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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Hiking, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

One of two wheelchair and stroller accessible trails in the park, Trail of the Cedars is a short loop hike – less than a mile – that begins and ends on Going-to-the-Sun Road, meaning you can hike it in either direction. The hike features a raised boardwalk that passes through a fragrant, old-growth red cedar forest, but the highlight is at the midway point. Here, you'll reach a footbridge over Avalanche Creek with sweeping views of the gorge and a stunning waterfall surrounded by rainbow-colored rocks. The only downside? Since this easy hike is accessible to visitors of all skill levels, parking is often difficult to find during peak season (July to Labor Day). 

Many recent visitors touted this trail as the best walk in the park, saying it's not only an easy, accessible path, but also offers breathtaking views of the gorge and Avalanche Lake. Many recommend visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowded parking lots, noting that the picnic grounds near McDonald Creek are a great place to break for lunch or dinner. Travelers also commented on the lovely cedar fragrance in this old-growth forest. Access to the trail is free with park admission. You'll find the trail more than 5 miles northeast of Lake McDonald Lodge. For more information on hiking, visit the NPS website.

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#1 Apgar Nature Center

Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers. The nature center features interactive activities for kids: children can feel a grizzly bear's fur, listen and identify birds by their "songs" or create their own puppet show. Educational displays detail plants found in the park and teach about the habitats of the vast array of wildlife. Ranger-led talks and other programs are held in the outdoor seating area.

Recent travelers recommended making this visitor center your first stop in the park to gather important information on road and weather conditions, bear sightings and trail closures. Families particularly enjoyed the junior ranger programs and special activities, and many visitors were impressed with the restaurant, the helpful staff and the free Wi-Fi. Many also noted that this is the place to park for free shuttle service and park tours.

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