiking, consider the Apgar Lookout Trail. It's less than three miles to the top, but it's a pretty steep and steady climb. The views from the top (Lake McDonald and Glacier's ridge of peaks) are stunning, and you'll really get a feel for why the local Blackfeet tribe called this the "backbone of the world."
- Check fishing regulations. If you plan to fish, stop by the visitor center for a copy of the park's fishing regulations.
- Conveniences nearby. Apgar Village is located at the southwestern tip of Lake McDonald, and has restaurants, a visitor center, gift shops, lodging, and a campground.
Just the Facts
Hours: Open year round, 7 days a week. The facilities at Apgar Village may be closed, however, so be sure to call ahead.
Recommended Time: 2 to 4 hours