Glacier National Park
Guide

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Introduction

Glacier National Park is known for its stunningly beautiful views, filled with impressive peaks and valleys that have been carved out over time from glaciers. Calling the Rocky Mountains home, this national park is in Montana and sits along the Canadian border. Glacier National Park is full of historical wonders, making it a place with lots to see when you go RV camping here.

For over 10,000 years, this park has attracted many to this land area for different reasons. It started with the Native Americans, and then the European explorers came in, followed by the miners and settlers. Each group wanted something different - game buffalo, beaver pelts, minerals, and farmland. This area finally became an official national park in 1910 under President Taft, making it America’s 10th national park. There are a total of 375 historic properties within the park, six of which are must-see National Historic Landmarks.

When you visit or go RV camping here, you can expect the weather to be a bit unpredictable due to the park’s location. It sits on a Continental Divide, which gives a mix of warm, wet Pacific air coming from one direction, and cold, dry Arctic air coming from the other. Due to this type of environment, temperatures can drop drastically at night, and the rainfall can be completely different depending on which side of the park you’re on. The best thing to do is dress in layers and always prepare for rain. It’s a remarkable experience to see the drastic differences in weather when you go from one side of this vast national park to the other.

There is so much to enjoy during your motorhome camping trip to Glacier National Park, whether you own or are renting your RV. From fishing in the crystal clear waters, exploring the miles of trails, getting out on horseback or your ATV, there are many ways to enjoy Mother Nature. Grab your camera as you'll see the abundance of Montana wildlife like grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and maybe even a bald eagle soaring overhead. There’s no better way to enjoy nature than from an RV base camp from one of Montana’s most popular destination, Glacier National Park.

Park Alerts (3)

[Information] Going-to-the-Sun Road Closure [+ Info]

The alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, from Avalanche Creek to Rising Sun, has closed for the season. Check our road status page for additional information on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and other park roads.

[Information] Many Glacier Road Construction

The Many Glacier Road will undergo major road rehabilitation and reconstruction for the next two years. Visitors planning to enter this section of the park will need to be prepared for construction delays entering and exiting the valley.

[Information] All Waters Closed to Boating [+ Info]

All waters are closed to boating as of November 1. Waters are expected to reopen in the spring. Seasonal boat closures are due to the discovery of Aquatic Invasive Species in the state of Montana by order of the Superintendent. 36 CFR 1.

RV Rentals in Glacier National Park

Transportation in Glacier National Park

Driving

This park is very open and accessible to both cars and RVs. Most of the larger roads within the park are easy to navigate for rigs of all sizes. You'll want to use some caution on smaller roads, however, since they can be mountainous, winding, and narrow.

There are four different entry options. The West Entrance is best to take if you want access to the Lake McDonald area, the Apgar area, the Park Headquarters, or Going-to-the-Sun-Road. You can reach the West Entrance by taking Highway 2 North to West Glacier from Kalispell.

The other three entrances - St. Mary, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier - are all close to the city of Browning, and can be reached by taking Highway 89 north from Great Falls into Browning, then simply following the signs to the park from there.

Parking

There are many parking options within the park, and they have people with RVs and trailers in mind. To help eliminate unnecessary parking issues though, you can park your RV at your chosen campsite and take the free shuttle around the park. Areas that do not accommodate RVs and trailers include Bowman Lake, Cut Bank, Kintla Lake, Logging Creek, Quartz Creek, and Sprague Creek. All other areas in the park are much more welcoming to bigger vehicles.

Public Transport

If you’re not planning to drive in, you can also get to the park easily by plane or train - each entrance is nearby an international airport, as well as Amtrak stops.

One of the great features of Glacier National Park is its free shuttle system. One shuttle goes to and from Kalispell, and the other to and from Whitefish. Both routes make stops at several points of interest throughout the park, making transportation very convenient.

The Going-to-the Sun Road is a very popular road to take through the park, but access may be limited due to size restrictions. To get around limitations with your RV, hop on a bike or shuttle or take a guided tour.

Campgrounds and parking in Glacier National Park

Campsites in Glacier National Park

Reservations camping

West Glacier KOA

Just west of Glacier National Park's west entrance, West Glacier, MT offers park visitors a bit of civilization, like cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, and banks. Stay close to these conveniences at West Glacier KOA while enjoying the outdoor recreation opportunities the town offers. Find a quiet wooded water and electric site, a full hookup spot with fire pit and mountain views, or a satellite-friendly deluxe patio site with mature landscaping, full hookups, and up to 50-amps service. There's propane and firewood on-site, as well as a snack bar, hot tub/sauna and pool. Rigs up to 75 feet long are welcome. Pets are allowed.

Whitefish / Kalispell North KOA

Home to Whitefish Mountain ski resort, Whitefish, MT is also a gateway to Glacier National Park. Stay a few nights at pet-friendly Whitefish / Kalispell North KOA to enjoy the best the town has to offer. Partially shaded deluxe patio sites complete with full hookups, up to 50-amp service and access to campfire pit are on offer. Water and electric sites are available, too. Amenities include a snack bar, Kamping Kitchen, pool, hot tub/sauna, and mini-golf. Purchase propane and firewood on-site. There are bike rentals as well as a tour shuttle. Wi-Fi is present, and big rigs up to 90 feet can be accommodated.

St. Mary / East Glacier KOA

Guests can’t get much closer to Glacier National Park and the famous Going-to-the-Sun scenic roadway than at the St. Mary/East Glacier KOA. Pack a picnic from supplies at the KOA grocery store or pick up a gift for friends and family back at home. A tour bus is available right at the St. Mary/East Glacier KOA entrance. Guests can safely keep pups at the campground and take advantage of the campground’s on-site pet sitting and kennel boarding services.

At the campground, enjoy the seasonal pool and hot tub. Hungry? Pick up breakfast, pizza, and dinner at the AOK Grill, open from mid-June to mid-September. Big rigs are welcome in the 75-foot-long pull-through sites, all featuring full hookups. The campground also provides clean restrooms, hot and refreshing showers, and laundry facilities.

Many Glacier Campground

Located near the park's east entrance, Many Glacier Campground has 41 sites that are open for reservations and an additional 62 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Most sites here do not allow vehicles longer than 21 feet, but a few do allow for vehicles up to 30 feet long. The campground features grills, fire rings, food lockers, restroom facilities, drinking water, and a dump station. Each campsite has a picnic table, and generators are permitted at certain sites. Pets are welcome. Keep in mind that you probably won't get cell phone reception while camping here. Many Glacier Campground is a great starting point for hikers and backpackers that want to tackle the Continental Divide Trail.

St. Mary Campground

Open from May to August, St. Mary is the biggest campground on the eastern side of the park. Amenities include restrooms, showers, drinking water, and a dump station. Pets are welcome, and the maximum vehicle length is 35 feet. St. Mary Campground is just a half-mile away from the St. Mary Visitor Center and close to scenic drives on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The campground isn't far from local shops with groceries and other supplies.

Fish Creek Campground

Open from May to September, Fish Creek is one of the largest campgrounds in the park with 178 sites available. The sites here are known for being quiet, private, and shaded. Some sites even feature lakefront views. When you camp here, you’ll have quick access to restrooms drinking water, fire pits, food lockers, picnic tables, and a dump station. With excellent access to Lake McDonald, you can get out for some fun on the water on your kayak or enjoy fishing from the lake's edge. Pets are welcome, and the maximum vehicle length is 24 feet.

First-come first-served

Two Medicine Campground

Two Medicine is a great place to bring your RV as it has spots available for vehicles up to 32 feet long. The campground offers 99 sites, and certain sites allow generators A first-come, first-served campground, get here early if you want to grab one of these choice spots or during the offseason. You’ll also have access to restroom facilities that have flush toilets and running water. Pack your camera as you'll never know what wildlife will visit your campsite, especially the famous Bighorn sheep. You'll love the majestic views you can enjoy from your site since you'll only be 13 miles from East Glacier.

Rising Sun Campground

Rising Sun Campground is an idyllic spot for RV camping where you can see a beautiful sunrise over Red Eagle Mountain each morning. Eighty-three sites are available. While some sites are limited to tent camping, others can accommodate rigs up to 25 feet long. Some sites are shaded, while others get full sun. You’ll be guaranteed access to boating on St. Mary Lake, shuttle service, potable water, and restroom facilities with flush toilets and sinks with running water. Next to the campground, you'll find a camp store, restaurant, and showers. You might also have the opportunity to attend a ranger-led evening program.

Avalanche Campground

Avalanche Campground has 50 motorhome camping spots that can accommodate vehicles up to 26 feet long. Since campsites are first-come, first-served, plan on getting there early as it is a popular area to stay. You can also take advantage of restroom facilities with flush toilets and running water nearby. This is a pet-friendly campground so plan to bring your dog along for this excellent camping trip. Bring your hiking boots along as the Avalanche Lake trailhead is next to campground, providing a perfect way to spend some time in nature.

Alternate camping

Apgar Campground

If you are staying with a group, Apgar Campground is the place for you. Five group sites are open for reservations for parties of nine to 24 people. Campground amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, and food lockers. This campground is open from May to September, and pets are welcome.

Seasonal activities in Glacier National Park

Spring

Hike Saint Mary

This area offers some of the most beautiful hikes, and many of them are perfect for children, elderly, and beginner hikers. There are lots of trails that are less than a mile long, and even more that between one and two miles long. For the more advanced and avid hikers, there are some trails that are around seven or eight miles long.

Hike North Fork & Goat Haunt

North Fork has many flowery meadow options along with lakes and lookouts, and the trails tend to be longer here. Goat Haunt has Rainbow Falls, which is only a one-mile hike, and it features some other lakes and overlooks. Waterton Townsite is the longest trail, at 8.5 miles.

River Camping

Within the park, you have the opportunity to camp next to a river: the North Fork of the Flathead River. Up to 12 people can go camping at once, but only for one night at a time. Be sure that you get a backcountry camping permit before going, and that you know what weather conditions to expect.

Photography

This national park is absolutely beautiful year-round, which gives everyone great opportunities for picture-taking when they visit. If you come to camp in your RV during the spring season you can photograph the wildflowers in the fields, the emerging wildlife, and the Northern Lights at night, along with the stunning mountain views and waterfalls.

Bike the Trails

Spring season is bike season, and taking a bike through the park is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air that nature provides. The Going-to-the-Sun-Road is open only to hikers and bikers during this time of the year, allowing for a safer trip. During other parts of the year, cyclists need to take proper precautions by sharing a road with cars. In the middle of May, the national park offers a shuttle service between the Apgar Visitor Center and Avalanche, which is equipped to transport bicycles.

Summer

Fish at the Park

Glacier National Park is all about preserving the area’s ecosystem. This means that there is a limit on the types of fish you can catch for keeping and how many. Catch and release fishing is a relaxing hobby, and there are many great places for it scattered throughout the park. Common catches include trout, burbot, whitefish, salmon, and grayling. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations as a Montana fishing license is required to fish in certain areas.

Get Out on the Water

Summer is a great time of the year to go boating, and Glacier National Park features many spots for it, including Lake McDonald, Bowman Lake, and Two Medicine Lake. All boats will need to go through inspection. The park’s main goal is to keep nature safe, so be sure that you play by the rules, and don’t forget to get a boating permit.

Native America Speaks

This ranger program is a great opportunity to learn about Native American culture and history that happened right here in the park. Each Summer, members of Blackfeet, Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreille tribes come together to share their knowledge with park visitors. These programs take place at St. Mary Visitor Center, campgrounds, and lodges. Programs run from mid-June to the end of September.

Guided Tours

Glacier National Park offers many options for guided tours - almost too many to choose from. You can take boat tours, bus tours, do guided hiking, rafting, horseback rides, or even take field courses all throughout the park. Guided tours are a great way to explore the park because you’ll be with someone who knows their way around and can teach as you go. Come and see Montana's wild beauty at its finest by traveling through the diverse terrain during your next camping trip.

Hike Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald provides a variety of hiking trails and options. Many of the trails go through beautiful woods, around water, and some of them even loop around. There are even trails for horseback riding. Trail lengths vary greatly - the Trail of the Cedars is only .7 miles and is a great choice for beginner hikers. Lincoln Lake, on the other hand, is eight miles long.

Fall

Hike Two Medicine

Two Medicine Valley lives up to its name. After all, what better medicine is there than getting out in nature? This area gives two of the best kinds of medicine there is: peace and quiet. For a quick trip, Running Eagle Falls is only .3 miles. If you’re looking for a long nature retreat, Dawson and Pitamakan Pass combine to create an all-day long loop trail.

Hike Logan Pass

Logan Pass only consists of two different trails, but Granite Park Chalet has three separate parts you can choose from, all of which are fairly lengthy. You can also go to Hidden Lake Overlook, which is only 1.4 miles, but you can add an extra 1.2 miles once you get to the overlook if you keep going towards Hidden Lake.

Stock Use

Many of the park trails are open to stock. You can bring your horses, mules, donkeys, and llamas to walk throughout the park. Just be sure to check that the trail you choose for riding is one that allows stock, check weather and trail conditions, and be sure that your stock doesn’t graze. Do not ride on paved roads as stock use is prohibited. It’s important that the park remains as a place for everyone to enjoy.

Hike Many Glacier

The hiking trails at Many Glacier offer stunning viewpoints, waterfalls, and lakes. The shortest trail that you’ll find is a mile long and takes you to Apikuni Falls. Some trails consist of two separate trails, and the longest trail at Many Glacier is Piegan Pass, totaling 8.4 miles.

Backcountry Camping

When you backcountry camp or backpack through Glacier National Park, you’ll get the richest experience of all. Immerse yourself in the nature around you, and get up close to the wildlife this way. You can traverse sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Just be sure to come fully prepared and get a permit before you head out into the vast wilderness of Glacier National Park.

Winter

Winter Snowshoe Walk

The Winter Snowshoe Walk is a ranger-led program. Get to experience this snowy Winter wonderland as your guide points out all the native plants and animals that you’ll see during your walk. Participating in the snowshoe walk is great family fun, but is not recommended for children under the age of six.

Playing in the Snow

Who doesn’t like playing in the snow? There’s no better way to bond with the family and friends during the winter than getting outside to have a snowball fight. You can work together to build a snowman or even an igloo. There’s plenty of snow here at Glacier National Park in the off-season, so you’ll definitely have enough to do it all in Montana's winter playground.

Sledding

Sledding can be a really fun pastime when there is snow on the ground. Just bring your own sled, find a good hill to go down, and get started. Just make sure to not get too crazy - you’ll still need to make sure the hill isn’t too steep, and watch for things that might get in the obstacles.

Glacier Insta-Meets

InstaMeets is a great way to come together and connect with people in the park. These meetings are specifically designed for people to share their experiences, ideas, and pictures with people just like you. You can join in on the fun by hashtagging any posts or photos from your visit with #GlacierNPS.

Cross-Country Skiing

In the winter, many of the hiking trails turn into skiing trails. One of the most popular places to ski is the Apgar area. Be sure to obtain a backcountry camping permit before you head out to ski, and keep in mind the risks and dangers of hypothermia and avalanches.

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