Where to Watch A Sunrise and Sunset in Glacier National Park: Three of the Best Places for Each

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.

Sunrise over mountain at Swiftcurrent Lake Glacier


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. 

Sunrise over mountains and trees at Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake with boat in dock

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.

Rainbow and sunrise over mountain and lake in Glacier

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

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!

Sunrise over mountains in Logan Pass Glacier

Sun Point on St. Mary Lake

glow from sunset behind mountains and St. Mary Lake in Glacier with boat in the middle
Sunrise at Many Glacier behind mountain and 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.

glow from sunset on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road

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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.

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Glow in the clouds of sunset west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road Glacier

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. 

Sunset behind mountains and lake in Glacier reflecting off clouds

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!

Sunset in Many Glacier behind mountains and lake

Apgar Village Beach on Lake McDonald

Sunset at Lake McDonald behind snow covered mountains

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. 

Sunset behind snow covered mountains and frozen lake with pink reflections on clouds

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Planning a vacation shouldn’t be stressful. We created a step-by-step itinerary so you can visit the best places at the right times.

Not only that, but we’ll tell you about the park while you drive with our audio guide! Stop planning and start having the vacation of your dreams now!


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


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