All the Best Camping in and Near Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the United States, which is, I think, saying something. In a country that has the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, the Sierras, the Sawtooths, and a whole lot more in between, impressive mountains is a pretty tall order.
But impressive is precisely what Glacier National Park is. Glacier National Park, which is over a million acres in size, is tucked in the far north of Montana, right on the Canadian border. In fact, the park is the first international peace park, together with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Both parks are filled with mountains and valleys carved from glacial forces, and both have active glaciers, too.
It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful place and one that every lover of big landscapes should put on their bucket list. Here are some of the best places to camp in and near Glacier National Park.
Camping in Glacier National Park
No doubt due to its massive size, Glacier has 12 campgrounds scattered throughout the park. Six are dotted along the famous, 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road that stretches from east to west, and the others snuggle up to shores of the North Fork of the Flathead River and the edges of the finger-like glacier lakes in the northern section of the park.
The Campendium community loves Many Glacier Campground and Two Medicine Campground on the east side of the park, as well as Apgar Campground on the west side. If cell service is your jam (or your necessity), stick to the eastern side of the park, where there are at least a few bars to play with.
If you’re looking for off the beaten path and have a nimble rig (trailers not recommended), check out Bowman Lake Campground for ridiculous views and a quiet night’s rest.
Campgrounds in Glacier National Park are often fully booked in the summer, so you’ll want to make reservations in advance. The park also keeps an up-to-the-minute campground status webpage, to let you know what you expect if you arrive without a reservation.
Free Camping Near Glacier National Park
Free camping near Glacier National Park can be found in two main areas: along Route 2 near East Glacier and on both sides of the North Fork of the Flathead River.
Route 2 runs through the Flathead National Forest, and small dispersed camping areas like Zip’s Loop Dispersed exist between the unincorporated town of Essex and the outpost of East Glacier. You won’t find cell service and access to the park is a bit of a drive, but you will find solitude and plenty of peace and quiet.
Things heat up a little bit along the river, where plenty of camping can be found for those comfortable with dirt roads and a bit of washboard. Middle Fork Flathead River is the most popular spot, suitable for high clearance vehicles and adventurous trailers. Panoramic views await at both Demers Ridge and McGinnis Creek.
RV Park Camping Near Glacier National Park
In Glacier National Park the views are long and RV amenities are short. You’re not going to get much of anything in the way of creature comforts inside the park, but we’re confident the scenery will make up for it.
If at the end of a busy day of exploring you’re looking for an amenities-rich home base to return to, your best bet is to make your way to West Glacier and the Glacier Campground for partial hookups, clean showers, WiFi, and laundry.