There's nothing quite like the refreshing feeling of climbing out of your tent in Glacier National Park and brushing your teeth as morning sunlight filters through lush forest … and then seeing your brother has strung several of your undergarments high in a nearby tree as a joke. I still remember how hard my brother laughed at the look on my face.
Campers can choose from 13 public campgrounds (a combined 1,000-plus sites):
- Kintla Lake
- Bowman Lake
- Quartz Creek
- Logging Creek
- Fish Creek
- Many Glacier
- Sprague Creek
- St. Mary
- Rising Sun
- Cut Bank
- Two Medicine
Fish Creek on GNP's West side and St. Mary on the East side of Going-To-The-Sun-Road, fill up fast every summer. They are the only two GNP campgrounds that can be reserved online up to a year in advance.
Fish Creek, St. Mary, and popular Many Glacier have more than 150 sites but only 25 or less of those sites are designated for RVs. Keep in mind that GNP does not offer water, sewer, or electrical outlets within Park boundaries and restricts generator usage. No showers are available but flush toilets and portable water access is offered.
Both Fish Creek and nearby Apgar, GNP's largest campground, offer great access to day hikes and horseback riding and are just steps away from Lake McDonald.
For more great day hikes, check out Rising Sun campground which is the starting point for hikes east of Logan Pass. Token showers are available.
Avalanche accommodates tent as well as limited number of RV campers and offers great trail access to one of GNP's most popular trails for families, Trail of the Cedars (handicapped accessible).
South of Avalanche, tent campers enjoy Sprague Creek in spite of frequent traffic on Going-To-The-Sun-Road. RV and other towed vehicles are not allowed in this small campsite due to road configuration. Get there early to claim a picnic table for lunch!
Lake Bowman, situated in GNP's North Fork area, about 30 miles from Canada, is an excellent spot for campers who want to fish, kayak, and canoe. After a full day, Lake Bowman also tends to offer a bit more solitude than some of the more populated GNP campgrounds. Pit toilets and running water are available, and RV and truck/trailer camping is not advised due to narrow, windy dirt roads.
The smallest and most primitive GNP campground is Quartz Creek, just South of Lake Bowman. There's a great 12-mile roundtrip hike to Quartz Lake from the site. Pit toilets are available but there is no running water.
It's wise to check with the National Park Service or GNP officials and Visitor Centers regarding campground closures for weather or bear activity.
Be sure to plan ahead and comply with all designated campground rules, including pet and food storage regulations.
Oh, and remember, keep a close eye on your undergarments if you're camping with family members like my brother. Happy Camping!
More information on Camping in and around Glacier.
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