Sacred Dancing Cascade and the McDonald Creek Overlook

Glacier National Park / Lake McDonald, Montana, USA

About Sacred Dancing Cascade and the McDonald Creek Overlook

Hiking Distance: 0.2 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-09-24
Date last visited: 2017-08-05

Waterfall Latitude: 48.64192
Waterfall Longitude: -113.85897

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Sacred Dancing Cascade, I believe, pertained to the wide river waterfall we saw just upstream from a footbridge spanning McDonald Creek. There’s some confusion as to whether the waterfall you see pictured above is indeed the Sacred Dancing Cascade or if it’s McDonald Falls while some obscure cascades and boardwalks even further upstream were thought to be the cascade. However, according to my waypoint markings on my handheld GPS and comparing them to my Topo! map, it appears that the waterfall pictured here is indeed the Sacred Dancing Cascade and the smaller cascades further upstream at a different pullout were recognized by the park service as the McDonald Creek Overlook. Meanwhile, the officially-named McDonald Falls was further downstream between Sacred Dancing Cascade and Lake McDonald’s north end.

Of the waterfalls near the north end of Lake McDonald, it turned out that this was the easier waterfall to view cleanly. That was because we were able to pull over to a roadside parking area (see directions below, and we could take a short two-minute trail alongside McDonald Creek to a sturdy bridge spanning the McDonald Creek. It was from that bridge that I was able to get a clean upstream view of the falls. In good weather (which we were fortunate to have on a second visit here in August 2017), this cascade was also backed by shapely mountains that were typical of Glacier National Park.

Glacier_NP_17_134_08052017 - This was the start of the descent alongside McDonald Creek towards the footbridge with the view of Sacred Dancing Cascade
Glacier_NP_17_136_08052017 - Walking alongside McDonald Creek towards the footbridge
Glacier_NP_17_148_08052017 - Contextual look at the Sacred Dancing Cascade from the footbridge in good weather in the late afternoon
Glacier_NP_297_09242010 - Contextual portrait view of Sacred Dancing Cascade from the footbridge spanning McDonald Creek in September 2010
Glacier_NP_285_09242010 - Contextual landscape view of Sacred Dancing Cascade in September 2010
Glacier_NP_17_183_08052017 - Back at the pullout looking down through the foliage towards the profile of Sacred Dancing Cascade
Glacier_NP_17_122_08052017 - This was a large pullout for the viewing decks further upstream of Sacred Dancing Cascade, which the park service calls the McDonald Creek Overlook
Glacier_NP_17_123_08052017 - Approaching the viewing decks comprising the McDonald Creek Overlook
Glacier_NP_17_125_08052017 - Context of some smaller cascades beneath the viewing deck of the McDonald Creek Overlook
Glacier_NP_265_09242010 - Looking downstream over some rapids and mini-cascades from the viewing deck of the McDonald Creek Overlook
Glacier_NP_266_09242010 - This was the view looking northwards from the McDonald Creek Overlook
Glacier_NP_269_09242010 - Looking upstream at some chute-type waterfall from the McDonald Creek Overlook


The pullout for Sacred Dancing Cascade is less than a half-mile east of the pullout for McDonald Falls. This pullout was about 11 miles northeast of the three-way junction at Apgar. Apgar was about 2 miles north of the US Highway 2 turnoff at West Glacier.

Note that further up the road another 1.4 miles was the McDonald Creek Overlook. There was also another roadside pullout for Red Rock Point about 4.4 miles northeast of Sacred Dancing Cascade’s pullout or about a mile north of the wildly popular Avalanche Creek and Trail of the Cedars campground and parking area.

For context, West Glacier was 50 miles (2 hours) west of St Mary, 33 miles (45 minutes drive) northeast of Kalispell, and 136 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of Missoula.

360 degree sweep from the bridge before the Sacred Dancing Cascade

Upstream to downstream sweep of some small cascades seen from the McDonald Creek Overlook

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Tagged with: glacier, kalispell, flathead, montana, waterfall, rocky mountains, going-to-the-sun, lake mcdonald, mcdonald creek overlook, red rock point, mcdonald creek, apgar

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