Fuel your love of the outdoors.

By Skye Sherman
March 28, 2020
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Matt Anderson/Getty Images

You may be temporarily homebound, but thanks to today’s technology, that doesn’t mean you have to stop exploring. Despite coronavirus-related lockdowns, and the resulting closures of many national parks from sea to shining sea, lovers of the great outdoors can quench their thirst for wide open spaces by tuning in to one of the many cameras streaming live from inside the country’s parks.

Why not plan a virtual trip to one of America’s most breathtaking natural treasures, Glacier National Park? The park comprises more than 1,500 square miles of Montana wilderness, populated only by glaciers, lakes, hiking trails, mountain peaks, and the occasional grizzly bear. (Plus, it’s easy to leave no trace when your visit is via the Internet.)

As of publication, the park isn’t completely closed, but it’s functioning under modified operations. According to the National Park Service, “As of March 21, 2020, the Apgar Visitor Center and Bookstore will close until further notice. The park will continue to provide visitor information through alternative means at the Apgar Visitor Center Plaza.”

If you’re practicing social distancing or find yourself quarantined inside for the foreseeable future, check out the best Glacier National Park webcams for your at-home viewing pleasure. Practice patience; the images refresh only every minute or so.

Lake McDonald Webcam

Searching for that iconic Glacier National Park lookout? You’ll find it here. The best of the park’s stunning scenery is on display in this soothing feed from the foot of Lake McDonald. Tune into this webcam for a viewpoint of the glacially carved lake, the Continental Divide in the distance, and dramatic weather patterns — during the winter months, this webcam is sometimes dominated by foggy, limited-visibility views of thick snow, sleet, or rain before breaking to reveal a placid lake framed by snow-capped peaks.

For a more dynamic experience, check out the Lake McDonald PTZ webcam; park rangers occasionally aim this camera at different points across the Lake McDonald Valley.

Apgar Village Webcam

This webcam is trained on the park’s central hub, which, during the summer, involves a flurry of activity ranging from visitors arriving to camp, shop, or eat to school buses full of children coming for field trips. Apgar Village is home to the largest campground in Glacier National Park as well as alternative lodging facilities, two gift shops, a restaurant, and boat rentals and other recreational equipment. In its quieter moments between the onrush of human activity, you might even see a few deer passing through.

Middle Fork of the Flathead River Webcam

Keep an eye on this webcam, located near park headquarters, for a view of the rolling Flathead River and its happenings, which can include groups of rafters in the summer and wandering wildlife in the winter, especially coyotes and deer. The Flathead River forms the southwest border of Glacier National Park and also appeals to kayakers, thanks to its calm, clear waters.

Apgar Mt. Southeast View Webcam

When the weather’s clear enough to enjoy the view from this webcam, you may be confused by the image that forms: 9,376-foot Mount Saint Nicholas bears a striking resemblance to the Matterhorn, but the remote Apgar Mt. Southeast View webcam is posted thousands of miles from Switzerland, Italy, and the European Alps. That’s because both Mount Saint Nicholas and the Matterhorn are glacial horns, a geological feature formed by glaciers carving out three or more sides of a peak at the same time.

St. Mary Visitor Center Webcam

The webcam posted at the St. Mary Visitor Center, located on the park’s eastern boundary, faces west into the park, with Red Eagle Mountain dominating the view and other mountains surrounding St. Mary Lake complementing it. In the winter and spring, tune in at dawn and keep your eyes peeled for elk; in the summer, enjoy a sweeping view of colorful wildflower blooms carpeting the expansive meadow between the visitor center and the mountains beyond.

Another nearby webcam, the St. Mary Visitor Center PTZ webcam, can be moved and zoomed in by park staff if they’ve spotted an elk or want to provide a closer look of the mountains in the distance.