Friday, December 2, 2022

Where To Stay In West Glacier National Park

Unique Holiday Home In Somers Flathead Lake

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park: Lodges, Motor Inns & off-Site Hotels

Get back to basics with this spacious yurt right on the banks of Flathead Lake! It is elevated on its own decked platform, giving you magnificent views of some of the best scenery in the region. Yurts are similar to large tents but have some extras to give you a more comfortable experience. Guests also have access to the main house for showers.

Cabins Within Resortsnear Glacier

If you want to stay in a cabin or your own private house, but still have access to hotel/resort amenities, here are some excellent options for resorts and lodges that have standalone accommodation like cabins or houses or even rail cars!

Isaak Walton Inn OUR TOP PICK

Location: Essex

This is one of the most unique places you can stay in Glacier National Park. It has a lodge with an onsite restaurant and rustic, well-appointed rooms, but what makes it super fun for those who like something different are the old rail cars you can stay in.

Isaak Walton Inn also has a few cabins and homes onsite, the largest of which can sleep up to 10 people.

The train accommodations are my top pick, though, especially if traveling with kids.

Adding to the train-inpsired coolness of this inn is the fact that its one of only three locations the historic Amtrak Empire Builder train stops at near Glacier National Park.

Isaak Walton Inn is in Essex, which is about 30 minutes from both the east and west entrances to Glacier National Park making it convenient for those who want to easily explore both sides of the park without having to change accommodations.

Secluded Cabin In Somers The Cottage

This lakeside cabin in Montana from the 1940s is a real blast from the past! You will have your own decked pier where you can admire views across the lake, jump in for a swim, and even cast a few fishing lines. The living room windows can be opened wide in the summer to enjoy the peaceful setting, and there is a rock fireplace to keep it cosy in the winter.

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Columbia Falls Where To Stay In Glacier National Park For First

Are you looking for that authentic Montana experience during your holiday to Glacier National Park? Well, look no more, because Ive found you the perfect town! Columbia Falls is conveniently located 15 miles south of the main West Glacier entrance of Glacier National Park.

Suppose the idea of camping inside the park doesnt really excite you and you want to stay at the best hotels that are equipped with all the facilities you need. In that case, I highly recommend finding accommodations in Columbia Falls.

Here you can enjoy the famous Montana hospitality in all the local pubs and restaurants. Theres nothing better than a hot delicious meal and a good drink after a day of hiking in Glacier National Park!

The town offers a wide range of attractions for all types of travelers, from the cool Big Sky Waterpark that will be the trip highlight for the kids, to all the outdoor activities like snowmobiling and ziplining, which Im sure will excite everyone!

Because Columbia Falls offers easy access to the West Glacier entrance of the park, all the hotels and every lodge here will sell out super fast. So definitely book your accommodation in advance if you want to be close to the West Glacier Entrance! While youre busy booking, if youre looking for another destination like this one, I think you would love Yellowstone, the worlds first national park!

East Vs West: Where To Stay

East Glacier Vs. West Glacier: 6 Key Things To Know

Both the east side and west side have lots of lodging options, ranging from high-style lodges to tent camping. The high-style in-the-park-lodges are operated by Xanterra, which operates the park concessions. The biggest lodge in the park, which was fully renovated a couple years ago, is in Many Glacier Valley. Also, the town of Saint Mary, which has motel and cabin options, is on the east side.

On the west, theres high style at Belton Chalet, one of the original chalets built for 1915 travelers. It is just outside the park. In the park, you can stay at Lake McDonald Lodge, a 1913 lodge with incredible views of Lake McDonald and a vast collection of Western art.

Mike Owens

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Overview Of Where To Stay In Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is expansive, covering more than a million acres in northern Montana. Where you stay can impact your trip significantly, potentially adding hours of driving a day to popular destinations.

Before diving into the best places to stay, lets get the lay of the land in Glacier National Park.

Most first-time visitors choose to spend their time in the three most popular areas:

  • West Glacier is typically characterized as the area of Glacier National Park located between Apgar Village and The Loop along Going-to-the-Sun Road. This area is home to Lake McDonald and Avalanche Lake and is the only area of the park that remains open for visitors year-round.
  • East Glacier / St. Mary is the other half of Going-to-the-Sun Road, located between The Loop and St. Mary Visitor Center. This area encompasses Logan Pass, St. Mary Lake, and several popular hikes.
  • Many Glacier is situated away from Going-to-the-Sun Road, about 45 minutes north of St. Mary. This area is filled with incredible sights and things to do and is where youll find the iconic Many Glacier Hotel.

The famous Going-to-the-Sun Road connects West Glacier and East Glacier. Along this incredible scenic drive, youll find several hotels and campgrounds. From many of these lodges, you can walk to some of the best hiking trails in the park.

However, to stay along Going-to-the-Sun Road or in Many Glacier, you need to book six months to a year in advance.

Dont Forget Travel Insurance For Glacier National Park

Dont leave home without it! Good travel insurance can be a lifesaver.

Its good to get lost sometimes, but its also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.

Theres one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans World Nomads!

And then let the shenanigans begin.

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West Glacier Is A Very Beautiful Area And The West Entrance

West Glacier is a very beautiful area and the West entrance to Glacier National Park. This National Park is very beautiful and I never Tire of its beauty and mountains. When in this park…. My perspective of myself is that I am small in comparison and blessed to live in this area amongst God’s country!

Motel In West Glacier Mt

Glacier National Park: What to Know Before You Go -even in the off season

Glacier Vista Motel is quietly nestled in the heart of the Montana wilderness, giving guests absolutely stunning mountain views from every angle. Located about a mile from the Glacier National Park Entrance, our accommodations make for the perfect base camp to get out and enjoy the area. Enjoy our cozy amenities from June to September every year.

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Awe Inspiring Home In West Glacier The Glacier House

Not the cheapest, but absolutely stunning, this amazing home is the perfect place to stay in Glacier National park if you just want to get away, relax and explore the area. The massive house sleeps 6 people, so you can bring your friends and family along as well. From a fully equipped kitchen to an outdoor BBQ, theres nothing this home cant offer.

Visitor Centers At Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has three main visitor centers. Stop by any of them to find maps, information about the park, restrooms, water fountains, and more. They are all staffed and ready to help you with your trip planning. They also offer ranger-led activities.

  • St. Mary Visitor Center: East side of the park
  • Apgar Visitor Center: West side of the park
  • Logan Pass Visitor Center: Middle of the Going-to-the-Sun Road
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    Cedar Creek Lodge & Conference Center

    The Cedar Creek Lodge has an excellent location within Columbia Falls and the greater Flathead Valley region. Glacier National Park is a half-hour drive to the north, while other attractions like Flathead Lake and the Hungry Horse Reservoir are even closer. And the hotel reflects this nearby wild nature with a distinct lodge ambience and rustic appeal.

    Cedar Creek Lodge offers several room types stemming from its well-lit and wood-furnished lobby. Alongside standard one-king and two-king rooms, the lodge also has deluxe accommodations and special fireplace suites. Standard amenities at the hotel include complimentary breakfast, fast and reliable Wi-Fi, and complimentary shuttles to Glacier National Park and Whitefish Mountain Resort.

    Where To Stay In Glacier National Park Montana

    Glacier National Park

    Situated within Montanas rocky mountains, on the US-Canada border, The National Glacier Park is famous for its visually striking vistas, alpine meadows, glacial lakes, pristine and dense forest, and diverse wildlife.

    Drawing in over a million visitors a year, the national park offers both respite and fun to the adventurous and nature enthusiast. From 700 miles of hiking trails to camping grounds to activities like cycling, horseback riding, rafting, boat trips, and even bus tours.

    If youre planning to stay in Glacier National Park for several days and maximize the heavenly experience, heres your guide.

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    How Long Does It Take To Drive Through Glacier National Park

    As the snow and ice start to melt in the summer, the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens up. This makes it possible to drive through the middle of Glacier National Park. This typically happens in late June or early July but is fully dependent on the weather. The full 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will take about 2 hours to drive. After all, it is a very narrow road winding through the mountains.

    As you drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, youll go through Logan Pass, which is the highest point at 6,646 feet high. To help you understand the layout of the park a bit more, Logan Pass is 32 miles from the west entrance and 18 miles from the east entrance.

    East Vs West: Geography

    Glacier has a significant distinction: In its one million acres there are five different life zones.

    Theres the alpine tundra, subalpine tundra, forestland, parkland, and grassland. Each life zone has its own geography that helps sustain it.

    Forests pretty much control the west side of the park, thanks to heavier rainfall. The farther east you go into the park, the greater the elevation. The highest peak in the park is Mount Cleveland, at over 10,400 feet. Its tundra at the top, where only grasses and mosses struggle to grow.

    The subalpine tundra is a bit lower in elevation. You can easily visit the subalpine by stopping at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

    Further to the east are the parklands. These are open areas surrounded by trees, mostly aspens and cottonwoods.

    Eventually, the landscape gives way to the grasslands wide-open spaces where the mountains meet the prairie. Its the domain of the parks elk.

    East or West shouldnt be a choice. My advice: Take a two-week trip and do both. Want more on Glacier? Heres why I spend my summers as a Glacier Red Bus driver.

    Most of the east side of the park including eastern entrances will likely remain closed for the 2020 season. For the latest updates, check out our full list of national parks requiring changes for visitors.

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    The Best Places To Stay In Glacier National Park: A Complete Guide

    Now, lets get into exactly where to stay when youre visiting the park. Well go through the three areas of the park that we mentioned above West Glacier, East Glacier, and Many Glacier and give you specific recommendations on where to stay both inside and outside the park, including camping options.

    Before we get into the full guide, I want to reiterate you the most important tip: plan to stay AT LEAST one night in Many Glacier, if you can swing it. It was our favorite part of the park , and is home to some of thebest hikes in Glacier National Park, like Grinnell Glacier, Cracker Lake, and Ptarmigan Lake.

    Not sold? Here are a couple of pictures to convince you.

    Here are some quick ideas on how to make that happen:

    • If you only have one night, youre kind of out of luck. Stay on the west side and focus on Going-to-the-Sun Road.
    • If you have two days at Glacier, it can be done. Spend the first day driving from Apgar to St. Mary along Going-to-the-Sun Road, and spend the night in Many Glacier. Spend your second morning on a hike in that neck of the woods , and in the afternoon drive back to the western side of the park. Its a lot of driving and logistics, and you might prefer to stay in one place rather than trying to stay in separate places. Up to you!
    • If you have three days in Glacier National Park, spend your first night on the west side of the park, your second day at Many Glacier, and your third back on the west side of the park.

    Where To Stay East Of Glacier National Park

    Glacier National Park – Plan Your Trip!

    Staying on the east side of Glacier National Park may put you further from a lot of the classic tourist activities in the area. But, it also has some perks. The top one of course being that you are closer to the main part of Glacier National Park. Youll also be near the Many Glacier area of the park.

    In fact, if you stay in West Glacier, it will take you over 2 hours one-way to get to Many Glacier! This makes staying on the east side of the park the best option if you are visiting the area solely for Glacier National Park.

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    Backcountry Glacier National Park Lodges

    If youre an avid hiker, there are two backcountry chalets you can hike into for accommodations. These are great options for enjoying a quiet and scenic part of the park outside of busy daytime hours. Remember that they are more rustic and you need to hike in, so be prepared!

    • Sperry Chalet: Hike into a remote chalet built back in 1913, offering comfortable linens, blankets, pillows, hand towels, and meals. Note that you wont find electricity, heat, or running water, so come prepared to rough it a little bit.
    • Granite Park Chalet: Stay in a rustic chalet built back in 1915. You can preorder food and linens, or bring your own!

    Glacier National Park Lodges Inside The West Entrance

    Lake McDonald Lodge

    Lake McDonald Lodge is a beautiful lodge right on Lake McDonald that is a short drive from the west entrance to the park.

    Though its a long walk, its completely doable to walk to the Avalanche Lake Trailhead from Lake McDonald Lodge, which is nice if you sleep in and dont want to bother with trying to find a parking spot. On the flip side, its easier to roll out of bed in the early morning and beat the crowds to the parking spots and the trail!

    Lake McDonald Lodge has a restaurant onsite.

    Motel Lake McDonald

    Just up the shoreline from Lake McDonald Lodge is Motel Lake McDonald, a good option for more budget-conscious travelers or those who like to be away from the day-tripper crowds that descend on Lake McDonald Lodge most days during high season.

    There isnt an onsite eatery at Motel Lake McDonald, but youre a short 5-minute walk from Lake McDonald Lodges restaurant, or you can take the National Park Service Shuttle to the Lodge stop.

    Village Inn at Apgar

    This lodge is conveniently located by the little cafes and shops of Apgar Village. Its still right on Lake McDonald, but is a good choice for those who like to be able to conveniently stroll to other businesses during their stay.

    Apgar Village is also close to kayak and standup paddle board rentals, which you can easily pick up if youre staying at Apgar Village and head out on the water for a lovely lake paddle.

    Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins

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    Glacier National Parks 4 Best Neighborhoods To Stay In

    Whether you want some epic hiking trails in the USA, scenery or somewhere a bit off the beaten path, theres a bit of everything in the area surrounding Glacier National Park. Keep reading for our top four picks plus the best accommodation and activity options in each!

    Columbia Falls: This is the closest proper town near Glacier National Park, so its here youre going to find a good mix of accommodation types, restaurants, shops and general amenities. Despite being the urban centre of the park, its still a pretty little town with a nice homely vibe. Its super convenient too for visiting the park itself as its only a 20-minute drive, so its our overall top pick for places to stay in Glacier National Park.

    West Glacier: As the name suggests, West Glacier is at the western entrance to Glacier National Park. This area provides a great spot by Lake McDonald to relax and has plenty of amenities too including a golf course as well as a train station connected to Amtraks northern route. Its a great place if you want to be at the heart of the park.

    East Glacier: This area is the best spot to stay if youre on a budget as its technically outside of the park itself, but super close to the Eastern Entrance. Its also connected to Amtrak too so its easy to get here on public transport. Its also a pretty historic area of the park too so youve got plenty to see and do both in the mountains and back in town.

    You do the math.

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