Guide to Camping in Glacier National Park

Guide to Camping in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park offers a diverse collection of campgrounds, ranging from Apgar, with its nearly 200 sites in close proximity to a visitor’s center, to tiny Quartz Creek Campground with just 7 sites and a remote location off of a dirt road. 

This makes Glacier’s campgrounds an option for campers who enjoy a lot of company and access to many amenities and those who prefer quiet backwoods experiences.

Many of the park’s campgrounds offer incredible views with some on the shores of one of the park’s many lakes and streams.

In this article, we’ll review the top campgrounds in the park. We’ve organized this guide by the park’s main areas, including the more popular West Glacier and East Glacier, and remote Polebridge. Keep in mind that all but two of the park’s campgrounds offer reservations.

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Campgrounds in West Glacier

Avalanche Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

Located in one of the most popular sections of the park, Avalanche Campground sits among cedar and hemlock trees, which provide shade for most campsites. It’s close to two popular trails, including Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake, so make sure to pack a good pair of hiking boots. The campground is located about 16 miles from the West entrance and 34 miles from the St. Mary entrance.

This campground features 87 sites and is available to both tents and RV campers up to 26 feet long in total length. Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Amenities include potable water and restrooms with flush toilets and running water. 

There are no utility or sewer hookups at this site. Glacier’s free shuttle service, which travels the Going-to-the-Sun Road has a regular stop at this campground.

Apgar Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

With 194 sites, Apgar is the largest campground in Glacier National Park. It is located near Apgar Village, where you can find restaurants, gas, gift shops, and a camp store. Activities available at the village include boat rentals, horseback riding, bus tours, and access to the park’s free shuttle system. The campground is also just a short drive or shuttle ride to many of the park’s popular hikes.

The campground sits among trees, providing shade for most sites, which are available to both tents and RVs. Apgar is a short walk from beautiful Lake McDonald. Ranger-guided presentations regularly take place at the campground’s amphitheater during the summer. 

Amenities include potable water, restrooms with flush toilets and sinks, and showers. There are no utility hookups at this campground. All sites are first-come, first-serve.

Fish Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Late May to early September
  • Cost : $23 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Fish Creek Campground is the second largest campground in the park with 178 sites for both tents and RVs up to 35 feet long. The campground is located about 2.5 miles from Apgar Village on Camas Road. It’s situated in a wooded area, providing the sites with shade cover. Campsites are also far enough apart to offer some privacy with some sites offering views of Lake McDonald.

Fish Creek features access to the popular Rocky Point trail hike. Amenities include restrooms with flush toilets, sinks, potable water, and showers. There are no utility hookups at this campground. Fish Creek is one of only two in the park that takes reservations. Ranger presentations are held each evening in the campground’s amphitheater.

Sprague Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

With just 25 campsites, Sprague Creek offers a quieter, more intimate camping experience. This campground is located 9 miles from the park’s west entrance on the northeast shore of Lake McDonald.

Campsites are amid trees, providing shade during the hot summer months, with some featuring full views of the lake. Although this campground is closer to Going-to-the-sun Road and hence more traffic noise, it’s a good option for tent campers who don’t want to set up camp amid motor homes and travel trailers.

Amenities include access to potable water, restrooms with flush toilets and sinks, and a picnic area. The campground is also just a mile from McDonald Lodge, which offers a camp store, restaurant, gift shop, and access to a variety of tours. Glacier’s free shuttle service makes regular stops at Sprague Creek.

Campgrounds in East Glacier

Cut Bank Campground

  • Type : Tent / small RVs
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10 per night
  • Reservation : No

With just 14 campsites, Cut Bank Campground offers a peaceful camping experience you won’t find at Glacier’s larger campgrounds. The campground can be reached via a 5-mile dirt road accessible from Highway 89. All of the campground’s sites are in a wooded area that provides shade and privacy, making this an excellent option for those camping with a tent.

Cutbank also offers convenient access to Glacier’s trail system with several trailheads nearby that take you to such park attractions as Triple Divide Pass, Medicine Grizzly Lake, and Morning Star Lake.

There are few amenities at this campsite with no potable water, restrooms, or showers available, so make sure to bring drinking water along with you. This campground is only available on a first-time, first-serve basis. A ranger station is located near the campground.

Many Glacier Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

With its optimal location near some of the park’s best attractions, Many Glacier is one of the most popular campgrounds in Glacier National Park. The campground features some 109 sites for tents and RVs located amid pine trees.

This campground features access to some of the park’s most popular hikes, including Many Glacier Trail, which takes you to one of the park’s largest glaciers. It’s also common to see wildlife around this campground, including, bears, moose, and bighorn sheep.

Amenities include access to potable water and restroom facilities with flush toilets and sinks. There are just 13 sites that can handle vehicles up to 35-feet long, so book early if you are camping in a longer RV. Many Glacier Campground is near the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, which offers a camp store, hot food, and pay showers.

Rising Sun Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

Rising Sun Campground features 84 sites located west of St. Mary on St. Mary Lake. Campers here have two options when it comes to choosing a campsite: a wooded site that offers shade and privacy, or an open site with unobstructed views of beautiful Red Eagle Mountain.

Rising Sun offers convenient access to many of the park’s hiking trails, including a 5-mile hike to Otokomi Lake. Access to boat tours on St. Mary Lake are also nearby.

The campground’s facilities include access to potable water and restroom facilities with flush toilets and sinks. Rising Sun also features a camp store and restaurant. The park’s free shuttle service regularly makes stops at Rising Sun. This popular campground does not take reservations, so arrive early if you want one of its coveted campsites.

St Mary Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $23 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

With 148 sites, St. Mary is the largest campground on the park’s east side. Located near the town of St. Mary, this campground offers convenient access to the St. Mary Visitor Center. The campground sits amid aspen trees, which offer partial shade for many of the sites. 

Sites on Loop A offer the most shade while the more open Loops B and C offering great views of the lake with EastFlattop, Singleshot, and Red Eagle Mountains serving as a backdrop.

Amenities include access to potable water, restrooms with flush toilets and sinks, and a shower facility. Restaurants, camp stores, gas, and a grocery store are available in nearby St. Mary. This is one of the park’s few campgrounds that take reservations, which can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Two Medicine Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $20 per night
  • Reservation : No

Located in one of the less popular areas of the park, Two Medicine offers one of the more accessible campgrounds at Glacier. It features 100 sites, including sites capable of handling RVs up to 35 feet long. It is located on the shores of Two Medicine Lake, offering excellent waterfront views with the surrounding mountains as a backdrop.

Two Medicine Chalet, which now functions as a camp store and gift shop is nearby. IN addition to offering supplies, Boat tours and Red Bus tours are also available from the chalet. This campground also features access to several trails including a hike to the beautiful Running Eagle Falls.

Amenities include access to potable water and restrooms with flush toilets and sinks. Sites at Two Medicine are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only.

Campgrounds in Polebridge

Bowman Lake Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $23 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

Located in the park’s North Fork Area, this campground offers 46 sites on the shores of Bowman Lake against the backdrop of Glacier’s beautiful mountain peaks. Campsites offer shade and privacy for tent campers. This campground is about 33 miles north of the West Entrance off a rugged dirt road.

Amenities include potable water via water spigots and vault toilets. There are plenty of hiking opportunities directly from the campground, and Bowman Lake offers access to fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Cool off in the clear lake, which sits about 100 yards from the campground. Bowman Lake is first-come, first-serve.

Be sure to pack bug spray as this campground is popular with mosquitoes as well as campers. Be aware that this is also grizzly country, so make sure to have bear spray with you.

Kintla Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $15 per night
  • Reservation : No

With its remote location and small size of just 15 campsites, Kintla Campground is an excellent option for those looking for a backwoods feel in a car-accessible campground. Kintla sits in the uppermost northwest section of the park called North Fork about 40 miles from the West Entrance. It involves a 15-mile drive on a rough dirt road, so make sure to come prepared with a flat repair kit.

The campground sits in a wooded area right on the shores of Kintla Lake, with wonderful views of the surrounding mountain tops. Amenities include potable water via a hand pump and a pit toilet. The lake is limited to non-motor craft, making it an excellent location for quiet canoe and kayaking trips. 

There are several day hikes near the campground including Bowman Lake Trail, Numa Ridge Lookout Trail, and Quartz Lake Loop Trail.

Logging Campground

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10 per night
  • Reservation : No

Logging Campground is one of the smallest campgrounds in Glacier National Park with just seven campsites. It’s located on the west side of Glacier, just south of Polebridge. To access this campground, you need to take North Fork Road, a rugged and winding dirt road for 8 miles.

The campsites are spread apart in a heavily forested area, providing plenty of shade and privacy. Logging Lake trailhead is at the campground, offering an easy day hike to the lake. Other nearby hiking trails include the North Pilgrim trail and Paine Gulch Trail.

There are few amenities at this campground. There is no potable water, so you’ll need to haul in your own drinking water. There are vault toilets on site. Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Quartz Creek Campground

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $10 per night
  • Reservation : No

Quartz Creek is Glacier’s smallest campground. It features just seven sites and is located on the west side of the park. This campground is accessible via North Fork Road, which is a windy dirt road. This campground is in a heavily wooded area that provides plenty of shade and privacy for each of its sites but very limited views.

A 6.2-mile one-way hike leads to Lower Quartz Lake, which offers excellent vistas of the surrounding mountains. It’s also an excellent place for a quick dip or fishing. Amenities are few at this campground. There is no potable water, so you’ll need to bring drinking water with you. Quartz Creek does include pit toilets. The campground is adjacent to a creek, which is a usable water source if you bring a water purifier along.

Camping Tips for Glacier National Park

  1. Book early. With only three of the park’s campgrounds offering reservations, it’s important to plan ahead. If you want the peace of mind of a reserved spot and you plan on heading to Glacier during peak season, make reservations well ahead of time. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance for St. Mary Campground, Fish Creek Campground, and Bowman Lake Campground. For any of the other campgrounds, plan to get there early to claim your spot.
  2. Check the RV length limitations. If you’re camping in an RV, make sure to check the specs for each campground. Many have size limitations as short as 21-feet long. Others only have limited access for longer RVs. You’ll need to plan ahead carefully to ensure you find a spot that suits your rig. In fact, you can only drive on the park’s main drag, Going to the Sun Road, in vehicles that are no longer than 21 feet due and no taller than 10 feet due to the tight winding road and overhead clearances in some areas.
  3. Be ready to boondock. Camping in Glacier National Park is a primitive experience. There are no utility hookups, sewer hookups, or dump stations inside the park, so come prepared with full water tanks and empty grey and black water tanks. Some campgrounds do allow generators at certain times of the day.
  4. Prep for bears. There is a high level of bear activity throughout the park. With this in mind, it’s essential that you properly store food in a bear-proof container or bear bag. You should also not leave food unattended when leaving your campsite. You can actually be fined $50 for doing so. If tent camping in one of the more backwoods locations, bear spray is highly recommended.
  5. Orient yourself. Choose a campground that is close to the sites you most ish to see. Glacier National park is organized in a triangle with St Mary’s to the east, Apgar to the southwest, and Many Glacier to the northeast. Camp in a place that gives you easy access to the sites you plan on visiting.

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a writer, plant-nerd, and outdoor enthusiast. She has traveled extensively, around the U.S., throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Everywhere she treks, she takes time to enjoy the outdoors. John Muir is her hero. She aspires to inspire people to live better as he did.