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Apgar Lookout



3.6 mile 5.9 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,842' 561 m
Descent: -3' -1 m
High: 5,215' 1,590 m
Low: 3,377' 1,029 m


Avg Grade: 10% (5°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)


No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Jake Bramante

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

Jake Bramante

Features Birding · Lake · Spring · Views

Bring bear spray.


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.

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Sep 21, 2019
Zach Heilman
Aug 23, 2019
Bretton Jaggi
Aug 22, 2019
Dale Ramage Miller
Jul 31, 2019
Daniel McAuliffe
good view of lake mcdonald but some tree blockage, sustained incline
Jul 2, 2019
Richard Vogel
Jun 30, 2019
Ashton K
What a climb! Didn't pace myself well on the climb up and the last mile or so was really tough with very frequent stops. But here is mine and my h… 3.6mi — 5h 30m
Jun 4, 2019
Courtney E
Nice views from Lake McDonald at the top, but definitely a steady climb. Well maintained but also used as a horse trail which was a little annoying.
Sep 11, 2018
Davis Wert

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 21 votes


  4.2 from 21 votes
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in Montana


33 Views Last Month
1,787 Since Sep 2, 2015



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
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
View from Apgar Lookout
Apr 5, 2016 near Apgar, MT