Lake McDonald - Atlas Obscura

Lake McDonald

Spectacular views await visitors to this lake.  


One of the most prominent features of Glacier National Park is its largest body of water, Lake McDonald. The views from the shoreline are fantastic, particularly from the southern shore. The peaks of the northern Rockies, known as the Crown of the Continent, gracefully frame the background. As visitors get close to the shore in the morning, they are treated to the reflection of the mountains in the water. Sometimes, the morning fog can obscure the distant shoreline. As the sun rises, the mountains become visible, making it seem as though the world is getting bigger before your very eyes.

On the southwest end of the lake is the charming village of Apgar, which has a number of shops and hotels. This includes the Apgar Village Inn, in which every room has a clear view of the lake. There is also a visitor center, one of three in the national park. Apgar also has its own boat dock, from which you can launch a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to get a different perspective on the lake. On the western shore near Apgar, you might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle’s nest.

There are several other interesting places to see on the shore of Lake McDonald. On the west, there is the Rocky Point Trail, which passes through a burn scar from a 2003 wildfire. Now home to a young forest, the trail emerges at a rocky overlook of the lake. The historic Lake McDonald Lodge can be found on the northeast end of the lake, and offers boat tours in addition to lodging and dining. It is no wonder that visitors come from all over the world just to experience these views.

Know Before You Go

Glacier is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Make sure you plan your trip far in advance, and make reservations for hotels and popular attractions like the Going to the Sun Road.

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web