Saint Mary Lake, Montana, USA

Also known as:  St. Mary Lake, Saint Mary's Lake, St. Mary's Lake

At 3900 acres, Saint Mary Lake is the second-largest lake in Glacier National Park. Saint Mary Lake is one of the most visited lakes, because the popular ‘Going To The Sun Road’ travels along the northern side of the lake for several miles. The road offers several spots where car travelers can get down to the water, and the two campgrounds in this part of the park are reached from – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Saint Mary Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Saint Mary Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Saint Mary Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Saint Mary Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Saint Mary Lake

Lake Locations: USA - West - Montana - Glacier Country -

At 3900 acres, Saint Mary Lake is the second-largest lake in Glacier National Park. Saint Mary Lake is one of the most visited lakes, because the popular ‘Going To The Sun Road’ travels along the northern side of the lake for several miles. The road offers several spots where car travelers can get down to the water, and the two campgrounds in this part of the park are reached from the same road. The route for ‘Going To The Sun Road’ was specifically chosen to make the most of Glacier’s unusually scenic vistas, so sights at Saint Mary Lake don’t disappoint. The nearly 10-mile long lake offers picturesque views of a number of surrounding peaks such as East Flattop, Singleshot and Red Eagle Mountains, often best viewed from the tour boat that takes tourists and hikers the length of the lake.

Saint Mary Lake is one of the few for which statistics are available. The lake reaches depths of 300 feet and holds a healthy population of lake trout, whitefish, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and even a few bull trout. The lake actually gets little fishing pressure except at the outlets along the shore near the campgrounds, so those anglers who can find the rare calm day suitable for fly fishing will have excellent luck. Because the water seldom gets warmer than 50 degrees and the choppy waves make floating difficult, most find that float tubes and canoes don’t work well. A motorized boat is almost necessary for successful fishing here, except for the whitefish that stay in the shallow shore areas. There is only one launch ramp, so few motor boats ply the lake. In winter, the lake usually freezes over with up to four feet of ice some winters. Visitors do not swim in the lake due to the frigid temperatures.

Two campgrounds on the lakeshore offer campsites with potable water and restrooms. Many of the popular trails begin from the campground areas, with several leading to waterfalls. The tour boat concession has docks at the Rising Sun Campground halfway along the shoreline near the road. This campground offers token-operated showers for campers only and has nightly ranger-led evening programs and activities scheduled by the same rangers. A camp store and small restaurant are also located here. The free shuttle service that serves locations on ‘Going To The Sun Road’ stops here, making this an excellent place to embark on hikes in the area. The St. Marys Campground is located near the east end of the lake near the Glacier National Park Visitors Center. The campgrounds take reservations from June 1 through September 3, with a number of sites restricted to first-come basis. Primitive camping is available all winter, but there are no water or toilets available and campers must obtain a pass from the local rangers. In honor of the local Native American culture, Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai tribal members take part in the park’s Native American Speaks program featuring performing artists and local drummers and dancers at the St. Mary Visitor Center.

It is possible for first-time hikers and those less physically fit to access the vistas featured at the end of some of the hiking trails by utilizing the shuttle buses and the tour boat. Saint Marys Falls is less than a mile from the trailhead, which can be accessed by shuttle bus, but is a mile and a half walk after taking the boat. Virginia Falls is on up the same trail at the 2.2 mile marker. This trail connects to a much longer trail for backcountry hikers who must obtain a backcountry pass to stay overnight in the park. The trail to Otokomi Lake is a bit over five miles from the trailhead. Baring Falls is only a third of a mile from a shuttle stop. The Sun Point Nature Trail leads along the lakeshore for seven-tenths of a mile from the Sun Point parking area. Wildlife is plentiful; moose, bears and wolves can often be glimpsed.

Not everyone wants to camp during their stay, and the local area just outside of the park offers many options for more modern lodgings. The concessionaire that operates hotel facilities within the park manages a motel, lodge and cabins just past the Visitors Center. The little village of St Marys, population 50 during the off-season, boasts several motels, campgrounds and other lodging facilities during the season when the park is open. Groceries, gas and gifts are also available here. One large chain campground in the area offers a swimming pool and pet-sitting for park visitors, since dogs are not allowed on any trail within the park. The town swells in size in the summer months with accommodations for Glacier National Park workers provided. Several small restaurants also do a booming business here. Much of the area is Blackfeet Reservation land, but the small town of Babb halfway down the east side of Lower St. Marys Lake has a small motel and cafe that welcome overflow visitors from the park. There are neighborhood bars in most towns, and several guest ranches offer excellent lodgings, back country horseback trips and fishing trips. The entire area is geared to tourism and welcomes park visitors.

For those wishing to awaken to mountain views every morning, real estate is available in the area. Some properties can be found with frontage on lakes, although not on Saint Mary Lake. The winter season brings snow-lovers who enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the more accessible trails. Some of the rivers in the area offer rafting adventures, and working ranch vacations can be found. A rodeo or two can often be located nearby during the warmer months. There is never a shortage of things to do and see, inside the park and out. Glacier National Park and Saint Mary Lake await . . .and so do the local residents who want to make your vacation complete. Make sure to bring the hiking boots, binoculars and camera on this trip.

Things to Do at Saint Mary Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Canoeing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Saint Mary Lake

  • Bull Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

All About Saint Mary Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Saint Mary Lake

The Saint Mary Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Saint Mary Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Saint Mary Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Saint Mary Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Saint Mary Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Saint Mary Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,923 acres

Shoreline Length: 23 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 4,484 feet

Maximum Depth: 300 feet

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More Saint Mary Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

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Do you have a vacation rental property at Saint Mary Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

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LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

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Click here to advertise your Saint Mary Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Saint Mary Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Saint Mary Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Saint Mary Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Saint Mary Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

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New Saint Mary Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi