Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Lake McDonald

Its eastern shore skirted by the Going To The Sun Road, Lake McDonald is Glacier National Park’s largest lake, offering visitors exquisite views and a comprehensive range of park activities.

  • A popular Glacier feature, Lake McDonald plays host to numerous outdoor activities including fishing and boating, with nearby trails, campgrounds and amenities.
  • Located just minutes from West Glacier.
  • Rest in a nearby campground, hike along the shoreline, travel the adjacent Going To The Sun Road, or paddle a canoe on this breathtaking lake.

Overview

With Apgar Village at its southwestern corner, Going To The Sun Road lining its eastern shore, and Lake McDonald Lodge and abundant activities and amenities at water’s edge, it’s little wonder Lake McDonald is one of Montana's primary destinations. 10 miles in length, Lake McDonald is a Glacier Park hotspot for boat tours, boat rentals and fishing, and lakeside pursuits such as hiking, camping and sightseeing.

Location/Directions

Just a few miles from West Glacier, Lake McDonald MT’s east shore follows the Going To The Sun Road, surrounded by spruce, fir, hemlock and cedar forests.

Season

Open year-round, Lake McDonald offers a variety of Glacier Park summer and winter activities. (Roads and park amenities/facilities generally open late May – late September; limited in winter.)

Activities

Camping: Stay in one of these nearby campgrounds:

  • Apgar: Apgar Village amenities. Flush toilets/running water.
    Location: Lake McDonald’s southwestern tip
    Sites: 194
  • Fish Creek: 2.5 miles from Apgar Village; featuring ranger-led programs.
    Location: 5 miles northwest of West Glacier
    Sites: 179
  • Avalanche Creek: Enjoy cedar forest scenery. 
    Location: 4 miles north of Lake McDonald (6 miles from Lake McDonald Lodge.)
    Sites: 87

Hiking: With numerous trailheads around the lake, why not try a hike along Lake McDonald’s northern tip.

  • Trailhead: located at Fish Creek Campground
  • Distance: 6.6 miles (one-way)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Fishing: Try your luck lake fishing, casting for cutthroat, kokanee, macinac and more.

  • Season: Lake fishing open year round.
  • Regulations: No keep limits on Lake WhiteFish. (See regulations for other limits.)

Touring

  • Book a lake cruise or boat rental and explore miles of crystal-clear water.
  • Take a driving tour of the Going To The Sun Road, featuring views of Mt. Edwards, Little Matterhorn, and other dramatic peaks.
  • Stop in or stay at Lake McDonald Lodge and utilize comfortable rooms, gift shop and restaurants.

Additional Information

Visit Lake McDonald during the winter and enjoy cross country skiing and snow shoeing minus peak-season crowds.

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