It’s a picturesque short hike that takes you past lower McDonald Falls, and the cascade area. This might be a good choice for an easier first day hike in Glacier Park, along with Avalanche Lake – especially if you’re staying in the Lake McDonald area or West Glacier. The McDonald Creek section is part of the John’s Lake Loop trail, which has a small designated parking area on Going-To-The-Sun Road. Take a NPS trail map with you . There are some branches to the trail, but I stayed with the signs that identified John’s Lake Loop. The trail takes you for a short way in heavy forest. Compared to other venues at Glacier, John’s Lake itself is not as scenic. But the trail quickly crosses you back over GTSR to a large parking lot area. If you’re just looking for some pictures of the cascades and falls, then start at this larger parking area on Going-To-The-Sun Road. From that spot, I would figure at least 45 minutes to get across the foot bridge, down to the lower falls, and back. The trail stays close to McDonald Creek, and gives you lots of chances for pictures – or to just stop and enjoy the grandeur. The shade from the trees, and the sound of the roaring creek would be a welcome combination on a hot day. If you have only one day to just drive Going-To-The-Sun Road, save some time for this little side trip – also Hidden Lake Overlook at Logan Pass. Getting out of your vehicle and into the environment adds much to the experience. I would take bear spray on any trail at Glacier Park, even this one.
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