Traveling to montana? These are the top 7 places to stay in and around glacier national park!
Take it from a local, you won't want to miss out on these hot accommodations and suite stays (pun intended 😉)!
#1 VRBO's or airbnb
Montana has REALLY upped their game for some amazing vacation rentals. Below I have attached links to my three favorite Airbnb's in the area. If you're anything like me, on my travels I love staying at a "local" place and somewhere unique. These vacation rentals are sometimes closer to Glacier National Park than chain hotels and give a you the taste of comfort you're looking for after a long day of hiking or exploring! The first is located near Polebridge, MT (You HAVE to check out the Mercantile and Bowman Lake while you are there.) The second is a Treehouse!! Yes, you read that right. This is fun for the whole family, sleep with real living trees going through the house! And the third is a tiny home located near East Glacier, for all your adventures on the East side!
#2 UNDER CANVAS
Maybe you're the adventurous type and want a luxurious Montana stay, Under Canvas is for you! Luxurious camping, or ""glamping" is the newest of the new, and a popular hit with kids and adults. You're not quite toughing it like a back country hiking trip, but you get a cozy bed and bathroom while being outside... and maybe even hearing bears at night! Did that get your heart racing? Check out some of the amenities that they offer below!
- USB Battery packs (tent = no plugins)
- Boxed lunches available (for all your daily adventures)
- Fire pit & Smore's (the ultimate way to relax at night)
- Organic bath products (be sure to check out the pictures on their website of the bathrooms)
- Adventures concierge (a little help planning goes a long ways)
- Camp Activities (keep yourself and/or the kiddos entertained)
Sleeps 2-6 guests (starts at $199/night), entire tent, pets allowed.
#3 cHALETS in Glacier national Park
This might be a stretch for some, but the avid hiker and person who really wants to be active on their trip and live through nature, a stay at the iconic Sperry Chalet or Granite Park Chalet should be on your list. here's a little info about both.
- Sperry Chalet was originally built back in 1913, by James J. and son Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway. In September of 2017, The Sprague Fire, a wildfire started by lightning, ripped through the area and destroyed the Historic Landmark. Sperry has since been in rebuild. Much awaited, the Chalet re-opens in 2020, taking its first overnight bookings July 18, 2020.
- Cost to stay at the Sperry Chalet is $247 first person/night and $159 each add. person/night in same room.
- Cost includes: 3 meals (2 cooked, 1 sack lunch for your departure) and linens on the bed.
- Reservations required.
- Hike-in ONLY. The hike is 12.3 miles roundtrip, with a total of 3,360 ft. elevation gain and is labeled as a strenuous hike. Plan accordingly. For more details on the hike you can visit here.
- Granite Park Chalet was originally built in 1914 and 1915 by the Great Northern Railway to provide comfortable back country accommodations inside Glacier National Park. It was the last of the chalets built by the railroad and one of the only two back country chalets that have survived. Granite Park is also listed as a National Historic Landmark.
- Cost to stay at the Granite Park Chalet is $115 first person/night and $82 second person/night in same room.
- Cost includes bed and kitchen area and supplies to cook. Linen service is an extra $25/person.
- Reservations required. It is also required to reserve the items of food for your meals (if you don't want to pack it in).
- Water is not readily available for hikers at the Chalet, you can pay for bottled water if needed, or access from a stream 1/4 mile from the Chalet (so bring water filter or treatment tabs if you choose this option).
- Hike-in ONLY. There are two main routes you can take to access Granite Park Chalet.
- Highline Loop Trail. This trailhead is located at Logan Pass. You will need to park at Logan Pass (arrive very early, before 8am) or hitchhike to the top. Or arrange for drop-off and pick-up. The trail is 11.2 miles in total length with an elevation gain of 1,950 ft. The trail to the chalet is approximately 8 miles from the start. This trail receives a lot of sunlight and ample water should be packed with you.
- The Loop Trail. This trailhead is located right off the Going-to-sun-road on the west side. There is limited parking so its recommended to have a planned drop off and pick-up or some choose to hitch hike to the trailhead. The trail is 8.4 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 2,450 ft. This trail is labeled as strenuous. The first part of the trail is old burn from forrest fire and doesn't provide much shade, so pack ample water for this hike in.
Check out the links below for each of the Chalets. The reservations fill extremely quick, so I caution you to plan ahead.
#4 iZaak walton inn
Located along Highway 2, between West Glacier and East Glacier, you will find Izaak Walton Inn. Celebrating 80 years in service, this family owned mountain retreat is the perfect place to stay. You have the option to stay in the lodge, cabins, or the old refurbished railcars.
Reasons to stay at the Inn:
- Activities include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, train watching, goat lick overlook, and exploring the Walton ranger station.
- Full bar, complimentary Wi-fi in common areas, fine dining at each meal, gift shop, outdoor hot tub, revolving library for visitor use, sauna and much more!
- Ski & Snowshoe rentals along with rental car options (in case you take the train to the Inn).
- Lessons available for Skiing and Snowshoeing.
- Located between two major entrances to Glacier National Park, with 750 miles of established trails, 750+ lakes, and 200+ waterfalls.
- Check out the live webcam here.
Sleeps 2-10 guests (starts at $109/night), entire caboose/house/room, no information available on whether dogs are allowed.
#5 Local Hotels
I, of course, can't link ALL the hotels (because thats what a google search is for), but I will attach my 3 favorite hotels around Glacier National Park. While these great places might not be next door to Glacier National Park, here are a few reasons the locals would recommend these places.
- While waking up to Glacier is pretty and convenient, it is also crowded. Staying 30-45 minutes outside the park allows for more room to "breathe" and explore other local favorites like restaurants and activities.
- Experience the local festivities in Whitefish and Bigfork. Both are relatively "small" towns with seasonal influx due to tourism, with lots of shops and unique eateries.
- Stay near two of the greatest lakes in Flathead Valley, Whitefish lake and Flathead Lake. Rent a paddle board, kayak, or boat and enjoy the fresh pristine water that Montana has to offer.
I always encourage those traveling in to the area to explore other places, other that Glacier National Park. There is so much the Flathead Valley has to offer, aside from a gorgeous national park.
#6 Camping in the park
Of all the places to stay, if you are a camping individual/couple/family, I highly recommend spending a night or three in a tent in the park. Glacier has something, that not many other places has to offer... a designation as an International Dark Sky Park. Along with the silence of nature (no cars honking, no sirens, no noises of the city) the dark sky allows for amazing star gazing and seeing some occasional northern lights! Check out more here on the Dark Sky Park designation.
Camping in the park is fun. I've personally stayed in the park and enjoy finding peace with nature.
Things to note:
- Costs are $10-23/night in the summer, varies per location and whether you are in a tent or camper.
- Dogs are allowed in developed areas, frontcountry campsites and picnic areas, along roads open to motor vehicles, and in vessels on lakes where motorized watercraft are permitted. They are NOT allowed on any hiking trails within the park, no exceptions. MUST be on a 6-foot leash, and cannot be left unattended at a campsite.
- Bears and other wildlife can and do frequent campgrounds, it is Montana after all. All campsites must be picked up with nothing left out when campsite is unoccupied. I highly recommend carrying a can or two of bear spray.
- Campsites cannot be left unattended longer than 24 hours.
- During the summer, campground evening programs are available to help keep you entertained (read more about this here).
- There are 13 designated campgrounds within the park, only 4 taking advanced reservations. The other 9 are first-come, first-serve basis until full. You can view all campgrounds here.
- Aside from established front country camping, you can also reserve back country camping sites here.
The three links below are where you can reserve campsites ahead of time, the fourth one not listed is only available for group sites at Apgar Campground. You can view that site here.
#7 Lodging in and around gLACIER nATIONAL PARK
Xanterra and National Park Service offer a number of hotels/lodging within the park and around the park. These range from historic lodges, mid-century "motor inns", to rustic cabins.
- Costs varies per location
- Located conveniently near or in Glacier National Park
- These historic beauties have floors that creak, staircases and railings carved by hand, separate hot/cold knobs on the sinks, and no televisions or elevators.
- Book a Red Bus Tour with your lodging package here.
Book your stay at one of the following lodges/motor inns and truly experience what Glacier National Park offers.
Come stay in montana
I hope this guide is helpful in your planning for your future trip to Montana and Glacier National Park. As a traveler myself, I know first hand that finding lodging and/or good places to camp are a challenge. So, hearing it from a local gives some extra reassurance about where you are staying! If I can be of any additional help on your upcoming trip, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Images used in this blog post are not mine **