Glacier National Park
Picnic Area near St Mary Campground
Visited: September 5, 2016
This magical place was completely unexpected. After completing Going-to-the-Sun Road going West to East, my dogs desperately wanted to get out and run. I espied a small sign for a picnic area and jumped at the chance to let them stretch their legs. I drove down into the trees to a small, completely vacant parking lot. No people!! There was a flat, grassy area with picnic tables; I thought that this was it. The end. Good enough for a round of ChuckIt and sitting in the sunshine. Little did I suspect what lay beyond the trees!
There were a few tiny offshoot trails going off into the trees, so I encouraged the dogs to follow me to see where they led. As you can see in the video below, the trails open up onto the pristine beach of St Mary Lake. Gorgeous, crystal clear water. Sweeping mountain vistas. And no one around. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed prancing through the cold, crisp waters. I enjoyed the rocky beach and the stunning views. We must have stayed there for half an hour, just drinking it in and refreshing ourselves from the long, chaotic drive. In a word: magical. We visited again the next day, but the weather was ominous and the signs cautioning about bears seemed more imposing. We did not stay long that day.
This picnic area is a short hop from the St Mary Campground where we stayed that night. Maps are shown in the pictures below. It's also right across from the Rising Sun Motor Inn. A little slice of heaven!
For more information about Going-to-the-Sun Road, see my post "Bucket List: Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park" or visit the National Park Service information website.
Even more adventures can be found in my epic Roadtrip to Montana post!