Where Should I Stay in Glacier National Park? - My Yellowstone Park

Filled with granite peaks, turquoise alpine lakes and stunning valleys, Glacier National Park is a place you could spend a whole summer in and barely scratch the surface. Inside the park are nine different lodging options divided between the west side and east side. They range from rustic chalets only accessible by foot to grand lodges built in the early 1900s. Trying to decide where to stay can be stressful, so we did the research for you. Make your reservations based on which accommodations best fit your needs.

West Side

I want to be in Lake McDonald Village.

  • I want to stay in a historic hotel - 1
  • Simple and scenic fits my style - 2

I want to stay in Apgar.

  • Give me a motel with breathtaking views from my bed - 3
  • I want to cook in my own cabin - 4

It’s backcountry or bust for me.

  • I want to hike to a chalet staffed by a chef - 5
  • I want to hike to a do-it-yourself chalet - 6

East Side

Put me on Going-to-the-Sun Road.

  • Six miles west of St. Mary Visitor’s Center - 7

I want to be in Many Glacier.

  • Give me a grand hotel in a secluded setting - 8
  • Simple and secluded is for me - 9

1. Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge

Ten miles from the West Glacier Entrance on Going-to-the-Sun Road lies Lake McDonald Lodge, a grand rustic but elegant Swiss-style hotel built on the eastern shores of Lake McDonald in 1913.

With spectacular views and access to trails and boat and Red Bus tours, and an oversized fireplace in the lobby, you may not miss the fact that the lodge and accommodations do not have TVs, AC or elevators.

Home to 82 guest rooms, the lodge offers rooms in the three-story main lodge, separate cabins, the eight-room, dormitory-style Snyder Hall and the Cobb House, which has three suites. Each suite has a sitting area, one queen bed, sleeper sofa and private bath.

Renovated in 2015, the main lodge rooms have 1-2 queen beds and private baths. The cabins, which are duplex or six-plex cabins, also were renovated in 2015. Choose from a variety of bed configurations offered at different price points. It’s important to note that there are no connecting doors between cabin rooms.

2. Motel Lake McDonald

Sharing the majestic views of Lake McDonald with Lake McDonald Lodge is the Motel Lake McDonald off of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Both are located in the southwest region of the park, just 10 miles from the West Glacier Entrance and 40 miles from St. Mary.

The motel does not have the weight of early park history infused in its architecture like its historic neighbor. But it offers an affordable alternative. It sprung up during the 1950s when the park service was racing to construct lodging to keep pace with a burgeoning population of avid park goers. The result was two 1950s-style, two story buildings. The second floor is only accessible by an outdoor staircase. All rooms have either one or two double beds and some rooms are ADA accessible.

It’s located just 300 yards from the Lake McDonald Lodge, so you have easy access by foot to the restaurants in the lodge as well as a camp store and the Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria. It’s open early June through mid-September.

3. Village Inn Motel

Village Inn in Glacier National Park

Village Inn in Glacier National Park

Just two miles into the park lies Apgar Village and the Village Inn Motel. Built in 1956 but renovated in 2015, every room in the Village Inn Motel offers breathtaking views of Lake MacDonald through huge windows. The inn motel is a two-story building that sits right on the shores of the turquoise-colored Lake McDonald. It’s starting room price is a little more expensive than the Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins, but it’s the views that keep people talking about this vintage hotel long after they leave.

Watch the sunrise over the lake from your balcony as you sip coffee from an Adirondack-style chair. Or view the sunset over the mountains at the end of the day. Below the lake is lapping at the sandy beach. The inn motel opens in late May and closes in early October, depending on weather.

On the first floor, you’ll find one-bedroom, full-kitchen units equipped with basic utensils, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and stove and oven. Upstairs, there are one-to-three bedroom units that accommodate up to six people. None of these have kitchen units. There is a family unit that has two rooms and sleeps up to five people and another that features three rooms and sleeps up to six. The second-floor units are accessible only by stairs.

There is one ADA-compliant family unit with a kitchen available on the property. And one ADA-compliant standard room. There’s no TVs, or air conditioning or phones in any of the rooms.

4. Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins

Just two miles into the park on the west side is Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins. These accommodations feature several options, depending on your budget and group size. None of them have TVs or air-conditioning.

The least inexpensive option is the lodge motel-style rooms that feature a private bathroom and one-to-two queen-sized beds. They are basic accommodations but put you in a fantastic location in the park.

If you want to stay in a cabin, choose between a cabin with or without a kitchen or super-size your options and go for a family cabin. Cabins without kitchens are less expensive and basic. Cabins with fully equipped kitchens also come with a living/dining area and a coffee maker and a choice of room and bedding arrangements. Family cabins are the most expensive option and are larger, catering to families. The family cabins come with a fully-equipped kitchen, and a loft sleeping area for smaller kids.

The Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins is home to the largest gift shop in the park called the Cedar Tree Gift Shop. Yet, you won’t just find souvenirs like hats and key chains. The shop features sculptures and paintings from local artists. You also can order ice cream and espresso from the shop’s walk-up window or inside at the coffee and ice cream counter.

5. Sperry Chalet

Sperry Chalet

Sperry Chalet

You used to be able to get away from it all at the Sperry Chalet. The chalet sat on the west side of Gunsight Mountain and overlooked Lake McDonald and the Whitefish Range. However, the 2017 wildfire in Glacier destroyed the gorgeous historic structure on Aug.  31.

 Accessible only by trail, the native stone-covered Sperry Chalet was built in 1913 by father and son duo James and Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway, the main developer of Glacier National Park. There are efforts under way to raise money to rebuild the chalet. You can donate to the Glacier National Park Conservancy to help rebuild the Sperry Chalet.  

Back in the day, travelers relaxed and left the cooking to chalet staff. Yes, the chalet came with chefs who served three meals to you per overnight stay. There were beds with warm blankets, so there was need to bring a sleeping bag or an insulated sleeping pad.

Starting at the Lake McDonald Lodge, travelers had to hike a minimum of 6.7 miles to reach the chalet, ascending 3,300 feet in this uphill climb that averaged about 4.5 hours. The good news was you were rewarded with views that are world-class on every stretch of the trail. 

For really advanced hikers, the chalet also could be reached from the Gunsight Pass trail, which leaves from Jackson Glacier Viewpoint on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This hikes covers 13.5 miles of sometimes really treacherous terrain. The east side of Gunsight Pass has extremely dangerous exposure as there are steep snowfields that end in cliffs. One slip could mean serious or fatal injury. The pass remains covered in snow until late July, so if you are an expert hiker and take this route before mid-July, you will need ice axes, strong self-arresting skills that you have practiced and experienced hiking companions who also have ice axes and are well-versed in using them. Check the National Park site for updates as snowfall and conditions vary season-to-season, week-to-week.

6. Granite Park Chalet

Pack Mules in front of Granite Park Chalet

Pack mules in front of Granite Park Chalet.

Nestled in heart of Glacier National Park at 6,693 feet, the Granite Park Chalet was built in 1914-15 by the Great Northern Railway, which is responsible for much of the early development in Glacier National Park. This historic stone cabin lets you get away from it all with no electricity (although the kitchen and dining room have propane lights), no running water and no heat. It’s porch offers great views of Heavens Peak and from it, you can look for wildlife.

Unlike its sister Sperry Chalet, it does not come with a chef. However, you can order the food you will be cooking in advance and staff will deliver it to the chalet, so it’s there by the time you arrive. The kitchen is well-equipped with 12 burners, two oven stoves and pots and pans and utensils, so it’s an easy place to whip on your gourmet creations. However, you may want to think about your menu in advance and plan to cook meals that don’t require exhaustive cleaning up afterwards. And you do need to pack out any garbage you create. You must hike a quarter of a mile to haul your water back for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Be sure to treat the water if you are drinking stream water.

Everyone gets a private room and you decide how much bedding you want to carry up with you. If you don’t want to carry anything, you can order linen service to avoid having to haul up your own sheets and sleeping bag. It cost $20 in 2017 for the linen package, which includes sheets, pillows, pillow case and blankets.

There are three ways to get to Granite Park Chalet. The most popular route, which doesn’t open until the first week of July, depending on weather, is The Highline Trail. You’ll start at the trailhead west of Logan Pass Visitor Center and hike on trail for 7.6 miles before you reach the chalet.

For those who are afraid of heights, it’s good to know that after you have hiked about a quarter of a mile, you will find yourself on a trail 4-6 feet wide. On one side is a 100-foot cliff and on the other is the Garden Wall. There is a hand cable along the wall during this steep section that is short but dramatic. The park service rates the trail as easy to moderate.

The shortest way to the chalet is The Loop Trail, which is 4 miles, although you do gain 2,300 feet during the trek. The trailhead is on the Going-to-the-Sun Road eight miles west of the Logan Pass. On The Loop Trail, you’ll see evidence of the epic 2003 fire that burned 136,000 acres within the park, making it the most significant fire season in Glacier’s history.

The most challenging trail to the chalet is the Swiftcurrent Trail, which takes you on 7.5 miles of stunning scenery, including that of Sherburne Valley, and up 2,285 feet. The trailhead is located at the west end of Swiftcurrent Store parking lot in Many Glacier. It’s one mile west of Many Glacier Hotel.

7. Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins

Rising Sun Motor Inn in Glacier National Park

Rising Sun Motor Inn in Glacier National Park

Built in 1940, the Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins are located along Going-to-the-Sun Road six miles west of St. Mary Visitor’s Center, 12 miles from Logan Pass where you are more than likely to spot mountain goats off the trail and a quarter-mile stroll from St. Mary Lake.

Choose between three different accommodations: Store Motel Room, Cabin Room or Motor Inn Room. The decor is reminiscent of a 1950s-era motel. All have private bathrooms.

8. Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park

Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park

There’s only one road to this hotel accessed from the east side of the park. Because you cannot get to it from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, it has an extra remote feeling.

Built in 1914-15 and partially renovated in 2016, the Many Glacier Hotel is the largest hotel in the park with 205 guest rooms, plus seven family rooms and two suites. The five-story hotel presides over Swiftcurrent Lake in an area known as the “Switzerland of North America.” And there’s plenty of cultural nods to this area’s Swiss-like landscape, including Heidi’s Snack Shop and the Swiss Lounge.

The Ptarmigan Dining Room was renovated in 2011 to restore its historic features and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the lounge located in the Ptarmigan Dining Room, you can order locally inspired drinks like “At Day’s End” that consists of lemongrass infused Trailhead Spirits Great North Vodka (from Billings, Mont.), fresh squeezed lemon juice, grapefruit syrup and sage leaf or the “Trail Crew Mule” that is made with Headframe Spirits High Ore Vodka (out of Butte, Mont.), citrus simple syrup, ginger beer and lime.

9. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in Glacier National Park

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in Glacier National Park

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabin a mile from the hotel. Choose between rustic cabins and motel inn-style rooms with or without private bathrooms. Beyond enjoy miles of spectacular hiking trails, including the Ptarmigan Tunnel built to help hikers and horseback riders avoid a treacherous section of trail.

For Lodging Reservations:

Glacier National Park Lodges/Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Operates the Village Inn Motel, Lake McDonald Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, and Many Glacier Hotel.

Glacier Park Inc. 

Operates the Apgar Village Lodge and Motel Lake McDonald.

Belton Chalets

Operates Sperry Chalet and Granite Park Chalet.

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