Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

4.7
#3 of 122 in Nature in Montana
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. It is located at 48°35′N 113°55′W in Flathead County in the U.S. state of Montana. Lake McDonald is approximately 10 miles (16 km) long, and over a mile (1.6 km) wide and 472 feet (130 m) deep, filling a valley formed by a combination of erosion and glacial activity. Lake McDonald lies at an elevation of 3,153 feet (961 m) and is on the west side of the Continental Divide. The Going-to-the-Sun Road parallels the lake along its southern shoreline. The surface area of the lake is 6,823 acres (27.6 km2).
The lake is home to numerous native species of trout, and other game fish. Catchable species include, but are not limited to - westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, bull trout (char), lake trout (char), Lake Superior whitefish, mountain whitefish, kokanee salmon (landlocked sockeye), and suckers. However, the lake is nutrient-poor and is not considered a prime fishing destination. Grizzly bears, black bear, moose, and mule deer are found in many places near the lake but are most common on the north shore. The lake is surrounded by a dense coniferous forest dominated by various species of spruce, fir, and larch.


At the westernmost section of the lake in Apgar there is a National Park Service visitor center with limited lodging and dining facilities. Lake McDonald Lodge is the largest lodging facility on the lake and is approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) east along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The lodge was constructed in 1913-14 to resemble a rustic hunting lodge with Swiss-influenced architecture.
McDonald Creek flows into and drains from the lake, and empties into the Middle Fork Flathead River shortly after.
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Lake McDonald Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
853 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful lake, unspoiled, breathtaking mountain backdrops for scenery. Great views from Apgar but even better from the Lake McDonald Lodge. I’m not posting photos because there are plenty of great....  more »
  • We stopped at Lake Macdonald on the way to Kalispel. We found the lake was totally open, which surprised us. We found some nice trails in the area, so put on the snow shoes and went for a nice hike...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful clear water, awesome views. Nice place to stop for a picnic on your way through the park.
  • beautiful lake to visit. paddle, hike, cycle, horse rides. it has it all. good base for exploring glacier, or to stop by for a few activities.

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