Glacier Park is filled with huge scenery crowned by its hulking peaks and glaciers. The park in northern Montana is also part of the US/Canada border-straddling Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a United Nations World Heritage Site. Visitors will find lodging both inside the park and in nearby towns like West Glacier and Columbia Falls.
Unlike many national parks in the United States, Glacier is home to numerous in-park lodges. The park's six lodges are operated by two individual management companies. Glacier Park Inc. operates the bulk of the hotels and runs the Village Inn Motel, Lake McDonald Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and the Many Glacier Hotel. The Apgar Village Lodge located just outside of West Glacier village is independently run. The lodges are located around the park and are open during the greater summer season between May through September. They tend to book fast, particularly in the high months of July and August. Reservations for Glacier Park Inc. properties are taken 14 months in advance and those for Apgar Village and those for Apgar Village Lodge are taken a year in advance.
In addition to its network of lodges, Glacier Park has two backcountry chalets accessible only by trail. Both the Granite Park and Sperry chalets are run by Belton Chalets. Granite Park is on the west side of the Continental Divide, accessible by several trails including Highline and Loop. Farther west in the park, the Sperry Chalet is accessible via the Sperry and Gunsight Pass trails. The Granite Park Chalet is the more rustic of the two, requiring guests to prepare their own meals. The Sperry comes with a three-meal plan, and all meals are prepared. Both lodges have very short summer seasons.
West Glacier Resorts
Several large activity-based lodging properties line Glacier National Park's west border in the village of West Glacier. The Smoky Bear Ranch is a property that offers lodge rooms, cabins and tipis and activities like fishing, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and floating. The Great Northern Resort is based around activities like whitewater rafting and fly fishing, calling itself "Glacier Park's adventure resort." Great Northern is home to log cabin accommodations.
Columbia Falls Resorts
Eighteen miles southwest of the West Glacier entrance of Glacier park is Columbia Falls, another gateway town to Glacier. Along with its proximity to Glacier, Columbia Falls is between the park and Whitefish, home to Whitefish ski resort. Similar to those in West Glacier, resorts in Columbia Falls are based around outdoor activities. Meadow Lake Resort is a property with an 18-hole golf course and spa that offers hotel, condo and vacation home accommodations. The Columbia Mountain Cabins Retreat, on a 30-acre estate, includes five cabins.
- Sunrise at Glacier National Park image by Raj T from Fotolia.com