Landscape Hotspot: Glacier’s Lake McDonald
Once a month, we’ll feature a landscape photography hotspot. We want to aid you with getting ‘the shot’ in order to help rekindle your love for nature, to enable you to become inspired by nature and to equip you to become an advocate for a wilder world at home.
This month’s focus:
Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald
Is there a location more peaceful and accessible than Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald at sunrise? If there is, I don’t know about it.
The large mountain lake is located near the park’s west entrance, at the start of the famous Going-to-the-Sun highway.
And though there are many spots to photograph the lake, without question, our favourite is from the shores of Apgar Village.
Two small motels, a couple of shops and a restaurant make up the settlement of Apgar, and though busy by day, it is a quiet spot of solitude in the mornings and evenings.
For more than a decade, I’ve been visiting this location, but for the past four, Jill and I have made a point of stopping over to enjoy the sunrise and set over this view.
The lake is the largest in the park – about ten miles long and 500 feet deep – and sits in, as Jill will tell you, a U-shaped valley carved by glaciers.
Year after year, the clouds and light offer new opportunities to recapture the scene that I have taken thousands of times.
What makes this location spectacular?
Aside from the physical view, I love that I have the shoreline mostly to myself during primetime, even at the height of tourist season.
From the pebble beach…
…to the odd rock…
…to the compelling dock…
…to an ancient cedar at the foot of the parking lot, there are endless foreground opportunities.
In the evening especially, there is a good chance of photographing the lake with people kayaking or canoeing across your image. Which I love.
And while sunset is wonderful, the sunrise is the real treat.
Pre-dawn light at this location is stunning and colourful.
When the sun appears, it changes the complexion of the landscape again.
And in the summer, frequent forest fires create a beautiful haze that offers mood lighting like this…
If you visit Glacier, be sure to take the time to watch sunset and sunrise at Lake McDonald.
Location: Glacier National Park
Accessibility: Apgar Village, near West Glacier Entrance
Best Time: Sunrise & Sunset
Tags: ghost bear photography, glacier, lake mcdonald, landscape hotspots, landscape photography, montana, national parks, nature, photography, simon jackson