The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Glacier National Park

View of Valley and Mountains at Glacier National Park in Montana

“Far away in northwestern Montana, hidden from view by clustering mountain peaks, lies an unmapped corner – the Crown of the Continent.” – George Bird Grinnell (1901)

Glacier National Park in Montana is known as the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.”

The vast pristine wilderness is home to thousands of plant and animal species, including large mammals like bighorn sheep, moose, bear, and wolves. The Blackfeet people, the area’s original inhabitants, referred to it as “the backbone of the world.”

Today, the thick forests, beautiful meadows, soaring mountain peaks, and stunning alpine lakes call to outdoor lovers from around the world. With 13 drive-in campgrounds plus backcountry campsites galore, this Montana national park is a paradise for camping and backpacking.

Use our guide to camping in Glacier National Park to plan the camping trip of a lifetime!


Best Campgrounds in Glacier National Park

Tent Camping at Arrow Lake in Glacier National Park

Camping in Glacier National Park is not in short supply. There are 13 drive-in campgrounds plus an abundance of backcountry campsites. Although there are no RV hookups in the park, smaller RVs and trailers are welcome at most campgrounds. A few campgrounds can accept RVs up to 35 feet in length. If you have a big rig or prefer hookups, look at one of many RV parks just outside the park’s borders.

Apgar Campground

Apgar Campground is the largest campground in Glacier National Park. It has 194 mostly shaded, relatively private campsites. Both tents and RVs are welcome. Flush toilets and potable water are available. The campground is just a short walk away from beautiful Lake McDonald as well as nearby Apgar Village with a visitor center, restaurant, store, and more. Ranger programs are offered throughout the summer. 

All individual sites are first-come, first-served. Half of the group sites can be reserved in advance.

Learn more about Apgar Campground.

Avalanche Campground

Escape the summer heat with a stay at Avalanche Campground. Most of the 87 campsites are heavily shaded thanks to towering old growth cedar and hemlock trees. Both tents and RVs are welcome however RVs are limited to 26 feet. Flush toilets and potable water are available. The 1-mile roundtrip Trail of Cedars is a popular family hike for small children while the 4.5-mile roundtrip trail to Avalanche Lake is a nice day hike with a beautiful destination.  

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Avalanche Campground.

Bowman Lake Campground

Bowman Lake Campground is remote and secluded. It’s located in the northwestern section of the park, past the small community of Polebridge. Getting here requires a long drive down a rough narrow dirt road complete with blind turns and limited pullouts. But make the trek and you’re rewarded with 46 campsites near the shores of Bowman Lake. Vault toilets and potable water is available. Vehicles over 21 feet aren’t recommended.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Bowman Lake Campground.

Cut Bank Campground

With just 14 campsites, Cut Bank Campground is the perfect Glacier National Park campground for those that prefer a peaceful primitive camping experience. Because of the rough 5-mile dirt access road and small campsites, RVs are not recommended. Vault toilets are the only amenity available. There is no potable water here. Several day hikes are located nearby as well as trailheads for longer overnight backpacking trips.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Cut Bank Campground.

Fish Creek Campground

Fish Creek Campground is notable as the second largest campground in Glacier (after Apgar Campground) and one of only three that accept advance reservations. It’s located on the western side of the park just 2.5 miles from Apgar Village. Flush toilets, hot showers, running water, and even an RV dump station are available. Lake McDonald is just a short walk away. Both RV and tent campers are welcome with 18 sites suitable for RVs up to 35 feet.

Advance reservations are available.

Learn more about Fish Creek Campground.

Kintla Lake Campground

Kintla Lake Campground is the most remote campground in Glacier National Park. With just 14 sites and a narrow dirt access road, no vehicles over 21 feet are allowed, making this the ideal place for tent or van camping. Nearby Kintla Lake is not only beautiful to observe, but perfect for a quiet day spent in a canoe or kayak. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake. A vault toilet and potable water are available.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Kintla Lake Campground.

Logging Creek Campground

One of the smallest campgrounds in Glacier, Logging Creek Campground is a great choice for those that demand peace and quiet. The primitive campground is located near several hiking trails, including the family-friendly trail to nearby Logging Lake. Vault toilets are available, although there is no drinking water. The rough dirt access road restricts vehicles over 21 feet from using this campground.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Logging Creek Campground.

Many Glacier Campground

Many Glacier Campground is conveniently located and easily accessible. It has 109 campsites open for tent and RV camping alike. The forested setting ensures some shade. Most of the sites are spread relatively far apart for a little privacy. Flush toilets and running water are available. In the summer, ranger programs occur daily. Many Glacier is so popular in part because of its location near several of Glacier’s best hiking trails as well as the abundant of wildlife you often see just outside the campground.

Advance reservations are available.

Learn more about Many Glacier Campground.

Quartz Creek Campground

With just 7 campsites, Quartz Creek Campground is small – the smallest campground in Glacier, in fact. It’s located in the northwestern section of the park and requires a drive down a rough dirt road to access. Vehicles over 21 feet are restricted, making Quartz Creek best for tent camping. No water is available although there are vault toilets. Don’t forget your hiking boots as the 12.7-mile one-way Quartz Lake Trail can’t be beat.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Quartz Creek Campground.

Rising Sun Campground

Rising Sun Campground is simply beautiful. As implied by the name, the sunrises here over Red Eagle Mountain are amazing. The campground itself boasts 84 campsites and welcomes both tents and small RVs. Flush toilets and potable water are available. A camp store and restaurant are located within walking distance. Ranger programs and boat tours on St. Mary Lake are offered throughout the summer.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Rising Sun Campground.

Sprague Creek Campground

Sprague Creek Campground is a clean, quiet campground with lots of shade trees perfect for summer camping in Glacier National Park. It’s located on Lake McDonald and has 25 total sites perfect for tent camping. Small RVs and vans are welcome although no trailers or other towed units are allowed. Flush toilets and running water are available. A handful of the campsites have stunning unobstructed views of the lake.  

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Sprague Creek Campground.

St. Mary Campground

Located on the east side of the park, St. Mary Campground is the second largest campground in Glacier with 148 campsites. Both RVs and tent campers are welcome. A handful of sites can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet while just over 20 sites fit rigs up to 35 feet, making this one of the best places for RV camping in Glacier. Flush toilets, potable water, and hot showers are available during the peak season. St. Mary Campground is open year-round.

Advance reservations are available from June 1 to September 1. 

Learn more about St. Mary Campground.

Two Medicine Campground

Two Medicine Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds in Glacier National Park thanks to its location near the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. It has 100 total campsites with 10 that can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Flush toilets and running water are available. This campground offers ranger programs, boat tours, and easy access to a camp store and gift shop. Numerous hiking trails are located nearby.

All sites are first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Two Medicine Campground.

Backcountry Camping in Glacier National Park

Backcountry camping is a fantastic way to explore Glacier National Park. There are 65 designated backcountry campgrounds with a total of 208 backcountry campsites. Not only can these be reached by backpacking, but horse camping and even boat-in camping are also welcome. A backcountry permit is required for all overnight stays.

Learn more about backcountry camping in Glacier National Park.


Other Lodging in Glacier National Park

Hotel in Glacier National Park Montana

Camping in Glacier National Park isn’t for everyone. If you prefer indoor accommodations, you’re in luck – a variety of lodges, motels, and cabins are available.

  • Apgar Village LodgeLocated on the shores of Lake McDonald in Apgar Village, this lodge and cabins boast unforgettable views of the lake.
  • Village Inn MotelAlso located on the shores of Lake McDonald, Village Inn Motel boasts comfortable one- and two-bedroom rooms with private bathrooms, including a select few with full kitchens.
  • Lake McDonald Lodge On the eastern shores of Lake McDonald, the historic Lake McDonald Lodge offers rooms in the lodge as well as a handful of cabin rentals.
  • Motel Lake McDonaldJust off the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the shores of Lake McDonald, Motel Lake McDonald is the perfect retreat for those that prefer a rustic and quiet motel experience.
  • Many Glacier HotelThe largest hotel in Glacier National Park, the five-story Many Glacier Hotel sits on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and offers incredibly comfortable accommodations.
  • Swiftcurrent Motor InnJust past Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is known for its affordable rates (by Glacier standards), cozy rooms, and quick access to the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
  • Rising Sun Motor InnJust a hop, skip, and a jump away from St. Mary Lake, Rising Sun Motor Inn has 72 total units spread out across motel rooms and cabin rentals.
  • Sperry Chalet & Granite Park ChaletThese two backcountry chalets are perfect for those that want comfortable accommodations in a more private, remote, and quiet setting.

Additional lodging is available just outside of the park at the east and west entrances. For example, the famous Glacier Park Lodge (known as the “Big Tree Lodge”) is just minutes from the east entrance in East Glacier.


Best Things to Do in Glacier National Park

Hiker Taking in View in Glacier National Park Montana

Camping is just one part of a great Glacier National Park camping trip. Throw some additional activities and must-see destinations into the mix for an unforgettable experience.

  • Going-to-the-Sun RoadConnecting one side of the park to the other, a drive on the incredibly scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road is the quintessential Glacier National Park activity.
  • HikingOver 700 miles of hiking trails crisscross Glacier from short flat walks perfect for the whole family to grueling multi-day backpacking treks and everything else in between.
  • BikingBike camping along the Going-to-the-Sun Road is another popular activity, although bicyclists must be aware they’re sharing the often narrow, steep, and winding roads with often heavy vehicle traffic.  
  • FishingMany of the park’s lakes and rivers are open to fishing. However, it’s essential to understand where fishing is restricted and follow all park angling rules and regulations.
  • BoatingKayaking, canoeing, and motorized boating are allowed in many of Glacier’s bodies of water. There are even some boat-in backcountry camping opportunities. Do note that the water is extremely cold even in summer. Hypothermia is always a major risk.
  • Horseback RidingPrivate stock use is welcome on most trails in Glacier. Overnight backcountry horse camping is also available.
  • Guided ToursAn abundance of guided tours are offered in Glacier National Park including boat tours, bus tours, raft tours, horseback rides, and more.
  • Ranger ProgramsEnjoy a variety of ranger-led programs and activities, mostly centered around major campgrounds. These include nature walks, ranger talks, and Junior ranger programs.

One night is the bare minimum we recommend for camping in Glacier. Three nights is the perfect amount of time to explore the park’s main highlights (but, of course, even longer is almost always better!).


Want More Camping Tips?

Mountain Goat near Camping in Glacier National Park

Don’t forget to check out our other national park camping guides and best state camping guides to help plan your next camping trip!

Some of our other most popular resources include:

Our camping gear reviews will help you pick out the best gear for your next trip and our camping food and recipe ideas will ensure you’re eating nothing but the most delicious meals!

Thinking about upgrading to an RV for your Glacier camping trip? Our RV buyer’s guide breaks down the process into baby steps. Or, if you prefer to rent, our RV rental guide will help you find the perfect RV rental for your next family camping road trip.

For help with any other camping questions, please reach out to us in the comments below – we’d love to help!

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