Scenic USA - Montana

Saint Mary Lake

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St. Mary Lake - Glacier National Park, Montana

Photos by Jim Hug
Jim's Big Sky Fishing

     Powerful tectonic forces created a huge chain of Going to the Sun Road at St Mary Lake - Glacier National Park, Montana mountains in today's northwestern corner of Montana. These tall peaks intercepted eastern bound precipitation and began to collect vast amounts of snow. Over time the immense snowfields became glaciers. These earth shaping, massive glaciers disappeared about 12,000 years ago but their effects remain today.
     Glacier National Park, lacking the commercialism of America's most famous national parks, has become one of the most popular in the northwest. Located on the east side of the park and parallel to the Going-to-the Sun Road, visitors can't miss this view of St. Mary Lake. The glacial eroded trough now contains one of the park's largest lakes, covering over 4000 acres. This rare view captures a moment of calm waters and reflection of snow covered peak around Wild Goose Island. Hiking trails near the lake lead to the St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls, as well as paths along the western edges of the lake. Some sections of these trails are rather steep, and with the lake's elevation at 4484 feet, the hike can be a challenge. Lake waters rarely rise above 50 degrees in the summer, and are most often frozen-over during the winter. Surrounded by steep-sided gray granite mountains, the lake's deep, crystal clear waters paint an unforgettable scene.

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