Glacier National Park is one of America’s greatest natural gems. Located in northwest Montana, the park is a sanctuary of sparkling lakes, alpine trails carved out through the dense forest, and grassy fields of colorful flowers.
It’s also home to several national attractions, including Going-to-the-Sun Road, the Trail of the Cedars, and Hidden Lake.
The accommodation options in and around the park are plenty, from charming Swiss chalets to RV campgrounds to family-friendly motels. There is also a selection of authentic log cabins in Glacier National Park that immerse guests in the feeling of a true mountain escape.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best cabins to rent in Glacier National Park and in the communities surrounding the entrances. Plus we’ve gathered a few tips for staying in and visiting the park. Read them below!
Best Cabins to Rent in Glacier National Park
- Travel Tips for Staying in Glacier National Park
- The Major Regions of Glacier National Park
- Info to Consider Before You Go
- List of the Best Cabins
- Western Side of the Park
- Eastern Side of the Park
- Inside Glacier National Park
- Best Cabins to Rent in Glacier National Park – Conclusion
Travel Tips for Staying in Glacier National Park
Tickets and Passes
All visitors to Glacier National Park will require an entry pass. Costs vary by season and are more expensive in the summer months. Prices start at $15 for individuals and $25 for a private vehicle in the off-season.
For a full list of the passes available, please visit the official government website.
In addition to the entry pass, all visitors must have a registration to drive the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road between May 27 and September 11, 2022.
Please see the National Park Service website for instructions on how to obtain registration.
The Major Regions of Glacier National Park
There are five major areas to explore in Glacier National Park:
Lake McDonald lies on the western side of the park. The glistening waters of the lake give visitors the opportunity to enjoy aquatic activities and boat tours, plus the area is home to the famous Swiss-style chalet Lake McDonald Lodge.
The region features several non-intense trails, including Avalanche Lake and the Trail of the Cedars. Plus, it boasts picnic areas and campgrounds around Lake McDonald.
Logan Pass and St. Mary
Logan Pass and St. Mary are to the east of Lake McDonald. The steepest part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is found in Logan Pass. Both Logan Pass and St. Mary are home to Visitor Centers.
In these eastern parts of the park, you’ll discover multiple popular hiking trails, including the Highline Trail.
Many Glacier lies to the north of Logan Pass. You have to exit the park on the eastern side and travel on Highway 89 for around 30 minutes before re-entering the park to get there. In the area, visitors will find pristine hiking trails and Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes.
This area of the park is usually abundant with wildlife, including mountain goats, black bears, and moose.
Two Medicine is one of the least-crowded sections of the park. That’s because it’s a little more difficult to reach, as visitors are required to exit the park on the eastern side, drive south on Highway 89 for an hour, and then re-enter the park to get there.
Two Medicine Lake is a particularly beautiful location, and the area features a collection of hiking trails that are typically more difficult than others in the park. Hikes like Dawson Pass may take park guests all day to complete, if not multiple days.
North Fork and Goat Hunt
North Fork and Goat Hunt are also less crowded than other areas of the park, primarily because they are considerably more difficult to reach: visitors must hike the backcountry to get to Goat Hunt, while North Fork can only be reached by unpaved roads.
It is time-consuming to get to these areas, so most visitors skip them unless they have more than seven days in the park.
Info to Consider Before You Go
Mistakes to Avoid
One of the biggest mistakes travelers make when visiting Glacier National Park for the first time is not staying long enough (Glacier Park Collective).
The park spans one million acres and is sprawling with attractions to see and hidden wonders to explore. Experts recommend staying for five days at a minimum, dividing time between the east and west sections of the park.
What to Bring
It’s also a good idea to bring a car with you, even if you plan on traveling mostly by shuttle. Public transport won’t reach some of the best locations within the park, so it’s important to have your own vehicle for exploring the remote areas.
If you’re not staying in Glacier National Park itself, then this won’t be so much of an issue as you can rely on grocery and convenience stores near your hotel.
Beating the Crowds
Due to the warm weather and all park facilities being open, summer is the most pleasant time to visit Glacier, but it’s also the most crowded. To avoid crowds, the best time to visit is early September, when the summer masses have started to dwindle.
The winter weather can start as early as mid-September, so leaving your trip too late can result in sections of the park being closed to you.
While you can visit the park in winter for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing, the park offers a different experience at this time, and it is largely unmaintained by staff and rangers.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park, and so to beat the crowds, you have to arrive early. Getting to the trail before 11 a.m. will increase your chances of finding a parking spot, as most hikers arrive at midday.
When hiking, be sure to pack extra water, as some of the 700 miles of hiking trails can be strenuous. It’s also important to carry bear spray and make noise on the trails, to ward off bears that may be surprised to see you.
Cell service and internet connection are limited in and around the park. Don’t rely on the internet or your ability to phone anyone once you’re inside.
Download resources to your phone, such as maps, ahead of time, so you can use them even without internet access.
List of the Best Cabins
Glacier National Park cabins can be split into three groups: those outside the park near the Western Entrance, those outside the park near the Eastern Entrance, and those inside the park.
There are pros and cons to staying in all areas of the park and its surroundings. The right choice comes down to your budget and priorities.
Western Side of the Park
Staying in one of the busy towns near the west side of the park, such as West Glacier, has the feel of staying in a resort community.
Accommodation tends to be cheaper here, and there are more options. There are also a larger array of restaurants and amenities.
Smoky Bear Ranch – Columbia Falls – $$
The Smoky Bear Ranch in Columbia Falls is nestled in a tranquil forest setting, only minutes away from the West entrance of Glacier National Park.
The resort features a collection of charming cabins and a lodge with wood rooms, private bathrooms, and homemade breakfast on offer.
Despite their old-world vibe, the cabins are equipped with plumbing and electricity, plus cooking facilities. There are smaller cabins that can accommodate six guests and larger varieties that sleep 12 people.
All the cabins are spaced a great enough distance from each other to guarantee privacy.
To maximize guest experiences, each cabin has a front porch and lawn chairs, a fire pit, a picnic table, BBQ facilities, and comfortable bedding.
Glacier Outdoor Center – West Glacier – $$
The Glacier Outdoor Center is a popular lodging option near the West Entrance to the park. Only half a mile from the entrance, the resort features cabins, vacation rentals, and a cozy lodge that boasts stunning mountain views.
Guests at the Glacier Outdoor Center are invited to sign up for fishing, river, and horseback riding tours. The center offers a tour desk where knowledgeable staff members are on hand to help guests with questions and planning.
The cabins at the property boast satellite TV and fireplaces, while public facilities on the premises include a bar and a full-service outdoor store where guests can pick up everything they need for a day in Glacier National Park.
Great Northern Resort – West Glacier – $$$
Known as Glacier National Park’s rafting, lodging, and fly fishing resort, the Great Northern Resort is an ideal option for those who’d like to spend a little more for a lavish stay near the park’s West entry.
The resort is located only a mile from the entrance and is surrounded by sublime views of the mountains.
The log cabins have private kitchens and fireplaces to resemble a home away from home. There is also a 14-room lodge on the grounds that has spacious rooms and was modeled after the famous Glacier Park Lodge.
The Great Northern Resort also serves as a convenient base for those wanting to explore the Flathead River and offers rafting trips and river school.
Silverwolf Log Chalet Resort – West Glacier – $$$
Initially designed as a quaint bed and breakfast, the Silverwolf Log Chalet Resort has 10 authentic log chalet cabins to choose from. The resort is only seven minutes away from West Glacier and the West entrance to the park.
The custom-built log chalets tucked away in the woods are perfect for couples seeking a honeymoon location or relaxing getaway. Complimentary breakfast is served every morning, and guests are also treated to true Western hospitality from the friendly resort staff.
The resort is also close to several other highlights of the region, including the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the National Bison Range, and Wild Horse Island.
West Glacier Village – West Glacier – $$
Right at the doorstep to Glacier’s West entry, West Glacier Village is a commercial hub of affordable lodging, diverse gift shops, and delicious dining. Guests have their choice of motel rooms, an RV park, and of course, cozy cabins.
The resort’s Cabin Village offers modern mountain cabins nestled in a picture-perfect pine and bear grass forest. Up to four people can sleep in the cabins, which are complete with comfortable living areas, private bathrooms, private bedrooms, and a full kitchen.
There’s a strong sense of community in the Village, and the grounds feature fire pits, picnic areas, a playground, and yard games where younger guests can socialize and meet new friends.
Eastern Side of the Park
While the western side of the park resembles the pine forests of California, the communities around the eastern side have more of a mountain vacation feel.
The main communities to the east are St. Mary—which is the closest town to the St. Mary Entrance—Babb, Browning, and East Glacier Park Village.
St. Mary Village – St. Mary – $$$
Right at the East Entrance to Glacier National Park is St. Mary Village, just steps away from the wonders of the park grounds.
The resort straddles the intersection between the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road and the Looking Glass Highway and is the perfect base point for those who plan on driving these scenic routes.
There are 127 guest rooms in total in the village, from budget-friendly motel rooms to cozy cabins to spacious lodge rooms. There’s something for every style, with dining options and gift stores also on the grounds.
The Glacier Cabins in the village date back to the 1930s. Now renovated, these cozy rustic cabins have a bedroom and separate living room for privacy, plus the convenience of kitchen facilities and a small dining area.
The Sun Cabin is slightly larger and set on the east side of the property, boasting stunning views. Also available is the Hiker Cabin, which comes with two bedrooms and can sleep up to six people.
Glacier Elkhorn Cabins & Campground – Babb – $
The Glacier Elkhorn Cabins & Campground is a wonderful option for those seeking cost-effective accommodation in the park.
The prime location offers guests quick access to Glacier and spectacular views of Chief Mountain and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.
All of the cabins on the premises have a picnic table and fire pit, and electric heaters are supplied in cold weather. A café will also be opening on the grounds in the summer of 2022.
This is a pet-friendly lodging so guests are invited to bring their furry companions along! The cabins are situated along Kennedy Creek, which also allows for fishing.
Johnson’s of St. Mary – Browning – $-$$$
The renowned Johnson’s of St. Mary offers a selection of lodging options, from camping and an RV park to cabins.
Cabins come in furnished and unfurnished varieties, so you’re covered whether you want a truly rustic experience or something a little more indulgent.
Views from the cabins are matchless, sweeping over the Upper and Lower St. Mary Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Johnson’s is home to a premium restaurant known throughout the area for its hearty servings of homemade dishes, including comforting soups and bread.
Johnson’s also provides facilities to keep horses overnight for those who are traveling with a four-legged company. Other pets are allowed in the campgrounds too, but not inside the cabins.
Paul Ranch – Babb – $$$
Paul Ranch lies just 15 minutes from the East entry of Glacier National Park, four miles to the north of Babb on Highway 89. The eco-friendly lodging is comfortable and relaxed while still offering exquisite views of the local scenery.
There are four types of lodgings at Paul Ranch: the vacation rental known as Elk Willows, a family economy vacation rental called Wagon Wheel, a newer vacation rental called Meadowlark Meadows, and the historic bunkhouse cabin known as Chaps & Spurs.
The ranch is also home to a herd of seven friendly alpacas, and one guard llama. Their wool is used to create warm and eco-friendly clothing and products.
Inside Glacier National Park
Some visitors feel that no trip to Glacier National Park is complete without staying in the park itself. While there are a few options for camping within the park, there are a selection of lodges in the park too.
Staying at one of the park lodges tends to be more expensive, and is undoubtedly the most popular choice. If you’re planning on visiting in the summer months, expect to book more than a year in advance.
However, many park guests feel it’s worth it to plan ahead and pay higher prices to secure a place in a park lodge, close to the best trailheads and set against a backdrop of breathtaking wilderness views.
Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins – Apgar Village – $$$
Set in arguably one of the best locations in Glacier National Park, along the southern end of Lake McDonald, the Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins fill up usually more than a year in advance.
The rooms and cabins are just steps away from the natural marvels of the park and its many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including swimming in Lake McDonald and hiking the surrounding trails.
Guests at the village can choose to stay in a modest motel room, a cabin with a kitchen, a cabin without a kitchen, or a spacious family cabin. All lodgings have at least one comfortable bed and a small living area.
Around the village, which is close to the West Entrance of the park, guests will also find the charming Cedar Tree Gift Shop, bike and boat rentals, and a convenient park shuttle service.
The lodge is open May through October and remains closed for the winter.
Lake McDonald Lodge & Cabins – Lake McDonald – $$
The Lake McDonald Lodge & Cabins is found on the western side of the park. Having opened in 1914, it is one of the most historic lodgings in the park and offers guests unbeatable views of the lake, which is the deepest in the park.
Guests will never run out of things to do at the lodge, which runs activities like Red Bus Tours and evening ranger programs. There are 82 rooms on the premises, including spacious large cabin suites which have private bedrooms.
The lodge is home to several amenities that make guests feel at home, including a camp store and gift shop, a public lounge, a fireside dining room, prepared box lunches, fishing trips, and a pizzeria and grill.
It is open from May through September when it closes for the winter.
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins – Many Glacier Area – $$$
On the western side of the park only a mile from the prestigious Many Glacier Hotel, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins lie in an area known for being a “hiker’s paradise”.
Nearby trails in this scenic location lead to Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Lake, and the Ptarmigan Tunnel, among other local gems.
Guests can choose from 95 cabins and motor inn rooms, with the cabins arranged in circles. Some have private bathrooms, but there is a convenient bathroom and shower facility within walking distance from all the cabins.
All cabins have running water and all guest rooms have comfortable soft linens.
There is also a restaurant, a gift shop, and a fully stocked camp store on the grounds, so guests can access all they need to prepare for their adventures in the park. The lodge is open from June through September and closes for the winter months.
Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins – Eastern end of Going-to-the-Sun Road – $$$
The Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins are located six miles west of St. Mary Visitor Center, along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s a short drive from the lodge to the magnificent St. Mary Lake and only 12 miles to Logan Pass.
The accommodation options at Rising Sun range from motel-style rooms with outdoor access and cabins. Every unit and room has a private bathroom, and either one or two beds.
The property was built in 1940 and still carries its rustic charm, with a sense of peace and tranquility looming over the grounds—there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms.
Guests at the lodge can enjoy the Two Dog Flats Grill restaurant, along with a general store and gift shop. They also have access to Red Bus tours, boat cruises, and hiking opportunities.
Rising Sun is open from June through September and closed for the winter months.
Best Cabins to Rent in Glacier National Park – Conclusion
When it comes to accommodation, guests in Glacier National Park have a range of options at their fingertips.
Those who are looking for budget-friendly lodging and want to make use of the amenities of an established town might prefer to stay in the outside communities surrounding the park.
Likewise, travelers who don’t mind paying a bit more and booking well in advance may choose to stay in one of the park resorts.
Whatever you choose, we’ve come up with the best cabin in and around Glacier for every kind of traveler below.
- Best Luxury Cabins in Glacier National Park: Great Northern Resort
- Best Boutique Cabins in Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald Lodge & Cabins
- Best Cheap Cabins in Glacier National Park: Glacier Elkhorn Cabins & Campground
- Best Family Cabins in Glacier National Park: West Glacier Village
- Best Romantic Cabins in Glacier National Park: Silverwolf Log Chalet Resort