In 1895 an early homesteader, George Snyder, built a small hotel by Lake McDonald, 15 years before the area became a national park. John Lewis, a Columbia Falls  furrier, took over Snyder’s hotel, built the present lodge in 1914, and decorated it with hunting trophies (most of which still stare down from timbered beams and balconies).
The artist Charlie Russell had a cabin nearby, and it has long been rumored that the pictographs around the lodge’s fireplace are his work.
One needn’t be a hotel guest to lounge in the Lake McDonald Lodge  lobby or in the chairs overlooking the lake, and it’s a comfortable stop after a day of hiking.
Lake McDonald has long been the territory of tourist cruise boats (406/257-2426, www.glacierparkboats.com , 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7 p.m. daily, adults $14, children $7). Tours are an hour long; the evening tour is especially popular, and sunsets can be phenomenal.