PLACES: Upper Lake McDonald

By Beacon Staff

This incredible ball of yellow and orange fire in the sky has lately been revealing itself with greater and greater frequency. I vaguely remember it as something called “The Sun,” and though it’s certainly unusual, I welcome its appearance.

Because as the sun appears more and more, it’s making for some gorgeous late winter days in Northwest Montana. Though I haven’t ventured up to Glacier National Park much this winter, a recent Sunday afternoon skiing along the unplowed portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road required stripping down to base layers due to the bright sunshine and warmth.

The visitor center in Apgar Village offers suggested cross country skiing and snowshoe outings, with loops ranging from two miles to 12 miles. Avalanches, of course, remain a hazard at certain elevations, but most of these suggestions follow relatively flat routes geared for families. On weekends the park’s education staff also offer twice-daily snowshoe hikes with information on the area’s winter ecology. (For info on times and rental costs, call 406-888-7940.)

On our outing, we parked at Lake McDonald Lodge, and traveled 1.8 miles down the Sun Road. After turning left on the bridge over McDonald Creek, we stopped to take photos, watch the falls, and enjoy the view of the mountains and lake.

How to Get There: Entering from U.S. Highway 2 through West Glacier, take the Going-to-the-Sun Road eight miles to the Lake McDonald Lodge, where the winter road closure and parking are located.

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