This corral is located on the east side of Lake McDonald, the largest of Glacier’s 250 alpine lakes. We offer outstanding trail rides from this location:
This easy one hour ride meanders underneath the canopy of the Cedar Forest surrounding our Lake McDonald Corral, but is only booked when horses and guides are available.
Upper McDonald Creek
This two and a half hour ride takes you through the oldest forest in Glacier National Park with Red Cedar and Hemlock trees providing a cool shade. Pop out of the forest to enjoy Upper McDonald Creek at the Dancing Water Cascades. You’ll have a glimpse of everything from Mountain views to Huckleberry patches and Glacial Erratics. Keep your eyes open for the rare sighting of a Grizzly Bear! The beautiful old growth forest of the Lake McDonald area is a special treat and we are excited to share it with you.
On August 31, 2017 the Sperry Chalet hotel building was lost to the Sprague Fire. However, thanks to the cooperation of the National Park Service, Belton Chalets Inc., the Glacier National Park Conservancy and numerous donors from the general public, Sperry is being rebuilt! Phase 1 of the Sperry Rebuild Project was completed during the 2018 summer season and focused on further stabilizing the Chalet and installing floors and a roof.
Due to the construction, Swan Mountain Outfitters will only take rides to the Chalet on Saturdays and Sundays during the 2019 summer season. Since the Sprague Fire burned in a mosaic pattern, if you have taken this trail before you may be equally surprised by both the changes from the fire and how much remains the same. Within just 20 minutes from departing the corral, you will see evidence of the fire: standing snags, charred logs and the truly rocky bed of the forest floor which no longer has the ground cover it used to. You will gain 3,300 feet in elevation across the on the 6.7 mile trek up to Sperry Chalet! There is far less tree cover as a result of the fire, so not only is this ride best suited for advanced riders due to the challenging terrain, but it is also a very hot trail for hikers and riders alike. Please be sure to be well prepared with water, snacks and stamina for the trip. The Sperry Chalet kitchen is in full operation, so once at the Chalet, treat yourself to a one of a kind meal made from ingredients that are delivered weekly to the Chalet via a pack string of mules!
Follow Glacier National Park’s Facebook page to stay updated on Sperry project information. Swan Mountain Outfitters is giving our full endorsement to the as the fundraising partner for this important project. We would like to encourage all of our guests, our friends, chalet visitors, dreamers, and lovers of the National Parks to give your support. You can help rebuild Sperry Chalet by donating to the Conservancy’s Sperry Action Fund.
As a result of the Howe Ridge Fire in 2018, there is a significant amount of construction on North McDonald Road scheduled for 2019. This road will be closed until mid to late summer and since the trail to Trout Lake is accessed from this road, availability of this ride will be limited.
Trout Lake is nestled in the valley just north of Lake McDonald. With a steep elevation gain of 4,200 feet to the saddle in between Mt. Stanton and Mt. Vaught, this 6.2 mile journey is not for the faint of heart. However, the view into the McDonald Valley and then the Camas Valley is stunning. You will see multitudes of berry bushes, beautiful wildflowers, picturesque mountains and streams and lakes abundant with fish. Feel free to relax at the quiet, scenic lake for a long lunch with views of the Garden Wall before returning over the mountains. The weight limit for this ride is 200 pounds and it is not recommended for the beginner rider.