Glacier National Park Points of Interest
Wild Goose Island Viewpoint

Popular Place for Photographs

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.

St. Mary Lake

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.

Mountains Rise 4,000 Feet from Water's Edge

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.

Easy Viewpoint to Find

Wild Goose Island pullout

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.

Wild Goose Island pullout

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.

Wild Goose Island pullout

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.

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