Camping In Glacier National Park

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As the world’s first International Peace Park, the boundaries of Glacier National Park expand into both the United States and Canada. Glacier’s massive 1 million miles of land area encompasses two mountain ranges, 130+ lakes, and over 700 miles of hiking trails. You could spend years trekking around this park without even scratching the surface.

Breathtaking views, solitude, and chilly air make Glacier a fantastic place to visit if you love outdoor adventure.

There are thirteen established campgrounds in Glacier National Park with over 1,000 campsites for tents and RV campers. There are also hundreds of primitive backcountry campsites available for backpackers. Overflow campgrounds and free primitive campgrounds are numerous outside of the park.

And if you want a few extra amenities, there are hotels and lodging within the park, and glamping nearby Glacier.

Camping in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Campgrounds

Camping among the mountains of Glacier National Park is a unique experience. The front-country campgrounds have flush toilets, dump stations, and pads large enough for 40-foot RVs. The backcountry campgrounds consist of primitive campsites with vault toilets and limited amenities.

Whichever experience you prefer, you’re bound to get a 5-star view beneath billions of stars.

Mountain lions, bears, and other wild animals are abundant throughout the park. Hiking trails zigzag in and out of every location. And campsites are largely shaded and private.

Reservations: All campgrounds in Glacier National Park are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are available at Fish Creek, Many Glacier, and St Mary Campground if you wish to book ahead.

Seasonal Closures: The park itself is open year-round, but heavy snow restricts access to most of the park during winter months. Icy conditions can last late into June and even July so you’ll want to plan your camping trip later in the year. You can check the campground status here. Most are campgrounds are fully operational between June and September.

Campsites that are marked as primitive status have no potable water or dump stations available during that time of year.

Water and bathrooms: Fish Creek and St Mary are the only campgrounds with showers. Front-country campgrounds have flush toilets, and backcountry campgrounds have pit toilets.

Electricity: There are no electric hookups at campsites in Glacier National Park.

RV camping: RVs are not recommended at Bowman Lake, Cut Bank, Kintla Lake, Logging Creek, Quartz Creek, and Sprague Creek. The best places to take a large RV camping are Apgar, Many Glacier, St Mary, and Two Medicine.

Cell phone service: Fish Creek Campground and St Mary Campground have some cell phone coverage, but the majority of the park does not.

Pets: Leashed pets are welcome in front-country campgrounds and along roads only. There are numerous mountain lions, bears, and other wildlife in the park so you’ll want to keep the leash tight!

The Best Campsites In Glacier National Park

Cracker Trail near many glacier campground
Cracker Trail near Many Glacier Campground

Many Glacier Campground

When most people think of camping in Glacier National Park, Many Glacier comes to mind. This campground is perfectly located near the continental divide with abundant hiking opportunities and nearby views of the famous glaciers.

As one of the most popular campgrounds in the park, Many Glacier comes with all of the amenities including showers, a dump station, flush toilets, and potable water. Large campsites can accommodate RVs and campers up to 35 feet long and generators are acceptable.

Nearby the campground you’ll find a free shuttle service, restaurants, guest services, and gift shops. Because the 109 campsites fill up quickly, the National Park Service is now requiring reservations for all campers at Many Glacier Campground as of 2020.

Even though Many Glacier attracts campers from all over the globe, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a glimpse of the wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot bighorn sheep nearby, and there are plenty of primitive hiking trails just steps away.

  • Reservations required
  • Open year-round; peak season June – September
  • 109 RV and Tent campsites
  • Flush toilets
  • Coin-operated showers
  • Potable water
  • Dump station
  • Generators allowed
view of reynolds mountain at logan pass in glacier national park
Reynolds Mountain at Logan Pass

Rising Sun Campground

Appropriately named after the fantastic sunrises behind Red Eagle Mountain is Rising Sun Campground.

Rising Sun is located 6 miles west of St Mary Lake and 12 miles east of Logan Pass where many popular day hikes in the park take place. Campsites are breezy, shaded, and private so spending the night here is a tranquil experience. Flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station are all available for campers. The sites are relatively small but will fit RVs up to 25-feet long.

Not far from the campground is the Rising Sun Motor Inn where you can find a camp store, restaurant, and hot coin-operated showers. There is also a nearby beach with picnic areas and boat ramps where you can take a boat tour or paddle on St. Mary Lake.

Reservations are not available here, so you’ll want to arrive early for the best campsites.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • 84 Tent and RV campsites up to 25′
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station
camping near two medicine lake in glacier national park
Two Medicine Lake

Two Medicine Campground

If you’re looking for a more private experience away from the crowds, Two Medicine Campground is a great place to stay. These accommodations are nestled 13 miles from East Glacier in a quieter portion of the park.

This tranquil campground is only a half-mile from Two Medicine Lake which is popular for paddlers.

100 campsites are located at Two Medicine for tents and RVs up to 35-feet long. The campsites are shaded and spread apart so you won’t be staying directly next to the neighbors. However, the trees are spaced so you will see other campers–particularly on the loop next to the lake.

A camp store, gift shop, and endless hiking opportunities can be found right outside your tent. There are 12 hikes with trailheads originating in the Two Medicine area ranging from 1-15 miles roundtrip.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • 100 Tent and RV campsites up to 25′
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station
st mary lake campground in glacier national park
St Mary Lake

St Mary Campground

As the largest campground on the east side of Glacier National Park, St Mary Campground has activities that can be enjoyed by every type of traveler. From the campsite, you can enjoy dramatic views of Singleshot, Flattop, and Red Eagle Mountain. Aside from hiking, boat tours are available on St Mary Lake.

The free shuttle service, red bus tours, and St. Mary visitor center is located within walking distance. Restaurants, gift shops, gas, and a grocery store are only a few miles outside the park.

This campground is also open year-round and reservations can be made up to 6-months in advance. St Mary has a mix of shaded and sunny campsites, Loop A is the most sheltered for tents while Loops B and C are good for RVs up to 35-feet long.

Unlike many of the other campsites in the park, St Mary has flush toilets, showers, and a dump station within its perimeters.

  • First-come, first-served; Reservations available
  • 148 Tent and RV campsites up to 35′
  • Flush toilets
  • Showers
  • Dump station
  • Some cell phone service
camping tent at apgar campsite in glacier national park
Apgar Campground

Apgar Campground

Apgar campground is the largest in Glacier National Park. It is located on the Going to the Sun Road and near Apgar village. With nearly 200 campsites and facilities nearby including restaurants, camping supplies, boat docks, and a visitor center; it’s no wonder this campground is among the most popular in the park.

A free shuttle service is available next to Apgar campground which can take you up the Going to the Sun Road, and to the most beloved hiking trails. That means you can set up camp and leave the car behind.

If you want to do more than hiking, guided horseback rides and kayak rentals are available in Apgar Village. Lake McDonald is only a short walk away, and events are regularly held at the camp amphitheater.

Reservations are not available at this campground unless you’re spending the night in a large group site. So arrive early!

At Apgar, you get access to flush toilets, showers, and an RV dump station. Some sites are large enough for RVs up to 40 feet long, and there are large, paved paths for walking and biking. The campground operates year-round, and during the winter season, it has free primitive camping.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round
  • 194 Tent and RV campsites up to 40′
  • Flush toilets
  • Showers
  • RV dump station
camping at fish creek campground in Glacier National Park
Fish Creek Campground

Fish Creek Campground

The Fish Creek campground is located on the west side of the Glacier National Park along the Camas Road and a few miles from the Apgar village. It is the second-largest campground in the Glacier National Park. Here, there are 178 sites surrounded by cedars, larches, lodgepole pines, and many other trees that provide lots of shade and privacy to every camper.

The Fish Creek campground accepts both RV campers and tent campers from all over the world. 62 sites can house RVs up to 27 feet long, and 18 are large enough for 35-foot campers. The campground has access to potable water, restroom facilities that provide flush toilets, and showers. 

As one of the more popular campgrounds in the park, you’ll probably want to make a reservation before staying here. A few of the sites have excellent views of Lake McDonald. The campground also features quick access to Rocky Point Trail and wildlife viewing along Camas Road.

  • First-come, first-served; Reservations available
  • Typically open June-September
  • 178 Tent and RV campsites up to 35′
  • Flush toilets
  • Showers
  • Some cell phone service
 
tent in avalanche campground in glacier national park
Avalanche Campground

Avalanche Campground

Located in the front-country along the continental divide, Avalanche Campground is positioned in one of the most popular sections of the park. Tall cedar and hemlock trees provide cool shade and insulation from other campers. There is a free shuttle service that makes stops here, so it’s the perfect take-off point for nearby hiking trails.

Of the 87 campsites, 50 can hold RVs up to 26 feet long. You’ll find flush toilets and sinks at Avalanche so it’s a good place to stay if you don’t want to go primitive.

Like many campgrounds in the park, reservations at Avalanche are not accepted so you’ll want to arrive early if you want one of these coveted locations. From the campground, you can walk to Avalanche Lake which is 4.5 miles roundtrip.

The Trail of Cedars is within walking distance, and Lake McDonald is only a 10-minute shuttle ride away.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Typically open June-September
  • 87 Tent and RV campsites up to 26′
  • Flush toilets
sprague creek campground in glacier national park
Sprague Creek Campground

Sprague Creek Campground

Sitting on the shores of Lake McDonald is Sprague Creek Campground. This is another popular location where you’ll want to arrive early to snag a spot because it’s first-come, first-served only.

There are only 25 campsites here, but many have unobstructed views of the lake and plenty of shade. Sites are small, so it’s a tent-camping only area.

Going-to-the-sun road runs right nearby the campground, so it’s a great takeoff point. But you will be able to hear traffic on the road as well, so it’s not going to be the quietest. Fortunately, a camp store, free shuttle, boat tours, restaurants, and a gift shop are nearby so you won’t be far from amenities. There are also flush toilets and drinking water in the campground.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open June – September
  • 25 Tent campsites
  • Flush toilet
  • Potable water

Primitive Campsites In Glacier National Park

view from bowman lake campground at glacier national park

Bowman Lake Campground

Nearby the shores of Bowman Lake is a remote and quiet campground perfect for tent campers. The road to get there is rugged and dusty. Along the way, you’ll pass by the tiny community of Polebridge, Tight turns prevent vehicles longer than 21 feet from access. This is not the spot that you would take a big rig!

But the views are worth the drive. From the campground you can easily walk to Bowman Lake for picturesque sunrises and sunsets. Several hiking and backcountry routes stem from this campground.

Bowman lake has 46 tent camping sites with pit toilets and potable water. The peak camping season lasts between June and September, but the campground is open year-round for winter camping; although water is not available during this time.

Before heading out on the trip pack some bug spray! Bowman lake is known for mosquitos.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round
  • 46 Tent campsites
  • Vault toilets

Cut Bank Campground

Cut Bank campground is a small primitive campground with only 14 tent camping sites. There are no restrooms or water spigots available here, so it’s a truly rugged experience! You’ll need to pack your own water and follow leave no trace principles.

If you can hack it, the campground is located in the middle of Two Medicine and St, Mary. This means that the nearby hiking trails have spectacular views and full privacy! The peace, serenity, and solitude that you get to this campground cannot be found in most of the larger campgrounds.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round; recommend season June – September
  • 14 Tent campsites
  • *No toilets
  • *No water
hiking along the highline trail in glacier national park
Highline Trail in Glacier National Park

Kintla Lake Campground

Kintla Lake Campground is among the most remote front country campgrounds in the Glaciers National Park. It is about 40 miles from the Canadian border and west entrance. The campground roads are constructed of bumpy, packed dirt so campers have a very slow drive ahead. Vehicles over 21 feet long are prohibited.

Fortunately, that enables you to see beautiful and spectacular views along the way. The campground is located in a very remote location, making this one of the quietest campgrounds around. It’s also almost never full so if you visit Glacier on a busy weekend you’re almost guaranteed to find a spot.

Tall trees surround each of the campsites and give you an unfiltered view of the lake. Kintla Lake is encircled by mountains creating the perfect scenery for photography. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on the lake and will give you million dollar views.

There are 13 campsites here with pit toilets and a manual hand pump for water. It’s open year-round, but peak camping season lasts between June and September.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round; recommend season June – September
  • 13 Tent campsites
  • Water pump
  • *No toilets

Logging Creek Campground

With only 7 campsites, Logging Creek is the smallest established campground in Glacier National Park. It’s located in the West of the park at and south of the Polebridge. This is a primitive campground with a single vault toilet and no potable water. The access road is 8 miles of rugged packed dirt with tight curves so you wouldn’t be able to bring a vehicle longer than 21 feet to the campground.

Even though this campground is off the beaten path, you’ll have full solitude and a very quiet camping experience. This is a great place to stay if you want to get an excellent view of the stars and see a variety of wildlife. 

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round; recommend season June – September
  • 7 Tent campsites
  • Pit toilet
  • *No water

Quartz Creek Campground

Tied for the smallest campground in the Glacier National Parks is the Quartz Creek Campground. It is also considered one of the most primitive with just one vault toilet and no potable water.

Located on the park’s west side, Quartz Creek Campground can be accessed through the Inside North Fork Road, a very dusty, rough, and dirty road with so many blind curves and fewer pullouts. Tent campers will enjoy the wilderness experience that is offered by this campground. The campsites are nestled within very tall trees that provide excellent shade.

A 6.2-mile round-trip hike to Lower Quartz Lake is a great opportunity to spot wildlife then relax on the shore.

  • First-come, first-served only
  • Open year-round; recommend season June – September
  • 7 Tent campsites
  • Pit toilet
  • *No water

At A Glance: The Best Glacier National Park Campgrounds

  • Best for RV camping: Apgar, Many Glacier, St Mary, Two Medicine
  • Best for backcountry hiking: Bowman Lake, Two Medicine
  • Close to facilities: Apgar, St Mary, Rising Sun
  • Most primitive: Cut Bank, Kintla Lake, Logging Creek, Quartz Creek, Bowman Lake
  • Stock corrals: Bowman Lake

backpacking with permits in glacier national park

Backcountry Camping In Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has one of the most abundant trail systems in the US with hundreds of backpacking campsites that visitors can enjoy. The process is fairly straightforward.

First, you’ll need to obtain a backcountry permit. This park is so large that you can pick these up the same-day between 8:00 AM-4:00 PM. Permits cost $7 per person/per night. You can pick up permits at the following locations:

  • Apgar Backcountry Permit Center
  • St Mary Visitor Center
  • Many Glacier Ranger Station
  • Two Medicine Ranger Station
  • Polebridge Ranger Station
  • Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Reception Center

Free hikers shuttle services operate throughout the park so it’s easy to get to your location.

River Camping In Glacier

In the northwest area of Glacier, there are four river camping areas to take your canoe. Ford Creek, Big Creek, and Glacier Rim Campgrounds are located on the North Fork Flathead River and require permits just like those for backcountry camping. There are also several undesignated river campgrounds along the North Fork River.

The Middle Fork Flathead River borders the Flathead National Forest where you can go dispersed camping for free.

Dispersed Camping Near Glacier National Park

Free, dispersed camping is easy to find in the National Forests outside of Glacier. The closest is Flathead National Forest on the west side of the park. The two dispersed camping areas are: Billy Garret Memorial Bridge Access and Upper Twin Creek Access. Both have free camping with vault toilets. Dispersed camping requires that you follow leave no trace principles. Including, packing in and packing out all of your gear.

32 campgrounds in the Flathead National Forest are available with varying degrees of amenities. These are perfect for those camping with pets, on a low budget, or people looking for more solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the park system.

mountains from the backcountry of glacier national park

Private Campgrounds Near Glacier

If you’re looking for campgrounds with more amenities such as electricity and showers there are plenty of private campgrounds in the area. Road trippers who spend more than one week per year camping should consider joining a discount camping club. These clubs cost a small yearly fee to join and allow you to save up to 50% on participating campgrounds.

Some of the closest private campgrounds and RV parks surrounding Glacier include:

Lodging At Glacier National Park

There are a number of lodging options within the boundaries of Glacier if you want to stay in the park but don’t want to rough it. Hotel rooms should be booked comfortably in advance because they fill up quickly; especially during July and August.

Apgar
Apgar Village Lodge
Village Inn Motel

Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald Lodge
Motel Lake McDonald

Many Glacier
Many Glacier Hotel
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

Rising Sun
Rising Sun Motor Inn

Backcountry Chalets
Granite Park Chalet

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