Snyder Lake Trail Glacier National Park ~ a slow hiker's guide™

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Snyder Lake Trail

The actual start of the Snyder Lake Trail is about the half way point in both elevation gain and distance. The first part of the shared trail starts at the Lake McDonald parking area, goes near the horse corral and starts up a series of switchbacks. Essentially there are no major view spots on the trail until just before you arrive at the shore of Snyder Lake. Shortly after the turnoff onto Snyder Lake Trail the forest changes from a relatively dry forest to a very wet forest. Large cedars and cottonwoods are found along the trail. The remainder of the Snyder Lake trail is a steady but not overly steep climb up to the tarn that forms Snyder Lake. Once you leave the forest the trail crosses a massive rock slide. The trail crew in their usual heroic fashion have cleared a trail across this rock slide. You can't miss it. Shortly after that you are at the valley floor with a view of the Little Matterhorn and Mount Edwards. At the lake I had to get through deep snow in several places to get this photo of Snyder Lake in June of 2007 a 'light' snow year. Snyder Lake is one of the easiest of the strenuous hikes in the park, Iceberg Trail gets my vote as the easiest strenuous hike. In the fall the colors around the lake are very striking. Bring a water filter to replenish your water supply at Snyder Lake.

Snyder Lake has a small backcountry campground.

snyder lake trail sign
Snyder Lake Glacier Park

Snyder Lake bottom is silty, the water is generally clear so you can see the fish
but the glacier flur is long gone so there is none of the turquoise coloring to this lake.

little matterhorn glacier park

Little Matterhorn from the shore of Snyder Lake, Glacier Park Montana
(there are several Little Matterhorn's in the US)
From Avalanche Lake you can see the northern face of Little Matterhorn.

Snyder Lake Glacier National Park
Snyder Lake Glacier National Park


The Snyder Lake Trail can be very wet in the spring, bring extra socks.
Melting snow runoff crosses the trail in numerous places in the spring.


If you time it right there can be lots of wildflowers along the Snyder Lake Trail. These flowers were taken in early June 2007. Snow on the trail had just melted.

white wildflowers Snyder Lake Trail glacier National park

Spring Beauty these wildflowers bloom as soon as the snow melts. While they grow in both alpine and sub alpine areas they flourish in small, moist open areas inside dense old growth forests.

Trail Links

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