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: -113.85626

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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.

Glacier_NP_17_181_08052017 - Sacred Dancing Cascade
Sacred Dancing 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.

Moreover, 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.

Glacier_NP_17_125_08052017 - Context of the McDonald Creek Overlook upstream of the Sacred Dancing Cascade
Context of the McDonald Creek Overlook upstream of the Sacred Dancing Cascade

It was from that bridge that I was able to get a clean upstream view of the Sacred Dancing Cascade.

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.

Authorities

Sacred Dancing Cascade resides in Glacier National Park near Kalispell in Flathead County, Montana. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Glacier_NP_17_123_08052017 - Approaching the viewing decks comprising the McDonald Creek Overlook during our visit in 2017
Glacier_NP_17_130_08052017 - Looking down at a tiny cascade on the McDonald Creek from the overlook further upstream of Sacred Dancing Cascade
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_17_153_08052017 - Broad contextual look upstream at Sacred Dancing Cascade in late afternoon as seen from the footbridge over McDonald Creek
Glacier_NP_17_159_08052017 - Looking down at a tiny cascade on the McDonald Creek from the overlook further upstream of Sacred Dancing Cascade
Glacier_NP_17_166_08052017 - Context of the Sacred Dancing Cascade with some onlookers to the topright providing a sense of scale
Glacier_NP_17_183_08052017 - Looking down through foliage across the Sacred Dancing Cascade on the way back to the parked car
Glacier_NP_17_184_08052017 - Looking back upstream from somewhere near the Sacred Dancing Cascade
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
Glacier_NP_285_09242010 - Contextual landscape view of Sacred Dancing Cascade in September 2010
Glacier_NP_291_09242010 - This was the Sacred Dancing Cascade in high flow as seen in September 2010
Glacier_NP_297_09242010 - Contextual portrait view of Sacred Dancing Cascade from the footbridge spanning McDonald Creek in September 2010

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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.

Glacier_NP_17_122_08052017 - Context of the pullout by the McDonald Creek Overlook further upstream of the Sacred Dancing Cascade
Context of the pullout by the McDonald Creek Overlook further upstream of the Sacred Dancing Cascade

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


Bottom up sweep of the falls


Bottom up sweep looking downstream from the footbridge away from the falls

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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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