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Apgar Lookout

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.2 (26)

Travel through a burn area that gives you a great view of Lake McDonald.


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Map Key

3.6

Miles

5.9

KM

Point to Point

5,215' 1,590 m

High

3,377' 1,029 m

Low

1,842' 561 m

Up

3' 1 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · Spring · Views

Bring bear spray.

Description

Just after entering Glacier National Park at the West Entrance, a sign points you towards the trailhead. Follow the road over McDonald Creek and up the dirt road to the trailhead. Earlier in the season, the road may be partially closed before the bridge due to high water or snow so be sure to check.

The trail starts off level, wandering the base of the Apgar Mountains through a mix of burned and non-burned forest. This area can have water on the trail early in the season as you cross over a few creeks, but should be mostly dry later in the summer. You fairly quickly break out into the burn area and follow that for the rest of the trip.

The burn area provides nice birding, great views and no respite from the sun as the entire trip is on a south facing slope. Once it starts climbing, it does so at an earnest, but manageable grade. With each step, the views of the Middle Fork Flathead River below and out to the valley south of the park only get better.

After only two real switchbacks, the trail wraps around the mountain, back into trees, through a saddle to the unstaffed lookout. Views of Lake McDonald are great with a couple of trees partially getting in the way of photos. The lookout is a great place for lunch with great views all the way around. This is one of the earlier trails to open up in the spring that gain some elevation.

A fun pastime is to visit the park's site while up there to capture a selfie from their webcam.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Great forest birding along the trail. Opportunity for a wide variety of wildlife, from bears to elk, but not super common.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 26 votes

#283

Overall
  4.2 from 26 votes
5 Star
35%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
12%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#6

in Montana

#283

Overall
69 Views Last Month
2,839 Since Sep 2, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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57%
9%
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Photos

Short trail review of Apgar Lookout from 2015 in the spring.
Apr 5, 2016 near Apgar, MT
View southeast from Apgar Lookout.
Jun 30, 2019 near Apgar, MT
View into the Apgar Mountains.
Jun 30, 2019 near Apgar, MT
View from Apgar Lookout
Apr 5, 2016 near Apgar, MT
Lake McDonald enveloped in the smoke of a wild-land fire..
Apr 10, 2018 near Apgar, MT
Strawberry Mountain in the distance.
Apr 10, 2018 near Apgar, MT

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Check-Ins

Aug 10, 2020
Michael Burke
With a little extra hiking, this ended up being 7.5 miles round trip. Christina and Josh could not make it to the top. it was hot that day and thei…
Jul 27, 2020
Lisa Panepinto
Jul 11, 2020
Nihar P
3.6mi — 4h 45m
Jul 11, 2020
Audrey K
Out and back 7.2mi
Jul 3, 2020
Dasu Gedela
Run down (55 mins)
Jun 29, 2020
Alan Brown
Jun 26, 2020
Xiao Li
Afternoon, very hot 7.2mi — 2h 16m
Sep 21, 2019
Zach Heilman