Thursday, July 11, 2024

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Camping Near Glacier National Park West Entrance

Glacier National Park Rv Camping Spot: North American Rv Park In Coram Mt

Free Camping Near Glacier National Park – McGinnis Creek, Montana

I guess this RV camping spot is the one that holds some of my most treasured Glacier memories. This is where we stayed for our introduction to Glacier National Park back in August of 2017. All of my initial impressions of this stunning national park are tied to North American RV Park.

But on top of the sentimental value, the RV park is also located just 8-10 minutes or so from the West entrance of the national park, so it gets top ratings as far as convenience goes as well. Theres no doubt that they were hit pretty hard in the summer/fall of 2018 with the extensive fires raging in the west part of the national park, closing down the west entrance to the park and shutting off access to the entire western portion of the park for all visitors. Personally, Im really hoping for a great tourist season this year for this RV park and all others in the area hit so hard by the fires.

Hike To Avalanche Lake

This is another popular hike and for a good reason. This is a moderate hike with not too much elevation gain. The trail takes you through a beautiful wooded area to the beautiful and stunningly clear Avalanche Lake. At the beginning of the hike, you start out on the Trail of the Cedars on a boardwalk through a grove of trees and features a strikingly blue river . The hike then continues up to Avalanche Lake, which is a great place to stop for a break or eat some lunch.

Avalanche Lake Trail Details:

  • Elevation Gain: 730 ft

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Trailhead & Parking: The Avalanche Lake hike starts a the Trail of the Cedars trailhead, just off of Going-to-the-Sun Road. There is parking available at the trailhead, but it is usually pretty full between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. I recommend either parking early in the morning before 8:00 am or going in the late afternoon/early evening to secure parking at the trailhead parking lot. Alternatively, you can park at the Lake McDonald Lodge area and take the shuttle to the trailhead .

Hungry Horse Dam Visitor Center

Besides being a great free camping spot near Glacier National Park, the reservoir itself has some interesting history and a Visitor Center at the dam.

The Hungry Horse dam has a Visitor Center and Museum which we visited to learn more about the 564-ft structure and how it came to be.

The Dam was completed in 1953 and was the 3rd largest and 2nd tallest concrete dam at the time . It is primarily used for hydro-electric power and flood control in the springtime. When full, the dam can hold bad 1.2 trillion gallons of water in the reservoir that stretches 34 miles long.

Its glory hole emergency spillway is the largest in the world. The glory hole is a unique feature to a handful of dams in the west which allows dam operators to release a lot of water quickly to prevent water from overtopping the dam. We were advised that we would NOT want to be around if this thing had to be used: imagine a firehose 64ft in diameter blasting water out that has just fallen 490 feet!

One of the most interesting things we learned about the Dam was how they cleared the trees behind the dam before it was allowed to fill. They had learned from previous dams that the trees needed to be removed beforehand or else they would be a major problem to clean up once they eventually came loose from the lake floor. Dead branches and rotting trees could float to the surface and clog the dam intakes.

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Why Youll Love Polson Motorcoach Resort

Professionally landscaped and maintained, every site is planned to maximize the surrounding views. Guests live in luxury while immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the resort and the splendor of the backdrop views of the lake and mountains. There are many local attractions for guests to explore as well, all within the surrounding area, including the National Bison Range, Kerr Dam, Polson Rodeo, Silver Fox Golf Course and many others!

Comfort And Convenience In Paradise

The Best Camping Near Glacier National Park

Heres what you need to know about North American RV Park: It offers everything you need to be safe, comfortable and feel at home in this beautiful part of the country. You will have decent sized RV spots with grass and gravel surface and full hook-ups. They have a good-sized store at the entrance as well, for those items you completely forgot or ran out of on your excursion. Or for those snacks you just cant do without.

I actually had to buy a new fresh water hose at their store because ours was leaking horribly. Sure, it was a bit more expensive, but it was a convenient option and that hose lasted for the remainder of our travels and was a great purchase.

In addition to the store, they have a guest lounge with all kinds of amenities you can enjoy, including free coffee. Anyplace that offers free coffee gets an extra star in my book.

Essentially, there is nothing not to love here. Given its location, I found their rates extremely reasonable at $55 per night. Want to stay for a whole week? You get the 7th night free, so you will pay $330 for a full week of outdoor living just outside the gate of paradise . Now thats what I call a bargain!

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Sleeping On A Regular Mattress

Anyone with the slightest hint of a back problem knows that a good, supportive mattress is essential every night. Its frustrating to wake up with a sore back and neck when you are supposed to be enjoying your getaway.

The best you will usually get with a tent is a blow-up air mattress or a foam sleeping pad. With an RV, it is just like buying a mattress for home. You can invest in something that will keep you comfortable this trip and many more in the future.

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The Best Campgrounds In Glacier National Park

  • Amanda Williams

Glacier National Park offers a diverse collection of campgrounds, ranging from Apgar, with its nearly 200 sites in close proximity to a visitors center, to tiny Quartz Creek Campground with just 7 sites and a remote location off of a dirt road.

This makes Glaciers campgrounds an option for campers who enjoy a lot of company and access to many amenities and those who prefer quiet backwoods experiences.

Many of the parks campgrounds offer incredible views with some on the shores of one of the parks many lakes and streams.

In this article, well review the top campgrounds in the park. Weve organized this guide by the parks main areas, including the more popular West Glacier and East Glacier, and the remote Polebridge. Keep in mind that all but two of the parks campgrounds offer reservations.

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Glacier National Park Tip #: Avalanche Campground

This is a first come first serve campsite and has the benefit of being close to the trailhead of Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake, both of which are good hikes for younger children.

Note that only 50 sites will accommodate vehicle lengths up to 26 feet and that there are fewer ammenities here.

Visit Lake Mcdonald To Hang Out At The Beach

RV Camping at West Glacier RV Park | West Glacier, Montana

I wasnt expecting to spend any time on a beach when we were in Glacier. But it ended up being one of our favorite things to do in Glacier National Park. There are multiple pull offs by Lake McDonald, dont look for a sign saying beach this way because there isnt one, instead just pull off on the side of the road and take the short walk down the hill to the beach.

The beach isnt pure white sand, but it is good enough that you can sit there comfortably. The water is REALLY cold but depending on how warm it is you can totally jump in to go for a swim or float on an inner tube. I really wish we would have had a paddle board or kayak to take out next time!

If youre interested in learning about fly fishing, check in at the nearby Glacier Outdoor Center for a fly casting lesson!

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Private Campgrounds Near Glacier

If youre looking for campgrounds with more amenities such as electricity and showers there are plenty of private campgrounds in the area. Road trippers who spend more than one week per year camping should consider joining a discount camping club. These clubs cost a small yearly fee to join and allow you to save up to 50% on participating campgrounds.

Some of the closest private campgrounds and RV parks surrounding Glacier include:

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Good Sam Parks Nearby

If you cannot secure a campsite inside the park, you still have plenty of options. You can find several RV parks and campgrounds in nearby cities. Here are some of your best options:

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Waterton Lakes National Park Alberta Canada

  • Waterton Townsite Campground. Mid-April to mid-October. Largest campground at Waterton Lakes with 238 sites, 95 with full RV hookups. Mostly open sites. Covered cooking shelters. Adjacent to the town of Waterton, within walking distance to restaurants, stores, and all travel services. It is also adjacent to Waterton Lake, convenient to the marina, beach, and numerous recreational activities. Reservations are available and recommended during the summer. Visit Park Canada’s Campground Reservation Service or call 877-737-3783.
  • Crandell. Mid-May to early September. Large campground with 129 sites accommodating tents, cars, and RVs. On Red Rock Parkway in the scenic Blakiston Creek Valley, about 5 miles west of Highway-5. Mostly wooded sites. Pretty mountain views. Easy access to many hiking trails. First-come, first-served fills in early afternoon during summer.
  • Belly River. Mid-May to mid-September. Small, primitive campground with 24 sites. Grassy sites in mixed aspen forest adjacent to river. On Highway-6, a few miles north of customs station. First-come, first-served except for group sites – call 859-2224.

Why Youll Love North American Rv Park & Yurt Village

Many Glacier Campground

Just minutes from the western entrance to Glacier National Park, this campground is conveniently located and offers plenty of modern amenities. The grounds are pristine, featuring scenic views, places to relax, and renovated, clean facilities. Roads are fully paved and campsites are well-maintained and easy to access. Youll find a handful of good restaurants nearby and anything you could need during your stay.


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Why Youll Love Apgar Campground

Theres a reason that Apgar is beloved by visitors to Glacier National Park. Its right on the shores of the parks most popular recreational lake, Lake McDonald. The area offers beautiful walking trails, picnic areas, and boating. Despite being out in the wilderness, a lively community forms amongst the visitors to Apgar Campground each summer. This is a great family-friendly campground with areas for children to bike around and play.


Glacier National Park Rv Camping Spot: Johnsons Campground And Rv Park

Boy oh boy, heres where we are talking about a family legacy. The Johnson family has run businesses in St Mary since the 1950s and have been a cornerstone of the community.

Their presence in St Mary started when they purchased the land and log cabin that is now the Johnsons of St Mary restaurant, a seasonal restaurant that is still run and staffed by the Johnson family from May through September. They do have some help outside of the family, but they are still the backbone of the restaurantand you can feel it.

My family has eaten at the Johnsons of St Mary restaurant at least three times during our two visits to the area over the past couple of years. Suffice it to say we have never been disappointed by our dining experience! Unique, incredible food in a casual environment with a strong family feel. DO NOT miss out on this tasty landmark during your visit, seriously.

Cinnamon Roll Sundae from Johnsons of St Mary

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Things To Do At The Glacier National Park

There are several things to do at Glacier national park, and pretty much all of them are interesting. You can opt to go hiking in the mountains in the park. You can also choose to go on the whitewater rafting adventure with your friends. You can carry lunch with you when going on this adventure. You can also float in the middle of the Fork Flathead River. Spinning your wheels on the road as you watch the sun going down as you drive on the Going to the Sun Road is also enjoyable.

The Glacier national park has numerous water bodies that give it an irresistible adventure. You can play water sport games like the floating competition.For more experienced hikers The Grinnell Glacier is also another good place to do your hiking. It is a mark of glacial loss in the park due to global warming activities, and it covers 127 acres.

Hike The Avalanche Lake Trail

Mountain Meadow RV Park and Cabins | RV Park Tour | West Glacier, Montana

This is a great hike for kids as its a bit longer, but not too much elevation. Clocking in at just over 4.5 miles roundtrip, it will test everyone. I highly recommend checking the weather we didnt and got stuck in a thunderstorm when we were at the lake!

Assuming the weather is good, the trail is very populated. You should always have your bear spray and be on the lookout, but popular trails normally mean you wont see any while you are hiking.

This hike takes you about 2 miles through the forest on a very well marked trail. Then at the top it opens up into a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and waterfalls.

The water is very shallow so it isnt like you will be swimming in it but you can definitely walk out a little ways and get your feet wet.

We recommend bringing snacks and a few drinks to celebrate making it to the lake. There is a pit toilet near the lake as well.

Even if you arent a hiker I highly recommend giving this hike a go. I promise you will be glad you did!

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What Is It Best For

One of the most famous sights in Glacier National Park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, is directly accessible via the West Glacier Entrance.

However, keep in mind that although the entrance is open year-round, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is seasonal. It tends to open in mid-June and closes in mid-October, though the exact dates depend on the arrival and removal of snow.

The West Glacier Entrance is also ideal for those visiting the Apgar Visitor Center, as this is located within the park a short distance from the entrance. Additionally, this entrance is close to the village of Apgar, Lake McDonald, and Lake McDonald Lodge.

Campgrounds Near Glacier National Parks West Side

West Glacier KOA: Just minutes from the West Glacier entrance to the park. RV, tent and cabin accommodations. Lots of amenities, including a pool and playground for the kiddos. KOA Kampground of the Year!West Glacier Campground: 1 mile from Glaciers west entrance. RV, tent and cabin accommodations. Several amenities. Sunflower Cafe is delicious and open to the public.Mountain Meadow Campground: Easy off the highway access, but has a nice secluded feeling. 10-15 minutes from the west entrance to Glacier.

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Gorgeous Montana Log Home

Beautiful mountain views are one of the main reasons to book this Glacier National Park vacation rental. At 3000-square feet, you have plenty of space to relax before heading into Whitefish or spending a day up at the park. An outdoor dining set and a clawfoot tub make this cabin a space where you wont want to leave when your Montana vacation is over.

Would you stay at any of these Glacier National Park cabins? Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you on your Montana trip!

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Glacier Camping Spot: West Glacier Koa

Top 10 Glacier National Park Campgrounds &  RV Parks

Yes, another KOA. Location, location, location. Just because Im not a fan doesnt mean you cant be! Im an open-minded fellow.

Again, with positive reviews off the chart, you really cant go wrong when coupled with outstanding location. If you have younger kids, you will like be very happy to pay for the additional entertainment options and even some guided/supervised activities for them that allow you to relax and enjoy your getaway just a bit more. Nothing wrong with that!

Not to mention, the pictures make this RV park look more like a country club with the pristine green grass and manicured spaces.

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Plan Ahead & Have Fun

Camping is better when things go smoothly. Arrive early in the day or go mid-week . Check the forecast for inclement weather . Make sure you have what you need for the duration of your stay and emergency supplies (inflated spare tire, charged jump-starter, shovel, first-aid kit, etc. See our full boondocking shopping/packing list. Know that cell service is not a given before you head the woods, look up any necessary information and tell a buddy where youre going. If you prepare accordingly, being away from cell coverage is a beautiful thing. The outdoors offers infinite entertainment and the ultimate bonding experience with your crew. So get out there, enjoy the wonders of boondocking, and dont forget to leave Glacier Country even better than you found it!

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