Sunrise magic at Many Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana

(Last Updated On: December 14, 2020)

Sometimes magic happens even when you don’t really deserve it.

Those who know me at all know I’m not much of an early morning person. Getting up in the dark, even with the promise of a perfect sunrise, really isn’t my modus operandi. Still, once in a while I feel I really need to join the sunrise chasers. Glacier National Park was one of those places. 

Fortunately, our room at Many Glacier Hotel made sunrise seeking pretty easy as the rising sun would illuminate the mountains right across the lake from my window. Yeah, my hotel room window framed one of the most spectacular scenes in the park – I wouldn’t be driving around in pre-dawn darkness to find a spot to wait and see if the clouds would lift; all I had to do was look out the window, roll out of bed, grab the camera and tripod, and head out the door to the deck! (If I could have gotten the screens off I could have shot right from inside the room, but that would have felt like cheating.)

A perfect view, however, has no impact on the weather. I awoke to a dark, grey dawn with heavy, low-hanging clouds.

It did not look like the makings of a great sunrise. Still, a real photographer would pile on the warm clothes and go sit in the dark and wait just in case something amazing happened. (I could see from my window that a couple of people were out along the beach doing just that.) I went back to bed.

Of course, I couldn’t really sleep, since I was worried the clouds might lift and I would miss a glorious sunrise, so I kept getting up to assess the situation. And then I would go back to bed for a few minutes. And then I would get up again. (I think you get the picture.) At one point I even went out onto the deck (which involved hiking through a good chunk of the hotel) just to be sure nothing was happening before going back to bed.

But then, quite unexpectedly, the sun burst through the clouds to partially illuminate Grinnell Point towering above the lake.


Of course the sun vanished again in the few minutes it took me to get outside.

Sunrise at Many Glaciers Montana - ExplorationVacation


It was really cold, but I stayed out there this time. The clouds were starting to move, so it seemed pretty certain the sun would appear again.

And appear it did.

Sunrise at Many Glaciers Montana - ExplorationVacation

After a while even the top of Grinnell Point was clear of clouds – if only for a few moments.

Sunrise at Many Glaciers Montana - ExplorationVacation

For over an hour the sun played hide and seek, unexpectedly disappearing and reappearing, the light on the mountains changing at the same time the clouds alternately exposed and obscured nearby peaks – all of which was reflected in the mirror-like surface Swiftcurrent Lake.

Sunrise at Many Glaciers Montana - ExplorationVacation

This was definitely worth getting up for.

Sunrise at Many Glaciers Montana -

What a great way to start the day!

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