Glacier National Park Hotels

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  • Reviews: 5929

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Lake McDonald Lodge, Cabins & Motor Inn: yet another historic Inn

Not many National Parks can boast two incredible historic hotels but Glacier sure can. In addition to the classic Many Glacier Hotel on its eastern side, the west side of the park has the Lake McDonald Lodge, Cabins & Motor Inn. This is another sprawling, mostly wooden, alpine Swiss-influenced affair also on the Register of National Historic Places as of 1987. While full of amenities and restaurants, it still oozes the charm of another era and its lobby area, while not as big as the one in the Many Glacier Hotel is perhaps even homier if that is possible.

Rooms $120 and $170, certainly good value for the location. This was out of our range on a six month trip around the US and was quite far from where we camped. We stopped by on our way out of the park to warm up after coming across a soon-to-be-snow-closed Logan Pass. We grabbed a coffee, soaked up the atmosphere and headed out of Glacier National Park after a very successful and enjoyable trip.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: National/State Park, Road Trip, Photography
  • Written December 1, 2009
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a another cozy lobby to hang out in


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  • richiecdisc profile photo richiecdisc
  • Reviews: 5929

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Oldman Lake Campground: pick a lake, any lake to camp at

Our final night in Glacier's backcountry was at Oldman Lake. Oldman Lake Campground is sometimes closed due to grizzly activity but was luckily open for business when we went for permits. With only four spots and our long hike there, we did not have many choices as to which one we got.

The spots themselves were disappointing compared to the night before at Upper Two Medicine but it was quite scenic when you strolled down to the lake. The food preparation area was about halfway between the lake and the campground with the pit toilet just beyond that. We were pretty tired but enjoyed sitting down at the lake after dinner for a bit before passing out in the tent. It had been a very long day. The next morning, it was another gorgeous sunrise on the lake though nothing compared to morning previous at Upper Two Medicine Lake.

Old Man Campground can be reached by a variety of trails. We hiked from Upper Two Medicine Campground via the Dawson Pass, walking a fair bit right on the Continental Divide. It was nearly 10.5 miles, picked up 2900 feet before dropping down 1700 to Oldman Lake. The hike out was much easier at only 6.5 miles, all down hill for a drop of about 1500 feet.

You must have a backcountry permit which cost $5 per person per night, available at various spots in the park depending on the season or in advance by making an application by mail. We got ours at the Many Glacier Ranger Station.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Camping, Backpacking, National/State Park
  • Written December 1, 2009
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early morning at Oldman Lake


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  • richiecdisc profile photo richiecdisc
  • Reviews: 5929

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Upper Two Medicine Campground: some great advice for a short backpacking trip

Our fourth night in the Glacier's backcountry was at the Upper Two Medicine Campground. This was an area we had contemplated backpacking in but on meeting a hiking ranger at Fifty Mountain, he suggested Upper Two Medicine as one of his favorite areas of the park. After waiting a few days in the Many Glacier Campground, we landed our permits. Upper Two Medicine Campground was our favorite of Glacier's backcountry. We lucked out with a spot right on the shore of Upper Two Medicine Lake, one of only four spots total. It was relatively close to the pit toilet but a fair ways from the food preparation area. For a view like it had, it was worth any extra effort. While cooking, we met a couple guys that had come over the pass we would be doing the next day so got some tips on that and our next campground.

It was pretty as the sun went down but from its orientation, I knew if the weather was clear, sunrise would be the pay dirt for pictures. I woke up early quite naturally and was greeted by glowing red rock fringing the lake. It was easily the most scenic campground of our whole Glacier Park stay.

Upper Two Medicine Campground can be reached by a couple different trails. We took the shortest route, climbing a mere 350 feet over a 5.5 mile hike so could start late afternoon. You start at the Upper Two Medicine South Shore Trail Head, close to the car campground at the end of a spur road off Route 49 on the east side of the park.

You must have a backcountry permit which cost $5 per person per night, available at various spots in the park depending on the season or in advance by making an application by mail. We got ours at the Many Glacier Ranger Station.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: National/State Park, Backpacking, Camping
  • Written December 1, 2009
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that's our wee tent in paradise


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  • richiecdisc profile photo richiecdisc
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Flattop Campground: glad to have even inexperienced neighbors

Our third night in the backcountry was at Flattop Campground which formed the shortest three-night circuit we could put together. The walk to Flattop from Fifty Mountain started out pretty nicely but once in the forest leading up to Flattop we saw that it had been badly burned in a fire. The small three unit campground was also in a burned out forest, making for a bit of an eerie setting. The spots were quite spread out and we arrived early so took the one closest to the cooking area for a change. It was still plenty far away. We enjoyed a very relaxed and quiet afternoon, resting in the tent. It looked like we would be on our own that night but were relieved when a young couple showed up later in the afternoon.

The kitchen area was quite nice and close to the bear pole and water source. Pit toilet on-site.

The couple were very nice but very unprepared. They had never backpacked before and this being their first trip were clueless as to what to bring and not bring. They had canned food, something far too heavy to carry. No stove so they ate their food cold. They didn't really have enough clothes but again, it was just for the night and they were in their tent right after dinner, just like us. The next morning, we were finishing up breakfast when they came down to eat, complaining how cold it was and how hard the ground was. It turned out they didn't have mats to sleep on. We were quite comfy and not really cold. People underestimate the value of a good mat.

Flattop Campground can be reached via a few trails. We hiked 6.5 miles from Fifty Mountain Campground. The trail picked up over 500 feet and lost close to 1000. The next day we hiked out the same way the young couple had, ending up at the Loop Trail Head. It was just over 6 miles, picked up 650 feet and lost nearly 2700. We got a shuttle bus from there to Logan Pass, where our car had been waiting for four days.

You must have a backcountry permit which cost $5 per person per night, available at various spots in the park depending on the season or in advance by making an application by mail. We got ours at the Many Glacier Ranger Station.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Camping, National/State Park, Backpacking
  • Written December 1, 2009
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Glacier backcounry kitchen


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Fifty Mountain Campground: a tactical spot

Our second night in the backcountry was spent at 50 Mountain Campground, another popular and tactically important spot in Glacier's wilderness network trail system. It is very central and one of the main cogs in connecting various routes in the park. While the hike in was very scenic, the campground itself was in a state of healing, much of the surrounding trees burned by a forest fire. This made it easier to see some of these 50 peaks but the view was obscured and we had much nicer views in Olympic and Mount Rainer National Parks in Washington State. That said, it was a nice place to camp and we enjoyed it, due mostly to the communal food preparation area. Food must be hung from the provided bear pole. You provide your own rope.

The campground was much more spread out with the five available spots a fair distance from each other. We grabbed one up high and pretty far from the “kitchen.” We got to camp a lot earlier than we had the previous night so got to relax and enjoy the spot more. While down at the kitchen area, fellow campers warned us to keep our hiking poles and backpacks in our tent as deer in the campground were known for chewing them to get their salt fix. The backcountry ranger had warned us about the same thing but the knowledge did not help with the dilemma as to what to do with the gear. Since food had been in the backpacks, we were wary about bringing them in the tent but in the end, there was little choice. When one of the guys came back saying a deer had taken his underwear drying on a branch while he laid down in his tent, we rushed up to grab our stuff that we had put out to dry too. None of our stuff had been taken and we tracked the deer to a ravine where he stood with the garment hanging from his mouth, chewing greedily. One man's underwear is another creature's snack I guess.

50 Mountain did have a very nice food prep area and the rather large group there that night enjoyed some camaraderie while eating our meals. Many were Glacier backcountry veterans with many stories to tell but most were impressed and probably envious of all we had done that summer. Not trying to sound negative, we had to say that the backcountry camping in Olympic had been far more scenic than what we had seen thus far in Glacier. We did like the idea of the group kitchen where all campers are required to cook/eat their meals. It is not only safer but makes it more fun. Pit-toilet on-site.

Getting to 50 Mountain Campground involves a long hike no matter which way you come. Its central location means it is deep in the park. We hiked from Granite Park Chalet Campground which was a very long 12 miles with lots of ups and downs, picking up nearly 2000 feet and losing 1700.

You must have a backcountry permit which cost $5 per person per night, available at various spots in the park depending on the season or in advance by making an application by mail. We got ours at the Many Glacier Ranger Station.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Backpacking, National/State Park, Camping
  • Written December 1, 2009
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getting set up at Fifty Mountain


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  • Reviews: 5929

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Granite Park Campground: backcountry camping near Granit Park Chalet

Glacier's backcountry camps are a mixed lot but be assured anywhere you camp it its vast wilderness, you are not far from incredible scenery and wildlife including grizzly bears. Our first night in the backcountry was spent at Granite Park Campground, one of the park's most coveted and useful in doing long forays into the considerable trail network. Getting a spot here can make or break a long trip and we were very happy with our luck in securing it.

Located close to the historic Granite Park Chalet, the campground is not quite as scenic as you might imagine considering how scenic the Chalet likely is. I say likely as I did not get to see the actual Chalet even though I was camping nearby. We arrived late afternoon and were sad to see a fork in the trail with one side going to the campground and the other to the Chalet. Tired from the long hike and one grueling side-trip with full packs, we opted for going straight to the campground, vowing to head to the lodge after setting up. By the time we did that, it was getting dark and we wanted to eat before that, it being our first night camping amongst the grizzlies.

There were only four sites and none were overly scenic, pretty much grouped together in a line along the entry path. The “kitchen area” was at the end, just before the stream that served as the water supply. All campers must prepare and eat all food in this designated area. Food must be hung from the provided bear pole. You provide your own rope. Pit toilet on-site.

We took a spot as far from the kitchen as possible, hung our food while setting up, and soon returned to the food prep are to eat. We met a guy from Bulgaria and had a good chat while eating. He was traveling very light with just a hammock and cold food. He told us the story of how the campground used to be right behind the Granite Park Chalet back in the day when the park thought it was okay to feed the bears from the Chalet's back porch. This was quite a show for those staying in the lodge and one night even more so for those in the campground, when a few of them were killed. I never checked to see if all this was true but I did feel better about not camping behind the Chalet after that!

After dinner, it was dark and we crawled into the tent and passed out. The next morning, it seemed like too much work to walk back to the chalet with the packs. Leaving everything at the campground was not really an option and posed quite a bit of backtracking. Maybe one day we'll be back and just stay in the Chalet. I can tell you one thing, I will not be camping behind it anytime soon!

The Chalet charges $85 for the first person and $73 for each additional person in the same room plus tax. You can bring your sleeping bag (you'll need it at this elevation even in summer!) and food which you can prepare in their rustic mountain kitchen. Alternatively, you can pre-book linens ($16 per person) and meals (surely not cheap looking at other prices!). Elevation 6500 feet.

There are many ways to reach the Granite Park Chalet (and thus campground). They all involve hiking and all trails lead up. The most gentle climb is also the longest, one of the most scenic and the one we chose. We hiked from Logan Pass. It was 7.6 miles (12 km), picked up 830 feet (all at the end I think!) and dropped down over 3000 feet. This is a fairly easy hike but we had not backpacked in a few weeks, started a bit late in the day, and did the side trail to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook with our packs on!

You must have a backcountry permit which cost $5 per person per night, available at various spots in the park depending on the season or in advance by making an application by mail. We got ours at the Many Glacier Ranger Station.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Camping, National/State Park, Backpacking
  • Written December 1, 2009
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would have rather pitched our tent here


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The Swift Current Motor Inn & Cabins: a place to seek refuge close to the campground

The Swift Current Motor Inn & Cabins is the kind of place you wish every national park would have. Sure, in US National Parks, even the most historical, rustically cool, and chic hotels are open to all park visitors to hang out in, even if you cannot afford to stay in them, but this place is one just about anyone might be able to afford. Die-hard campers, we still know there is only so much cold wet weather you can take and in between backcountry trips you need to have some creature comforts so after a few days of crappy weather, we inquired about getting a cabin at the Swift Current after hearing from people we met in their lobby how much it cost. Unfortunately, they were booked except for their most expensive rooms which while not super expensive, were more than we wanted to spend. So, we stayed at the Many Glacier Campground right across the parking lot and spent many hours in their lobby, often bringing in snacks and beer purchased in their attached convenience store. We were not the only ones doing this and you often had to wait for a couch or chair to open up.

The Swift Current is a budget option accommodation with a no frills look and feel. The cabins date back to 1933, back when it was called the “Many Glacier Auto Camp!” The front looks quite a bit newer but is nothing fancy, sort of looking a bit like an old general store. It is just a simple place with a great location and view. If it was on a highway in Montana, they would be lucky to get $50 for their best rooms, which are basically motel rooms with two double beds and a private bath. Here they fetch $135. The better deals are their cabins. Two bedroom cabins without private bath are a very reasonable $85, a great deal for families on a budget. They have one bedrooms cabins with bath for $75 and those without are $65. We were looking to get one of the later units. All units have a sink and running water.

The Swift Current has showers/laundry facilities at its rear. This is where you shower if you do not have a private bath and are also open to the public, especially popular with campers across the parking lot and backpackers coming in off long trips. Needless to say, we used these facilities quite a bit. You need to purchase tokens at the convenience store of the Inn. It generally cost us $3 for both of us to grab showers which is very reasonable considering you have little choice aside from going without. The laundry was a lot pricier and we would have likely not used it had it not been such wet conditions. After our Iceberg Lake hike, we had to get our stuff dry, especially our jackets which were soaking wet. It cost us $10 for a load of wash and a couple of loads worth of drying time.

From the parking lot just out front, you will see lots of people looking up onto the surrounding hills at grizzly bears very commonly wandering around. I got some of my nicest photos of these very hills from this lot at sunrise.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Road Trip, National/State Park
  • Written December 1, 2009
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there's bears in dem dere hills


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  • wayne2i profile photo wayne2i
  • Reviews: 1

1 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Glacier Park Cabin, West Glacier, Montana: Cabin 1 mile from Glacier National Park

This property is private vacation rental home from vrbo.com. It can viewed at http://www.vrbo.com/255180.

As beautiful an Alpine structure as this log cabin home is, and as elegantly appointed from the light fixtures to the high-end appliances, one issue subsumes the sum total of every wonderful feature of this house in the woods: the very limited and erratic supply of hot water. Even after the circuit controlling it would be reset, only several gallons (fewer than 5) would flow before it resorted to coldness again. With a party of six it made it nearly impossible to adequately groom and, as a result, loomed over our visit and to some degree characterized our stay. We developed elaborate timing routines to get clean including having grandma boil pots of water to dump into the Jacuzzi tub for the kids’ baths. On our day of departure, needing to drive many hours to the Jackson Hole airport for an early flight the following day, never had we more looked forward to a one-night stay at an ordinary motel.
Pale by comparison, there are other shortcomings afflicting this facility:
• Having no enclosed showering fixture (by glass or curtain), but only two bathtubs, the hot water issue is exacerbated. A very quick shower could conceivably use less than 5 gallons of hot water. A bathtub to be filled cannot. Even if hot water were not the 800-pound gorilla of a problem here, Americans, by and large, take showers. Maybe if all guests were British, where bathing predominates, this would be acceptable.
• Air temperature control appears to have been an afterthought. Of the 19 glorious windows in the main room and loft, only 4 can open (the rest are casement type). Of those 4, two have been co-opted for window-unit air conditioners. This made achieving cross-currents difficult so despite August night temperatures dropping into the 40’s we had to run the air conditioners to keep the place cool enough with circulating air.
• The first floor bathroom door does not fit squarely into its doorway. As such, the door thumb does not latch and in turn, the door can’t lock.
• The loft bathroom’s design/location is such that a grown man cannot stand upright while urinating into the toilet because of the angle of the roof line. He must lean his head (and if tall, his upper body) rightward.
• The loft bedroom closet is not usable for guests. The owner’s clothing occupies all the hangars.
• The high-end appliances are not limited to the large ones. The kitchen has two coffee makers including the fanciest cappuccino maker I’ve ever seen in a home. But there is no toaster.

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Written September 22, 2009

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  • PinkFloydActuary profile photo PinkFloydActuary
  • Reviews: 874

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Mountain Pine Motel: A wonderful choice in East Glacier

The Mountain Pine Motel is an excellent choice for a place to stay during your trip to Glacier. It's located at the north end of East Glacier, and has 25 units with one or two beds in it. The folks who run the place are extremely friendly (I exchanged e-mails with them prior to arriving, and they were very helpful). Each unit has a designated parking place. I didn't hear a peep from any of the surrounding rooms. The Whistle Stop restaurant, Brownies groceries, and Glacier Park Lodge are all within walking distance. The rooms were very clean, and the bed was comfortable. The one thing I would mention is to be sure to bring something to entertain yourself at night. Although they have TVs in the rooms, you really only get reception for two channels, so don't count on watching a lot of television. I was there in the off season, and my room went for $50 a night, a tremendous bargain compared to what I've gotten at other places over the years.

You're across the street from the world's largest purple wooden spoon (see the picture!)

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written November 4, 2008
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Mountain Pine Motel

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  • GuthrieColin profile photo GuthrieColin
  • Reviews: 590

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Hotels In and Around the Park

I did not stay at any park accommodations I chose to camp. I did however get a chance to look at several of the locations. Certainly if you are on a budget Many Glacier would not be a good idea. Their are several hotels that are just outside the park that would certainly be less expensive though.

The Swiss Chalet style hotels (Many Glacier and Lake McDonald) have the historical aspect as well as the comfortable settings. Several of the other accommodations have a more rustic style more typical of the log cabin style that would be more typical of Montana.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Luxury Travel, Spa and Resort, Historical Travel
  • Written October 19, 2008
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Many Glacier Hotel

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  • creilmann profile photo creilmann
  • Reviews: 4

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Brownie's Hostel: Brownie's Hostel in East Glacier Park

If you are entering Glacier from the east and have a budget to consider, Brownie's is the perfect spot. This cabin-like building has bunk rooms, private rooms, a deli and a grocery store. We stayed one night and filled up on groceries before heading into the park. Brownie's was about half full when we arrived in late September so I'm gonna bet that it's packed in the summer. Locals hang out in the deli and have plenty of great tales to tell you. Don't let the grizzly bear stories rattle you too much.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Camping, Backpacking, National/State Park
  • Written December 6, 2007
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  • dharmabum222 profile photo dharmabum222
  • Reviews: 154

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Many Glacier Hotel

You pay for the view and the atmosphere, not the room. A perfectly good night's sleep but like most places in the park, overpriced. There is a great little hiking trail behind the hotel that takes you alongside a stream. A great way to walk off dinner.

You must have a drink in the bar overlooking the lake. I recommend the huckleberry margarita!

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written October 19, 2007
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The hotel from the back

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  • OiKnow profile photo OiKnow
  • Reviews: 61

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Circle R Motel East Glacier: Nice Mom and Pop Motel

The Circle R is a small family owned and operated motel just across the road from the Amtrak Station in East Glacier Montana. The entrance to the park is just across the street. The motel consists of two buildings. The older building that has larger but older rooms in it and a newer front building (they were building 6 new rooms in May of 2007.) The rooms in the newer building are nice, good sized, and very clean. My room had a very large bathroom. The rooms had individually controlled heat and air, satelite TV and direct dial phones. Rumor has it that wireless internet is in the works (but not yet installed when I was there in early May 2007.) The only con was that they are right along the road with some road noise and the trains across the street. The next block down the street has the East Glacier General Store with a wonderful selection of basic needs. The "Dinner"next to the general store has wonderful breakfast and many menu items made from scratch from fresh ingredients from the general store (they are connected to one another and managed by the same family.)

Waking up in the morning with a view of the the Mountains framed by the Log structure Amtrak station was really wonderful.

East Glacier Park does not have a water treatment plant, it is recomeneded that you drink only bottled water. They are in the process of bidding to build a treatment plant.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Trains, Hiking and Walking, Mountain Climbing
  • Written May 12, 2007
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The Green Roof is the Amtrak Station

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  • Bwana_Brown profile photo Bwana_Brown
  • Reviews: 3530

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Lake McDonald Lodge: Trying to compete with the Railway

As a result of our major hike to Grinnell Glacier on the east side of Glacier NP, we did not leave the Many Glacier area until about 4 PM as we headed south and west across the Going-to-the-Sun Road toward our next destination, Lake McDonald Lodge located on the Pacific side of the continental divide. This establishment has a mixture of main Lodge, Cottages and a Motel unit providing a combined 100 rooms. The National Parks reservation service had slotted us into a second storey room in one of the older motel sections, at a rate of US$115 per night ($130 when all the dust from taxes and surcharges had settled).

We immediately noticed the increased air temperature on the Pacific-side of the Rockies, and had to get the windows open to achieve some sort of through breeze to cool the room down. Looking around for an electrical outlet to plug in a battery charger revealed that this place was so old that only 2-prong outlets were installed, so we were unable to use any of our electrical devices. The lumpy bed and noise from the parking lot below (including back-up beepers) did not make for a really restful night - I guess that is what you get when you are only one step away from the bottom of the rate structure! Fortunately, there is a convenience store on the property where I was able to get a couple of cold beers to help me wind down after a full day of hiking and driving over mountains.

This is the site of the oldest accommodations in Glacier NP, with the Glacier Hotel being built here by a private developer in 1895. Following the creation of Glacier NP in 1910, the new owner of the hotel decided to tear it down and build a bigger one along the same 'Swiss-style' lines that the Great Northern Railway was doing on the east side of the Park. Realizing that accommodations for wealthy railway guests was going to have to be impressive, the newly opened (1914) Lewis Glacier Hotel featured the same large log supports, big fireplaces and Swiss chalet style construction of the GNR hotels. Because of the length of Lake McDonald and the lack of roads in the Park, the most ornate entrance to the Hotel was built facing the lake, where the boats landed. By 1920, a road had been built from the west, so now entry is via the 'back-door' on the less striking landward side. GNR bought the Hotel in 1930 to bring all the hotels and chalets under 'one roof' and they renamed it the Lake McDonald Lodge in 1957. Because of the greater nearby population density on the Pacific side, Lake McDonald is actually the busiest recreational spot in the National Park.

We enjoyed wandering the grounds and checking out the lakefront where one of the old tour boats, the 'DeSmet' still carries on. The interior of the lodge was quite impressive and has more of an American west style to it with stuffed game and mounted heads dotted around the premises. My ratings for this accommodations are for the Motel section we stayed in.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Spa and Resort, National/State Park, Road Trip
  • Written August 28, 2006
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Our motor inn at Lake McDonald Lodge

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  • Bwana_Brown profile photo Bwana_Brown
  • Reviews: 3530

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Glacier Park Lodge: That's not a Lobby, THIS is a Lobby!

I can see why the Blackfeet were impressed! On entering the lobby to check in, you are overwhelmed by the size of the Douglas Fir trees used for the interior construction (the more weather resistant Cedars are used outside). The trees still have their original bark and a few bear a scar or two from the chains used to tie each log to the two railway cars required to get it here.

Our room was spartan, with only a telephone and a nice toilet/shower area but the beds were comfortable and the ambiance was great. The wide hallways, high ceilings and old wooden doors really exuded that living in the past feeling.

Normally, I make my own reservations but in the case of Glacier NP, you have to go through the National Park Service to make bookings. When I called up looking for 4 nights in mid-July about 2 months before we left, they said I would have to move to a different hotel each night in order to get a room. They assigned me this one for the first night, a mid-range US$165 per night room ($140 is the cheapest and $499 in the Golf House building is the most expensive). However, when you add in the Room Tax, the Blackfeet Tax and the $15 booking charge per hotel, our single night here cost US$200. It was worth it!

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: National/State Park, Road Trip
  • Written August 28, 2006
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Douglas Fir logs propping up the Lobby

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