In the golden light of sunrise, aspens stand stark against St. Mary Lake in mid May before the leaves on most trees have had a chance to burst from their buds in Glacier National Park.
A glacier lily is a brilliant sign of spring among the bleached lodgepole snags still standing as a reminder of past forest fires on Apgar Mountain in Glacier National Park.
McDonald Lake and the peaks of the Glacier National Park loom in the distance for early-season hikers to enjoy after the three-mile hike into Apgar Mountain lookout.
Beth Hall and Scott Wolff of Duluth, Minn., didn't let a few mid May snow patches keep them from hiking the shoreline trail along St. Mary Lake to several booming waterfalls in Glacier National Park.
A golden-mantled ground squirrel greets early season hikers along St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park.
Soon after the morning sun warms east-facing slopes, avalanches begin cascading like waterfalls down the steep slopes of cirque basins, booming and echoing, in Glacier National Park.
Scott Wolf of Duluth, Minn., found virtually no competition for soaking in the sun and scenery on a mid May dayhike along the popular St. Mary Lake shoreline trail in Glacier National Park.
Elk, still shaggy with their winter coats, can be found in May around the lower snow-free meadows of Glacier National Park, especially early and late in the day.
Pasqueflowers, also known as prairie crocus, are among the first blooms to sprout from lowland meadows while the peaks of Glacier National Park are still smothered with snow.
A bighorn ram scopes out some of the first Glacier National Park visitors of the season along his haunt above the brief portion of the Going to the Sun Highway that had been plowed of snow in mid May.
Green vegetation sprouting on early-spring lowland slopes is a magnet for winter-weary elk in Glacier National Park.
Snowmelt tumbles down along the trail to Iceberg Lake in Glacier Park's Many Glacier area as day-hikers Beth Hall and Scott Wolff of Duluth, Minn., pack a spotting scope to watch grizzly bears, mountain goats and bighorn sheep on the south-facing slopes.
The lack of pre-season services can be a good sign for early hikers trying to beat the crowds at Glacier National Park