The trail begins at the Trail of the Ancient Cedars trailhead along Going to the Sun Road.
During the Fall of 2006, we took a train from Portland to Glacier. We did three short trails (Hidden Lake, Avalanche Lake, and Snyder Lake) along Going to the Sun Road, which during the busy summer season I wouldn't even consider. However, since it was October, and the trails were pretty lonely, we were given an opportunity to do some good day hikes that we wouldn't normally see.
This is a short trail that should definitely should be avoided during the summer when masses of tourists clog the trail. However, in the fall the trail is very nice. During our visit in early October, we encountered only three other couples.
The trail begins as the Trail of the Cedars Nature trail, stay to the right for the way out as the trail passes by the campground. At a half mile, the Avalanche Lake trail breaks from the nature trail, climbing above Avalanche Creek as it cuts it's way through a narrow slot canyon. The walking is fairly easy with a few intermittent views of the mountains rising to the east. The forest transitions into a brushy landscape of maples and devil's club before reaching the lake.
Avalanche Lake is a very spectacular lake, citing in a cirque with several waterfalls dropping into the valley. There is a pit toilet at the lake, but no camping at the lake.
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