How to Camp At Glacier National Park In Montana

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Camping is a fun way to experience the majestic beauty of Glacier National Park. Choose a site in one of 13 developed campgrounds. Weather plays a crucial part when planning an outdoor adventure in northwest Montana. Average summer daytime temperatures are in the 70s at low elevations but drop quickly at night. Snow can occur year-round. July, August and September have the lowest precipitation. Two developed campgrounds are open through the winter. Hike in to designated backcountry sites from June through September.

Glacier National Park has both developed and backcountry campsites.

Glacier National Park has both developed and backcountry campsites.

Camping in Developed Campgrounds

Step 1Arrive at Glacier as early in the day as possible to increase the chance of getting a site. Reservations are accepted up to six months in advance for St. Mary and Fish Creek campgrounds.
Step 2Choose a vacant campsite and leave something on it. Return to the entrance of the campground and look for the registration kiosk.
Step 3Complete a self-registration envelope, tearing off the receipt. Place fee in envelope and drop it into the metal tube that is marked for fee collection. Pay only for nights the site will be occupied; no refunds are given.
Step 4Clip the receipt to the numbered post at the edge of the campsite. Maximum stay is seven nights and check-out is at noon.
Step 5Pitch no more than two tents per site. Eight people and two vehicles are allowed.

Backcountry Camping

Step 1Apply for a reserved backcountry site as early as April. Half of the sites are reserved for walk-in campers; apply in person at the backcountry office the day before your planned trip. Arrive as early as possible.
Step 2Complete the backcountry permit application, providing the park with the names of the campers, requested itinerary and proposed sites. Indicate route changes that are acceptable if first-choice options are not available.
Step 3Pay the per-night, per-person fee. Sites accommodate up to four people and two tents.
Step 4Hike designated trails, following regulations and watching for grizzly bears.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Sweeny-Justice is a writer living in Surprise, Ariz. Her work has appeared in “Writer’s Digest” magazine and “RubberStampMadness” magazine, as well as in newspapers around the United States. She also writes book reviews for “RT Book Reviews” magazine.

PHOTO CREDITS

  • glacier national park image by Melissa Schalke from Fotolia.com

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