From camping and rustic cabins to more luxurious lodges, the accommodation options in Glacier National Park offer a wide range of possibilities. You'll be treated to stunning views, abundant wildlife, and many outdoor activities regardless of where you stay. So, what are you waiting for, get booking!
Where is Glacier National Park?
Before we tackle the question of where to stay in Glacier National Park, let's talk about where it is. Canada has one and the United States has one, so it might get confusing. Is Glacier National Park in the United States or in Canada?
Well, sort of both!
Glacier National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is part of the Rockies that runs along northwestern Montana of the United States and Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, which forms the larger Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The Canadian side of Glacier National Park resides in the province of British Columbia.
It's also part of the massive Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains that separates two distinct drainage system into two different oceans in the west (into the Pacific Ocean) and east (into the Hudson Bay & Mississippi River).
7 Best Places to Stay in Glacier National Park, B.C.!
There's much love to the places you can stay in the United States part of the park, so I thought I'd give the Canadian side some love!
Glacier National Park is a beautiful Canadian national park located in the province of British Columbia (BC). The park is home to some of the most stunning scenery in North America, with its towering mountains, pristine lakes, and lush forests.
When choosing a place to stay in Glacier National Park, your decision will depend on several factors. First, your budget. Camping and the more rustic cabins and motels are the cheapest options in the park, and the lodges will require a little more cash.
Once you know what type of Glacier National Park lodging fits your budget, consider your preferred location. Amenities are also important. Are indoor and private bathrooms vital to you? What about a fitness center or hot tub?
Each option has pros and cons, and we'll explore from basic to luxury as we answer the question: Where to stay in Glacier National Park?
Whether pitching a tent or parking an RV, camping is a great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Glacier National Park. There are several campgrounds to choose from. There's nothing better than sitting around a campfire with a drink after a day of exploration. Just don't forget your gear!
If you want a campsite with the best location, this one has to be it. Illecillewaet Campground is the most centrally-located campground for hikers. It's around 3 km from the Roger's Pass summit and is the trailhead for many of the best hiking trails in Glacier National Park.
As far as camping goes, Illecillewaet Campground offers plenty of amenities within its 60 sites. From flush toilets to potable water, the only thing you'll be missing is a shower. The sites are first come, first served, so on summer weekends, get here as early as possible.
Many sites here are large enough for an RV or tent trailer, but there are no hookups for power or water, so you'll still be roughing it a little. You can make this lovely campground your temporary home from the beginning of July through mid-September.
Loop Brook Campground
If Illecillewaet Campground seems a little too big for you and you prefer to make a reservation in advance, Loop Brook Campground in Glacier National Park might be a better fit. It has 20 sites reservable from the end of July to the middle of September, and for the rest of July, it's first come, first served.
Loop Brook is a little further from the Roger's Pass summit but has the amenities you want, like at Illecillewaet. And, for anyone interested in the railway history that is permanently linked to the park, this spot is perfect. Old railway pillars mark the campground's entrance, and there's easy access to railway-specific interpretive trails.
Kinbasket Lake Resort
Another place to stay near Glacier National Park is Kinbasket Lake Resort. As you might guess from the name, it's set on a beautiful lake that offers excellent swimming, boating, and fishing. It's just outside the park nearby Golden and offers lakeside camping for tents and RVs.
The camping here is certainly less rustic, with showers, flush toilets, and hookups for the RV. If you don't like the idea of "roughing it," you can also rent one of their lakefront cabins. This place is ideal for people who like the idea of camping but prefer to have some comfort and convenience.
While the term cabin might have you thinking comfy couches and fireplaces, the cabins of Glacier National Park of Canada are anything but that. They're all in remote locations with hiking-only access and offer little more than a roof over your head and a toilet if you're lucky.
The backcountry cabins in the park are managed by the Alpine Club of Canada and require advanced reservations. Remember, this is a wild country prone to avalanches in the winter and is isolated even in the summer.
Aptly named, the Asulkan Cabin is 300 meters beyond the end of the Asulkan Trail, which requires you to climb 6.5 km up the Asulkan Brook. This rustic cabin has room for up to 12 people and provides a little more than basic amenities in the form of lights, a propane stove, foam sleeping mats, and a toilet.
Although it isn't fancy, you can escape the crowds of popular campsites and enjoy peaceful mountain views here. That's if you can make the hike up, of course!
Glacier Circle Cabin
This cabin is also for experienced hikers and those familiar with traveling on a glacier. Glacier Circle Cabin is located 14 km from the trailhead at the Illecillewaet Campground, so you better be in good shape for this one. The park requires that you have whiteout navigation skills even to attempt the hike.
This rustic cabin accommodates up to 8 people and has the basics of what you need - a lantern, wood stove, and white gas stove. You must bring your fuel here, so we recommend choosing white gas. You don't want to hike up here with wood on your back!
Hotels and Lodges
The hotels and lodges of Glacier National Park represent a definite step up from the cabins and campgrounds we've already covered. You'll get a proper bed and possibly a private bathroom, and the drawback is that you won't technically be inside the park.
Heather Mountain Lodge
Less than 2 km from the park's edge, Heather Mountain Lodge is a 3-star hotel with a fitness centre, parking, and free wi-fi. The communal hot tub is perfect for relaxing after a day of hiking, and the beds are super comfortable.
Set among picturesque mountain views, there's nothing not to like about this place - except maybe the price. All these amenities and comfort come at a cost, especially in the peak summer season. At least you get a lot for your money, including an onsite restaurant and housekeeping.
Purcell Mountain Lodge
This option is a rustic but luxurious lodge in the Purcell Mountains near Golden, BC. Reachable only by a short helicopter ride, this is backcountry accommodation at its finest.
The lodge has expert guides on summer hikes and winter skiing. Although you might be tempted to go it alone, remember you're basically in the middle of nowhere so a guide will be your best bet.
The rooms here are warm and cozy, and a stay at Purcell Mountain Lodge includes gourmet meals and participation in their guided tours. The only thing you'll be missing here is a private bathroom. But luckily, there are three bathrooms to cover the ten rooms, so your odds of getting in when you want are good.
Once you pick which of the best places to stay in Glacier National Park suits you, you can sit back and enjoy everything this unique wilderness area offers. Amenities don't come cheap and are often available only outside the park, but if you're willing to rough it, there are many options inside the park itself.
Start planning your adventure with Pilot!
Once you pick your place to stay in Glacier National Park, you can sit back and enjoy everything this unique wilderness area has to offer, whether that’s nature, hiking, or breath-taking views points!
Pilot is here to help you uncover all the hidden gems!