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A hike through tall cedars from a whitewater creek to a pocket lake.


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Map Key

0.3

Miles

0.5

KM

Point to Point

3,345' 1,020 m

High

3,268' 996 m

Low

78' 24 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Waterfall

Family Friendly Short and mostly level with a lake and creek.

Bring bear spray.

Need to Know

At the Johns Lake TH, no loop is mentioned. This portion of Johns Lake trail is an up-and-back. According to The Glacier Visitor Guide, you access TH from the east side of Going to the Sun Road. 1.3 miles north of the Lake McDonald Lodge. The signage states the trail is 0.5 miles long. You'll come across two areas that have Ys.

The first Y is not marked at all, you stay to the right to get to the lake. The second Y is marked. The left for the horse trail and the right tells you to return the way to came to continue to Johns Lake (incorrect).

The signage to get you around the loop (the Visitor Guide states is 2.0 miles) is mostly missing. There's nothing on the Johns Lake trail (up and back) that lets you know you have to cross Going to the Sun Road to get over to Upper McDonald Creek to do a loop. Once on Upper McDonald Creek, there is no signage to get you back across the road to complete the loop.

Description

This short trail takes you from the bridge over McDonald Creek where it looks at Sacred Dancing Cascade and heads up into the dark forest. This is the furthest inland Pacific rainforest composed of cedars, hemlock and covered in moss. This forest is beautiful with a high canopy and wanders to the shores of the quiet pocket lake frequented by waterfowl.

This trail is often started at the Johns Lake Loop Trailhead, then paired with the Upper McDonald Creek Trail.

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

Trillium and violets in early spring gives way to calypso orchids in early summer. Various waterfowl frequent Johns Lake while harlequin ducks and american dippers are frequently seen on McDonald Creek.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante with improvements by Brenda Michael

Trail Ratings

  3.1 from 8 votes

#20

in Lake McDonald

#26590

Overall
  3.1 from 8 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
13%
Trail Rankings

#20

in Lake McDonald

#566

in Montana

#26,590

Overall
2 Views Last Month
402 Since Sep 2, 2015
Easy Easy

86%
0%
14%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Bridge over the river.
May 16, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Glacier Runoff - Glacier National Park, MT, USA
Jan 22, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
McDonald Creek Bridge
Jan 22, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
Johns Lake.
May 13, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT
The view while crossing McDonald Creek.
Jan 22, 2016 near Red Roc…, MT

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 11, 2022
Stephanie T
Jul 25, 2021
Katie Jajtner
did full loop past McDonald falls 2mi
Jun 25, 2021
Aaron Fagerwick
Johns Lake Loop 0.3mi
Jun 12, 2021
Katherine Newcomer
Jun 7, 2021
Shana Allison
Sep 11, 2020
John Corbin
Sep 5, 2020
Brenda Michael
Sep 4, 2020
Brenda Michael
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