Glacier National Park has many fine campground spread over its considerable area. Organized car campgrounds are mostly clustered on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. With the great size of the park, it makes most sense to move from one area to the next rather than backtrack but if you remain in one spot, at least the road you are backtracking on is amazingly scenic! Campgrounds vary in amenities and also when they are open so please check the park's helpful website to pick the one that best suits your needs. West of Logan Pass has Apgar, Fish Creek, Sprague Creek, Lake McDonald, and Avalanche Creek. I have not stayed on that side of Logan Pass so cannot comment on them.
The east side of the Divide has Rising Sun and St. Mary on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. On that side of the park but in separate sections of the park, there is Many Glacier and Two Medicine. Most campgrounds in the park are first-come, first-served but you can reserve for St. Mary and Fish Creek.
In 1994, I camped at Rising Sun and it was a wonderful spot but on our most recent trip in 2008, we picked Many Glacier for a variety of reasons. Though remote from much of the park, it is close to some of the finest day hikes in the park. More importantly, it was close to a backcountry ranger station, making it easy for me to get up early and walk to get permits while D slept in.
Many Glacier Campground is one of the park's most popular despite being a bit away from the rest of the park due to its scenic beauty. Set in a dense forest, sites are well-spaced with picnic tables and fire grates. We had two three night stands in this campground and enjoyed both spots for different reasons. One spot was deeper in the campground and perhaps more scenic but we had neighbors in an RV next to us that ran their generator when it was allowed. Thankfully, they have cut off hours for such things. It was cold and I can understand why they would want to. They just should have invited us in! Actually, they were very nice but had a few cookouts and steak seemed to always be on the menu. Not only did this make us envious and hungry, we also were a bit worried about the scent. Here we were, laying in our little tent, freezing and smelling a sizzling steak, imagining a bear doing just the same. Well, smelling the steak, not laying in our tent.
Unique Quality: The campground has kind of rustic restrooms but certainly serviceable with flush toilets though the lack of hot running water was missed during our fairly chilly stay in September of 2008. Luckily, the campground is fairly close to the Many Glacier Hotel and very close to the Swift Current Motor Lodge. In fact, for our second stint at the campground, we opted for a spot close to the latter. It was not quite as scenic but was on very high ground. It was raining a fair amount so this was important and helped keep our tent drier. It was also a very big spot with only tenters around us. Perhaps most importantly, it was very close to the Swift Current. We spent a good amount of our downtime hanging out in their lobby and their restrooms were cozy, warm and had hot running water!
This is grizzly territory and proper food storage is required. Rangers make the rounds to make sure you are not leaving any food out when not in use. They have food storage lockers for those camping without a hard-sided vehicle but unlike Yosemite, you do not have to use them if you do have a hard-sided one. This is a lot easier logistically when you are moving around.
It was $20 per night to camp in the summer of 2008 and pretty good value.
Directions: Many Glacier Campground is located off Route 89 on the east side of the park. This about 40 miles and well over an hour's drive from Logan Pass, the center of the park.
This is a nice campground,,, not too big, level, wooded. We came in May and had no trouble finding a spot, though some still had snow. The bathroom wasn't too bad, and the campground had bear proof food storage containers. It was walking distance to trailheads to Grinnell Glacer and Swiftcurrent pass. It was also just across from the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn which could provide showers, food and restaurants when open.
I found that the Many Glacier Campground was well managed. Park Rangers patrolled the campground before dusk to help people understand how to keep bears interests elsewhere. The campground was clean and has flush toilets. I also find that whenever I camp in National Parks, the people that are camping next to me are always friendly and help to make the experience more fun.
Unique Quality: Lots of wildlife is around the many Glacier Area, I heard Elk (i think) right around dusk. It did get extremely cold at night as is the case in Glacier. Thankfully I did have a fire and plenty of warm clothes.
Directions: See the Link for locations.
This is not a small building. Built in the grand old lodge style--Many Glacier Lodge is five stories tall and it must be several hundred feet wide. Yet it looks like a play village underneath those mountains.
Unique Quality: As in most National Park Service lodges, there are no tvs, radios or other entertainment to be found in the rooms. That means you hike all day, eat a good solid dinner after nightfall and then spend the remainder of the evening gazing at the huge fireplace in the lobby. They bring in logs eight feet long and eighteen inches in diameter. It is a rousing good show.
290 Izaak Walton Inn Road, Essex, Montana, 59916, United States
Highway 8, Swiftcurrent Lake, Montana, 59434, United States
South Central Glacier National Park
Many Glacier Valley, Montana, United States
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Address: Many Glacier Valley, Montana, United States