RV Destination Guide: Glacier National Park

An RVer's destination guide to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
L A Horstman Photography/Moment/Getty Images

America’s National Park system is full of land that’s difficult to find in other parts of the US. You see streams and forests as they were thousands of years ago and appreciate the wonder. You will be hard-pressed to find a more serene and natural beauty than Glacier National Park. Let’s look at Glacier National Park including a brief history, what to do and where to go when you get there.

A Brief History of Glacier National Park

The area has long drawn inhabitants for its beauty and bounty of resources. The one million acres of Glacier National Park have been lived in for 10,000 years. More recently Lewis and Clark came within 50 miles of park borders and other prospectors soon fell on the land to use the resources.

In 1897, the area was designated as forest preserve but pressure from lobbyists, the Boone and Crockett Club, finally appealed to the highest powers. The area was designated as Glacier National Park on May 11, 1910, and signed into law by President William Howard Taft. The public could enjoy a million acres of mountain ranges, lakes, ecosystem, and glaciers. Glacier National Park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995.

Where to Stay at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Parks itself boasts 14 campgrounds and more than 1000 RV and camp sites to choose from during your stay. If you want to stay near Glacier and not in it, there are several great RV parks around the area. Many of the campsites are considered primitive with no potable water or dump stations available. You’ll be dry camping at Glacier, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for creature comforts.

Polson RV Resort is one of the nation’s top rated RV parks, offering oversized lots, a dog run, a gym, and on-site storage during the year for your motorhome or trailer. Timber Wolf Resort is another RV park that offers basic and full RV sites, just nine miles from Glacier National Park’s front gate. Mountain Meadow RV Park is a Good Sam Club park located close to the National Park, offering a stocked rainbow trout pond, free Wi-Fi, and one of the highest reviewed RV parks in Montana.

What to Do Once Your Arrive at Glacier National Park

Unlike some National Parks, Glacier is still untouched by man, making it an outdoors person’s paradise. One of the most popular activities at Glacier National Park is hiking and there are so many different sights to see at Glacier. Over 700 miles of trails crisscross Glacier with everything from brief beginner’s hikes to rugged backpacking trails that plunge you into the heart of Glacier. Some of the more popular spots include St. Mary Valley, Lake McDonald Valley and Logan Pass.

If you’re looking to leave the crowds behind and get deep into the wilderness, you may search out Goat, Haunt, North Fork, Many Glacier or Two Medicine, these trails offer a little gateway into the more pristine areas of Glacier.

The best way to see all these points and where many trail heads start is to explore the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Going-to-the-Sun Road spans 50 miles and takes you through several different portions of the park. You can take your own ride or saddle up on a guided tour in a park service shuttle bus to hear about the history of the area surrounding you.

When to Go to Glacier National Park

As the name suggests, Glacier National Park can get quite cold in northwest Montana. Cold temperatures and large amounts of snowfall tend to shoo away visitors for many months of the year. If you’re brave enough and have the RV to do it, Glacier National Park is quite a sight to behold in the winter and while portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road may be closed, there are roads that are kept accessible year-round.

For most RVers though, summer is the ideal time to visit Glacier National Park, the sun shines long after you imagine if you should have come down and high temperatures hover around the 70s. You can try Glacier during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, but you will still have to combat freezing temperatures and snowfall should you choose shoulder season.

All in all, Glacier National Park is one of the most untouched parts of the United States and draws around two million annual visitors. Consider joining them at Glacier National Park when you are planning your next big RV trip.