Snyder Ridge

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Hiking through a grove of giant red cedars.

The Snyder Ridge Trail in Glacier National Park wonít go down as a favorite, which isnít to say itís unpleasant. It is very pleasant. Itís a nice walk in the trees as it rises slowly, but surely, above the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Despite the heavy traffic on the road over the Labor Day weekend, the forest quickly absorbed the noise and soon, you canít hear the road at all.

Such are the charms of Glacier National Park. Finding the trailhead is a bit tricky. Itís barely marked, tucked between the first and second turnouts on the Sun Road east of Apgar. The trail rises just under 1,700 feet to the top of the ridge. At first itís a slow rise up, but after crossing a large gully with a small stream, the trail gets serious as it rises steeply to the ridgetop.

From the top, thereís a glimpse of Lake McDonald below and Mount Stanton, but thatís about it. It then descends slightly to the junction of the Lincoln Lake Trail. You can hike it all the way to Lake McDonald Lodge if you want, itís about 11 miles, one-way. Our goal on this day was to get to the top of the ridge, which was roughly six miles in.

The ridge has lots of huckleberry bushes, but they looked to have been picked clean.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was a small stand of old-growth cedars, giants growing about 1,000 feet above the Sun Road.

ó Chris Peterson

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