Glacier National Park Camping – Glacier National Park is home to some of the most serene beauty in the United States. And despite its frigid reputation, Glacier is a popular destination for camping – as long as you do it right. We’ll give you a full guide to camping in Glacier National Park, including when to go, how to do it, and which campsites are best.
Glacier National Park Camping
Glacier National Park Camping is a popular way to soak up the sights and sounds of Glacier National Park, and there are plenty of options provided within the park itself. Glacier National Park has 13 campgrounds in total. Three of these campgrounds take reservations, and ten are first-come, first-serve. Needless to say, there’s plenty to choose from, and we’ll cover some of our favorites below.
Camping in Glacier National Park
Campgrounds in Glacier National Park vary in their amenities and accommodations throughout the park. Some bigger campgrounds cater to RVs, and some are tent-only. Some accept group reservations, but these typically go fast. Facilities also vary, with different amount of access to things such as electricity, toilets, garbage cans, etc. Visitors to the park are blessed with many options for camping, and it’s all about matching a campsite with your ideal plans.
When to Camp in Glacier National Park
As you can guess by its name and location, Glacier National Park is no stranger to frigid conditions. As such, conditions for camping vary quite a bit throughout the year, with many campgrounds only opening during warmer months. Camping in Glacier is all about knowing what to expect, and preparing accordingly. Also note that due to the wide range of elevations in the park, weather conditions are not consistent throughout. Therefore, while this section serves as a general guide, it’s best to check weather conditions for your specific campsite before departure. Summers in Glacier are pleasant, and the best time for camping. It’s also the busiest time, so you’ll need to book popular spots well ahead of time. Summers in Glacier see highs around 72-84F and lows around 40-49F. Still be sure to pack plenty of layers! Shoulder seasons are more moderate to downright cold. Spring and Fall see highs around 45-70F, with lows around 30-40F. Winters are frigid, and most campsites are closed during these months (although some do brave the conditions). Winters see highs around 30-35F, and lows around 15-20F. Whenever you go, it’s most important that you know what to pack for the conditions. Proper camping gear and proper clothing makes all the difference, and you need to be sure you do it right.
Best Campgrounds in Glacier National Park
Now that we’ve covered the logistics, let’s dive deeper into some of our favorite campsites in Glacier. As mentioned, there are 13 campsites in total, with only 3 taking reservations. Some campsites are much more popular than others, and for good reason. Let’s start with the 3 campgrounds that take reservations:
Many Glacier Campground
Many Glacier Campground is one of Glacier’s most popular campgrounds. It’s located near one of Glacier’s most popular attractions – Many Glacier. It’s located on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, and is accessible via Route 3, past the historic Many Glacier Hotel. Many Glacier Campground has 109 sites for reservation, with reservations that can accommodate tent and RV camping. Some campgrounds can also accommodate larger RVs. Reservations are available six months in advance, and book fast during peak season. Many Glacier Campground is particularly notable for its close proximity to many of the Park’s most popular sites. The Glacier itself, and the region surrounding are home to many popular hiking trails, scenic lookouts, and much more.
St. Mary Campground
St. Mary Campground is the largest campground in Glacier’s popular eastern region. It is located right near the eastern entrance of the Park, off Going to the Sun Road, and near St. Mary Lake. This makes it one of Glacier’s most accessible campgrounds, and also one of its most popular. St. Mary Campground is open year-round, but we wouldn’t recommend camping in the colder months unless you are an experienced camper with reliable thermal gear. Reservations are available June 1 to September 1, during busy season, with the rest of the year being first-come first-serve. Reservations can be made six months in advance, and we’d recommend booking ASAP if you want a prime location. St. Mary is available for reservation, and campsites accommodate both tents and RVs. Restrooms and showers are located on the campgrounds. Due to the site’s location on the eastern edge of the Park, it’s a short drive to restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. There’s plenty to do and see in the region surrounding St. Mary Campground, including many nature trials and hikes surrounding St. Mary Lake. If you want to check out the Park, take a drive down Going to the Sun Road, a spectacular mountain road with some of the Park’s most popular views and lookouts.
Fish Creek Campground
Fish Creek is the final campground in Glacier that takes reservations, and is the Park’s second largest campground. Unlike the two above, Fish Creek is on the Park’s western end, just northwest of Columbia Falls, on the shores of Lake McDonald. Fish Creek Campground has 178 sites that support both tent and RV camping. All campsites have access to running water, toilets, and showers. Campsites are available for reservation six months in advance, with sites filling quickly during peak months. Fish Creek is only open from June 1 to September 1. Fish Creek is a great spot due to its fantastic location. Right by the shores of Lake McDonald, with some campsites right on the edge of the Lake, and many others providing a great view. There are many trails and hikes populating the region, with no shortage of things to do. Even catch nightly Ranger demonstrations at the Fish Creek Amphitheatre.
Apgar Campground is the largest campground in Glacier National Park, and one of the most popular. Unlike the three above, Apgar does not take reservations, and any of the 200 campsites are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. To get a site in Apgar during peak season, expect to get there before the campground opens, and be prepared to circle in your car. Apgar Campground is open year-round, and there are free primitive sites during winter. Sites cost between $10 and $20 during the rest of the year. Apgar accommodates both tent and RV camping, with a few large group sites available. Apgar Campground is located very near to Fish Creek Campground, also on Lake McDonald, on the Lake’s southern tip, and near the west entrance of Glacier. As such, it’s an awesome, scenic destination right on the shores of this glacial lake. It’s near many popular hiking routes and trails. For more information, check out nightly Ranger demonstrations at the Apgar Amphitheatre.
Avalanche Campground is situated in one of Glacier’s most impressive natural areas. Located northwest of Lake McDonald along Going to the Sun Road, Avalanche Campground is near two of the Park’s most popular hikes – Avalanche Trail and Trail of the Cedars. There are 87 campsites on Avalanche Campground, but only 50 can accommodate RVs, so be sure to check ahead of time when booking your site. Running water and facilities are available on site. The campsite is very accessible off Going to the Sun Road, and is close to the west entrance of Glacier.
Logging Creek Campground
Logging Creek Campground is one of Glacier’s smaller campgrounds, which gives it a quaint, laid-back vibe. It’s located on the western side of Glacier National Park, north of Lake McDonald. There are only 7 sites here which are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sites are primitive, and only accommodate tent camping. There is no running water at Logging Creek Campground. One of the smallest campgrounds in Glacier National Park, and also one of the most basic. If you really want to get fully immersed in nature, this is an awesome choice, and there’s no shortage of trails and hikes in the area. These were a few of our favorite campsites in Glacier, but there are many more available. Check out the NPS Glacier Website to learn more.
Glacier National Park Camping
Thanks for checking out our guide to camping in Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park Camping is an incredible natural area with so much to do and see, and camping is one of the best ways to do it. Use our guide to plan your ultimate Glacier adventure.
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