More Glacier National Park
Communities near Glacier National Park
Communities in the nearby
More Northwest Montana
Wild Goose Island Viewpoint is the spot on the Going-to-the-Sun Road where all those beautiful photographs of St. Mary Lake, Goose Island and the surrounding peaks of Glacier National Park have been taken and published that have graced the covers and pages of countless books, magazines, calendars, post cards, brochures, travel guides and other publications for decades.
Simply put, this iconic view of the park reveals the breathtaking magnificence of the lakes and peaks that make Glacier National Park such a unique and spectacular pace to visit.
The viewpoint offers splendid, panoramic views of the magnificent peaks encircling Saint Mary Lake with Wild Goose Island being the centerpiece. While the elevation of the lake itself is 4,484 feet/1,367 meters, the surrounding peaks soar from the water's edge to well above 8,000 feet in elevation.
Lining the south side of St. Mary Lake are the peaks that author Jack Holterman calls the 'Grand March of Mountains' in his book Place Names of Glacier National Park, all of which rise to heights exceeding 8,000 feet. Those peaks include Red Eagle Mountain, Mahtotopa Mountain, Little Chief Mountain, Dusty Star Mountain and Citadel Mountain.
The peaks at the far end of the lake are no less impressive and include Gunsight Mountain at an elevation of 9,258 ft./2,822 m and Fusillade Mountain at an elevation of 8,750 ft/2670 m.
On the North side of the lake are Goat Mountain rising to an elevation of 8,826 ft./2650 m. and Going-to-The-Sun Mountain which tops out at an imposing elevation of 9,642 ft./2939.
You will find Goose Island Viewpoint at a pullout on the lake side of the road about six and a half miles from St. Mary. The pullout is easily recognizable due to the large parking area and the number of photographers you likely will see there. If you want a more precise location and are using a GPS, you might find these coordinates helpful: N 48, 41.4995; W 113, 31.8897.
What was once a barren spot of compact earth pounded down over the years by countless photographers and sightseers is now a landscaped platform of gravel held in place by sculpted boulders.
Slightly below the gravel platform and a bit closer to the trees and lake there is room for a few more photographers. Additionally, a few yards to the right of the platform a much higher raised gravel platform provides a higher vantage point.
If you want alpenglow on the mountains before sunrise, you might want to plan on being at the spot a good half hour or more before dawn to secure a good vantage point and to set up your camera on a tripod. Sunrise happens fast and you will not want to miss even a second of it.
Though sunrise seems to be the most favorite time of day for photos, many photographers also gather for sunset shots as well as shots at almost any time of day.
More intrepid photographers might want to shoot from a vantage point on the lake shore. Getting there entails a bit of bushwhacking down a steep slope through grasses, brush, dead snags and young trees on barely visible trails. If you go for that shot, be bear wary since black and grizzlies can show up suddenly just about anywhere in the park.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Moon Glacier National Park, 6th Edition (Moon Handbooks) by Becky Lomax. Get an insider's perspective on hiking the park's trails, unique trip strategies, a wildlife watching tour, a one day Glacier tour, biking up Going-to-the-Sun Road and wildlife viewing. Photographs and maps are included in this guide. Order now...
Glacier National Park: Crown Jewel of the Continent by Will MacPheat. This book contains a collection of photographs of Glacier National Park featuring Lake McDonald, Avalanche Lake, Going to the Sun Highway, St. Mary's, Many Glacier and Two Medicine areas. Order now...
The Photographer's Guide to Glacier National Park: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them (The Photographer's Guide) by Gordon Sullivan. This experienced, world-class free-lance photographer shares his secrets and favorite little-known locales in this coffee table book that contains 96 color photographs of Glacier National Park. Order now...
Insiders' Guide to Glacier National Park, 6th: Including the Flathead Valley & Waterton Lakes National Park by Michael McCoy. This book is the essential source for information to this outdoor paradise that offers diverse opportunities for fun and adventure. Written by a local, this guide offers a personal and practical perspective of Glacier and its surrounding environs. Order now...
Moon Montana, 9th Edition (Moon Handbooks) by Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae. This guide has complete information about all of Big Sky Country, from Yellowstone National Park to the eastern prairies of the state, to help the traveler plan a memorable vacation. Order now...
Hidden Montana: Including Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, and Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks by John Gottberg. This guide contains detailed maps, web sites for listings, author picks plus walking and driving tours to explore Montana. Over 70 parks, towns, ski villages and wilderness areas are detailed in this book. Order now...
Scenic Routes & Byways Montana, 3rd Edition by S. A. Snyder. Explore scenic byways and backroads, trails, beautiful areas, ghost towns, hot springs and glaciers. This book provides itineraries, route maps, detailed descriptions of attractions plus many more tips and trips. Order now...
Go Northwest!® gonorthwest.com (tm)
gonorthwest.com (tm) and GoNorthwest.com (tm) are trademarks of Go
All original text, maps, photographs, and other images on this web site, as well as the compilation and design thereof, are
Copyright © 1997-2017 Go Northwest, LLC. All rights reserved.