Camping Spots - 17 min read

18 Best Camping Spots In Glacier National Park (Improved & Backcountry)

Dennis Howard

Dennis Howard, Updated October 1, 2022

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Often called “The Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park is one of the largest pristine and undisturbed areas on the North American Continent.

Glacier National Park, along with the ordering Canadian Waterton Lakes National Park offers visitors the opportunity to see what the great forests and landscapes of North America looked like before man intervened.

Camping in Glacier National Park

Credit: ingimage

Glacier National Park offers both front country improved campgrounds and backcountry unimproved camping. Most of the backcountry camping areas are only accessible by hiking on one of the 600 miles of trails that crisscross the park. Hiking and camping are great ways to experience the splendor of Glacier National Park.

1. Apgar Campground

Credit: Visit Montana

Apgar Campground is the largest camping area in the park. This camping area welcomes both tent campers and those with RVs and travel trailers. The campsites are surrounded by trees providing ample shade. Programs are presented often during the season at the Apgar Amphitheatre. The highlight of time at Apgar Campground is strolling to Lake McDonald to watch the glorious sunsets.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 194
  • Group Campsites – 5
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – No
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

During the winter months, usually from November 1 to March 31, the campground converts to primitive camping only. The facilities are shut down and winterized. Water is not available during this period at the campground

Reservations

You can make reservations online by clicking this link. During the summer season, reservations are required. This is one of the most popular campgrounds in Glacier National Park. Don’t count on walk-up availability during the season. Primitive camping in the winter months is free and reservations are not required.

2. Fish Creek Campground

Credit: Glacier National Park / Facebook

The second-largest improved campground in Glacier National Park, Fish Creek Campground offers visitors a chance to experience life in the park with a lake in close proximity. Some of the campsites offer spectacular views of Lake McDonald. Tent campers and RV campers can enjoy these campsites shaded by trees. Fish Creek Campground is one of three campgrounds that take reservations.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 178
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – Yes
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

Unlike most of the other campgrounds in Glacier National Park, Fish Creek Campground has shower facilities in the campground with hot water. Typically, this campground operates from May 31 through September 1. Fish Creek Campground is not open during the winter season.

Reservations

You can make reservations for your camping spot at Fish Creek Campground by visiting the National Park Service reservation system online by clicking this link. Reservations are suggested during the open season due to high demand.

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3. Many Glacier Campground

Credit: ingimage

As the name suggests, Many Glacier Campground puts you in the heart of glacier country in Glacier National Park. A variety of trails start in or near this campground to provide ample opportunities for hiking. Wildlife abounds around this campground to keep you occupied. Unfortunately, the number of RV spots is limited so reservations are a must.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 109
  • Group Campsites – 1
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – Yes
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

Many Glacier Campground does provide seasonal shower facilities with hot water. The showers are coin operated so bring your pocket change. All other facilities are only open during the summer months. Many Glacier Campground can be accessed from June 1 through September 12.

Reservations

Making reservations for your campsite is recommended, especially if you are bringing an RV or travel trailer. Unreserved campsites are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Plan on arriving early if you don’t have reservations. Reservations and availability can be checked at this link

4. St. Mary Campground

Credit: Roxy Whalley / Facebook

If you are arriving on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, St. Mary Campground may be your best option for staying in the park. This is one of the few campgrounds that are open year-round. A full-service visitors center offers interpretive programs, book sales and a shuttle service to the campground.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 148
  • Group Campsites – 2
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – Yes
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

St, Mary Campground doesn’t have the forest cover of many other campgrounds, but the many Aspen trees offer spectacular fall viewing as the leaves change color. Since many visitors arrive at the east side of the park, reservations are suggested. However, walk-up sites may be available.

Reservations

To make your reservations at St. Mary Campground, visit this link to the reservation system. Typically, St. Mary Campground is open from May 14 through September 15 each year. However, dates may vary with the season and weather conditions.

5. Sprague Creek Campground

Credit: KrisNM / Flickr

This small campground is located on the shores of Lake McDonald and offers some spectacular scenery from the campsites. Hiking and fishing are some of the most popular activities for visitors to this campground. This campground is situated on the northeast shore of Lake McDonald.

RVs and travel trailers are limited to 21 feet in length in this campground. Tent camping is encouraged, and reservations are a requirement. No walk-up availability at this campground exists. This campground is typically open from mid-May until mid-September. However, weather conditions may affect these opening and closing dates.

Reservations

Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of your visit to Sprague Creek Campground. Visit the National Park Service reservation system by clicking here to check availability and make your reservations Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 25
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

. No walk-up service is provided at this campground.

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First-Come First-Served Campgrounds

The balance of the campgrounds in Glacier National Park operated on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations for campsites in these campgrounds are not available. We highly recommend that you arrive early if you want to occupy a campsite in one of these campgrounds. Some of these campgrounds are considered primitive. Access to some of these campgrounds can be challenging.

6. Bowman Lake Campground

Credit: Sara & Patrick / Flickr

If you are visiting the North Fork area of Glacier National Park, a stay at Bowman Lake Campground may be an option. The road to Bowman Lake Campground is dusty, bumpy, and mostly gravel. RVs and travel trailers are not the best choices for visiting Bowman Lake Campground.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 48
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes (vault toilets)
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

This is a seasonal campground and many of the amenities offered won’t be functioning or available in the off-season. The campground does have a dump station, but RVs and travel trailers are prohibited due to the nature of the access road.

Generally, this campground opens around May 17th and closes for the season about September 8th. Limited winter camping may be available in September and October. Check with the park office for more information.

7. Cut Bank Campground

Credit: Jonathan C. Wheeler / Flickr

If you want peace and quiet for your camping stay in Glacier National Park, Cut Bank Campground is a smart choice. This campground is on the east side of the park and can be accessed down a five-mile dirt road from Highway 89. Many trailheads are available in or around this campground giving easy access to the park.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 14
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – No
  • Potable Water Available – No
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – No
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes (vault toilets)
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – No

This is true primitive camping. Cut Bank Campground is meant exclusively for tent camping. RVs and travel trailers are not suited for the road required to access this campground. You may gather firewood in designated areas, but great care should be exercised. Be Bear Aware at all times and store your food properly.

Cut Bank Campground is subject to unexpected closures due to weather and the condition of the access road. Check with the park website by clicking here to determine the current status of Cut Bank Campground.

8. Kintla Lake Campground

Credit: Calvin Serviss / Flickr

By far the most remote car-accessible campground in Glacier National Park, Kintla Lake Campground is isolated and peaceful. Its location and the long rough road keep visitors to a minimum at this campground. Kintla Lake Campground is almost 40 miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 13
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – No
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes (vault toilets)
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

The Park Service doesn’t recommend trying to get your RV or travel trailer to Kintla Lake Campground. The condition of the road varies considerably due to weather and there is no place to turn around on the 40-mile stretch.

Most years Kintla Lake Campground opens on June 7th and closes for winter on September 8th. However, weather can affect these dates. Some winter camping is allowed in September and through October, but water and other facilities are usually closed.

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9. Logging Creek Campground

Credit: Recreation.gov

You won’t have many neighbors if you elect to stay at Logging Creek Campground while you are in Glacier National Park. This small campground has only 7 campsites that are first-come-first-served. No travel trailers or RVs should attempt this campground due to the very narrow and winding access road.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 7
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – No
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – No
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes (vault toilets)
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

The trail to Logging Lake from the Logging Creek Campground is an easy hike that makes for a great family day trip. You may have a campfire if there are no burn restrictions in place. Firewood can be gathered in designated areas around the campground.

Logging Creek Campground is usually open from June 28th through September 22nd. There is no winter camping at this campground due to accessibility due to the weather and the condition of the road leading to the campground.

10. Quartz Creek Campground

Credit: Campground Views

If you are wanting to experience the true wilderness of Glacier National Park, a visit to Quartz Creek Campground should be on your itinerary. This campground sits on the west side of the park in the North Fork area and is accessed by a very narrow dirt road with many blind curves. Travel trailers and RVs are not suggested for this campground.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 7
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – No
  • Potable Water Available – No
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes (vault toilets)
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

Quartz Creek Campground is arguably the least used of the many car-accessible campgrounds in the park. The campground is small, remote, and a tough road to manage. The weather may make this campground inaccessible at times. Check the Glacier National Park website for current conditions by clicking here.

This campground opens most years on July 1 and stays open until sometime in September. There is no availability for winter camping due to the condition of the road and the possibility of being snowed in for extended periods of time.

11. Rising Sun Campground

Credit: Shutterstock

Rising Sun Campground offers some of the most majestic views available in Glacier National Park. This campground is west of St. Mary and along St. Mary Lake. The views to the ease as the sun rises over Red Eagle Mountain can be spectacular. Campsites vary from open to wooded giving a choice of shaded camping or scenic beauty.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 84
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – Yes
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

Of the first-come-first-served campgrounds in Glacier National Park, Rising Sun Campground is probably the best equipped. There are flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, potable water, and a dump station. RVs and travel trailers are limited to 25 feet in length and one campsite is wheelchair accessible.

During most years, Rising Sun Campground opens on the 7th of June and is accessible until the 8th of September. During the winter months, all of the facilities and services are shut down in this campground.

Related Read: 8 Best Ski Resorts in Montana

12. Two Medicine Campground

Credit: Shutterstock

If you access Glacier National Park from East Glacier, you can find Two Medicine Campground. Shaded campsites offer comfortable yet private space for your visit. Boat tours and bus tours are available at this campground. A handicap-accessible trail leads to Running Eagle Falls. Many people consider this campground a must for an overnight stay in Glacier National Park.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 100
  • Group Campsites – 1
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – Yes
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

This is one of the larger first-come-first-served campgrounds in Glacier National Park. The size of the campground speaks to its popularity. Be sure to plan your trip to arrive early to ensure that you can get a campsite. RVs and trailers are limited to less than 35 feet in length in this campground.

The summer season at Two Medicine Campground runs from June 1 to October 31. Be advised that September and October camping can become winter camping quickly as the weather changes. If you make a fall visit, come prepared for rapid weather changes.

13. Avalanche Campground

Credit: Shutterstock

Avalanche Campground is located on the west side of the continental divide. The old-growth cedar and hemlock trees keep the camping area cool in the summer months. Both tent and RV camping are available at this campground. Two trails offer unspoiled access to the wilderness. The Trail of Cedars and Avalanche Lake Trail should not be missed.

Campground Information

  • Total Campsites – 87
  • Group Campsites – 0
  • Electric Hookups – No
  • Dump Station in the Campground – No
  • Potable Water Available – Yes
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings – Yes
  • Toilet Facilities – Yes
  • Shower Facilities – None
  • Bear Proof Food Storage Lockers – Yes

You can access the Glacier National Park shuttle service at the Avalanche Campground. The shuttle service follows the Going-to-the-Sun Road and will make stops at many of the other park sites. Access this campground from the west park entrance or at the St. Mary Entrance.

You cannot pre-reserve a campsite at Avalanche Campground so plan on arriving early to stake your claim on the best available spots. If you are an RV or travel trailer camper, 50 of the campsites will accommodate RVs up to 26 feet in length. There are no hookups.

Other Camping Opportunities in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the largest contiguous parks in the National Park System. More than one million acres are enclosed in the boundaries of Glacier National Park and many areas remain pristine and unchanged. Most of the areas within the park are only accessible by foot. This makes Glacier National Park a haven for those who like to hike and backcountry camp in the wilderness.

Backcountry camping in Glacier National Park is by permit only. You may only get a permit the day before or the day of your planned backcountry trip. A small fee is charged for the backcountry camping permits.  There are a limited number of permits available for each of the backcountry campsites so arriving early is essential to ensure success in getting your permit.

Permit Locations

The following locations are permitted camping sites in the backcountry of Glacier National Park. Currently, there are over 1000 campsites within Glacier National Park. However, some sites are more popular than others and availability may be limited. To get your permit, you must visit one of the permit stations listed below.

 Permit Stations

  • Apgar Backcountry Permit Center
  • Mary Visitor Center
  • Many Glacier Ranger Station
  • Two Medicine Ranger Station
  • Polebridge Ranger Station

Some backcountry campsites are available for pre-registration at the National Park Service reservation center. Click this link to access this online service.

Recommended Backcountry Campsites

Credit: Shutterstock

There are some of the many backcountry campsites that warrant a special effort to make the trip. It is important to remember that this is primitive camping in a pristine wilderness that is inhabited by many species. Some of the animals within the park are large carnivorous mammals that can pose a danger. Practice good outdoor skills and go prepared if you choose to make one of these trips.

Be prepared to carry in everything you need including water. You should plan on bringing out everything including your trash. There are no facilities at most of these campsites. For the effort, you expend, expect to see some of the most awe-inspiring geography and geology on the North American Continent.

14. Granite Park Campsite

This campsite is located on the Continental Divide Trail. The spur trail leading to this campsite branches off the main trail just below Granite Park Chalet. Magnificent views from almost any camping spot you pick will be your reward. The trail is rated intermediate difficulty by most hikers.

15. Hole in the Wall Campground

If you are up to an arduous hike, you can visit one of the most spectacular places in Glacier National Park. Hole in the Wall is a basin that sits at the head of the Bowman valley on a cliff. There are three trails that lead to this area. The Hole in the Wall Campground has five designated campsites. four of which can be reserved in advance.

Credit: Shutterstock

16. Beaver Woman Lake Campground

This beautiful campground is in the Nyack/Coal Creek Camping Area. This area of Glacier National Park allows camping in undesignated areas so you can really forge your own trail.

There are well-marked trails leading to the Beaver Woman Campground where 3 designated campsites are located. These are challenging hikes so be prepared and don’t underestimate your abilities.

17. Gunsight Lake Campground

Gunsight Lake Campground is at the end of a relatively easy hike through the Gunsight pass area. The vistas are well worth the trip and a night’s stay at the campground near the lake is unforgettable. You will have some unique experiences on the trail including a suspension bridge, and numerous photo opportunities.

18. Fifty Mountain Campground

This campground lies at the end of a moderately strenuous 6-hour hike. Admittedly, you can do the hike in less time, but you want to leave plenty of time for admiring the scenery and the wildlife as you make your way up the trail. The camping area has 5 designated campsites from which you can see, well, fifty mountains.

Glacier National Park – The Crown Jewel of Ecological Wonders

Glacier National Park sits at the top of the United States and lies across the continental divide. This national park has the greatest number of identifiable ecological and environmental zones of any park in the National Park system. If you are the outdoor type who enjoys adventure and exploration, a visit to Glacier National Park must be on your bucket list.

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