Glacier National Park
Camping Information

Mt. Gould in Glacier Park

Camping Information for Glacier

Photo Use Guidelines

Most people who visit Glacier National Park - and spend the night - end up camping out in the park, sometimes for days and days at a time. Which, to me, is the best way to see the park. While the west side of Glacier National Park has many motels and hotels to stay at (warning, the east side is rather "thin" on lodging), there is no better way to see the park than by staying up there for at least a few days.

Unlike many other popular national parks, where one has to make reservations for a campsite literally years in advance, Glacier National Park makes camping quite easy. Only two campgrounds accept reservations - all others are on a first-come, first-served basis. The two campgrounds that accept reservations through the National Park Reservation Service (1-600-365-CAMP) are Fish Creek (on Lake McDonald near Apgar Village) and St. Mary Campground (eastern side of the park near the St. Mary entrance station and the town of St. Mary). At last count, Glacier National Park had just over 1000 "front country" campgrounds - defined as those campgrounds that you can drive too.

If you plan on staying at any other campground that does not accept reservations, be sure to try to get there rather early. Some of the more popular campgrounds, particularly Avalanche Creek, Apgar and Many Glacier have a tendency to fill up quite early. Many Glacier, in particular, can be at times frustrating to get into, as it is the only campground around.

Photo Use Guidelines

Additionally, if you're use to amenities in campgrounds, be prepared to live without them in Glacier National Park. Utility hook-ups are not provided and connection to water, sewer, or electrical outlets is prohibited. Generator use within campgrounds is permitted only between the hours of 7:00 am - 9:00 am, 12-noon -2:00 pm, and 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm. This is all in theme with keeping with what Glacier National Park is - a wilderness park. Glacier is not another Yellowstone or Yosemite, complete with tons of fancy lodging places, restaurants and other activities. Instead, it is a place to come and enjoy the beauty and quite of America's most scenic National Park.

Due to the presence of Grizzly Bears, camping in Glacier National Park requires some diligence on the part of anyone camping. When not in immediate use, all food, beverages, coolers, stoves, grills, cooking utensils, food containers, and pet food must be kept in a closed hard sided vehicle, day or night. Campers without vehicles must use available food lockers or hanging devices for all food storage. Violations of this rather strict anti-bear policy can result in several things - confiscation of the stuff by park officials, a small fine, or - more ominously - a visit by your local Grizzly Bear.

Here are some other things to keep in mind while camping in Glacier National Park.

Bring your own food - The lack of services in Glacier National Park is legendary. And, it's a long way to the local supermarket. Thus, be prepared and bring everything you need. While you can buy a few things here and there in the park and from a few vendors outside of the park, you'll pay for it, too.

Trailers - The Going-to-the-Sun Road is the primary road used by vehicles to travel between the east and west sides of the park. Trailers are prohibited on this road beyond certain points. Thus, if you have a trailer, plan accordingly.

Distant Campgrounds - Several of the campgrounds in Glacier National Park are not recommended for travel or use by RV's. The reason, should you happen to be on it, will be obvious. These roads, found primarily in the North Fork area of the park, are narrow, bumpy and not a lot of fun to drive in a normal car.

Backcountry Camping - Camping in the backcountry of Glacier National Park is only allowed in designated areas. Reservations can be taken for various campsites months in advance - although some are always reserved as a first-come, first-served. Additionally, anyone who will be spending the night in the backcountry of Glacier National Park needs to obtain a permit. These permits are available at any ranger station. All food must be hung on the supplied food storage poles to prevent the bears from getting to it.

Camping Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National Park

Camping Tents : Find the right tent to fit your specific needs
Sleeping Bags : A Guide to getting the right sleeping bag
Sleeping Pad : Why you need a good and warm sleeping pad

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