Known as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park is a must-add destination to your bucket list. Situated on the Montana-Canada border, this park offers snow-capped peaks, stunning waterfalls, glacial blue waters and verdant green vegetation. While you can explore many parts of Glacier in your RV, there are a few things that are important to take note of before you head north. Size restrictions apply in some campgrounds and on Going to the Sun Road, so read on before you make the commitment to explore the park in your RV.
Choosing a Campsite
Most of Glacier National Park’s campgrounds are first-come, first-served, and many fill up early in the summer months. If you have your eye on one of these campgrounds, make sure to get there well before checkout time at 12 p.m. MST for your best chance at getting a spot.
If you prefer to have the peace of mind of an advanced reservation, you can make one at Fish Creek, St. Mary or Many Glacier via www.recreation.gov. All of these campgrounds can accommodate RVs, but make sure to check the specs of your campsite at Many Glacier before reserving – some of their sites can only accommodate vehicles under 21 feet long.
Do You Need a Full Hookup?
Camping at Glacier National Park is a true primitive camping experience. Water, sewer and electricity hookups are not available at any sites within the park. Dump stations, however, are available at many locations in the park including the Glacier, Many Glacier and St. Mary campgrounds.
If you need a hookup, or are worried about getting a first come first served site, try St. Mary KOA (koa.com/campgrounds/st-mary/) or Johnson’s of St. Mary (johnsonsofstmary.squarespace.com/) near the East entrance to the park, or Glacier Haven RV & Campground (www.glaciercampground.com/glacier-park-cabin-and-tent-site-accommodations-and-rates/ ) or Glacier Campground (www.glaciercampground.com/glacier-park-cabin-and-tent-site-accommodations-and-rates/) near the West entrance to the park.
Glacier National Park is strict on noise pollution and limits generator use in all campgrounds. Generators are not allowed to be used in parts of the Fish Creek, Many Glacier, Rising Sun, St. Mary and Two Medicine campgrounds and are not allowed to be used anywhere in the Sprague Creek or Cutbank campgrounds.
In all other camping sites, generator usage is only allowed between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and between 5 pm and 7 p.m.
Driving Going to the Sun Road
Going to the Sun Road is one of the most iconic drives in the United States, but there are a few things to be aware of before attempting it in your RV.
- Size restrictions apply on Going to the Sun Road. Your vehicle cannot be longer than 21 feet, including bumpers and no wider than 8 feet, including mirrors. It is also recommended that your vehicle is no taller than 10 feet, as you may encounter issues over that height with low rock overhangs.
- Going to the Sun is a long, alpine road with steep drop offs. Traffic can often choke up. If you are afraid of heights, or nervous to drive in these conditions, there are a few options that make it easier!
If you’re scared of heights, drive the road from east to west so that you’re in the lane closest to the wall, not the drop off!
If driving Going to the Sun Road does not appeal to you, jump on a vintage 1930s red bus and take a guided tour of Going to the Sun Road with someone else at the wheel. Book your tour here: www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/red-bus-tours
Be Bear Aware
Glacier National Park is home to both black and grizzly bears. Be smart while camping to avoid attracting bears to your camp: don’t leave food unattended and store any food item, container that touched or held food (including clean cookware) and trash in a food locker or hung both day and night. When hiking, it’s safest to stay in groups and carry bear spray. Ensure you’re frequently making loud noise such as clapping or calling out so as not to surprise a bear. If you do see a bear, make sure to keep your distance!
With these five tips, you’ll be ready to explore this amazing national park in your RV!