Which Campground Should I Stay at in Glacier National Park?
Here’s everything you need to know to choose the best campsite in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park has the nickname “Crown of the Continent” and it couldn’t be more true. With glaciers glistening like shining jewels, shockingly blue streams and waterfalls cascading into meadows filled with tiny summer flowers, this mountainous park on the Canadian border feels touched with royalty. The best way to experience this gorgeous park is by staying at one of its campgrounds. You’ll be close to nature with star-filled skies overhead looking like a blanket of glitter at night, and chilly mornings perfect for huddling around a campfire with a hot drink watching wildlife stroll by when you stay at one of the park’s 13 designated campgrounds. It makes it easy to enjoy the picture perfect scenery and explore the trails.
Another bonus to camping is that it helps you avoid the park’s timed-entry reservation system. In summer 2023, the park requires advanced reservations for much of Glacier including Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and the North Fork Area. If you already have a camping reservation, however, you won’t need a timed-entry reservation for the area of the park your campsite is in. Do note, you will need reservations if you plan to explore other areas of the park.
Camping in Glacier is very popular and it can be hard to find a campsite, especially without a reservation. Most of Glacier’s campgrounds can be reserved six months in advance on a rolling basis on recreation.gov. For your best chance of getting a campsite, reserve as soon as your desired dates open. A few campsites are released four days ahead of time, so it is worth checking for last minute availability. Six of Glacier’s more remote campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites fill quickly, especially on weekends, so it’s a good idea to arrive early if you’re hoping to snag one. You can also sign up for text alerts to know when one of these campgrounds is full by texting GNPGCS to 333111.
Ready to make some s’mores? Here’s everything you need to know about camping in Glacier.
West Side Campgrounds (Apgar and Polebridge Entrances)
Apgar Village Campground
The biggest campground in the park and one of the only ones that can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length, Apgar is a popular and bustling campground at Apgar Village. You’ll be close to the visitor center, gift shops, a camp store and a restaurant on the southern end of Lake McDonald.
Restrooms with flush toilets and free showers are available for campers and there’s a seasonal dump station and potable water on site. Two sites are wheelchair accessible and evening ranger programs at the amphitheater are a highlight of staying here. The campground is open year round, but water and restrooms close in the winter. Reservations are required when the campground is fully operational, usually late April through early October. Reserve your campsite at recreation.gov.
Fish Creek Campground
Another large campground located near Apgar Village, Fish Creek is on the shores of Lake McDonald. This campground truly caters to all campers with sites that can accommodate rigs up to 35 feet in length and a dump station for RVers, several wheelchair accessible sites, restrooms and showers for those with mobility issues and a dedicated generator-free loop for tent campers. Open late May through early September, reserve sites online at recreation.gov.
Sprague Creek Campground
This small and peaceful campground is located on the shores of Lake McDonald, right off Going-to-the-Sun Road. Check campsite details before picking, as you won’t want to miss the sites with unobstructed views of the lake. This campground is best for tent campers and doesn’t allow towed vehicles, but if you have a small camper van less than 21 feet in length, this campground can accommodate it. Generators are prohibited, but flush toilets, potable water and a dump station are available. Make reservations to stay here mid-May through mid-September on recreation.gov.
Avalanche Creek Campground
One of the most popular campgrounds in the park, Avalanche Creek is located along the beautiful Going-to-the-Sun Road. Staying here makes it easy to hit the trails early and before the crowds for popular hikes to Avalanche Lake and along Logan Pass. This RV friendly campground can accommodate rigs up to 26 feet in length in many sites and a seasonal dump station and potable water make it easy to camp with your home on wheels. Flush toilets are also available seasonally.
One wheelchair accessible site is available. All sites must be reserved in advance at recreation.gov. This campground is open mid-July through mid-September.
Logging Creek Campground
NOTE: Logging Creek Campground is closed in 2023.
South of the Polebridge Ranger Station, this first-come, first-served campground only has seven campsites. RVs aren’t recommended and you won’t find drinking water here, but water can be filtered from Logging Creek or brought in with you. Seasonal pit-toilets are available when the campground is open, usually late June through October.
Quartz Creek Campground
This tiny, first-come, first-served campground is located south of Polebridge, in the park’s North Fork area. Seven campsites offer a remote and quiet experience for tent campers—RVs are not recommended because the road to get there is rough. Usually open late June through October, there’s no potable water here but drinking and cooking water can be filtered from the creek or brought with you. Seasonal pit-toilets are available.
Bowman Lake Campground
Just south of the Canadian border, you’ll find this small campground in the North Fork area of the park. A slow and bumpy dirt road leads to the campground so trailers aren’t recommended. Pitch your tent on the shores of Bowman Lake tucked into the trees to enjoy the serenity. There are pit-toilets and seasonal potable water for drinking here. Campsites are first-come, first-served and open mid-May through early September most years.
Kintla Lake Campground
When all other campgrounds in the park fill up, Kintla Lake Campground is a great last resort. Lacking in popularity due to its remote location in the northwesternmost portion of the park, it makes up for the trek to get to it with pretty lakeside views. The road to get to the campground is rough, so RVs aren’t recommended. Seasonal drinking water and pit-toilets are available and tent campers can find first-come, first-served sites open early June through early September.
East Side Campgrounds (St. Mary, Many Glacier and Two Medicine Entrances)
St. Mary Campground
This big campground on Glacier’s eastern side is great for RVers as a few sites can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet in length and many can accommodate up to 35 feet. One of the few campgrounds in the park open year round, you’ll find yourself inside an aspen forest close to all the amenities of the St. Mary area including a few restaurants, the St. Mary Visitor Center and easy access to Going-to-the-Sun Road and the lake. If you’re a tent camper and prefer the peace and quiet to generator noise, stay in A Loop which is designated generator-free. A dump station, potable water, flush toilets and free showers for campers are available at the campground. Reservations are required in the summer from mid-May through mid-September and can be made on recreation.gov. All sites are first-some, first-served the remainder of the year.
Rising Sun Campground
Along the shores of St. Mary Lake on the eastern side of the park, this campground is usually open from early June through early September. Some sites are protected and in the trees while others are out in the open, prone to cool breezes. This campground is aptly named as sunrises are particularly gorgeous here when the morning light hits Red Eagle Mountain.
Small rigs can fit in a few sites at this campground, as long as they’re under 25 feet in length. This is the only first-come, first-served campground in the park that can accommodate RVs. Do note, sites 49-84 prohibit generators. There’s a dump station here, along with potable water. There’s one wheelchair accessible site and restrooms with flush toilets and coin-op showers. This campground is first-come, first-served.
Many Glacier Campground
You’ll find the Many Glacier Campground at the end of a picturesque road in the northeast corner of the park, approximately 10 miles from the Canadian border. Home to the stately Many Glacier Lodge and incredible views across Swiftcurrent Lake, this area of the park feels like you’ve been transported to the Alps. The most popular activity in this part of the park is hiking and many gorgeous trails leave from the area. Several campsites can accommodate vehicles up to 35 feet in length and a seasonal dump station, potable water, coin-op showers and flush toilets make this large campground a popular choice for campers. If you’re tent camping and don’t want to hear generators, stay in sites 48-59, 71 and 88-102 which are designated generator-free.
Reservations are required when full services are available at this campground, early June through mid-September. This campground is often open with a primitive status through the end of October.
Cut Bank Campground
Located on the east side of the park, between St. Mary and Two Medicine, Cut Bank is a tiny, 14-site campground that’s only suitable for tents. You’ll find sites tucked amongst the trees with a nearby trailhead offering immediate sweeping views of the surrounding peaks. You can keep hiking to hit Medicine Grizzly Lake, six miles down the trail, but even a short walk is rewarding. Bring your own water as you won’t find any here, but seasonal pit-toilets are available. This campground is first-come, first-served but was closed in 2021 and 2022. Its opening date hadn’t been announced at the time of publication.
Two Medicine Campground
This pretty campground next to Two Medicine Lake, 13 miles from East Glacier, offers campers great opportunities for hiking, boat tours and just relaxing in nature. Treed sites offer some degree of privacy and RVs up to 35 feet in length are allowed in several sites. Find a seasonal dump station, potable water and restrooms with flush toilets at the campground. Tent campers will want to choose sites 1-36 as they are designated generator-free.
Sites must be reserved in advance for the summer season at recreation.gov, typically late May through mid-September. Primitive, first-come, first-served camping may extend through October, depending on weather.
Is Glacier National Park RV Friendly?
There are plenty of campgrounds in Glacier that can accommodate small and mid-size RVs and Apgar and St. Mary campgrounds can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet in length. Otherwise, Fish Creek, Avalanche Creek, Sprague Creek, Rising Sun, Many Glacier and Two Medicine campgrounds can fit varying sizes of RVs and camper vans. Camping in Glacier in your RV is a fun and family friendly experience you won’t want to miss.
Do note that all of Glacier’s campgrounds are dry, meaning no electric, water or sewer hookups. Potable water is available at most campgrounds in the summer along with toilets and dump stations. Generator use is permitted in most campgrounds around breakfast, lunch and dinner time. See below for more information on generators and get more RV tips here.
Glacier Camping Rules
Can I Camp Anywhere in Glacier National Park?
No, you can’t just camp wherever you like inside the park. Camping is limited to designated campgrounds, or backcountry sites only. Sleeping in your car in parking lots and pullouts inside the park isn’t allowed either. If you want to camp in the backcountry in Glacier, you can reserve wilderness permits on recreation.gov (www.recreation.gov/permits/4675321) starting on March 15.
Do I Need Bear Spray in Glacier?
Glacier National Park is in the heart of grizzly bear country and is also home to black bears. Because of this, it’s important to practice bear safety when you’re camping, hiking or sightseeing in the park. While you’re less likely to have a surprise encounter with a bear in your campground than on a trail, it’s still a good idea to keep your bear spray handy at camp and know how to use it. When hiking, make sure every member of your group has bear spray accessible at all times.
At camp, you’re required to store all food, scented items (toothpaste, chapstick, etc.), trash and anything that has touched food (cookware, plates, etc.) in your campsite’s storage locker, in an approved bear canister or in your locked vehicle except while actively using these items. Never burn trash as it can attract bears and other animals.
Can I Have a Campfire in Glacier?
Campfires are allowed in the park, as long as there are no fire restrictions in place and they are kept to designated fire rings. You can buy firewood at most camp stores and it’s a good idea to buy where you’re going to burn to avoid spreading invasive species like pine beetles. Firewood collecting is only allowed in a few spots in the park, so don’t gather from your campground.
Put all fires out completely before going to bed and be sure to check local fire restrictions before arriving at your campground.
Can I Use a Generator in Glacier?
There are no electrical hookups in Glacier, so generator use is permitted at certain times of the day at most campgrounds. You can use your generator from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., noon to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. All other times of day and night generators must be kept off.
No generators are allowed at Cut Bank and Sprague campgrounds, The C Loop at Fish Creek and the A Loop at St. Mary. Many Glacier prohibits generators in sites 48-59, 71 and 88-102. At Rising Sun, generators aren’t allowed in sites 49-84 and at Two Medicine sites 1-36 are designated generator-free.