Capture Sunrise at St. Mary Lake

Montana St. Mary Lake Pullout

  • Activities:

    Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

St. Mary Lake is the second largest lake in Glacier National Park, and easily accessible right off Going-To-The-Sun-Road. It's nearly 10 miles long and 300 feet deep.

One of the more popular spots to photograph this lake is from the Wild Goose Island pullout. However, I prefer to get off the beaten path a little bit and avoid the crowds. The pin on the map will take you to the next pullout just east of Wild Goose Island, but before you get to Rising Sun campground. Just be aware that there is no cell coverage here until you get closer to St. Mary Visitor Center at the East entrance.

From this pullout, you'll find several unmarked trails that will get you off the beaten path, and more likely to capture a photo that's unique and different from everyone else who is unwilling to stray too far from their vehicle.

Bears have still been spotted at these locations despite their popularity, so don't forget your bear spray. This is particularly true if you're heading out for sunrise as you'll likely have this location to yourself...everyone else is at Wild Goose Island.

If you plan it right, you can capture the sun just as it rises, and then turn West and capture the mountains with some amazing alpenglow. 

Pack List

  • Camera (batteries, memory card, etc.)
  • Wide angle lens
  • Tripod (an absolute must)
  • Neutral Density filters (to even out your exposure)
  • Oh, and coffee!!!
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Reviews

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I caught a sunrise here after a rain storm, and the rainbows were incredible. We got a flat tire on the Going to the Sun Road because of some rocks that had fallen, so be aware of what's on the road. Regardless, it was an amazing place!

3 months ago
3 months ago

Kenton SteryousExplorer

Adventurer, Photographer, Rock Climber, Fly Fisher

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