All Things McDonald in West Glacier
June 5, 2015
West Glacier, MT, Three days in KOA West Glacier, #165
Eight years in our bus.
ElDen Cataract_sm

We are standing at a lookout point along McDonald Creek.

THURSDAY, JUNE 4. WE EXPLORE MCDONALD CREEK AND ROAD.

After our walk on Trail of the Cedars we began our drive back on Road-to-the-Sun.  We had walked along Avalanche Creek and saw it drop into the larger McDonald Creek.  On our drive back to McDonald Lodge we were able to see McDonald Creek and Canyon. The road is on the southeast side of the creek so it was on our right side and convenient for stopping at all the pullouts and lookouts to take photos from the cliffs above this spectacular river.

Somewhere downstream from McDonald Creek Overlook we overlooked a trail that goes down to a bridge that crosses the creek. I’d like to go back to see that. At the north end of Lake McDonald we turned west onto McDonald Road. Here we passed a trail head that probably goes up to the bridge on the northwest side of McDonald Creek.

We didn’t stop but continued on McDonald Rd., which became a single lane dirt road as we bent south following the western shore of the lake. We followed this road for twenty minutes passing a ranger station and some cabins and several times pulling over at a wider spot to let a car pass us from the opposite direction. Above us reaching up to Howe Ridge we passed thousands of dead tree trunks, sentinenls testifying to the giant forest fire of 2003. Beneath them the ridge is blanketed with green shrubbery. The road stopped at the trailhead of McDonald Lake Trail that continues southwest above the edge of the lake. We took some photos and returned back down to Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Lake McDonald Reflections_sm

McDonald Lake seen from shoreline near the lodge.

At 1:45 PM we parked at Lake McDonald Lodge and as luck would have it, they were still serving lunch in the dining room. I love these giant wood lodges with their great beams. It’s fun to sit in a restaurant surrounded by the history of the lodge and with views of mountains and rivers. I chose a smoked salmon appetizer and a small vegetarian Caesar salad. Dennis had a bison burger. After lunch we bought some trail maps in the gift shop and then walked around the property and down to the gravel shore of the lake where there are lovely views of Sprague Creek pouring into the lake.

This five and a half hour outing was more than enough for us and we were glad to get back to the dogs and our campsite at 4:00 PM.

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