List after list has marked the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park as one of the best places to stay in the National Park system. It was the first campground we ever stayed in the NPS, and the reason our ParkChasing adventures began. In honor of the reservations system opening today, we thought we’d share why you’ll never want to leave once you’ve set up camp in Many Glacier.
1. The scenery will take your breath away.
Towering above the 109 campsites stands Grinnell Point, a frequent hang out for bighorn sheep and the famous Glacier mountain goats. Swiftcurrent Creek bubbles past the campground, providing the perfect mountain soundtrack to lull you off to sleep at night. Just down the road the Many Glacier Hotel stands, as it has since 1915, a picturesque mountain retreat beside Swiftcurrent Lake.
2. The hikes will keep you busy.
Some of Glacier National Park’s best hiking trails leave from the Many Glacier area. The Grinnell Glacier Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail are three of the most memorable hikes we’ve ever had in a National Park. We look forward to returning this year to add some serious mileage around the area.
3. The huckleberry ice cream.
On the front porch of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. No need to say more.
Planning your visit to Many Glacier
While the reservations may ease some planning difficulties, the Many Glacier campground does fill early in the day during the peak travel months of July and August. The park service maintains a nifty online calendar with historical “fill” times from years past. We recommend checking out your travel dates early, planning ahead, and using the new reservations system as much as possible. The peak months guarantee the best chances that you’ll have a snow-free trip in the park and that the famous Going to the Sun Road will be open for travel.
All of Glacier National Park is considered bear country. Planning accordingly is important to protect yourself and the animals that live here. On one of the evenings during our stay (while we were enjoying huckleberry ice cream, of course!!) a neighboring campsite watched a large black bear walk through our site on his way to the creek. Thankfully it was only a sighting and never ended up in an encounter. Had we not taken the posted precautions related to food storage and preparation, the outcome could have been very different. Read up on camping in Glacier so you come prepared.
- There are no showers in Many Glacier Campground. However the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn has coin-operated shower stalls around the back of the building for public use. Pack some extra change and shower shoes. It’s a nice reward after a long day on the trail.
- Attend the ranger programs in Many Glacier. Most summer afternoons a ranger will set up in the Swiftcurrent parking area with spotting scopes pointed across the valley at Grinnell Point. The wildlife viewing in the area is top-notch with good chances of seeing bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, and bears all in the area. The evening ranger programs. held in both the basement of the Many Glacier Hotel and the campground amphitheater, are also worth checking out during your stay.
- Boat tours leave daily during the summer from the Many Glacier Hotel boat landings. These historic wooden boats were the classic way many visitors in the early 20th Century came close to the area’s glaciers. Many hikers choose to start the day on foot hiking to the Grinnell Glacier and then catching the boat back on the return trip.