Apgar Lookout Trail
The Apgar Lookout Trail provides a beautiful and unique view into Glacier
National Park. Apgar Lookout sits atop Apgar Mountain, which lies at
the outlet of Lake McDonald and just
outside West Glacier, Montana. From atop the mountain at the lookout,
a visitor gets a nearly unobstructed view down on Lake McDonald and a
stunning view of the high peaks in Glacier National Park.
The hike up to Apgar Lookout is fairly short, only 2.8 miles, but has
a pretty steady and at times steep vertical descent. Except for at a
few places along the trial, the Apgar Lookout Trail passes through heavily
wooded terrain (now burnt over!), offering only limited views.
However, once at the lookout, the stunning and unique view of Lake McDonald
(Lake McDonald looks like a pond sitting in a massive and beautiful bathtub)
makes the hike more than worthwhile.
The trailhead of the Apgar Lookout Trail is located just a short drive
from the West Glacier Entrance Station. Once you enter the park at the
West Glacier Entrance Station, look for a road that cuts off to the left
just a half mile away. A sign does not mark this road as leading to the
Apgar Lookout Trail. Instead, a sign marks this road as leading to the
horse corral and the Glacier Institute. Continue down this road to the
horse corral. At the horse corral, veer left at the Y-junction.
The road then continues, which is a gravel road and completely unsuitable
for trailers, for about two miles. While the road is in fair condition,
vehicles without 4 wheel drive may encounter difficulties during wet
weather as large puddles and lots of mud can form on the road. During
normal summer weather, though, any vehicle should be able to easily get
up this road. Just watch out for the deer that have a tendency to jump
in front of your vehicle!
Once on the Apgar Lookout Trail, the trail is relatively flat for the
first mile or so, as it follows an old, abandoned dirt road, to the base
of Apgar Mountain. From here, it begins a steady, and at times steep,
ascent of Apgar Mountain. The trail itself has 3 very long switchbacks,
with the second switchback seemingly the most difficult. Take heart once
you reach the third switchback, as most of the climb and vertical gain
While the photos shown here do not fully show the beauty of the view
offered from Apgar Lookout (due to hazy conditions at the time I last
went up), the view from Apgar Lookout is truly amazing. The view of Lake
McDonald is like nothing else in the park and is worth the hike to see.
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
Boots : Buyers guide to getting the
right boot for hiking
Top of Page