A Montana sunset takes some beating. Whichever region of the state’s multifaceted landscape you are visiting or privy to the sun sinks into the mountains, the lakes, or the surrounding plains just the same. The vast sky paints itself into a masterpiece whether winter, spring, or summertime.
And while photos may go some way to capturing the magic of the sight and feelings experienced at a scenic sunset, you can’t beat being there in person.
Mountain and lake scenarios take some beating when it comes to the best spots for sunsets in Montana but no matter where you’re located in Big Sky Country, you’re sure to be privy to some amazingly scenic sunset scenarios.
You may lean towards seeing the sun going down over a town or city from high up in the hills. Maybe you’d rather watch it set across mountain ranges, rolling wheat fields, or scenic alpine lakes there really is no shortage of stunning landscapes to witness in this state.
So let’s take a closer look at what some of them offer in the Treasure State with 7 of the best spots for sunsets in Montana.
Seven of the Best Spots for Sunsets in Montana
1. Flathead Lake, Bigfork
Flathead Lake is just flat-out scenic, wherever you decide to pull up in its vicinity. Wayfarers State Park is a popular stop-off stretch around the huge lake’s perimeter, especially for those on the way to Yellowstone National Park.
This designated state park shoulder of the lake also happens to be one of the best vantage points for a scenic Montana sunset.
The Wayfarer’s Park edge of the lake is clean and picturesque with picnic tables, restrooms, and easy access to the lakefront as well as a boat dock.
From here you can witness the crystal clear water shimmering in one of the most beautiful sunsets you are ever likely to witness.
To top that, there are plenty of other beautiful vistas around the lake and numerous surrounding scenic spots. Professional and budding photographers alike come on down to this stunning lake and surrounding mountains for the photo opportunities of a lifetime.
2. St. Mary Lake
When you are trying to pick a spot in Glacier National Park from which to view an amazing Montana sunset, the choice is fairly unlimited.
There are so many spots along the Going-to-the-Sun Road alone, for instance, where you might want to pull up and take pictures of what is the first lake after Logan Pass St. Mary Lake..
The still waters of the late evening around twilight are worth driving and hiking the whole day to see, and there are plenty who do just that.
St. Mary Lake is not only one of the national park’s most popular, not to mention the easiest, lakes to get to it is also much sought-out for its astounding natural beauty.
St. Mary is the second largest lake in Glacier National Park and is accessible right off Going-To-The-Sun-Road. The lake is nearly 10 miles long and an estimated 300 feet deep.
This also happens to be one of the iconic spots of the park that gets photographed often. However, even the most impressive shots of a sunset over St. Mary Lake can’t come close to experiencing it in the flesh.
Wild Goose Island is a corner of the lake where many sunset-seekers head. It is still possible to find an equally scenic, not to mention a less-crowded spot though if you would rather watch the sun go down over the lake and mountains in peace.
3. Sacajawea Peak
If you don’t mind a spot of adventure and you think a good sunset view should be earned then this one’s for you.
To see the sunset from Sacajawea Peak you’ll first need to hike to the top of what is the tallest peak in the Bridger Mountains.
Needless to say, this one may not suit the faint of heart. But anyone willing to put in the work will be rewarded with a worthy birds-eye view of the sunset across the range.
The hike is short but steep in fact it climbs more than 2,000 feet over the course of just 2 miles. So be prepared for the rough road ahead. Getting up to the trailhead may even seem like the easy step in hindsight when you find yourself having to hike down in the dark!
You will witness some spectacular views though, all the way from the lower saddle to the top of the four-mile trail to the top. The best time to undertake this route is reportedly sometime in late spring or early summer.
4. Lake MacDonald, Glacier National Park
Lake MacDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park, and with available views of a huge forest and a towering peak to consider, you can bet it makes for a decent sunset spot.
This lake also serves as something of a hub on the west side of the park and is home to the bustling Apgar Village.
Here you’ll encounter campgrounds and bustling loads of tourists keen to photograph the sunset, among other things. You can certainly get some great views of the sun going down on the majestic-looking surrounding peaks from Apgar on the southwestern shore.
You won’t get the kind of close-up views of Lake MacDonald that you are more likely to see at one of the smaller spots in the park. You will get some sweeping views of the beach and dock area along the lake’s south-western shoulder.
You won’t be disappointed here in winter either if you don’t mind braving the cold. The ice makes for some fairly compelling sunset shots too, especially if you can get the right clouds in the backdrop.
5. Big Sky Resort
Best known as one of the top skiing spots in the entire country, not to mention the biggest Big Sky pulls in the visitors through the summer as well as the wintertime.
Many of these hordes of visitors may well be coming here to catch a sunset or two, but the majority are most likely winter sports enthusiasts.
From the town center just below the Mountain Resort at Big Sky you can actually see the sun go down behind the huge landmark Lone Peak an absolute focal point for catching an impressive sunset from many angles.
This is the mountain out of all them that looks the most stunning in winter with its mountain tops dusted with snow. Nevertheless, during the summer and fall ‘Lone Peak’ is still a breathtaking view, especially around sunset.
After you have wandered into the resort town and sampled the local hostelries for a spot of sustenance, you may then want to head up to the resort and start to consider the options for catching the sunset. Either that or treat yourself to a craft beer at one of the top-notch breweries in town first and do both.
You may spend a while getting a handle on the surrounding environment of Big Sky by taking a ride on the chairlifts. Either way, when you finally catch the sunset here you’ll understand there’s good enough reason for the resort town’s name of Big Sky.
6. Story Hills, Bozeman
For a beautiful view of the sun setting over the city of Bozeman, take a quick drive up to the Story Hills viewpoint. You can watch from your car or take a short stroll onto the moderately difficult trail that winds over the hills.
Just be sure to consider that the Story Hills Trail is on privately-owned property, although the landowners allow public access for recreation during daylight hours.
The trail up to the viewpoint provides great views of the Gallatin Valley all along the way.
If you head to the Story Hills Viewpoint trail and find there is no access for any reason you can always head over to Story Mill Park. If you take a walk on the trail there as the sun is setting you’ll still get to see the Bridger Range light up!
7. Mount Helena, Helena
Mount Helena is the location of a city park located just outside the Montana capital Helena. You can get some great views of the city and surrounding area from here not to mention a sunset.
This is a well-populated area and joggers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, and hikers galore all love the open space and elevations here.
A hike of medium difficulty will get you to the west side of the mountain. From this top spot, it is possible to see the sunset over the distant mountains as well as look back at the city.
You could easily spend a few hours wandering all around the park, but even the short hike affords some excellent views. The hike itself is not overly-strenuous and the trail is well-maintained.
You’ll get some great sunset views from the top of the mountain next to the parking lot, where there is also a bench to sit.