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Finding where to stay in Glacier Nationa Park can be confusing, especially if this is your first visit.

Glacier National Park is a great place to visit and I definitely do not want you to be stressed out figuring out what are the best places to stay while visiting Glacier! So, here are my favorite 10 best places to stay in Glacier National Park whether you are visiting the west or east side (or both) of this amazing national park.

If you are planning a trip to Glacier National Park then take a look at some of my posts to get you excited about going to Glacier:

18 Best Stops on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park (You Can’t Miss)

8 Fun and Easy Hikes in Glacier National Park (with Stunning Views)

9 Most Scenic Hikes in Glacier National Park You Need to Explore

9 Best Photography Locations in Glacier National Park (+Useful Photo Tips) 

Perfect First Visit to Glacier National Park (8Things to Know)

Glacier National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving into where to stay in Glacier National Park, here are a few things you need to know about the park:

  • Glacier National Park Is Divided Into 5 Main Regions:

1. Lake McDonald Valley Region – it is situated on the western side of the park along beautiful Lake McDonald.

2. St. Mary Valley and Logan Pass Region – St. Mary Region is located east of Lake McDonald Valley and Logan Pass is the highest point reachable by car on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

3. Two Medicine Valley Region – it is situated on the southeastern side of Glacier National Park and can be reached by exiting the park on the east side and driving south on Highway 89 for about an hour and then re-entering the park.

4. Many Glacier Valley Region – it is located on the eastern side of the park. You will need to exit the park on the east side and then continue north on Highway 89 for about 30 minutes and then re-enter the park.

5. North Fork and Goat Haunt Region – this area is located on the northwestern side of Glacier National Park. North Fork is only accessible by unpaved roads and Goat Haunt requires backcountry hiking access.

  • Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

Hands down, summer is the best (and most popular) time to visit Glacier National Park. The weather is warm and all park facilities are open. However, my favorite time to visit is early to mid-September. The weather can be awesome in the fall and it is a great time to avoid the crowds and find some solitude on the trails.

  • How to Get to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana and the closest airport to Glacier National Park is Glacier Park International Airport (FCA). It is located in Kalispell which is 12 miles from the town of Whitefish and 30 miles from the West Entrance to Glacier National Park.

Another airport that you might want to check out is Missoula Montana Airport (MSO) located in Missoula about 138 miles from the West Entrance to the park.

I use Skyscanner to browse flights and find the best prices.

  • How to Get Around in Glacier National Park

Driving your car or renting a car is the best option to get around Glacier National Park. This option is the most convenient and gives you the most flexibility.

Unfortunately, if you are visiting during the summer months, finding a parking spot can be very challenging. My recommendation is to start your day early and have a lot of patience while waiting for a spot to open.

I use dicovercars.com to browse deals on rental cars.

Glacier National Park offers West and East Shuttle Service that operates on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are some pros and cons to using the shuttle. From my personal experience, the shuttle system is not very reliable. If you have to use it, then be prepared to wait in line for a long time (1-2 hours) until there is an open seat.

  • Glacier National Park has a Reservation System to Acess the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Starting in 2022, between May 27th and September 11th, from hours 6 am till 4 pm MDT, you are required to have a reservation ticket to access the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Reserve your Entrance Pass here

Several of the trailheads to easy hikes in Glacier National Park are located along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

  • Intrepid Scout’s Tip

It costs $35 to enter the park. The entrance pass is good for 7 consecutive days. If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park: West Side vs East Side of Glacier National Park

Although Glacier National Park has several regions, visitors to the park tend to stay and spend their time either around the Western Entrance to the park (west side) or on the east side of the park which has three entrances: St. Mary Entrance, Many Glacier Entrance, and Two Medicine Entrance.

Connecting the west and east side of Glacier National Park is the famous 51-mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road.

There are some pros and cons to staying on either side of the park. It all comes down to what you are looking for.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of staying on the west side vs the east side of the park.

Pros and Cons of Staying on the West Side of Glacier National Park

Staying on the west side of Glacier National Park has many advantages:

  • The closest airport to Glacier National Park is located on the west side of the park in the town of Kalispell, which is 30 miles from the West Entrance making it very convenient to stay on the west side.
  • West side has more places to stay to choose from ranging from budget to luxury. Plus, staying on the west side is less expensive!
  • There are plenty of dining options to choose from on the west side of the park. Also, as far as convenience stores, grocery stores, and gas stations, you will have lots of options.
  • Lake McDonald is situated right by the Western Entrance. If you like water activities, then this is the place for you. You can rent kayaks and paddle boards, also, fishing is pretty good here (my daughter swears by it!). Also, there are lots of picnic areas to take a break or hang out in for a day.
  • Some of the best easy family-friendly hikes are located on the west side: Johns Lake Loop Trail and Trail of the Cedars.

And, here are some disadvantages:

  • The west side of the park is more crowded. Be prepared to have company wherever you go.
  • If you are a hiker, then the east side offers more hiking options.

Pros and Cons of Staying on the East Side of Glacier National Park

There are definitely some great pros to staying on the east side of Glacier National Park:

  • The east side of Glacier National Park is more remote and secluded. If you want to escape the crowds, then head to the east side of Glacier National Park. St. Mary Valley Region will be the busiest. However, if you head to Two Medicine Valley Region (Hwy 89 south – 1-hour drive from St. Mary), or Many Glacier Valley (Hwy 89 north – 30 min drive from St.Mary), you will definitely find some solitude.
  • If you are an avid hiker, then the east side of the park offers a ton of hiking opportunities. Whether you are looking for short and easy hikes or more strenuous trails that will test your abilities, you will have plenty of choices.
  • If you are into landscape photography, then some of the best photo spots can be found on the east side of the park.

And, some disadvantages:

  • Accommodations are limited on the east side of the park. And, most of them are what I would call rustic accommodations. Also, they tend to be more expensive than on the west side of the park.
  • Dining options, grocery stores, and gas stations are limited as well. So, you need to plan ahead and stock up on groceries, etc.

Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park - West Side of Glacier

Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park – Map of West Side of Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Lodge / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Lake McDonald Lodge

288 Lake McDonald Lodge Loop, West Glacier, MT

+1 855 733 4522

Lake McDonald Lodge and Cabins is an absolutely perfect location if you are staying on the west side of Glacier National Park and you can’t beat the picture-perfect views of Lake McDonald surrounded by towering peaks.

Lake McDonald Lodge and Cabins is a historic lodge built in 1913.

The rooms at Lake McDonald Lodge and Cabins are rustic, yet comfortable. Televisions (except for the suites), air conditioning, and elevators are not available. Wifi hotspot is very limited.

There are a couple of dining options available: Jammer Joe’s Grill & Pizzeria and Russell’s Fireside Dining Room. You will also find a general store and a gift store on-site.

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Lake McDonald Lodge / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Reservations for McDonald Lodge open 13 months in advance. On the first of each month at midnight mountain time, online reservations open up for the entire month of the following year.

For example, reservations for June 2023 are released on June 1, 2022.

If you are interested in staying at Lake McDonald Lodge and Cabins, then book your stay as soon as the reservations are open.   

Belton Chalet

Belton Chalet in Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Lodge / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Belton Chalet

12575 US-2, West Glacier, MT 59936

+1 406 888 5000

If you are looking for an elegant place, then Belton Chalet is the perfect place. Belton Chalet is a charming Swiss Chalet-style hotel situated at the West Entrance to Glacier National Park.

Belton Chalet is a National Historic Landmark and one of the first lodges built by the Great Northwestern Railroad to encourage guests to arrive by train

Belton Chalet offers classic lodge rooms, honeymoon suites, and cottages.

Belton Chalet Restaurant is known for its artfully crafted dishes and it definitely is a place to book for an elegant dinner.

Great Northern Resort

Great Northern Resort

Great Northern Resort  / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Great Northern Resort

12127 US-2, West Glacier, MT 59936

+1 406 387 5340

Great Northern Resort is located right at the Western Entrance to Glacier National Park. It has log cabins, which are great, as well as a newly-built lodge.

Each cabin has a living room area with a gas fireplace, kitchen, dining area, and separate bedroom or bedrooms (up to 3 bedrooms). If you are traveling with a large group, then getting a cabin is the way to go.

Glacier Outdoor Center Cabins

Glacier Outdoor Center Cabins

12400 US-2, West Glacier, MT 59936

+1 406 888 5454

If you are looking to book a cabin for your stay in Glacier National Park, then Glacier Outdoor Center Cabins has great cabins that you should check out.

This is located right at the Western Entrance to the park so if you are exploring or hanging out on the west side of the park, it is a great place to be at.

The cabins are comfortable, nicely furnished, and clean. The entire property is well maintained. Also, they offer all kinds of activities like rafting, fishing, guided tours, etc.

Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park - East Side

Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park – Map of East Side of Glacier National Park

Many Glacier Hotel

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Many Glacier Hotel  / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Many Glacier Hotel

1 Rte 3, Babb, MT

+1 303 265 7010

Many Glacier Hotel is located in the Many Glacier Valley Region of Glacier National Park. It is situated right on Swiftcurrent Lake and offers the most picture-perfect views of the lake with impressive Grinnell Point, standing at 7,600 feet, surrounded by Angel Wing and Mount Wilbur.

Hands down, this is my favorite place to stay when I am visiting Glacier National Park! You can beat the views and the location is perfect if you are exploring the east side of the park.

Many Glacier Hotel is a historic hotel that was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914-15.

Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel  / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Many Glacier Hotel  / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

All guest rooms at Many Glacier Hotel are rustic, yet comfortable. There are no televisions or air conditioning.

As far as dining options, there is Ptarmigan Dining Room and Swiss Lounge on-site.

Many Glacier Hotel books fast! The reservations open 13 months in advance and you should make them as soon as they become available.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins

Glacier National Park

+1 855 733 4522

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins is an excellent choice if are looking for a budget place to stay in Glacier National Park. It is located in the Many Glacier Valley Region of Glacier National Park and, the best part, it is situated right next to some of the most spectacular trails in the park.

There are 95 rustic cabins some with private bathrooms and some with common bathroom facilities. And, I just want to stress that these are basic no-frill accommodations. There are no televisions, no air conditioning in the rooms, and wifi is very limited.

Swiftcurrent Restaurant is the only dining option on-site.

Reservations for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins open 13 months in advance and you need to make these reservations right when they become available, otherwise all the rooms are gone.

Glacier Park Lodge

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Glacier Park Lodge / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Glacier Park Lodge

499 MT-49, East Glacier Park Village

+1 844 868 7474

Glacier Park Lodge is located in East Glacier Park Village, just 15 minutes from Two Medicine Entrance to Glacier National Park.

If you are exploring the Two Medicine Valley Region of the park, then, hands down, it is a great place to stay. However, it will take you about 50 minutes to reach the St. Mary Entrance of the park and another 20 minutes before you get to the Many Glacier Entrance. Needless to say, the extra driving time will add additional hours to your itinerary, but when everything is booked in St. Mary or Two Medicine areas, then Glacier Park Lodge is your best choice.

This lodge offers a variety of rooms standard main lodge rooms to a standalone cottage. Make sure to check out the fully renovated rooms with upscale bathrooms for a bit of luxury after a long and strenuous hike.

The Great Northern Dining Room is a full-service restaurant on-site, which is open for breakfast and dinner (lunch can be ordered in the Empire Bar). Breakfast is often served as a buffet, but may also be ordered à la carte.

Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Rising Sun Motor Inn / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins

5 Going-to-the-Sun Rd, St Mary, MT 59417

+ 1 855 733 4522

Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins is perfectly located across the road from St.  Mary Lake and 6 miles from the St. Mary Visitor Center at the eastern edge of the park.

It was built in 1940 and renovated in 2015 and offers 72 rustic cabins and motor inn rooms. There is a full-service restaurant called Two Dog Flats Grill, a general store, and a gift shop.

It is tough to get reservations for Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins. When the reservations open 13 months in advance, you need to make them fast.

The Cottages at Glacier

The Cottages at Glacier 

300 Going-to-the-Sun Rd East, St Mary, MT 59417

+1 406 309 4231

The Cottages at Glacier are perfectly situated above St. Mary Village at the east gateway to the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

These detached cottages feature two or three bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, living rooms with fireplaces, satellite TVs, WiFi, and spacious decks (with gas grills!) from which you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Glacier National Park.

Honestly, if you can splurge a little, then do not look anywhere else. This is the place to stay!

Mountain Pine Motel

Mountain Pine Motel

909 MT-49, East Glacier Park Village, MT 59434

+1 406 226 4403

Mountain Pine Motel is located in East Glacier Park Village. It is a great place to stay if you are exploring the Two Medicine Valley Region of Glacier National Park. However, it will take you about one hour to reach the St. Mary Region of the park. Ye, if everything is booked, Mountian Pine Motel is an excellent choice.

It has 25 units and 1 house available to book. These accommodations are rustic and pretty simple no frills. However, the units are spacious, clean, and comfortable. Plus, it is a great option if you are looking for budget accommodations.

Campgrounds in Glacier National Park

Camping in Glacier National Park is a great way to experience this spectacular place.

There are 13 front country campgrounds in Glacier National Park and 8 of them are First-Come, First-Served Campgrounds, and 5 are Reservation Campgrounds.

My recommendation is to reserve a campsite as soon as you finalize your travel dates. You can reserve your campsite here.

According to my daughter, an avid hiker, fisherwoman, and die-hard camper, her favorite campsites in Glacier are:

  • Many Glacier Campground

Ok, this campsite requires reservations. It is one of the most popular campgrounds in Glacier National Park. The campground is situated in a nice area with lots of trees to give you some shade. Now, there are only 13 sites that can accommodate vehicle lengths up to 35 feet in length.

This campground has been known for spectacular wildlife viewing, like bighorn sheep, moose, and bears.

Also, the location is perfect! It is situated right next to some of the best hiking trails in Glacier National Park.

  • St. Mary Campground

This campground also requires reservations. I have to say that the views of St. Mary Lake are spectacular here and if you like sunsets that this is the perfect spot.

St. Mary Campground is the largest campground on the east side of the park. It has flushing toilets and running showers, as well as access to the visitor’s center and camp store.

  • Avalanche Campground

This campground is a frist-come, first-served campground. It is a very nice campground situated within old-growth cedar and hemlock trees, keeping the area cool during the summer months.

Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake Trails are located right by the campground.

Avalanche Campground

Avalanche Campground / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Backcountry Chalets in Glacier National Park

There are two backcountry chalets in Glacier National Park – Sperry Chalet and Granite Park Chalet:

  • Sperry Chalet is a historic landmark hotel. A stay at Sperry Chalet requires a strenuous hike, but it is all worth it! You will get a great home-cooked meal and a cozy cabin.
  • Granite Park Chalet is an even more rustic version of Sperry Chalet. Granite Park Chalet is located along the Highline Trail.
Sperry Chalet in Glacier

 Sperry Chalet has white letters that say “GNRy” on the stone wall standing for Great Northern Railway which built the chalet / Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park (West vs East Glacier)

Best Places to Stay in Glacier

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park

  • Ok, so it all depends on how many days you have reserved for Glacier National Park, but what I usually do is spend 1-2 days on the west side of Glacier National Park. And, then I move on to the east side of the park.
  • I like to stay at Lake McDonald Lodge and Cabins, but it is tough to get reservations, so I usually get a cabin at either Great Northern Resort or Glacier Outdoor Canter Cabins.
  • Once on the east side of Glacier National Park, my go-to place is the Many Glacier Hotel. Again, it is tough to get a spot at that place as well. If it is all booked, then I usually try to get a cabin at the Cottages at Glacier.

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Glacier National Park?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process for your trip to Glacier National Park!

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Best Places to Stay in Glacier
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