Glacier National Park is a remote wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. Here you’ll experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular alpine lakes. Iceburg Lake is one of my favorites. Glacier National Park has about two dozen active glaciers, which researchers have estimated will all be gone by the year 2100.
Places to Stay While Visiting Glacier
Glacier is a park that is best experienced from staying inside the park. You’ll get to take advantage of the early mornings and late evenings without the need to travel back out of the park. There are a couple places to stay within the park, most surrounding Lake MacDonald. However, it should be noted that these in-the-park accomodations fill up very quickly. They recommend making reservations 13 months in advance.
If you decide to stay out of the park for whatever reason, the towns of Whitefish and Columbia Falls both have a good bit of Airbnbs available. Both towns are about 30 minutes away from the park’s entrance.
VISIT Glacier National Park:
Glacier National Park was established on May 11, 1910, and has a total area of 1,013,129 acres (1,583 square miles, or 4,102 square kilometers).
|Address||64 Grinnell Drive, West Glacier, MT, 59936|
|Hours||Open 24 hours a day, but the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons may bring massive closures due to snowfall.|
|Entrance Fee||$35 (summer), $25 (winter) - valid for 7 days|
|Learn More||Official Website|
When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation
Glacier National Park is the 31st most visited park in the country.
The park is open year-round, but park conditions and accessible areas vary greatly by season. Most businesses and services are only open during Glacier's summer season, which generally runs from late May through September. With services very limited in winter, visitors need to plan ahead and be entirely self-sufficient. Most business and services in and near the park are closed from early October through late May.
Conditions permitting, Going-to-the-Sun Road usually remains fully open until the third Monday in October. The visitor centers close in late September and early October. Restrooms at the Apgar Visitor Center remain open year-round.
Using Historical Data to Predict
We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Glacier National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Glacier National Park is.
Our data shows the best months to visit Glacier National Park are July, August & September.
Glacier National Park Road Trips
Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Glacier National Park is visited.
|Trip Name||Trip Miles||Trip Days|
|Continental Divide National Historic Trail RV Road Trip||2,315||14|
|South to North, Arizona to Montana & Saguaro to Glacier||2,120||14|
|Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton & Craters of the Moon||1,188||11|
|Glacier to Canadian Banff & Kootenay||1,035||9|
Other Nearby National Park Sites
From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Glacier National Park.
|Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site||165 mi|
|Kootenay National Park||195 mi|
|Jasper National Park||202 mi|
|Banff National Park||210 mi|
|Big Hole National Battlefield||215 mi|
|Nez Perce National Historical Park||226 mi|
|Yoho National Park||234 mi|
Nearby Campsites & RV Parks
If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Glacier National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.
|St. Mary Lake - Glacier National Park||St Mary, MT more||0 miles|
|Rising Sun - Glacier National Park||St Mary, MT more||5 miles|
|Many Glacier - Glacier National Park||Babb, MT more||11 miles|
|Avalanche Creek - Glacier National Park||West Glacier, MT more||18 miles|
|Police Outpost Provincial Park||Aetna, AB more||18 miles|
|Two Medicine - Glacier National Park||East Glacier Park, MT more||18 miles|
|Belly River - Waterton Lakes National Park||Waterton Park, AB more||22 miles|
|Sprague Creek - Glacier National Park||West Glacier, MT more||22 miles|
|Payne Lake Provincial Rec Area||Mountain View, AB more||26 miles|
|Fish Creek - Glacier National Park||West Glacier, MT more||28 miles|
Nearest Ski Resorts
For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Glacier National Park:
|Whitefish Mountain||Whitefish, MT||6,817 ft||67%||52 mi|
|Teton Pass||Choteau, MT||7,200 ft||33%||59 mi|
|Blacktail Mountain||Lakeside, MT||6,780 ft||44%||67 mi|
|Pass Powderkeg||Blairmore, AB||5,183 ft||32%||75 mi|
|Castle Mountain||Pincher Creek, AB||7,463 ft||82%||76 mi|
When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Glacier National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.
A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Glacier National Park.
|Calgary International Airport||YYC||Calgary, AB||165 mi|
|Edmonton International Airport||YEG||Edmonton, AB||315 mi|
A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Glacier National Park.
|Glacier Park International Airport||FCA||Kalispell, MT||48 mi|
|Lethbridge County Airport||YQL||Lethbridge, AB||67 mi|
|Cranbrook/Canadian Rockies International Airport||YXC||Cranbrook, BC||121 mi|
|Great Falls International Airport||GTF||Great Falls, MT||129 mi|
|Missoula International Airport||MSO||Missoula, MT||130 mi|
|Medicine Hat Airport||YXH||Medicine Hat, AB||150 mi|
|Helena Regional Airport||HLN||Helena, MT||163 mi|
Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.