Synder Lake Trail - Glacier National Park
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 8.8 miles Round Trip
  • Travel Time: 4-6 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 2147 ft. Gain
  • Destination GPS Coordinates:
  • 48 37.559 N, 113 48.316 W
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Trail Pictures

The Snyder Lakes lie at the top of a beautiful side canyon in Glacier National Park.  To get there follow the Going-to-the-Sun Road to the Lake McDonald Lodge.  During the summer months, parking can be hard to find in the lodge area.  Park visitors are encouraged to utilize the free shuttle leaving from the Apgar area near the west entrance.

The trail begins at the Sperry Trailhead on the otherside of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, just accross the road from the shuttle stop.  In the first few hundred yards the trail passes by a horse barn, stay to the right and stay on the well defined trail.  The trail is wide and makes a steady climb up the side of the mountain.  It parralells Synder Creek, but you rarely see the creek as it is usually 100 ft or more below the trail.  Most of the trail is through thick forest until you get closer to the lake.  There are a couple of good view points to look out over Lake McDonald.

About 2 miles from the trailhead you'll come to the first junction.  The left fork heads up the Mt. Brown Lookout.  The lookout is another 3miles and 3000 foot climb from the juction.  Stay to the right.  About 100-200 yards past the Mt. Brown Junction, you'll come to the next junction.  You'll want to head to the left to the Snyder lakes.  The trail to the right heads up to the Sperry Chalet and Gunsight Pass.

The trail here is noticeably less traveled than the first half of the trail.  There's only room to walk in a single file line.  As you work you way up the drainage, the trees will start to thin and you'll cross a rock fall.  You'll start to see a band of cliffs on the canyon wall.  The lower lake lies below this band of cliffs at 5227 ft above sea level.  The trail crosses a bridge over Snyder creek just below where it exits the lake.  There are several backcountry campsites where you can get a permit to spend the night.  The formal trail ends at the campsites.

The upper lake lies above the band of cliffs.  You'll have to bushwack it and route find a way up through the cliffs to get there.

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