Glacier National Park, located in the U.S. state of Montana, is a natural wonderland celebrated for its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and rich cultural history. Established in 1910, it covers over a million acres and shares a border with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, creating the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Indigenous peoples, including the Blackfeet, Kootenai, and Salish, have inhabited this region for thousands of years, and their cultural significance is deeply intertwined with the park’s history.
The park’s unique features owe much to the geological forces that shaped it. During the last ice age, massive glaciers carved out deep valleys and sculpted the rugged mountain peaks, leaving behind the stunning U-shaped valleys and pristine lakes that visitors marvel at today. The park’s many glaciers continue to shape the landscape, although they are receding due to climate change.
Glacier National Park experiences a wide range of weather conditions. Summers are generally warm with daytime temperatures ranging from 70 to 85°F (21-29°C), while winters can be harsh with temperatures often well below freezing. RV renters should be prepared for sudden weather changes, especially in the mountains. It’s crucial to have appropriate clothing and gear, including layers, rain jackets, and warm blankets. Road conditions can also be challenging, so checking for park alerts and road closures is essential before traveling.
From March to November, especially on busy holiday weekends, it is possible to encounter extensive queues at the entrance road. The parking areas near popular trailheads and viewpoints tend to reach capacity quickly. It is advisable to bring along your patience and arrive early to evade large crowds.
IThe Hite Ramp is currently not accessible due to closure. The take-out at North Wash is a basic and undeveloped dirt area, where it is not possible to maneuver a trailer in reverse down the uneven slope. The conditions have worsened due to recent washouts, adding to the deterioration of the area.
Visitors to Glacier National Park have several transportation options. They can access the park by personal vehicles, camper vans, or RVs, offering flexibility for exploration. Additionally, there is a free shuttle service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road during the summer months, providing access to popular destinations. For those arriving by train, Amtrak’s Empire Builder stops at East Glacier and West Glacier.
RV Size Restrictions:
When traveling within the park, size restrictions apply on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Vehicles must not exceed 21 feet in length and 8 feet in width, excluding mirrors. Larger RVs can access most areas of the park but may face limited parking options at some popular sites.
Glacier National Park offers designated RV parking areas at various locations such as visitor centers, trailheads, and scenic viewpoints, making it convenient for RV travelers to access key points of interest. However, overnight parking outside of designated campsites is generally not allowed within the park’s boundaries, and adhering to this rule is essential to respect park regulations.
While camping with an RV within the park’s campgrounds is an option, it’s often recommended to use these campgrounds as a base and explore the park’s attractions using alternative transportation methods, especially for sites like the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which can be challenging to navigate with larger RVs. Shuttle services and personal vehicles are excellent alternatives for exploring the park’s scenic wonders while leaving the RV parked safely, ensuring a more enjoyable and less stressful visit to Glacier National Park.
RV parking space availability at Glacier National Park varies by location. Visitors’ centers, trailheads, and points of interest generally have designated RV parking areas, but space may be limited, especially during peak seasons. Parking conditions for RVs within the park can be challenging due to the narrow and winding roads, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure parking and consider using smaller vehicles or shuttles for easier access to attractions.
Located on the east side of the park, it offers stunning views of Grinnell Point and Swiftcurrent Lake. It provides 109 campsites, including both tent and RV sites and amenities. It’s a fantastic base for hikers with several nearby trailheads. Pets are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash.
Fish Creek Campground is situated on the west side of the park. Amenities include flush toilets, potable water, and access to Lake McDonald for boating and swimming. It’s typically open from late June to early September and is pet-friendly, with leashed pets allowed.
Apgar Campground is one of the largest campgrounds in the park, located on the west side near the Apgar Visitor Center and Lake McDonald. It offers 194 sites, including RV sites. Amenities include flush toilets, potable water, and proximity to the lake for recreational activities. The campground is open year-round and is pet-friendly.
It’s known for its tranquil setting along the shores of Two Medicine Lake and access to numerous hiking trails. Amenities include flush toilets and potable water. The campground is typically open from late June to early September and is pet-friendly.
It’s typically open from late June to early September and is pet-friendly, with leashed pets allowed. It’s typically open from late June to early September and is pet-friendly, with leashed pets allowed.
Many Glacier Campground typically offers some first-come, first-served campsites in addition to reservable sites.The campground has 109 sites in total, including both tent and RV sites.RVs and trailers are generally limited to around 35 feet in length.Many Glacier Campground is typically open from late June to early September, but exact dates can vary from year to year.The campground provides amenities such as flush toilets and potable water.It is pet-friendly, but pets must be leashed and attended to at all times.
It’s advisable to make reservations at private campgrounds in advance, especially during the park’s peak season. If you’re considering backcountry camping, be sure to check the park’s regulations and obtain the necessary permits. Additionally, having a backup plan and checking for campsite availability in nearby areas before your trip can help ensure you have a place to stay if campgrounds inside the park are full.
Apgar Village in Glacier National Park transforms into a serene winter wonderland. RV campers can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing on Lake McDonald. The quiet beauty of the snow-covered landscape is a highlight. Location: Apgar Village, near the western entrance.
Winter provides a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts. RV campers can spot animals like bighorn sheep, elk, and deer against the snowy backdrop. The St. Mary area is known for winter wildlife sightings. Location: St. Mary area, eastern side of the park.
The Whitefish Mountain Resort, located just outside the park, offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. RV campers can enjoy downhill thrills and après-ski activities. Location: Whitefish, Montana.
In the colder months, waterfalls such as Baring Falls and St. Mary Falls freeze into stunning ice formations. RV campers can hike to these icy marvels for unique photo opportunities. Location: Various trailheads throughout the park.
Glacier National Park offers ranger-led programs during the winter, including snowshoe walks and guided winter ecology tours. These programs provide educational and recreational opportunities for RV campers. Locations vary; check with the park’s visitor centers for details.
As the park’s lush forests transition to brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, fall is a photographer’s paradise. RV campers can capture the stunning foliage along the Going-to-the-Sun Road and in areas like Many Glacier. Location: Throughout the park.
Fall marks the time of wildlife migration in the park. RV campers can witness animals like elk and deer moving to lower elevations in preparation for winter. Logan Pass and Two Medicine are good locations for wildlife viewing. Location: Logan Pass and Two Medicine.
The cooler temperatures of fall make it an ideal time for hiking. RV campers can explore the park’s numerous trails, including the Highline Trail and Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. Location: Various trailheads throughout the park.
While open during the summer, Lake McDonald Lodge takes on a quieter charm in the fall. RV campers can visit this historic lodge and enjoy the peaceful lakeside setting. Location: Lake McDonald area.
Fall nights in Glacier National Park offer exceptional stargazing opportunities due to clear skies and reduced light pollution. RV campers can set up telescopes or simply enjoy the night sky from their campsites. Location: Anywhere within the park away from artificial lights.
Summer RV campers can enjoy boating and kayaking on Lake McDonald, surrounded by the park’s scenic beauty. Rentals are available at Apgar Village.
The Grinnell Glacier Trail is a summer favorite, offering RV campers a challenging but rewarding hike with views of glaciers and pristine alpine lakes.
During the summer, RV campers can drive or take the shuttle along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road to experience some of the park’s most iconic viewpoints.
Many Glacier Valley is a prime location for spotting wildlife in the summer, including bears, elk, and mountain goats.
RV campers can explore the historic chalets and lodges within the park, such as the Many Glacier Hotel and the Many Glacier Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
Spring brings an array of wildflowers to the park. RV campers can explore the lower elevation trails to see colorful blooms, especially in the Two Medicine and Many Glacier areas.
In early spring, Avalanche Lake offers a unique experience with snow-capped mountains reflecting on the still, partially frozen lake. The trailhead is accessible from the Trail of the Cedars area.
Spring is an excellent time for cycling on the park’s quieter roads before the summer crowds arrive. Bring your bike and explore areas like the Camas Road and the North Fork Road.
Spring is a prime time for birdwatching as migratory birds return to the park. Bring your binoculars and visit locations like the Swiftcurrent Valley for birdwatching opportunities.
As the snowmelt swells the rivers, rafting becomes a thrilling activity in spring. Join a guided rafting tour on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River for an adventurous experience.cal feature.