When visiting Glacier National Park, sunrises and sunsets are spectacular events you shouldn’t miss! During the summer season, the days are extremely long and are punctuated on either end by beautiful morning and evening sunlight on the mountains.
The best places to watch sunrise in Glacier are the Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake, Logan Pass, and Sun Point on St. Mary Lake. The best places to watch the sunset are the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake, and Apgar Village Beach on Lake McDonald. Daylight is long in the summer and visitors are often surprised how early the sun rises and how late it sets.
I have lived in Glacier National Park every summer of my life and have been lucky enough to witness beautiful sunrises and sunsets all over the park.
During the peak summer season, sunrise in Glacier happens very early in the morning. In June and July, the sun comes up well before 6:00 am, but the early wake-up time is well worth it! I have never regretted waking up early to watch the sun come up and bathe the mountains in light. Alpenglow is a phenomenon where the warm glow from the rising sun lights up the high peaks. This happens before the sun rises and it is such a special experience that should not be missed!
My favorite places to watch the sunrise in Glacier are the Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake, Logan Pass, and Sun Point on St. Mary Lake.
Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake
Many Glacier is a rugged valley located on the east side of Glacier National Park that is home to the Many Glacier Hotel on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake. This is a very popular sunrise location for photographers!
When you look west across Swiftcurrent Lake, there is a view of spectacular mountains facing the sun coming up in the east. As the sun begins to rise, alpenglow paints the mountains pink and then orange as they begin to be bathed in the warm light of the morning.
Watching alpenglow and sunrise on the mountains from the Many Glacier Hotel is one of my favorite and most treasured experiences to have in Glacier.
Logan Pass is located right along the continental divide and is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Many people arrive at Logan Pass very early in the morning so that they can ensure a parking spot and enjoy hiking and wildlife viewing in the area on the Hidden Lake Trail or the Highline Trail. You will not be alone if you drive up to Logan Pass for sunrise.
As the sun rises at Logan Pass, the St. Mary Valley to the east begins to light up while the mountains to the west are slowly blanketed in light simultaneously. The soft pink light of the morning feels so special, it’s like living in a painting!
Sun Point on St. Mary Lake
Sun Point is one of the most secluded and scenic places to enjoy the sunrise in Glacier National Park. Sun Point is accessible by a short nature trail on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Park in the Sun Point parking lot, and walk the short distance up the Sun Point Nature Trail to the overlook of St. Mary Lake. Make sure to bring bear spray and a headlamp for your early morning excursion!
From Sun Point, there is a gorgeous view of St. Mary Lake (the second-largest lake in Glacier) and the towering peaks that surround it. The morning light on the east side of the park is truly spectacular and a wonder to behold. Consider Sun Point if you are looking for a lesser-known sunrise location.
During the summer, daylight seems to last forever in Glacier National Park. In June and July, sunset isn’t until nearly 10:00 pm, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful scenery in the daylight. While the daylight is lovely, sunset lighting up the sky is a real treat to witness. Alpenglow is a phenomenon where the warm glow from the setting sun lights up the high peaks. This happens after the sun sets!
My favorite places to watch the sunset in Glacier National Park are the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake, and Apgar Village Beach on Lake McDonald.
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Going-to-the-Sun Road, West Side
The west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the most heavily traveled section of road in the park, and for good reason! The winding mountain highway carries you through the valley and up into the alpine with unbelievable mountain views the whole way. The sunset colors on the west side of the park are beautiful! Especially in the later summer when there is wildfire smoke in the air.
To view the sunset from the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, simply drive up the road in the evening and choose any scenic pullout to spend some time! Big Bend and Birdwoman Falls Overlook are popular sunset photography locations, but you truly can’t go wrong no matter where you choose.
- Visiting Glacier and need a game plan? Check out our itinerary.
Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake
The Many Glacier Hotel, on the east side of Glacier, has a beautiful public deck/balcony that faces the rugged peaks of the continental divide. As the sun sets behind the mountains, it’s really incredible to see the rays of sunlight stretching behind and over the mountains.
An especially fun feature of the sunset from the Many Glacier Hotel is the ability to see sunlight shining through school-bus-sized holes in the Iceberg-Ptarmigan Wall. The wall was carved so thin by the Pleistocene-era glaciers that large holes have eroded and are easiest to view in the evening as the sun is setting. The Iceberg-Ptarmigan Wall is pictured in the photo above!
Apgar Village Beach on Lake McDonald
The beach at Apgar Village on Lake McDonald is a very popular location to spend time in or on the water on a warm summer day, but the beach’s appeal doesn’t disappear in the evening! The beach is a popular sunset photography location.
Looking east from Apgar Village Beach, the mountains surrounding Lake McDonald and comprising the continental divide are prominently in view. As the sun sets in the west, those east-facing mountains are lit up in bright relief. After the sun has set behind the horizon, the mountains start to turn orange and pink with alpenglow.
- Looking for more to do while in Glacier? Check out 12 Things You Shouldn’t Miss When You Visit Glacier National Park.
- Discover Glacier Park Boat Tours: An Expert’s Advice and Helpful Tips.
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO
GLACIER TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Glacier National Park, check out our Glacier Homepage
THINGS TO DO: Check out what not to miss and other things to do in Glacier including, hiking, and the amazing boat tours. Find out how to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road with our free printable
WHERE TO EAT: Don’t miss the best places to eat in Glacier National Park
WHERE TO STAY: Learn all about where to stay when visiting Glacier
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out which entrance is best for Glacier National Park as well as what to do when the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed and if you need bear spray while visiting or if swimming is allowed
WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Glacier National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Glacier YouTube Playlist