Glacier National Park is vast, and our short three days and an evening there could not do it justice. Plus we lost a half day waiting for a very slow auto dealership in Kalispell to determine there really wasn’t a serious problem with our car, just a flukey warning light. But enough of that. Let me share some of what we saw and experienced.
We drove from New Hampshire stopping in some interesting places along the way. Hopefully I’ll add some pages for those locations at some stage. One of the most surprising was the Town of Culbertson Museum in northeastern Montana just across the border from North Dakota. We went in to pick up some tourist information, then noticed one room, then another. Soon I had my camera and tripod out and spent the next 20 minutes photographing the museum. Photos are HERE. We would have stayed longer, but we had some distance to travel before staying a last night short of Glacier.
We stayed in East Glacier Park Village, not a bad place, and fairly well located for many park spots. The Dancing Bears motel had a great self-service, all-day breakfast/snack area stocked with all sorts of goodies.
The photo below was taken just outside of East Glacier village with Glacier NP in the background.
We had only a little time to explore this first afternoon so we visited the nearby Two Medicine Lake area. This spot features the pointy Sinopah Mountain across Two Medicine Lake (180 degree panorama below was taken the next morning) and a short hike to Running Eagle Falls (photo on right). It also features Pray Lake and some nice hikes as we would discover our third (and last) morning at Glacier.
Nearby a colorful flying creature attracted my attention.
Our first full day started with a dawn photo of Sinopah Mountain across Two Medicine Lake.
We had a 9:30 car appointment in Kalispell so we could not linger. But we did stop at Lower Two Medicine Lake for the three-shot panorama below.
The morning fog in Nyack caught our attention.
We had just a bit of time before the appointment so we made a quick trip to Lake McDonald. Here is a photo taken a bit after 9 am.
Somewhat after 1 pm, we were back. We stopped briefly at McDonald Falls, seen on the left below. Then we ran into a “bear jam”. You might be able to spot the black bear in the tree right above this somewhat foolish man.
I kept my distance but still got some shots before a female ranger came along and broke up the fun. The bear was still chewing away in the tree when we left.
We had decided to take the Going-to-the-Sun Road back. I’m glad we did, but there was a lot of construction and several very long delays where we just sat waiting and waiting.
I found the burnt out area near Heaven’s Peak interesting and strangely beautiful.
And then there were the red tour busses. Stop, pop up, snap a photo, drive on.
The scenery along the road is dramatic, even in the boring early afternoon sun.
We stopped for a “classic” shot of St Mary Lake. We had been in the Glacier area now for over 24 hours and had only a brief time of good light.
We were up early the next morning for the hour plus drive to the Many Glacier area in the NE corner of Glacier. We got to Lake Sherburne in time for a sunrise. While there I noticed two photographers in the field behind me, quite a distance from the lake.
Below is a 16-shot panorama of the sunrise at Lake Sherburne. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Please wait for the resolution to download. This image has a lot of resolution so you can work your way down to the shore of the lake or climb one of the neighboring mountains. You can see Mount Grinnell in the distance just to the left of the nearby hill which is part of Apikuni Mountain.
Here is wide view of the entrance to the Many Glacier area.
As we headed in toward Swiftcurrent Lake we found a black bear with two cubs. Since we had driven rather than flown here, I had a long lens with me so I could get some decent shots. I certainly did not want to approach this bear.
We planned to hike around the lake, but first my love of moving water took over and I had to photograph Swiftcurrent Falls with Mount Grinnell in the background. The footing getting in place for this 9-shot pan was a bit tricky. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Please wait for the resolution to download.
We had a wonderful hike around Swiftcurrent Lake. Here we are on the first part of the hike with Mount Grinnell in the background and my shadow with tripod in the foreground. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll.
Here is another view of Mount Grinnell.
And a pair of photos as we walked around the lake.
It was amazing how different Mount Grinnell looked from different angles.
This was mid-September, so they were pulling the tour boats out of the lake for the winter.
There were canoes that perhaps could have been rented. That is still Mount Grinnell in the background.
Since it was September, the foliage along the ground was starting to color up.
Before we left the Many Glacier area I took a 12-shot image of Swiftwater Falls from the top. This is the view most tourists see.
We headed down to St Mary Lake knowing most of the road construction was west of there. I got another “classic”, but mid-day, shot of St Mary Lake.
I hiked down to St Mary River (left) and St Mary Falls (right).
Here is a 10-shot panorama of St Mary Falls. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll.
The St Mary River near the exit of Glacier NP was interesting and colorful.
Near Browning the sky was filled with birds…
…above the bison. And below them too.
This is Browning, east of East Glacier, early the next morning. It looks like a pleasant place in the early light.
We were not really heading that way but rather back into the Two Medicine Lake area. Here is the Two Medicine River along Route 49.
I was able to get Running Eagle Falls and Rising Wolf Mountain in decent early light.
The photo above was taken fairly close to the falls with a wide angle lens. It is interesting how the same elements look very different when shot farther from the falls with a longer lens as seen below. The combination of changing focal length AND moving your feet can be a very powerful compositional tool. As I teach in my classes, when you do this you typically have to move a whole lot. The photo above was taken on the other side of the sandy bank seen at the right in the photo below.
While there I was able to get a shot of an American Dipper. The American Dipper is North America’s only truly aquatic songbird. It catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom.
Near Two Medicine Lake is the tiny Pray Lake. It also has a great view of Sinopah Mountain.
Here is another view of Pray Lake.
We hiked along the western shore of Pray Lake. Right at the start of the hike we watched paddleboarders on the river leading in.
The mountain ash along the trail was beautiful.
Here are other views from our hike.
Around noon we headed north toward Many Glacier. We got some nice scenes along the way, even with the midday sun.
A short way into Many Glacier we saw a young Grizzly. I stood along the road with tripod and long lens next to folks using their phones to take photos. As it walked closer and closer I figured I could run faster than they could. These photos below are either uncropped or barely cropped.
Here is an 8-shot panorama of Swiftwater Creek. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Please wait for the resolution to download.
Below is another view of the beautiful Swiftcurrent Creek in the Many Glacier area for those who don’t want to pan and explore the panorama above.
Our short time in Glacier was almost at an end. I got a few more photos just outside East Glacier.
An old ranch near East Glacier is seen in this 6-shot panorama. You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll.
Here are some of the other photos I took in our short time in Glacier National Park.