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Vacation Lodging

Glacier National Park lodging is something that must generally be considered early in planning a vacation to Glacier National Park. Where you stay can have a tremendous influence on how much you enjoy your vacation. If you want to camp, there are numerous campsites to be considered in Glacier National Park.

During the peak season, June to September, Glacier National Park lodging can be tricky. Frequently some of this lodging books a year in advance. The oldest lodging in Glacier National Park in continuous operation is the Many Glacier Hotel, which will soon be celebrating its 100th birthday. Styled after Swiss Chalets it combines rustic with Old World elegance. They didn't install en suite bathrooms until the 1950's. There is a large open pit fireplace in the great room of Many Glacier Hotel.

Lodges in and around Glacier National Park range from the two remaining front country lodges in East and West Glacier, Glacier Park Lodge and Lake McDonald Lodge, to the more modern and upscale addition of the Great Bear Lodge near the St. Mary entrance to Glacier National Park. Although not actually Glacier National Park lodging, the lodging just outside of the Park can be much less expensive and puts you in very close proximity to Glacier. For a much more rustic setting just outside Glacier Park in Polebridge, Montana, you can rent cabins which are a small step up from camping.

On the more remote side there are two backcountry chalets which require hiking or horses to reach. Both are located on the west side of Glacier National Park. Granite Park Chalet can be reached by either the Loop Trail or the Highline Trail. Sperry Chalet is on the Sperry Chalet Trail. Of particular interest is the Sperry Chalet which can serve as a base camp for outings to Sperry Glacier. Although these chalets represent remote Glacier National Park lodging, it can be the most adventuresome.

The Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana, located half-way between East Glacier and West Glacier on US Highway 2, provides the unique experience of renting a caboose. Don't stay there unless you love trains as this is not only a train station, but also where the railroad adds engines to the freight trains going up to Marias Pass. This is a very unique type of Glacier National Park lodging, but it is some distance from Park entrance.

Variety of accommodations increases with distance from Glacier National Park. Many visitors stay in Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Kalispell areas of Montana. Finding good lodging in the areas in and around Glacier National Park can be difficult during the summer months. Plan and reserve a room before arriving during the summer. Glacier National Park lodging, except around major holidays and during the summer is easy to arrange.

One local secret is USFS cabins scattered around the outside of Glacier National Park. These need to be booked well in advance, none have electricity that I know of but are otherwise well-equipped and range from small one room cabins to good size bunk houses. The photo below was taken from the deck of one of those USFS cabins which is located near the Canadian border with great views across the North Fork River into Glacier National Park. Provided that you start early in planning your vacation, you should be able to find adequate Glacier National Park lodging.


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Sunrise North of Polebridge looking east into Glacier National Park.
From the deck of USFS rental cabin.
North Fork of the Flathead River flowing down from Canada flows below the early morning mist.