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

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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.


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.

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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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