The 13 Best Views in Glacier National Park

Jason Gass
Last Updated: June 15th, 2023

There are few places in the United States that have the quantity of breath-taking views as Glacier National Park. 

Honestly, you don’t have to look too hard to find a great view in Glacier National Park, but there are spots within the park that offer some of the most amazing views, many of which you just don’t want to miss. 

The real problem in Glacier National Park is that there are so many beautiful views that you would need multiple trips to the park just to experience them all. 

Here we’ve put together a list of 13 of the best views in Glacier National Park. Some are great for single-day experiences, others are perfect for longer stays or for the backcountry adventurer.

Where are the Best Views in Glacier National Park?

There are many ways to see Glacier National Park, from taking one of the many scenic drives like the Going-to-the-sun road to hiking one of the 993 names trails across Big Sky Country. Whether you want to catch a view of the Rocky Mountains, spend an evening stargazing or check out one of the many picturesque waterfalls, there is no shortage of amazing views in Glacier National Park.

glacier national park

13 Places for the Best Views in Glacier National Park

1. Lake McDonald

lake mcDonald
Image: David Restivo

Lake McDonald is a large lake located along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It is the largest and deepest lake in Glacier National Park. 

It stretches for approximately 10-miles and is around a mile wide. The lake is home to many native fish species, including brook trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. You can either fish from shore or a boat.

However, it’s not the fish you’ve come to look at. It’s the view. This lake sits in the valley and is surrounded by rugged peaks that reflect off the lake surface, making it an outstanding place for a peaceful picnic or to work on your photography skills.

One way for you to take in the stunning views his to hit some of the local hiking trails. There are several hiking trails that lead to waterfalls, viewpoints, and other scenic areas. Some of the most popular hiking trails near Lake McDonald include the the Grinnell Glacier Trail, the Avalanche Lake Trail, and the Highline Trail.

2. Virginia Falls

If you would like to have a nice little hike and you want to land at a great view, then the trail to Virginia Falls is a great option. Your hike will start at the St. Mary Falls shuttle stop. 

This trail head is also the starting point for the Piegan Pass Trail and the hike to St. Mary Falls. This trail head is really busy, so we recommend that you start early in the day to avoid the crowds. Along this trail, you will also pass St. Mary Falls. 

Virginia Falls is at the end of the trail and is well worth the added mileage. The round-trip hike is approximately 3.6 miles.

Probably the most beautiful of the waterfalls in Glacier National Park. It is a multi-tiered waterfall with the main fall at about 50-feet high. 

The falls seem to cascade down the rock wall, which is a really stunning view. If you make the hike to Virginia Fall, be sure to mind your footing. The rocks here are really slick.

3. Hidden Lake Overlook/Hidden Lake

hidden lake

Hidden Lake is a beautiful crescent-shaped lake that sits at the base of Bearhat Mountain. The short 2.7-mile, round trip hike to the Hidden Lake Overlook is fairly easy and can be done by most visitors to the Park. 

The hike wanders you through wildflower-filled meadows surrounded by rock walls. This alpine meadow is called the Hanging Gardens. The hike starts at the west side of Logan Pass Visitor Center

Because of its short length and easy access, this trail is extremely popular, but if you’re willing to navigate the crowds, the view is well worth the hike.

Not only will you end at the overlook that gives you a breathtaking look at the lake, Bearhat Mountain, and the valley, but this hike is also a great place to view some of the iconic wildlife that calls Glacier National Park home. 

If you want to lose the crowds, continue another 1.5 miles on the trail to the lakeshore.

4. The Grinnell Glacier Trail

grinnell glacier trail

The Grinnell Glacier trail takes you to one of the remaining glaciers in the park, which on its own is an amazing view, but all along this trail, you’ll experience amazing views of the park and its rugged peaks. 

This hike and its views are not for the inexperienced hiker, however. This trail is a 7.6-miles round trip and is considered a moderately hard hike. You’ll start your hike at the boat ramp at Many Glacier Hotel, where a shuttle boat will take you across Lake Josephine

This on its own has some great views, if you just want to do the boat ride. From the boat ramp, and after a pretty good climb, your hike will follow along the cliff side where you’ll have your first glimpse of Grinnell Lake

Views on this trail include the lake, Mt. Gould, Grinnell Falls, and three other glaciers. The trail also passes through alpine meadows which during the summer are filled with wildflowers. 

Our favorite part of this trail is the view of Grinnell Lake sitting below Mount Gould. Grinnell Glacier is 3.6 hard-earned miles from the boat landing.

You’ll feel in awe of your surroundings, and maybe even a little small standing at the glacier with the steep rock walls towering above you.

5. Logan Pass

logan pass

Logan Pass is a great vista to take in if you are traveling by car, or only have a short time in the park, since the highest elevation in Glacier National Park is accessible by car. At the top of Logan Pass you can visit the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center. 

This area is very busy thanks to its easy accessibility, so parking can be difficult, especially during the summer months.

For the best experience at Logan Pass, visit in the early morning when the sun is coming up and shining on the mountainsides. 

This is one of the most breathtaking views in the park. Early mornings also offer great wildlife viewing at Logan Pass. From here you can pick up the trails at Hidden Lake and the Highline Trail.

6. Elizabeth Lake

Elizabeth Lake
Image: Stacy Maynard

This view is one that will require you to do a bit of backcountry camping. The trail to Elizabeth Lake is 9.3-miles one way and is considered to be fairly strenuous, so this is a hike best suited for experienced backpackers.

However, if you’re ready for a day on the trail, the stop at Elizabeth Lake is amazing.

There are a few ways to get to Elizabeth Lake, but the easiest option is from the Belly River Trailhead. You can hike this trail all the way to Elizabeth Lake. 

Elizabeth Lake sits at the base of the Ptarmigan Wall, which is rugged and has some of the most unique peaks in the park. The view of the Wall reflecting off the lake is outstanding.

7. St. Mary Lake / St. Mary Falls

st. mary lake

Located on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the walk to St. Mary Lake and St. Mary Falls is another very popular hike with visitors to Glacier National Park.

From St. Mary Lake you can enjoy views of Jackson Glacier, plenty of wildlife, and Wild Goose Island. 

From this area, you can head off on the St. Mary Falls trail which is a short hike to some of the most beautiful falls in the Park. This multi-tiered waterfall has plenty of opportunities for amazing photo opportunities. 

This area is quite busy because it is such an easy hike. If you want a quieter spot, with fewer tourists, continue along the trail to Virginia Falls.

8. Iceberg Lake

iceberg lake
Image: Mer

To access Iceberg Lake, you’ll follow the Ptarmigan Trail for approximately 4.5-miles from the trailhead located behind the Swiftcurrent Motorlodge.

This hike starts off pretty challenging with a steep climb from the parking lot to the Ptarmigan trailhead but then is a fairly moderate climb the rest of the way to the lake. 

This hike will take you through alpine meadows full of wildflowers that are surrounded by tall mountain peaks, and stunning views of the Ptarmigan Wall. This area is great for wildlife viewing. 

The lush meadow along Iceberg Creek is a popular gathering place for deer, elk, moose, and even Grizzly bears. If you want to experience the views on this hike, make sure you pack some bear spray just in case.

9. Bowman Lake

bowman lake montana

Bowman Lake is another large lake in Glacier National Park. Filled with glacial waters, this 8-mile-long lake is a popular place for kayaks and canoes.

The peaceful, still waters make a perfect reflecting surface for the surrounding peaks and a perfect place to work on your photography skills. 

The Lake area has both car-accessible camping as well as a backcountry camping option.

If you want to experience Bowman Lake and its amazing views with fewer people, we recommend that you take the hiking trail to the backcountry camp spot. 

The views on this trail are amazing and you won’t have to battle crowds for the best picture opportunities. 

10. Granite Park Chalet

granite park chalet

This area kind of reminds us of the views in the movie The Sound of Music The Chalet sits on the top of a hill that is only accessible by hiking trail. 

The historic chalet is open for lodging and offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors to Glacier National Park, along with some of the most spectacular views that surround the chalet. 

The hike to the Chalet is approximately 4.2-miles and is a challenging hike. The dominating view along the hike and at the chalet is Heaven’s Peak

11. Aster Park Overlook

This is a more moderate hike for those that want to experience the views of Glacier National Park with fewer people. The Aster Park Overlook trail starts at Two Medicine Lake (which is an amazing view on its own). 

As you start along the trail from the trailhead one of the first views you’ll enjoy is a short hike down to Paradise Point. This small beach on Two Medicine Lake has some of the most spectacular views of the lake and of Rising Wolf Mountain

This unique peak stands out above the lake, and Paradise Point is a perfect place to break out your camera. Heading on to Aster Park Overlook from Paradise Point you’ll pass through meadows with beaver ponds where you will almost certainly see moose if you’re not too noisy. 

As you near the Overlook, you’ll have the opportunity to take a short spur trail to Aster Falls. This is another amazing spot to take a rest and enjoy the views.

The Overlook offers beautiful views of the Two Medicine Lake Valley, Flinsch Peak, and Rising Wolf Mountain.

12. Going-To-The-Sun Road

going-to-the-sun road

For the visitor to Glacier National Park that wants to experience the total beauty of the Park and the iconic views that it is known for, but may not have a lot of time or the desire to hike, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the perfect way to see the park. 

This road traverses the Park, connecting the east and west entrances of the park. This road offers visitors views of many of the Park’s namesake glaciers, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities, and visitor centers along the way where you can stop and stretch your legs while you learn a bit about the Park and its natural history. 

The high point of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is Logan Pass. Here you can pick up a few short hiking trails that we’ve already mentioned that will take you to some outstanding views, and give you a little exercise. 

The road has many pull-offs and opportunities to get out and take pictures. It is important to note that due to the high elevation of the road, it may not be completely open unless you visit in the summer, after late June or early July. 

13. Piegan Pass

piegan pass trail
Image: batschmidt

Piegan Pass is one of the hikes in Glacier National Park that offers views that will make you feel small. This moderate trail is around a 9-miles round trip and offers views of Mount Siyeh, Piegan Mountain, and Cataract Mountain. 

The trail to Piegan Pass starts at the Siyeh Bend trailhead. This trail follows Siyeh Creek, wanders through the forest, and then climbs out of the forest as you get closer to Piegan Pass.

As you hike along tree lines you’ll have some of the best views in the park, and you’ll see few people along the way. 

If you continue a bit beyond the saddle between Piegan Mountain and Cataract Mountain you’ll have great views of Angel Wing, Bishop’s Cap, Mount Gould, the Garden Wall, and Many Glacier Valley – all amazing features of Glacier National Park.

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About The Author

Jason Gass

Jason Gass is a Colorado based freelance writer and blogger whose goal is to share a good cup of coffee and great stories around a campfire with close friends. When he’s not working, he spends most of his time traveling, searching for the best breweries, and road-tripping in his teardrop trailer with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.

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