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Visiting Sherburne Lake, Montana: Photogenic Artificiality Suggestive of Artistic Abstraction?

Updated on April 16, 2019
State flag of Montana
State flag of Montana | Source
Lake Sherburne - Glacier National Park
Lake Sherburne - Glacier National Park | Source

Light and shade complemented

Named for Joseph T.Sherburne, a businessman who lived in the area in the late 19th century and had interests in the Montana localities of Browning, Babb and East Glacier in the early years of Montana's statehood, there is a salient feature about Lake Sherburne that is easy to miss, but should be borne in mind.

Sherburne Lake is artificial.

The Lake measures 6 miles / 9.7 kilometres by 0.8 miles / 1.3 kilometres and was created between 1914 and 1921.

One of the things that strikes me about this Lake is that when the light and shadows are at a certain level its appearance — with high Rocky peaks as a backdrop — is suggestive of the road to artistic abstraction (see photo, above).

Indeed, artists such as Lawren Harris (1885-1970) or Iulia Biriukova (1897-1972) come to mind, who are known in part for mountain scenes which invite comparison with abstract art.

Fish found in Sherburne Lake include pike and trout (1). Birdwatchers are sometimes treated to the appearance of swans in the vicinity of the Lake.

Sherburne Lake is situated within Glacier Park, not far from Babb, Montana. Its surface elevation is 4788 feet / 1459 metres. A creek which constitutes both its primary inflow and primary outflow is named Swiftcurrent Creek (2). Water controlled from Lake Sherburne Dam is used for irrigating land in north central Montana, via Swiftcurrent Creek, St. Mary River and Milk River.

Sherburne Lake is located in Glacier County, Montana.

April 15, 2019


(1) Further visitor and fishing information is available at: For information regarding fishing and boating regulations in Montana, see:

For visitor activity contact details, see also:

(2) This recalls also nearby Swiftcurrent Lake, the location of the much visited Many Glacier Hotel, also in Glacier Park.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Lake Sherburne, Montana, USA.
Lake Sherburne, Montana, USA. | Source

Also worth seeing

[Sherburne Lake is situated adjacent to Many Glacier Road about halfway between Babb, Montana and Many Glacier Hotel, overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake. For convenience, distances below are calculated from a halfway point between these locations.]

Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Lake (distance: 5.9 miles / 9.5 kilometres) is the creation of Louis W. Hill (1872-1948), situated at a spectacular location.

Waterton, Alberta, Canada (distance: 38.1 miles / 61.3 kilometres; the lakeside village at the Canadian end of the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park has a spectacular setting, overlooked by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.

Great Falls,
Montana (distance: 167.1 miles / 268.9 kilometres); visitor attractions include: the Great Falls of the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the C M Russell Museum; Gibson Park; Native Montana Art Gallery and Gift; the Great Falls Symphony Association holds regular concerts at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts; the Great Falls Historic Trolley gives local tours from the Visitor Information Center; the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum and Air Park; the Montana Museum of Railroad History; and many others.

Ulm, Montana (distance: 175.1 miles / 281.8 kilometres); the First Peoples' Buffalo Jump State Park contains an historic, mile-long cliff used for 600 years.


How to get there: Delta Airlines flies to Great Falls International Airport, Montana (distance from Sherburne Lake: 168.1 miles / 270.5 kilometres) with wide North American connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Map of Glacier National Park
Map of Glacier National Park | Source

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