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5 Awesome Views (and hikes) at Glacier National Park

Another summer touring the National Parks has come to an end. I gathered a huge batch of reference photos for a new series of landscape paintings depicting the beauty and grandeur of the National Park landscapes.

Our trip began in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and settled in South Dakota for our first night. After visiting the "must see" Dignity statue in Chamberlain once again, we headed across the Black Hills, into Wyoming (eating burgers while swatting flies in Sheridan), past a collection of Montana mountain ranges, and circumnavigated the huge Flathead Lake to Columbia Falls and Glacier National Park.

Hiking at Glacier is an experience that you will want to repeat for many years. Glacier is a candy store for geologists. Driving along the Going To The Sun Road provides the traveler with a primer on 4.5 million years of earth history. But the real value is to fasten up your hiking shoes, grab your hiking poles, and head along the trails and mountains of Glacier National Park.

Highline Trail

Hold onto the railing for this one! For a less-intensive hike to enjoy this vista, start from the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The trailhead is across the street. There's no need to hike more than perhaps one mile to get a breathtaking view. the Highline Trail offers an opportunity for the artist to bring out that "aerial perspective" in landscape art, and I look forward to adding to my pastel painting offerings of this and other Glacier National Park vistas soon.

Grinnell Glacier

Sadly, the glacier continues to melt. But the 10.6 mile roundtrip hike to its glacial lake and remaining snowbanks offers some of the best views in the park.

A view along the sun-drenched hike from the trailhead on Many Glacier Road. For more information on the trailhead and some interesting experiences on this hike (including an encounter bears), click here.

Sacred Dancing Cascades

From West Glacier, stop along the Going To The Sun Road at dawn on a chilly July morning, and feel the cold glacier mist rising from the rapids. Sacred Dancing Cascades doesn't get the billing as other iconic sites at Glacier National Park, but it is well worth the detour. Sacred Dancing Cascade sits on McDonald Creek, just above McDonald Lake. There is parking available at the stairway entrance to McDonald Creek. We were fortunate that the water level was high when we visited in 2022, as a dry spell in 2023 moderated the excitement of the rapids. Click here for more information of this natural wonder.

Here are two of my landscape pastel paintings inspired by that early morning visit at Sacred Dancing Cascades. Both originals and prints are available in my shop.

Walk out to the dark shale rocks along the water's edge and enjoy the sounds of the rapids and the cool breeze!

Avalanche Creek Trail and Avalanche Lake

Out hike along Avalanche Creek and a 30 minute respite at Avalanche Lake in July, 2022 inspired a collection of my landscape paintings. Along the creek, the water level was high and you could feel the deep cold air rising from its surface.

Below is "Glacial Rapids," a pastel painting inspired by the hike along Avalanche Creek. My StudioSense YouTube channel features a pastel painting lesson of this work of art. Click here to see the painting created from start to finish.

Waterfalls creep down Bearhat Mountain into Avalanche Lake. Once you reach the lake following the Avalanche Creek Trail hike, it's a great time for lunch, snacks and taking photo's!

Here is the pastel painting inspired by this reference photo:

"Fog Lifting on Avalanche Lake" is one my largest pastels at 29x34 framed. The framed original is available in my shop, as well as prints.

Hidden Lake Overlook

Behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center is the trailhead for Hidden Lake Overlook. This hike traverses floral meadows, waterfalls and fascinating geology.

Along this popular trail, look for billion year-old rocks with fossilized ripples representing ancient water surfaces of an ancient inland sea. Click here for a primer on the fascinating geology of the park.

Besides Glacier National Park, this summer's National Parks tour included Badlands, Mt. Rainier, and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks. The weather was ideal for hiking and photography. Check in at my shop periodically for new landscape pastels conveying the beauty and awe of the National Parks!

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