This Montana lake filled with colorful pebbles is one for your bucket list

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You don’t have to travel abroad to find some magnificent hidden gems worthy of a #TravelTuesday post.

Exhibit A: This stunner of an ice castle in the Wisconsin Dells.

Exhibit B: This travel map that will help you find hidden travel attractions in each state.

And finally, we turn our attention to a super-cool and photogenic lake in Montana’s Glacier National Park that’s filled with colorful pebbles and worthy of a spot on your travel bucket list.

Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park—it stretches 10 miles long and is nearly 500 feet deep, according to the park service. It’s a result of glacial carving that also shaped nearby valleys, which house some spectacular waterfalls.

But what really sets this lake apart from the 700-some lakes scattered throughout the park is the colorful array of pebbles that look as though they’ve been individually painted and dropped into the lake. Really, though, Mother Nature is the artist.

A few factors are at play to create the colored rocks. First, the temperature of the lake rarely gets above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface, according to the park service. Those chilly temps temper plankton growth, which then allows visitors to see details at the bottom of the lakes, even as far down as 30 feet or so.

As for the rock colors, when the glaciers came, they chipped off rocks from the surrounding mountains which were varied in color, with shades of reds and greens.

MORE: Here’s the ultimate road trip to visit most of the national parks

If you really want to geek out on some geology, the rangers at the park will explain that the red rocks were formed when plenty of oxygen was present and the green ones were formed when the atmosphere was lacking oxygen.

Adding to the park’s beauty? The snow-capped mountains that frame the lake and reflect in its waters.

Intrigued and ready to head to Montana?

You can actually book a cabin on the eastern shore of Lake McDonald inside the park at Glacier National Park Lodges.

Glacier Park National Lodges

This historic Lake McDonald Lodge, a Swiss chalet-style lodge, was built in 1913 and is a good base camp for boat tours and horseback rides.

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MORE: Is your child in 4th grade? You can get a free national parks membership for your whole family

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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more.

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