Low Point: 3200'
High Point: 5200'
DirectionsThis trail lies within Glacier National Park. The trail leaves from the Going to the Sun Road, directly south of Lake McDonald Lodge.
During the Fall of 2006, we took a train from Portland to Glacier. We did three short trails (Hidden Lake, Avalanche Lake, and Snyder Lake) along Going to the Sun Road, which during the busy summer season I wouldn't even consider. However, since it was October, and the trails were pretty lonely, we were given an opportunity to do some good day hikes that we wouldn't normally see.
Leaving from the Lake McDonald Lodge, the Sperry trail travels through hemlock and larch trees at a fairly level grade, before steepening at a quarter mile beyond the trailhead. Near the half-mile mark, the trail breaks open to a good viewpoint overlooking Snyder Creek, and north to Lake McDonald. The trail continues to climb in a series of switchbacks, with the forest becoming denser.
At two miles, a trail leading to the east leads to the Mount Brown Lookout, and shortly thereafter, another intersection. Turn east (left)and follow the trail as the woods open up to a scrubby hillside. Snyder creek flows unseen in at the valley bottom and the ridge on the opposite side of the creek can be very nice in the fall, when the plentiful larch trees turn from green to gold, as well as the maple and alder trees filling the valley bottom. The brushy areas that the trail travels through also makes for good bear habitat, so make some noise as you walk.
A mile and a half beyond the trail intersection, the path travels over a rock slope, and views of the Little Matterhorn at the head of the valley, and the 8,565' Mt. Brown rise sharply to the south. Snyder Lake lies in the first cirque, with a higher cirque holding another lake without a formal trail leading to it. The hillside to the south provides access to the upper cirque.
There are three formal campsites, a stock camp, cooking area, a pit toilet, and bear wire all at Snyder Lake.