MT – Glacier NP – Synder Lake . . . another J&J Adventure!

With the trailhead conveniently located near Lake McDonald Lodge, this is one of those trails I’d personally avoid during prime season. However getting to explore park favorites, minus the crowds, is one of many off-season hiking benefits. 

Spring travel means getting to see the early season bloomers, like Fairy Slipper orchid (Calypso bulbosa), Spring Beauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and Trillium (Trillium ovatum). 

Nature helps keep crowds at bay. How many want to do the trail obstacle limbo? Good thing my friend Joan is an experienced tree gymnast and dancer, she doesn’t mind the additional challenge. Also notice, the bear spray she’s wearing on her belt. This is not only grizzly country, but it’s spring which means bears are waking from their long winter slumber, they are hungry, they have babies to feed, and it’s our job to prevent bear encounters.

Spring travel means being prepared for all kinds of conditions, like hiking through trail that more closely resembles a creek. We wore tall gaiters plus plastic bags over our socks to keep our feet drier and warmer.

And trails more suitable for skis or snowshoes. We wore our microspikes on these slippery sections. 

Transitioning to and from bridges can be a little tricky. Hiking poles with snow baskets and microspikes improve success and safety.

Although the forecast called for 90% chance of rain, we also came prepared with hats and sunscreen. 

Snow travel means sketchy navigation. Although we both enjoy electronic tools, we also come prepared with map and compass. Is Joan lost? Nah, she’s either doing a little trail reconnaissance or more likely enjoying the views. 

But the rewards of these little inconveniences are views like this.

Date(s) Hiked: April 23, 2016

Road Trip Day(s) #65 out of 88

Tips:

  • The hike from Sperry Chalet Trailhead (aka Snyder Creek TH) to Snyder Lake is about 9 miles round trip with 2,000+ feet elevation gain/loss. 
  • The only campgrounds in the park open during the winter/early spring season are Apgar and St Mary
  • Come prepared with grizzly bear spray or buy at Visitor’s Center upon arrival
  • Microspikes or YakTrax are a good option for early season travel.

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