Lake McDonald Glacier National Park Sunrise Adventure Session and Hike

couple embraces at sunrise lake engagement session

I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: summer in Montana just hits. After spending the entire summer there this year, I still can’t get enough of it. Montana in any season has become my home away from home. It’s partially because of Glacier being my favorite national park on top of all the other locations the state has to offer. This couple’s Lake McDonald Glacier National Park adventurous engagement session was another reason to enjoy capturing love stories there!

couple embraces at sunrise lake engagement session
couple kisses at sunrise lake engagement session

Lake McDonald Glacier National Park Engagement Adventure

couple embraces at sunrise lake engagement session

I love Glacier National Park in and of itself, but I also love the friendships it’s brought me even more through the couples I’ve captured there. From rainy engagement sessions to post-wedding adventures and elopements–there’s no better place to photograph the two of you!

When Savannah and Trace first approached me about their adventure ideas I knew that we would become fast friends. After dreaming together of the places that their couples adventure could take us we landed on a Lake McDonald Glacier National Park sunrise session.

Lake McDonald is historically a really popular location in Glacier since it’s the first destination you hit when driving in from the west side. Even at sunrise a handful of people will be present to see a beautiful place at one of the quietest times of day.

Savannah and Trace’s experience of the sunrise at Lake McDonald in Glacier was incredibly special because we had it mostly to ourselves. The morning of their engagement session was one of the prettiest sunrises I have ever seen. The sky lit up with hues of pink, red, and orange, reflecting the colors on the water making it even more stunning.

couple sits together on pier at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

We were all in awe of the beauty of this McDonald sunrise and my camera could truly never do it justice. I always recommend sunrise at this spot because it is increasingly crowded at sunset which makes shooting a bit more difficult. But, it absolutely can be done! I wouldn’t discourage anyone from going there at sunset, I would just say it’s easier and more pleasant to shoot at sunrise!

A Glacier National Park Photographer Ready to Join Your Adventure

couple walks holding hands at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

Savannah and Trace’s shared love for adventurous travels is a core part of their relationship and life together. These two are avid backpackers and hikers having traveled everywhere together. Travis even proposed on a hike out west!

couple holds hands at sunrise engagement session
couple holds hands at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

The couple started their very first tour to Glacier National Park with three days of backcountry backpacking. They hiked over 20 miles and gained thousands of feet in elevation before I even arrived! When asked if I would do a hike after our Lake McDonald sunrise session–I knew I couldn’t let them down!

After our Lake McDonald Glacier National Park adventure, we enjoyed breakfast and coffee together. We then shuttled a few miles further into the park to the Jackson Glacier Overlook. From there we hiked about 7-8 miles through mountains, woods, and to several stunning waterfalls. By mid afternoon we were five miles into the hike and arrived at one of the waterfalls.

waterfall at Glacier National Park

Three three of us jumped into a creek of freezing glacier water that flowed from the waterfall. There were about 20 onlookers who cheered! We even convinced a few of these fellow hikers to join us! Following our hike, we drove about an hour to the neighboring town of Whitefish. There we enjoyed a delicious dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant.

couple swims in glacial water at waterfall

A Reflection: Why I Love My Work

couple kisses at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

The trip for this session was actually my first Lake McDonald Glacier National Park adventure. I completely fell in love with it! The grandness of the mountains, the colors of the trees and flowers, and the way the sun hit parts of the park differently all day had me awestruck. I was in the park before sunrise for three full days because I wanted to soak it all in!

photographer sits on pier by lake at sunrise

Even though they had never been photographed together before, the couple trusted me and embraced the newness of it. We truly had such a fun day together and by the end I feel like we all could truly say that we were more friends than we were client to vendor! The three of us spent the whole day talking, laughing and creating inside jokes. Nothing really went wrong and it was such an awesome day!

Check out my Montana Wedding Guide for how to plan your own Glacier National Park photo session! I’m always looking for a reason to return!

couple embraces at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

Adventure Sessions




Lake McDonald Glacier National Park Sunrise Adventure Session and Hike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *