8 Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park

Starting with a series of questions, again… So in Glacier National Park, the main question is not whether to photograph or not photograph its raw beauty. The question to ask is where to find those outstanding photo spots in different sections of Glacier National Park. 

Last updated: May 30, 2024

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Iconic photo spots in Glacier National Park

The Best Photo Spots in Glacier National Park (In No Particular Order)

It hadn’t been even 10 minutes since we entered the western side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and we already had a strong desire to pull over, get out of the car, and start photographing the spectacular landscape all around us. Gigantic Lake McDonald with majestic mountains reflecting off its calm water took our breath away first.

As we were driving farther east after making our first photo stop at a small pull-off near the West Glacier entrance, the scenery seemed to enhance (if it was even possible), unveiling its photogenic sides right and left. I simply couldn’t keep my camera inside my backpack. It looked as if Glacier National Park read our mind and revealed to us its iconic photo spots the moment we entered the area.

Things to Know before Going on a Self-Guided Photo Tour in Glacier National Park

Yet we were not the only ones looking for unique views and gorgeous vantage points. In late June, Glacier National Park with its outstanding photo opportunities had a quite big issue. Parking spots were limited.

So, to make sure that we could photograph the pristine beauty of Glacier without any worry about the parking and dozens of strangers getting into our pictures, we had to get to the park early in the morning. Then for a few hours, we could have some of the iconic photo spots in Glacier National Park all to ourselves.

TIP: Keep in mind, though, these photogenic locations are scattered all around the park. So start shooting in the most popular places in Glacier National Park before the crowds arrive there. Later venture into the lesser-known areas and continue photographing Glacier’s untamed beauty without too many distractions.

In this guide to the 8 iconic photo spots in Glacier National Park, we don’t prioritize neither the popularity of a place nor its outstanding surroundings. The destinations are listed in the order of how we discovered them. If you intend to start your photographic journey in East Glacier, venture to the photo spots listed at the end of the list and slowly move to the top. 

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Lake McDonald | Iconic photo spots in Glacier
Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Many Glacier abounds with iconic photo spots


1. Lake McDonald

We started and ended our self-guided photography tour at Lake McDonald. One of the most popular photo spots in Glacier National Park, the place satisfies different photographic styles. Spread over 10 miles of pristine terrain along the western section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Lake McDonald boasts bountiful scenic overlooks and endless photo opportunities.

Furthermore, with a plethora of secluded coves along the shore, you can find some quiet photo spots to accentuate the natural beauty of Glacier National Park. No more striving for different perspectives of the same location. Now do you understand why photos of Lake McDonald always look unique and preserve specific photographic styles of their creators?

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
The best photo spots in Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald

2. Avalanche Lake 

Avalanche Lake is truly one of the best photo spots in Glacier National Park. Nestled at the end of a 2-mile hike that starts near Avalanche Gorge – another photogenic place in West Glacier – the place remains pristine and unspoiled even when a horde of hikers happens to linger near its closest to the trail shore.

Similar to Lake McDonald, this photogenic destination conceals several scenic coves. Serving as temporary safe havens from all the hustle and bustle just a few feet away, these photo spots allow you to photograph irresistible greenish shades of the lake with the giant Glacier National Park’s mountains in the background.

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Just a few feet away from the typical summer crowds, Avalanche Lake looks unspoiled
Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
It’s also one of the best places in Glacier for water reflection and waterfall photography

3. Logan Pass – One of the Seasonal Photo Spots in Glacier

Where to find the best photo spots in Logan Pass, the highest point along Glacier National Park’s favorite scenic drive? Anywhere you want. When it comes to photography in Glacier, this panoramic nook is the biggest reminder that you can capture the park’s pristine landscapes at any place and time of the day.

From snow-capped mountains to blooming alpine meadows, and jaw-dropping overlooks, epic photo spots in this part of Glacier increase tremendously the farther you walk away from its busy parking lot area. The simplest photography rule at Logan Pass is to point your camera and shoot whatever catches your eye (really that simple).

If you want to add some physical activity to your photographic journey, go for a hike and don’t forget to bring along a wide angle and telephoto lens. This area is also home to some of Glacier’s most beloved wildlife such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and bears.

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Logan Pass | Iconic photo spots in Glacier

4. Hidden Lake Overlook

The Hidden Lake Overlook is one of the most popular photo spots at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. Perched on the hill overlooking a partially frozen lake (speaking about winter wonderland and early spring photography at the end of June) at the foot of snow-covered Bearhat Mountain, the place indeed looks like everything a landscape photographer can wish for.

The captivating Hidden Lake Overlook adorns the final stretch of the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail in the Logan Pass area. Different perspectives and plenty of other photo spots to capture unique Glacier National Park’s landscape are presented along the Highline Trail.

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Hidden Lake Overlook is every photographer’s dream destination

5. Lake Josephine

While researching the best photo spots in Glacier National Park, I never once encountered a single mention of Lake Josephine. What a shame! The place is a remarkable, overlooked gem. Nestled about one mile from the Grinnell Glacier trailhead, this not so secluded lake offers some of the best opportunities for outstanding reflection photography.

Hit the trail early in the morning and capture looming silhouettes of the towering mountains in almost complete solitude. Occasionally, shutterbugs emerge on the shore for a few minutes. But they leave in search of the more popular photo spots in Many Glacier almost as unexpectedly as they pop up at the lake. 

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
The best places for reflection photography in Glacier: Lake Josephine

6. Grinnell Glacier

One of the prime photo spots captured by all Glacier National Park’s photographers sits approximately 4 miles uphill from Lake Josephine. Accessible via the 5.3-mile Grinnell Glacier Trail, the area is the epitome of the natural beauty of the park, depicted in a profusion of landscape photos and scenic videos.

TIP: The panoramic views of Lower Grinnell Lake steal the show. Yet turn around and point your camera at glacier-fed waterfalls in the distance or sitting on a rock mountain goat (if you are lucky), and your landscape photography will improve tremendously.

Many Glacier - Roads and Destinations
Grinnell Glacier Trail | Iconic photo spots in Glacier
Grinnell Glacier - Roads and Destinations
Grinnell Lake | Iconic photo spots in Glacier

7. St. Mary Lake

If lake photography is your primary focus, your chances of finding the best photo spots around the second largest lake in Glacier National Park are unlimited. From numerous overlooks along the eastern part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to secluded coves near Sun Point, St. Mary Lake attracts shutterbugs and professional photographers alike.

The lake, famous for its aquamarine color at one point and bluish hues at the other, let you refine your photography style. It challenges you to find unique vantage points in areas brimming with lush greenery and places with plain, almost barren backgrounds.

One of my favorite photo spots in this part of Glacier National Park is unnamed, located near the 0.7-mile Baring Falls Trail in the Sun Point area. This secluded photo location astounds with its lush greenery and aquamarine shades of the lake.

Dramatic shape of tiny Wild Goose Island is another must-photograph subject. The overlook is, however, among the most popular photo spots in Glacier. It’s been shot from all possible angles. Nevertheless, you can still try to capture the island in such a way that makes it look unique and inspiring.

READ MORE: The 21 Best Stops along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
St. Mary Lake | Iconic places to photograph in Glacier
St. Mary Lake - Roads and Destinations
Wild Goose Island

8. Swiftcurrent Lake

Don’t underestimate Swiftcurrent Lake, one of the most photographed places in Glacier National Park. Famous for the Many Glacier Hotel, the area prides itself as one of the most outstanding destinations for reflection photography. The majestic mountains with cascading waterfalls in the background entice the photographers of all levels and further inspire their creativity. 

Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Swiftcurrent Lake
Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Swiftcurrent Lake is one of the favorite photo destinations in Glacier

The Best Spots in Glacier National Park for a Smashing Water Reflection Photo

It’s not a surprise that the alpine lakes and water reflection photography go hand in hand. Capturing flawless images of the towering giants as they glare in still, watery “mirrors” is a mastery every respectable photographer strives for. The best reflection photos, however, don’t need a bachelor’s degree in photography. All they ask for are precise time, a sharp eye for details, and a bit of luck.

I heard people saying that in Glacier National Park even an amateur photographer can look professional. I agree, at least partially. And for those who want to take their photography game to the next level, here are some of the best spots for a perfect reflection photo in Glacier. 

  • Avalanche Lake
  • Lake Josephine  
  • Lake McDonald
  • St.Mary Lake
  • Swiftcurrent Lake 
  • Two Medicine Lake
  • Kintla Lake
  • Bowman Lake
Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Avalanche Lake
Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
Many Glacier

The Best Photo Spots for Sunrise and Sunset Shoots in Glacier National Park

For the best spots for a sunrise and sunset photo look no further than… again, the pristine Glacier National Park’s lakes. Early morning hours are usually ideal for stunning reflection photographs. Furthermore, an early bird aka photographer often has the whole place for herself. 

Top Places for Sunrise Photography in Glacier National Park

When it comes to sunrise images, explore the following photo spots when you visit Glacier next time.

  • Swiftcurrent Lake
  • Two Medicine Lake
  • Lake Josephine
  • St. Mary Lake 
  • Lake Sherburne

Top Places for Sunset Photography in Glacier National Park

The best spots for a smashing Glacier National Park’s sunset photo include the following:

  • Lake McDonald
  • Kintla Lake 
  • Grinnell Glacier
  • Hidden Lake Overlook
  • Bowman Lake
  • Wild Goose Island Overlook

TIP: You can capture amazing sunrise and sunset images pretty much anywhere along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. 

Wildlife photography in Glacier - Roads and Destinations

The Best Photo Spots for Capturing Wildlife in Glacier National Park

Unlike the lakes and overlooks, wildlife is the hardest to photograph in Glacier. The animals never wait for you to adjust your camera settings. Neither do they pose at a specific time or location. While Glacier astounds with its rather frequent opportunities to photograph the wild inhabitants in their natural habitats, this type of photography still often depends on luck and persistence. Some of the most possible photo spots to shoot the wildlife in Glacier National Park include the following:

Logan Pass. Keep your camera ready for unexpected encounters with mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and sometimes bears.

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail. The Swiftcurrent Nature Trail is one of the popular spots to see bears and capture the cutest photos of chipmunks in Many Glacier.

Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail. The splendid views from the Grinnell Glacier Overlook entice not only adventurous photographers. Seemingly relaxed mountain goats also like to soak up the morning sun on the massive rocks perched above the vantage points. Occasionally, mama bear and her cubs cross the trail, presenting additional opportunities to photograph wildlife in Glacier National Park.

East Glacier. We didn’t see any bears neither along the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail nor at Logan Pass. One of our favorite and most successful photo spots turned out to be the Sun Point area in East Glacier. Rangers insist that you can also photograph moose in this not so popular corner of the park.

Fishercap Lake. In Many Glacier, moose are more likely to devote a few minutes to a photoshoot at Fishercap Lake. If you are looking for more photo spots to capture these hoofed mammals, visit Bowman Lake in the North Fork section of Glacier.

Lake McDonald - Roads and Destinations
Swiftcurrent Lake | Iconic photo spots in Glacier

Glacier National Park Photography Tips

1. Arrive Early to Secure a Parking Spot

Normally, you don’t see hordes of photographers clustered in one location like in Grand Teton National Park. Yet although the professionals and amateurs spread all over Glacier National Park, giving each other enough room for long photo sessions, parking spaces fill up quickly. So be sure to arrive early, especially if you want to find epic photo spots at Logan Pass or Many Glacier. 

2. Photograph in the Morning for Flawless Reflection Images

Lakes in Glacier are usually calm in the morning, offering ideal conditions for dramatic water reflection photography. Wind disturbs the water later in the day. Therefore, be sure to set up your tripods at the above-mentioned photo spots before Glacier National Park changes its mood from peaceful to playful. 

3. Always Photograph Wildlife at a Safe Distance

Never approach wild animals. The general rule is to photograph the large mammals at a safe distance of 25 yards. To capture the images of bears and wolves, increase this distance to 100 yards. If you are after the close-up shots of Glacier National Park’s inhabitants, venture to the above-mentioned photo spots with a telephoto lens and wait until your “model” appears.

Furthermore, never feed any animals in an attempt to lure them closer. A fed bear is a dead bear. And Glacier National Park makes sure that none of its animals gets hurt. 

READ MORE: How to Protect Yourself from Bears in the Wild: Tips and Myths

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Iconic Photo Spots in Glacier National Park - Roads and Destinations
8 iconic photo locations in Glacier National Park

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