Outbound Collective logo

Hike to Apgar Lookout

Columbia Falls, Montana

based on 2 reviews



7 miles

Elevation Gain

1850 ft

Route Type



Added by Josh Osborne

This half-day hike provides a new perspective on the iconic view of Lake McDonald and the surrounding mountains in Glacier National Park.

Precursor: I completed this hike in November, hence the snow in the photos. Due to a lack of tree coverage, this hike is best suited for a cool summer day, or in the late spring and early autumn. It is doable in the heat of the summer, but be sure to pack plenty of water.

This hike begins by trekking through a recovering forest, which was originally destroyed in the 2003 Roberts Fire. The first section of the hike, roughly three-quarters of a mile, has little to no climb to it. Soon, though, the trail begins to gain elevation. There are several switchbacks in the trail as you climb. As you approach the lookout, there is a nearby pit toilet. Upon reaching the structure itself, it is about a quarter of a mile to the highest point of the mountain. Though none were seen on the day I completed the hike, there is the possibility of viewing wildlife along the trail.

From the lookout, a beautiful view of Lake McDonald can be seen to the northeast, though from some angles slightly obstructed by trees and a large TV transformer standing nearby. Surrounding the head of the lake, Stanton Mountain, Mount Vaught, The Garden Wall, Edwards Mountain, Little Matterhorn, and Gunsight Mountain stand. Looking east, you can see far into the Lewis Range of mountains. Looking back from where you came, you can see into the North Fork and Middle Fork areas, along with the surrounding communities.

This hike is easily completed in a half-day, allowing time to explore Apgar Village or, if visiting Glacier for a while, head over to the east side of the park to explore the following day.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File



Hike to Apgar Lookout Reviews

Enjoyed this trail! It’s a climb up but not overly strenuous. The views from the top are pretty. I came early on in the season so make sure you are bear aware and keep a look out since there is a lot of vegetation that they could surprise you out of.

My wife and I hiked this 7.2 mile out-and-back route in July. The trail is lovely but exposed to the sun the whole way as a result of old wildfires. Take plenty of water! The view from the top is worth the effort and the lookout is really scenic. Good cellphone coverage the whole route if you want to stay connected.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Swim at the Belton Bridge

Capture Sunrise or Sunset at Lake McDonald

Kayak Lake McDonald

Snowshoe the North Fork Area of the Flathead River

Hike to Howe Lake

Backpack to Lincoln Lake