Saint Mary’s Glacier is a lovely and popular photography destination. After a short but steep hike (about 30 minutes) you will be rewarded with expansive mountain views, towering cliff faces, alpine wetland and of course the glacier itself which empties directly into a crystal clear mountain lake. Really, what more do you want from a photography tour?
In the spring and summer months we will often come across a wide variety of small wildflowers which manage to survive the high alpine environment. Come Autumn, the aspen trees which line our drive will provide vivid photo opportunities. We will also see color from the wetland flora, which turns a deep red near the lake.
The lake itself can keep you occupied for a good while, but if you tire of photographing the amazing views, then try focusing closer at the gnarled trees which surround the shore.
If you’re in shape we can extend the hike by heading up the glacier itself. We may be able to do this without actually hiking in snow depending on the time of year. The hike is relatively steep but not exceptionally difficult (assuming you are properly adapted to the high elevation). As we ascend the glacier you will want to make sure to stop and turn around often as there are many occasions to pull out the camera and get some amazing landscape images with the lake and glacial snow as your foreground.
Once we reach the very top which can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes (not counting photo stops), we will eventually come to something which looks a bit out of place, a grassy plain (full of flowers in late summer). It looks like something that should be at low elevation but believe me you are plenty high (approx 11,000 ft). There are some very interesting rock cropping sitting in the middle of this alpine meadow which make for cool “Stonehenge” type photos, along with some very large views.