Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park (+ Tips for Choosing!)


Of all of the National Parks that I’ve visited, Glacier is without doubt one of the more difficult to plan, which makes selecting the place to remain close to Glacier National Park much more vital. When you go, whether or not or not you’ll be able to safe a allow to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and what you wish to do within the park all impression the place it would be best to keep.

You can even select from a wide range of lodging choices. Do you wish to go glamping? Stay in a tiny dwelling? Rent a cabin? Relax at a resort with on-site actions? Are you working with a decent price range? Or would you like a basic expertise at a historic resort or lodge?

I’ve visited Glacier National Park a few occasions (see my suggestions for visiting Glacier in September) and have had the chance to remain in quite a lot of motels close to Glacier and a very powerful factor I can let you know is that location issues!

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Choosing Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

Before I get into resort evaluations, let’s stroll via a couple of choice components to think about if you end up searching for motels close to Glacier National Park. First, needless to say lodging throughout the park fills up very early, so listed below are issues to remember when deciding the place to remain outdoors of Glacier National Park.

How Long SHould you Spend in Glacier National Park?

If all you wish to do is drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you may really go to Glacier National Park and see probably the most scenic highlights in at some point. Just needless to say most services and companies in Glacier National Park are solely open from late May via early-to-mid October. The full size of Going-to-the-Sun is often open from early July (it was mid-June in 2023, which was uncommon!) till the third Monday of October, however that may differ relying on climate.

If you might be getting into from the West aspect of the park, car reservations are required from late May to mid-September between the hours of 6 am and three pm. From the East aspect, reservations are wanted from July 1st via mid-September, additionally from 6 am to three pm.

If you wish to do any climbing or scenic boat rides, you’ll in all probability need no less than two days within the park. To discover a few of the different sections of the park, like Two Medicine or Many Glacier on the East aspect of the park, it would be best to keep even longer. If that’s the case, I’d suggest spending one to 2 nights on the west aspect of the park and one to 2 nights on the east aspect of the park.

Since there’s extra to do within the space than simply the nationwide park, I’d counsel planning no less than per week in Northwest Montana and splitting your time between staying in or close to the park and some days a bit additional away to attempt a few of the different enjoyable issues to do close to Glacier National Park.

Should you Stay on the East or West Side of Glacier National Park?

Glacier National Park sign West Glacier

Going-to-the-Sun Road is the one thoroughfare via the park and whereas this takes lower than three hours to drive straight via with out stops, it isn’t a straightforward drive. The different choice is to loop across the southern part of the park to get from one aspect to the opposite, however that takes virtually as lengthy. If you solely have a restricted time within the park, the west aspect of the park has extra to supply when it comes to beautiful surroundings and companies.

West Glacier is just half-hour from the Glacier International Airport in Kalispell and fewer than 40 minutes to the resort city of Whitefish. West Glacier has extra choices for lodging and meals companies. In addition, you may go white water rafting on the Flathead River from West Glacier Village with the Glacier Raft Company.

The east aspect of the park is extra distant, however extra handy if you wish to go to the opposite sections of the park like Two Medicine Lake and Many Glacier, that are solely accessible from the east. As you may see, it’s useful if you happen to can cut up your keep between the 2 sides to keep away from numerous additional driving.

What is the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park?

Green fields and Mountains in East Glacier Park

Glacier National Park is technically open 12 months spherical, however you received’t discover a lot to do there between mid-October via May. The greatest time to go to is when you realize that the Going-to-the-Sun Road can be open from July via mid-September. However, July and August would be the busiest.

I’ve visited in mid-September and the climate was beautiful (see my suggestions for visiting in September) nevertheless it was nonetheless fairly busy. I’ve additionally visited in mid-June and I bought fortunate in that the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened sooner than is typical, so it wasn’t as crowded as typical and it was potential to get a final minute car reservation. However, at the moment of 12 months the climate was a bit more difficult with rain and even a bit sleet close to Logan’s Pass.

Late September via early October can be stunning, when the larch bushes flip their stunning golden coloration. However, you received’t discover many companies throughout the park nonetheless open on the time and even lodging close by will develop into extra restricted.

How Early Should you Plan your Glacier National Park Trip?

Flathead River

Even if you happen to select to remain outdoors of Glacier National Park, most of the higher lodges and motels nonetheless e-book up early. I’d suggest planning no less than a 12 months upfront because the lodging reservation calendars sometimes open 13 months upfront. When I attempted to e-book lodging about two months earlier than my September go to, the perfect I might discover was in Kalispell, which was 40 minutes away from the park entrance. It wasn’t a foul drive nevertheless it makes it more durable to get to the favored trailheads early sufficient to discover a spot.

You will even wish to preserve an in depth eye on the reservation calendar and set an alert to e-book your Going-to-the-Sun Road car reservation as quickly because it turns into accessible as they promote out in minutes. If you may’t get a reservation, do not forget that if you happen to e-book lodging within the park or an exercise throughout the park, like a ship tour, it consists of entry to Going-to-the-Sun Road (however you continue to have to buy a park cross.)

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park: Hotel Reviews

Note: One of my journeys to Glacier National Park was hosted by Pursuit Glacier Park Collection, which offered complimentary lodging on the Belton Chalet, Glacier Park Lodge, and Prince of Wales Hotel. All opinions are my very own. This submit might comprise affiliate hyperlinks. If you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I’ll obtain a fee.

If you have an interest in staying in a historic property with numerous character that matches the attractive surroundings of Glacier National Park, contemplate staying in one of many historic motels and lodges constructed by the Great Northern Railroad as a part of an effort to deliver guests to the park within the early 1900s.

Belton Chalet, West Glacier

Belton Chalet

The first of the enduring lodges constructed by the Great Northern Railroad, the Belton Chalet opened in 1910 and has served as the unique gateway to Glacier National Park for over a century. This Swiss-style chalet is situated simply outdoors of the west entrance to Glacier National Park and inside strolling distance to the outlets, eating places, and actions (like rafting and mini-golf) at West Glacier Village.

Belton Chalet has 25 rooms and suites in the principle lodge with queen-beds which might be appropriate for {couples} or these touring alone. Some rooms additionally provide a shared balcony with views of the park and the railroad.

In entrance of the chalet, there are additionally two, three-bedroom cabins with a shared dwelling area, toilet, and a fridge and microwave. The lodge rooms are cozy, however thoughtfully appointed with little touches akin to white noise machine to masks any exterior noises and a cute writing desk. The lodge was initially constructed as a dormitory with shared hallway loos. Today, every room has a small toilet with a bathroom and bathe and a small sink is tucked into the nook of the room. Each toilet consists of facilities akin to shampoo, conditioner, physique wash, cleaning soap, and lotion.

You can nonetheless arrive on the Belton Chalet by practice aboard the Amtrak Empire Builder line, which runs from Portland or Seattle and Chicago. The practice station is true throughout the road! Today, Belton Chalet can also be recognized for its eating expertise and culinary prowess, which isn’t one thing you discover usually in these distant areas round nationwide parks.

While there’s loads of leisure proper outdoors of the door within the nice outdoor, Belton Chalet additionally gives an exquisite stone fire within the foyer, together with a present store and optionally available breakfast of pastries and drinks. Downstairs, there’s a shared recreation room that has lounge areas, a ping pong desk, an old style shuffle board desk, and video games to get pleasure from, which make up for the very restricted WiFi and no televisions within the room.

The Belton Chalet is good for a one to two-night keep when visiting the west aspect of Glacier National Park and driving Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Glacier Park Lodge, East Side of Glacier National Park

Glacier Park Lodge exterior

For an extended go to, the place you may take time to benefit from the resort services, I’d suggest a keep on the Glacier Park Lodge. Situated on land bought from the Piegan folks of the Blackfeet Nation, the Glacier Park Lodge was inbuilt 1913 by the Great Northern Railroad. It is situated within the space often called East Glacier Park, simply outdoors the southeast part of the park and instantly throughout from the Glacier Park Station railway depot. Guests can nonetheless arrive on the lodge through Amtrak’s Empire Builder practice and are shuttled to the lodge through the resort’s purple automobile.

Stepping into this grand lodge, you are feeling like you might be within the west, with its hovering ceilings supported by immense timbers minimize from centuries-old fir and cedar bushes, giving it the nickname of “Big Tree Lodge.” It is precisely the setting you hope to get pleasure from when reserving a room at a lodge close to a nationwide park. The workers, wearing practice conductor uniforms from a bygone period, couldn’t be friendlier in welcoming you to the lodge.

At one finish of the foyer is a big stone fire with a crackling fireplace, excellent for stress-free in entrance of on a cold night. Throughout the foyer of the unique lodge you’ll find Native American paintings and taxidermied representatives of the native wildlife, together with a snowy white mountain goat. On tables scattered across the massive foyer, you’ll find puzzles laid out for visitors to collaborate on fixing.

In the foyer sits a espresso store, the place you too can decide up seize and go snacks to deliver into the park. For an informal meal, the Empire Lounge serves up lunch and dinner with a bar menu (plus the bar has a tv to catch your favourite sports activities sport.) The Great Northern Dining Room is a full-service restaurant providing a hot and cold breakfast buffet and a big dinner menu (don’t miss the Brussels and bacon appetizer or the Huckleberry bread pudding for dessert.)

Today, there are 162 visitor rooms, most of which hook up with the principle lodge via a sun-filled passageway to the later-built annex constructing. The rooms differ in dimension and elegance, however preserve a easy decor in step with the historic setting. The personal loos are small and the partitions are skinny (so deliver earplugs!), however the principle draw is the scenic setting and the grand, but rustic, public areas. And, if you happen to get a room going through the mountains, you too can get pleasure from your morning espresso overlooking the surroundings out of your shared balcony.

On property, you may take a historical past tour of the property, discover the attractive grounds and gardens, or play a spherical of golf on the oldest grass greens golf course in Montana. From the resort, you too can get shuttles to the park, or join actions with suppliers that supply rafting, horseback driving, falconry, Native American story telling classes, or guided hikes.

St. Mary Village, St. Mary

St. Mary Tiny Home

I didn’t get to remain at St. Mary Village, however I did cease to try the Tiny Houses and had lunch on the Curly Bear Cafe within the village. If you might be searching for handy entry to the east entrance to the park at St. Mary, you may’t get a lot nearer then St. Mary Village, which gives the dramatic backdrop of the park’s beautiful mountains. From right here, you may simply get on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and it is just a brief drive to St. Mary Lake, the place you may be part of a scenic boat tour by Glacier Park Boat Company, or the Village gives shuttles to Many Glacier and Two Medicine.

The predominant lodging at St. Mary Village is the Great Bear Lodge, which gives fashionable rooms outfitted with two queen beds, air con, a tv, and a personal balcony with distinctive views overlooking Divide Creek. There are even rooms that function a fire, sitting space and jacuzzi tub. Budget vacationers can keep on the West Motel in St. Mary Village, however for a novel keep, attempt one of many 10 Tiny Homes.

The Tiny Homes sleep as much as 4 folks with a queen mattress and a trundle mattress they usually have a stand-alone, personal luxurious bathhouse. The Tiny Homes are additionally outfitted with a microwave, fridge, and stovetop.

If you additionally go to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada…

Waterton Lake with mountains in the background

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the union of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, and Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. It is lower than an hour from St. Mary to Waterton Lakes National Park, making it straightforward to mix a go to to each parks into one journey. Many folks even proceed north in Alberta to additionally go to Banff and Jasper National Parks within the Canadian Rockies.

If you might be visiting Waterton Lakes National Park, you may’t miss a keep on the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel.

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton

Prince of Wales Hotel from the back

The Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton gives magnificent mountain and lake views and is an iconic Canadian resort. Also constructed by the Great Northern Railway, the Prince of Wales Hotel opened in 1927 and it retains its wealthy historical past immediately via the historic foyer furnishings and the Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu. The stunning structure jogged my memory numerous Dalvay-by-the-Sea historic resort on Prince Edward Island.

Set on a bluff above Waterton Lake and the small city of Waterton, with towering mountains within the background, I’m undecided I’ve seen a extra stunning mountain resort. The wind sweeps via the valley, threatening to blow you out of your perch, however it’s price a stroll alongside the cliff to drink in these views.

From the minute you stroll into the foyer, you might be instantly captivated by the view from the floor-to-ceiling home windows. When you may pull your self away, you’ll discover the workers of their purple plaid kilts and ties, including to the class and ambiance of the resort. Even although the resort operates with a seasonal workers, they’ve been well-trained and all appear extraordinarily cheerful and useful.

The rustic rooms encompass the grand foyer and you’ll attain the higher flooring by stairs or the bell-hop operated elevator. The rooms are small and the wooden paneling provides to that historic and rustic really feel, however doesn’t provide a lot when it comes to soundproofing, so it would be best to pack your ear plugs right here too. Like most of the motels constructed by the Great Northern Railroad, the rooms function renovated, small personal loos with a sink situated within the visitor room.

The Prince of Wales Hotel gives a number of eating choices, together with the Royal Stewart Dining Room, Windsor Lounge, and Afternoon Tea, impressed by British custom. The Royal Stewart Dining Room serves breakfast and dinner, with stunning lake and mountain views. Even if you happen to solely keep an evening or two, it’s price extending your journey to Glacier National Park to additionally expertise Waterton Lakes National Park and the beautiful Prince of Wales Hotel (simply keep in mind to pack your passport!)

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Where to stay near Glacier National Park in Montana and tips for how to pick a location and place right for your trip to Glacier.

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