Scenic USA - Montana

McDonald Creek

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McDonald Creek - Glacier National Park, Montana

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     McDonald Creek, tracing the western section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, flows down from Mount Geduhn of the Livingston Range McDonald Creek Boardwalk - Glacier National Park, Montana in Glacier National Park. This springtime rush of cold, Rocky Mountain snowmelt has transformed this glacial stream into a thunderous river.
     Here, where the eastern prairie makes a sudden transistion to a relatively thin line of towering mountain peaks, Glacier National Park offers a marvelous variety of landscape scenery. Shaped by the Lewis Overthrust 75 million years ago, mountains were pushed up, trapping eastern bound mositure. Snowfields became massive glaciers, defining today's majestic mountain peaks. On the western side of what George Grinnell called the Crown of the Continent, lush forests of cedar and hemlock add to the park's distinctive converging ecosystems. Here where McDonald Creek is found west of Logan Pass and the Continental Divide, alpine lakes and mountain meadows disappear. McDonald Creek Falls - Glacier National Park, Montana McDonald Creek parallels the Going-to-the-Sun Road as it flows out to the ten mile long Lake McDonald.
     Construction of the Sun Road began in 1920, an amazing high altitude engineering marvel. First thoughts on road design envisioned a multitude of switchbacks. As it turns out only one was built, called The Loop. As the road descends from The Loop, this scenic highway passes Packers Roost, picking up McDonald Creek. A popular stop at Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Gorge lies between Packers Roost and Lake McDonald. At the southern terminus of Lake McDonald, you'll find the Apgar Visitor Center, the western park entrance and the town of West Glacier.

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