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Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana is part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park — Glacier NP connects with Waterton Lakes National Park along the US/Alberta, Canada boarder.

Canada and the United States declared the two parks the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. They are administered separately, with separate entrance fees.
Glacier National park was founded in 1910. Encompassing over 1,000,000 acres of glacier carved mountains and valleys, snow melt finds its way from here into the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road that crosses the park, passes through spectacular scenery climbing to nearly 7,000 ft as it crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
Approximately 50 miles long from the west entrance near Columbia Falls to the east entrance at Saint Mary, the route was named for the nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain at its dedication at Logan Pass in 1933.
The two largest lakes in Glacier NP (out of more than 130 named lakes) provide dramatic scenery at each end of the route — Lake McDonald on the west side and Saint Mary Lake to the east. The following photo essay begins and ends with shots of these beautiful bodies of water.

Glacier National Park Pictures

Lake McDonald

Boys run on a boat dock at Lake McDonald

The above photo of Lake McDonald was shot near the Apgar Visitor Center just inside the west entrance.
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier NP — approximately 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and 472 feet deep.

 

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park at sunset

This sunset photo of Lake McDonald was shot on its north side near the mouth of Fish Creek and Fish Creek Campground.

 

Going-to-the-Sun Road parallels the south shoreline and begins climbing rapidly. There are many pull-outs along the two lane road to view the amazing scenery — a good thing since there are frequent switchbacks, steep drop-offs and many bike riders to watch out for.

 

Scenery along the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Vally view in Glacier NP near the loop

Here is a shot of mountains and valley from just beyond the first Going-to-the-Sun Road’s hairpin turn known as The Loop.
That bit of blue in the valley is McDonald Creek which flows into the north end of Lake McDonald.

 

Scenic view from Going-to-the-Sun Road

Continuing on the Going-to-the-Sun Road the perspective changes and more snow covered areas become visible.
These photos were taken in the second week of August.

 

A mountain stream in a bowl shaped valley in Glacier NP

Glacier National Park is named for the glaciers that formed it. U shaped valleys were carved by this activity.
It’s possible that there will be no glaciers left in the park by 2020, but the beautiful landscape they carved will still be here.

 

Looking down at a valley floor with a stream

As you near the Continental Divide, a half mile from Logan Pass, a pull-out is enhanced with walkways and decks
right on the edge of the cliff which allowed me to take this telephoto shot of the valley floor far below.

 

Waterfall with mountain peak backdrop picture

Turning around and looking up the road this waterfall drops to road level.

 

Logan Pass

Logan Pass Visitors Center with US and Canada flags

The Logan Pass Visitor Center flies both US and Canada flags for the International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site.
The elevation here is 6,646 ft. A trail behind the visitor center leads to Hidden Lake.

 

Field of flowers and mountain peak with snow

Wildflowers and lingering snow at this elevation give the impression of early spring in the second week of August.

 

Panoramic view of mountains and valley along the Going-to-the-Sun Road
The dramatic scenery continues on the eastern side of the Continental Divide.
You will want to have a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens if you make this drive.

 

Waterfall picture

This beautiful waterfall is a telephoto shot of the valley in the above photo. Can you find it in the panorama?

 

Jackson Glacier photo
Just beyond another hairpin curve (Siyeh Bend), Jackson Glacier Overlook pull-out provides a view of the glacier.
This is another telephoto shot.

 

Bridge and waterfall
At first sight of Saint Mary Lake a pull-off provides parking for those who want to make the 3.6 mile round trip hike to St Mary Falls.
A foot bridge over Saint Mary River adds to the picturesqueness of the scene once you reach the falls.

 

Upper and lower St Mary Falls photo

Saint Mary Falls viewed from the foot bridge.

 

Saint Mary Lake picture

This final shot is from outside Glacier NP a couple of miles south on hwy 89 looking back at Saint Mary Lake.

 

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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson