The place to Keep Close to Glacier Nationwide Park (+ Suggestions for Selecting!)


Of all of the Nationwide Parks that I’ve visited, Glacier is without doubt one of the tougher to plan, which makes selecting the place to remain close to Glacier Nationwide Park much more essential. If you go, whether or not or not you’ll be able to safe a allow to drive the Going-to-the-Solar Street, and what you need to do within the park all impression the place you’ll want to keep.

You can even select from quite a lot of lodging choices. Do you need to go glamping? Keep in a tiny house? Lease a cabin? Chill out at a resort with on-site actions? Are you working with a good finances? Or would you like a basic expertise at a historic lodge or lodge?

I’ve visited Glacier Nationwide Park a few instances (see my suggestions for visiting Glacier in September) and have had the chance to remain in various inns close to Glacier and a very powerful factor I can let you know is that location issues!

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Selecting The place to Keep Close to Glacier Nationwide Park

Earlier than I get into lodge opinions, let’s stroll by a couple of resolution elements to contemplate if you find yourself in search of inns close to Glacier Nationwide Park. First, remember that lodging throughout the park fills up very early, so listed here are issues to bear in mind when deciding the place to remain outdoors of Glacier Nationwide Park.

How Lengthy SHould you Spend in Glacier Nationwide Park?

If all you need to do is drive the Going-to-the-Solar Street, you possibly can really go to Glacier Nationwide Park and see probably the most scenic highlights in sooner or later. Simply remember that most amenities and providers in Glacier Nationwide Park are solely open from late Could by early-to-mid October. The total size of Going-to-the-Solar is often open from early July (it was mid-June in 2023, which was uncommon!) till the third Monday of October, however that may fluctuate relying on climate.

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

If you wish to do any mountaineering or scenic boat rides, you’ll in all probability need at the very least two days within the park. To discover among the different sections of the park, like Two Medication or Many Glacier on the East aspect of the park, you’ll want 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 recommend planning at the very least 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 among the different enjoyable issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park.

Must you Keep on the East or West Facet of Glacier Nationwide Park?

Glacier National Park sign West Glacier

Going-to-the-Solar Street is the one thoroughfare by the park and whereas this takes lower than three hours to drive straight by with out stops, it isn’t a straightforward drive. The opposite 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. In case you solely have a restricted time within the park, the west aspect of the park has extra to supply by way of gorgeous surroundings and providers.

West Glacier is barely half-hour from the Glacier Worldwide Airport in Kalispell and fewer than 40 minutes to the resort city of Whitefish. West Glacier has extra choices for lodging and meals providers. As well as, you possibly can go white water rafting on the Flathead River from West Glacier Village with the Glacier Raft Firm.

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 Medication Lake and Many Glacier, that are solely accessible from the east. As you possibly can see, it’s useful in the event you can cut up your keep between the 2 sides to keep away from a whole lot of additional driving.

What’s the Greatest Time to Go to Glacier Nationwide Park?

Green fields and Mountains in East Glacier Park

Glacier Nationwide Park is technically open yr spherical, however you gained’t discover a lot to do there between mid-October by Could. The most effective time to go to is when that the Going-to-the-Solar Street can be open from July by mid-September. Nevertheless, July and August would be the busiest.

I’ve visited in mid-September and the climate was attractive (see my suggestions for visiting in September) however it was nonetheless fairly busy. I’ve additionally visited in mid-June and I obtained fortunate in that the Going-to-the-Solar Street opened sooner than is typical, so it wasn’t as crowded as traditional and it was attainable to get a final minute car reservation. Nevertheless, at the moment of yr the climate was a bit tougher with rain and even a bit sleet close to Logan’s Go.

Late September by early October may also be stunning, when the larch timber flip their stunning golden coloration. Nevertheless, you gained’t discover many providers throughout the park nonetheless open on the time and even lodging close by will turn out to be extra restricted.

How Early Must you Plan your Glacier Nationwide Park Journey?

Flathead River

Even in the event you select to remain outdoors of Glacier Nationwide Park, lots of the higher lodges and inns nonetheless guide up early. I’d suggest planning at the very least a yr upfront because the lodging reservation calendars sometimes open 13 months upfront. After I tried to guide lodging about two months earlier than my September go to, one of the best I might discover was in Kalispell, which was 40 minutes away from the park entrance. It wasn’t a foul drive however it makes it more durable to get to the favored trailheads early sufficient to discover a spot.

Additionally, you will need to hold a detailed eye on the reservation calendar and set an alert to guide your Going-to-the-Solar Street car reservation as quickly because it turns into obtainable as they promote out in minutes. In case you can’t get a reservation, do not forget that in the event you guide lodging within the park or an exercise throughout the park, like a ship tour, it contains entry to Going-to-the-Solar Street (however you continue to have to buy a park move.)

The place to Keep Close to Glacier Nationwide Park: Lodge Critiques

Observe: One in every of my journeys to Glacier Nationwide Park was hosted by Pursuit Glacier Park Assortment, which offered complimentary lodging on the Belton Chalet, Glacier Park Lodge, and Prince of Wales Lodge. All opinions are my very own. This publish could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. In case you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I’ll obtain a fee.

If you’re interested by staying in a historic property with a whole lot of character that matches the gorgeous surroundings of Glacier Nationwide Park, think about staying in one of many historic inns and lodges constructed by the Nice 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 primary of the long-lasting lodges constructed by the Nice Northern Railroad, the Belton Chalet opened in 1910 and has served as the unique gateway to Glacier Nationwide Park for over a century. This Swiss-style chalet is positioned simply outdoors of the west entrance to Glacier Nationwide Park and inside strolling distance to the retailers, eating places, and actions (like rafting and mini-golf) at West Glacier Village.

Belton Chalet has 25 rooms and suites in the primary 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 residing area, rest room, and a fridge and microwave. The lodge rooms are cozy, however thoughtfully appointed with little touches comparable 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 bogs. Right now, every room has a small rest room with a rest room and bathe and a small sink is tucked into the nook of the room. Every rest room contains facilities comparable to shampoo, conditioner, physique wash, cleaning soap, and lotion.

You may 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! Right now, Belton Chalet can be identified for its eating expertise and culinary prowess, which isn’t one thing you discover usually in these distant areas round nationwide parks.

Whereas there’s loads of leisure proper outdoors of the door within the nice outdoor, Belton Chalet additionally gives an attractive stone hearth within the foyer, together with a present store and non-obligatory breakfast of pastries and drinks. Downstairs, there’s a shared recreation room that has lounge areas, a ping pong desk, an old school shuffle board desk, and video games to take pleasure in, which make up for the very restricted WiFi and no televisions within the room.

The Belton Chalet is right for a one to two-night keep when visiting the west aspect of Glacier Nationwide Park and driving Going-to-the-Solar Street.

Glacier Park Lodge, East Facet of Glacier Nationwide Park

Glacier Park Lodge exterior

For an extended go to, the place you possibly can take time to benefit from the lodge amenities, I’d suggest a keep on the Glacier Park Lodge. Located on land bought from the Piegan folks of the Blackfeet Nation, the Glacier Park Lodge was in-built 1913 by the Nice Northern Railroad. It’s positioned within the space referred to as East Glacier Park, simply outdoors the southeast part of the park and straight throughout from the Glacier Park Station railway depot. Visitors can nonetheless arrive on the lodge by way of Amtrak’s Empire Builder practice and are shuttled to the lodge by way of the lodge’s crimson automobile.

Getting into this grand lodge, you’re feeling like you’re within the west, with its hovering ceilings supported by immense timbers lower from centuries-old fir and cedar timber, giving it the nickname of “Large Tree Lodge.” It’s precisely the setting you hope to take pleasure in 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 hearth with a crackling fireplace, excellent for stress-free in entrance of on a cold night. All through the foyer of the unique lodge one can find Native American art work and taxidermied representatives of the native wildlife, together with a snowy white mountain goat. On tables scattered across the giant foyer, one can find puzzles laid out for visitors to collaborate on fixing.

Within the foyer sits a espresso store, the place you can even 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 Nice Northern Eating Room is a full-service restaurant providing a cold and warm breakfast buffet and a big dinner menu (don’t miss the Brussels and bacon appetizer or the Huckleberry bread pudding for dessert.)

Right now, there are 162 visitor rooms, most of which connect with the primary lodge by a sun-filled passageway to the later-built annex constructing. The rooms fluctuate in dimension and magnificence, however preserve a easy decor in step with the historic setting. The personal bogs are small and the partitions are skinny (so deliver earplugs!), however the primary draw is the scenic setting and the grand, but rustic, public areas. And, in the event you get a room going through the mountains, you can even take pleasure in your morning espresso overlooking the surroundings out of your shared balcony.

On property, you possibly can take a historical past tour of the property, discover the gorgeous grounds and gardens, or play a spherical of golf on the oldest grass greens golf course in Montana. From the lodge, you can even get shuttles to the park, or join actions with suppliers that supply rafting, horseback using, falconry, Native American story telling periods, 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 check out the Tiny Homes and had lunch on the Curly Bear Cafe within the village. If you’re in search of handy entry to the east entrance to the park at St. Mary, you possibly can’t get a lot nearer then St. Mary Village, which gives the dramatic backdrop of the park’s gorgeous mountains. From right here, you possibly can simply get on the Going-to-the-Solar Street and it is just a brief drive to St. Mary Lake, the place you possibly can be part of a scenic boat tour by Glacier Park Boat Firm, or the Village gives shuttles to Many Glacier and Two Medication.

The principle lodging at St. Mary Village is the Nice Bear Lodge, which gives trendy 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 characteristic a hearth, sitting space and jacuzzi tub. Finances vacationers can keep on the West Motel in St. Mary Village, however for a novel keep, attempt one of many 10 Tiny Houses.

The Tiny Houses 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 Houses are additionally outfitted with a microwave, fridge, and stovetop.

In case you additionally go to Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in Canada…

Waterton Lake with mountains in the background

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

If you’re visiting Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park, you possibly can’t miss a keep on the iconic Prince of Wales Lodge.

Prince of Wales Lodge, Waterton

Prince of Wales Hotel from the back

The Prince of Wales Lodge in Waterton gives magnificent mountain and lake views and is an iconic Canadian lodge. Additionally constructed by the Nice Northern Railway, the Prince of Wales Lodge opened in 1927 and it retains its wealthy historical past at this time by the historic foyer furnishings and the Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu. The gorgeous structure jogged my memory a whole lot of Dalvay-by-the-Sea historic lodge 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 unsure I’ve seen a extra stunning mountain lodge. The wind sweeps by 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’re instantly captivated by the view from the floor-to-ceiling home windows. When you possibly can pull your self away, you’ll discover the workers of their crimson plaid kilts and ties, including to the class and ambiance of the lodge. Although the lodge operates with a seasonal workers, they’ve been well-trained and all appear extraordinarily cheerful and useful.

The country 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 by way of soundproofing, so you’ll want to pack your ear plugs right here too. Like lots of the inns constructed by the Nice Northern Railroad, the rooms characteristic renovated, small personal bogs with a sink positioned within the visitor room.

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

Discover Different Locations to Keep Close to Glacier Nationwide Park

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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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