Discover Lake McDonald’s Amazing Colored Pebbles (Best Time to Visit and More!)

The national parks and their natural treasures draw visitors to the United States from all over the world. It makes sense that people would want to visit this place given the breathtaking scenery of Glacier National Park and the tranquil environs of Montana’s Lake McDonald. The fact that a group of stones discovered along the lake’s edge is one of the national park’s attractions might interest you. Why do people make the hour-long trip to see the colourful stones of Lake McDonald? To find out the solution, continue reading!

How Was Lake McDonald Formed?

About two million years ago, the world experienced a cooling trend, which is when Lake McDonald first formed. Over much of North America, ice sheets came and went several times during the Pleistocene. These glaciers carved their way across valleys and plains until around 10,000–12,000 years ago, when they started to subside. The valleys were ploughed under by this process, which created deep lakes with a U shape that were fed by glacial runoff. One such lake is Lake McDonald, which is ten miles long and has depths of about 500 feet.

What Types of Pebbles Are in Lake McDonald?

Around Glacier National Park and near Lake McDonald, argillite is the most common type of stone. Millions of years ago, the sea that covered Montana washed sand and debris rich in iron, forming this sedimentary rock. The weight of the silt caused it to accumulate into a thick layer on the seafloor, where it was later altered by heat and pressure. Tectonic plate uplift and other later geologic events exposed portions of the rock that underwent glacial and weathering. The iron concentration in argellite is what gives it its vivid colouring.

What Colors Are They?

It seems as though the pebbles encircling Lake McDonald are every hue in the rainbow. They can also be green, yellow, purple, turquoise, black, or white, though their predominant colours are red and blue. These rocks’ range of colours is a result of the oxygenation process that occurs during their development. The colours of the stones will be various shades of red if they are exposed to sufficient oxygen during the creation process. They will have blue hues if they are oxygen-starved, as they were when they developed underwater.

What Part of the Lake Is the Best Spot to See the Pebbles?

The best location to discover Lake McDonald’s colourful pebbles is, for the most part, along its eastern side. The stones are located north to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the shore of Apgar at the southern end of the lake. Additionally, there is a stop off of Glacier Rte 1 called North Lake McDonald View. Less than a quarter of a mile separates it from Sprague Creek Campground, which is also the location of the stones.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Lake McDonald?

In the winter, Lake McDonald is a breathtaking sight. There’s a location where the snow-covered shore and its ice-covered waters make for a striking contrast with the pebble shore. Summer, however, is the ideal season to visit the lake. Mid-May to early September is the greatest time to see these amazing stones because of the clear waters.

Can You Take the Stones From Lake McDonald?

Even though the stones are beautiful, it is not allowed for guests to take them out of the lake. Although there are tales of people stealing rocks or other objects from national parks and it bringing them ill luck, the true cause is more commonsensical: if everyone took stuff from the parks, there wouldn’t be anything for visitors to see. It is strongly advised that visitors leave no trace in order to preserve the history of our national parks. Remove nothing. Nothing is damaged. Nothing should be left behind.

Where Is Lake McDonald?

Lake McDonald is located in northwest Montana’s Glacier National Park. It joins Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park approximately 31 miles south of the border. Situated between the Kootenai National Forest on the west and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on the east is Glacier National Park. Off Route 2 at West Glacier, on Going-to-the-Sun Road, is where visitors can access the park.