2. Montana Highway 2 – If you plan on camping in both the east and west sides of the park, then you’re going to have to drive Highway 2. Highway 2 takes you from West Glacier, around the southern part of Glacier National Park, and then turns north toward East Glacier. Highway 2 then runs along the Flathead River and affords access to several of the more remote trail heads within the park. Along the way, be sure stop at the Goat Lick Overlook. As the name implies, it is a pretty safe bet you’ll see a few mountain goats.
3. Montana Highway 89 – For those of you arriving from the east, this is the way to come. Highway 89 from Great Falls to Glacier National Park is gorgeous. It parallels the front range of the Rockies for several hundred miles before entering the Blackfeet Indian Reservation which borders Glacier National Park. As you drive, you can imagine what life was like for the native American Indians when they roamed the great plains.
Top Glacier National Park Campgrounds and Boondocking Spots:
Glacier National Park has several campgrounds suitable for truck campers. Although I have not stayed in all of them (yet), my favorites so far are:
1. Apgar – This is the largest campground in the park and offers the most services and amenities. It is situated near the main western gate of the park on the southern end of Lake McDonald. Reservations are accepted, but rarely needed. Just a short walk or bike ride away is Apgar Village, which offers shopping, dining, boat rentals, and more.
2. Two Medicine – This campground is located on the east side of the park a few miles Northwest of the East Glacier Park gate. It is adjacent to beautiful Two Medicine Lake, which was a sacred spot for the Blackfeet before Glacier National Park was created.
This campground often fills up, so get there early. A dump station and general store are nearby. You can also rent a small boat or hike one of the many trails which originate here. Sunsets here are not to be missed.
3. Many Glacier – For me, this is the best campground on the east side of the park. While the scenery may not be quite as good from the actual campground as Two Medicine, the area in general is jaw dropping.
The campground is situated on the edge of Swiftcurrent Creek and is frequented by the local wildlife including Grizzly bears and moose, both of which I have seen close up here.
Just a short walk away is the Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge, where a weary camper can get a shower and a decent meal. Also in the area is the Many Glacier Lodge, one of the grand lodges of the Rockies built by the railroads around the turn of the century. And to top it all off, this is the jumping off point for many of Glacier National Park’s best hikes. It’s a great place to hang out for a while.
Other Glacier National Park Recommendations:
1. Learn the story of the Blackfeet Indians, who called the park their home before we decided to make it a park. It’s a fascinating story chock full of history. There have been dozens of excellent books written about the subject and you can pick up some really good ones at one of the park Visitor Centers. To know and understand the history of the Blackfeet will surely enhance your appreciation for the park itself.
2. The bus is a plus. Like several other parks, Glacier National Park offers a free park shuttle to help alleviate traffic on Going to the Sun Road, which can be terrifying to drive. It’s one of the best things about the park and stops at every major trail head along the road as well as Apgar, St. Mary, and Rising Sun campgrounds.
No more trying to catch a ride back to your truck camper after a long day of hiking. This is by far the best way to see the Going to the Sun Road. With no driving to worry about you can really enjoy the scenery. The best part is the other people on the bus who always have good stories and tips, plus there is usually some kid with eagle eyes that will spot something interesting along the way!
3. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in mid to late August. By this time the rainy season is pretty much over. I have been several other times in June or July and it was always a washout, not to mention cold. Mid to late August is much better. You’ll thank me for this tip later.
4. And as always and this almost goes without saying, have fun!