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A Complete Guide to The 7 Glacier National Park Entrances

Comprising sparkling lakes and melting glaciers, Montana’s Glacier National Park spans across 1 million acres of exquisite alpine scenery.

There are seven Glacier National Park entrances in total, each one bringing Glacier guests to a different area of the park. Read on for a rundown of each entrance!

The 7 Glacier National Park Entrances

glacier national park

West Glacier Entrance

west glacier entrance
Image: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The West Glacier Entrance is considered the primary and most popular entrance to Glacier National Park.

Where is it?

Naturally, the West Glacier Entrance is located on the western side of Glacier National Park. It is located a stone’s throw from the town of West Glacier.

When is it open?

The West Glacier Entrance is open all year round, 24 hours a day.

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.

Nearby towns

What attractions are outside the entrance?

Though many visitors may focus their time inside the park, there are also several things to see and do just outside the West Glacier Entrance.

One of the most popular is white-water rafting, and a variety of rafting and floating companies operate nearby along the Flathead River.

Many of the guides and outfitters that run backcountry trips in and around the park are located near the West Glacier Entrance, including Snowghost Outfitters, Whitefish Outfitters & Tours, Wild Montana Anglers, Swan Mountain Outfitters, and Glacier Guides and Montana Raft.

The Glacier View Golf Course offers outdoor recreation outside of the park’s boundaries, as does the Big Sky Waterpark, which is only 15 minutes from West Glacier.

The Whitefish Mountain Resort is about 45 minutes from the West Glacier Entrance. Situated at Big Mountain, the resort offers more than 3,000 miles of acres for skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.

Also available at the resort are ziplines, alpine slides, an aerial adventure park, summer tubing, and scenic lift rides.

Camas Creek Entrance

camas creek entrance
Image: GlacierNPS

The Camas Creek Entrance is one of the least frequented entrances at Glacier National Park due to its remote location. However, it still provides access to some of the park’s main highlights.

Where is it?

Like the West Glacier Entrance, the Camas Creek Entrance is also on the western side of the park. Its location is slightly more remote than the West Glacier Entrance, which makes it less popular with travelers.

To get there, simply travel 20 miles up Highway 486 (North Fork Road), which runs along the western rim of Glacier National Park. Turn onto Glacier Route Eight or Camas Creek Road to reach the entrance.

Something to keep in mind for those driving into this entrance is that the first 10 miles of North Fork Road are paved, but the rest of the stretch leading to the entrance is gravel, which may be hard-wearing on some vehicles.

When is it open?

The Camas Creek Entrance is open 24 hours a day through all seasons for foot traffic. However, if you’re traveling with a vehicle, it is only accessible in the warmer months from mid-June through mid-October. These dates may vary due to weather.

What is it best for?

You can easily get to the Going-to-the-Sun Road from this entrance. Simply take the Camas Creek Road to the Apgar Visitor Center and you will have reached your destination. The trailhead for the Huckleberry Mountain Lookout is also close to this entrance.

The Camas Creek Entrance is a particularly good entry point for those who enjoy wildlife-watching, as the remote nature of the entrance tends to attract more wildlife. Moose, bear, elk, and other species frequently travel along Camas Creek Road, and there are likely to be great photo opportunities.

In the winter, the Camas Creek Entrance provides close access to great skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.

Nearby towns

The Camas Creek Entrance is significantly more remote than the West Glacier Entrance. The nearest towns are at least 20 minutes away.

What attractions are outside the entrance?

One of the closest campgrounds to the Camas Creek Entrance is the Big Creek Campground. There are 22 campsites on the grounds, with a mixture of reservable locations and those that run on a first-come-first-served basis.

The campground has potable water, picnic tables, and vault toilets.

Polebridge Entrance

polebridge entrance

The Polebridge Entrance is off the beaten track and less than 25 miles from the Canadian border. If you can handle the signature bumpy dirt road, the entrance will bring you to some of the park’s hidden gems.

Where is it?

The Polebridge Entrance is also located on the western side of Glacier National Park. Like the Camas Creek Entrance, it is remote and considered out-of-the-way by many travelers.

The majority of people who use this entrance are locals, or those seeking a true backcountry experience.

To reach the Polebridge Entrance, you’ll need to travel around 35 miles north of Columbia Falls on Highway 486 (North Fork Road). Again, most of this road is gravel.

Eventually, you will reach the village of Polebridge, where you will come across the Polebridge Mercantile. Turn left here and the dirt road will bring you across the North Fork of the Flathead River to the entrance.

When is it open?

The Polebridge Entrance is open 24 hours a day, all year round, for park visitors on foot. If you are entering via vehicle, the entrance is only open from mid-May through mid-October, however, this is dependent on the weather. Too much snow can result in early closure or late opening of the entrance.

What is it best for?

This entrance is ideal for those who don’t mind traveling a little further and prefer quieter routes with less traffic. It provides close access to some of the park’s hidden gems, including the stunning Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake, which are both surrounded by the Livingston Range.

Polebridge lies around 22 miles to the south of the border and may be the best option for those driving from Canada.

Nearby towns

What attractions are outside the entrance?

The village of Polebridge itself is an idyllic destination that park guests may want to spend some time in before heading onto the park.

 The most famous structure in this off-the-grid town is undoubtedly the Polebridge Mercantile, which sells sweet treats, pastries, and the iconic huckleberry bear claw.

The Northern Lights Saloon is another must-stop destination in Polebridge. The establishment, which is open for lunch and dinner, features a hearty menu of American classics and Montana specialties, including elk meatloaf.

St. Mary Entrance

st. mary entrance

The St. Mary Entrance is one of the most prominent entrances on the eastern side of the park, known for being home to the popular St. Mary Village, a tourist complex where guests can stay and play.

Where is it?

The St. Mary Entrance is on the eastern side of the park and is the most popular entrance in the area. It is accessed via Highway 89, around 30 miles from Browning, MT. The entrance is located just to the west of the town of St. Mary, for which the entrance is named.

When is it open?

The St. Mary Entrance is open right throughout the year, 24 hours a day. However, it is only open to vehicles from mid-May through mid-October due to snow cover. These dates may change based on weather.

What is it best for?

The Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses the entire park, and the St. Mary Entrance gives visitors great access to the road from the east.

It’s also a gateway to St. Mary Lake, which is one of the park’s highlights and is located just within the park, close to the entrance. Additionally, the entrance is close to the St. Mary Visitor Center, and the St. Mary Falls/Virginia Falls hikes.

Nearby towns

  • St. Mary
  • Babb
  • Kiowa
  • Starr
  • Durham
  • Browning

What attractions are outside the entrance?

The town of St. Mary offers a charming ambiance and is equipped with a handful of restaurants and dining establishments to discover. There are also lodging options in the town, including the iconic St. Mary Village and a variety of campgrounds.

The St. Mary Entrance is only 45 minutes from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, where visitors can learn about the Tribe’s culture at the Blackfeet Heritage Center and the Museum of the Plains Indians.

The Pikuni Gift Shop and Glacier Peaks Casino also offer opportunities to support members of the Blackfeet Tribe.

Additionally, the Blackfeet Reservation is a gateway to outdoor recreation opportunities like camping, hiking, camping, boating, and fishing. Several local outfitters also offer unique outdoor experiences.

Two Medicine Entrance

two medicine entrance
Image: daveynin

The Two Medicine Entrance is nestled on the eastern side of the park, not far from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the Flathead National Forest. It brings park guests directly to sites like Two Medicine Lake and Running Eagle Falls.

Where is it?

The Two Medicine Entrance is located on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, a few miles north of East Glacier, MT.

It’s accessed via Highway 49, which you take north out of East Glacier for around four miles before turning onto Two Medicine Road.

When is it open?

This entrance is open 24 hours a day, all year round. But it’s not open to vehicle traffic from mid-October through mid-May because of snow cover.

However, visitors traveling on foot can access the park via the Two Medicine Entrance whenever they like.

What is it best for?

The Two Medicine Entrance gives visitors the closest access to Two Medicine Lake and Upper Two Medicine Lake, two of the most stunning alpine lakes in the park that are overlooked by the Lewis & Clark Mountain Range.

This is also the best entrance for those who wish to visit Running Eagle Falls, which are located nearby. You can access them from a barrier-free trailhead close to the entrance.

Nearby towns

  • East Glacier Park
  • Kiowa
  • Browning
  • Essex
  • Walton

What attractions are outside the entrance?

The community of East Glacier Park is on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, a short distance from the Two Medicine Entrance. It’s the perfect setting for exploring, either on the top or tail end of your Glacier National Park trip.

The community is home to a selection of friendly eateries, specialty stores, and a golf course where all nine holes are named after iconic chiefs of the Blackfeet Nation.

The Two Medicine Entrance is also close to the Flathead National Forest, another natural Montana wonder. Within the forest, you’ll find winding rivers, ski areas, stretches of rugged wasteland, and sparkling alpine lakes.

There are also 2,000 miles of trails and numerous campgrounds.

Many Glacier Entrance

many glacier entrance

The Many Glacier Entrance is the northernmost entrance on the eastern side of Glacier National Park. It brings park guests to points of interest like the Many Glacier Hotel and Iceberg Lake.

Where is it?

The Many Glacier Entrance is found on the eastern side of the park, to the north of the St. Mary Entrance. From Browning, MT, you can get there by traveling north on Highway 89 for 35 miles, through St. Mary and the community of Babb. Turn left onto Glacier Route Three at Babb and travel for another eight miles.

When is it open?

Unlike the majority of the other entrances, the Many Glacier Entrance remains open year-round, 24 hours a day, to both foot traffic and vehicles.

However, it becomes difficult to access over winter as the snow on Glacier Route Three is not plowed.

What is it best for?

The Many Glacier Entrance is a popular entry point because it’s an entryway to a handful of the Glacier National Park’s greatest landmarks, including the Many Glacier Hotel, which dates back more than a century.

It’s also home to the trailhead for the scenic Iceberg Lake.

Nearby towns

  • Babb
  • Mary
  • East Glacier Park Village
  • Browning

What attractions are outside the entrance?

The Many Glacier Entrance is close to the town of Babb and the rest of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The area provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hiking.

While on the reservation, be sure to visit the Lodgepole Gallery and Tipi Village in Browning, where you can stay in an authentic teepee and tour buffalo jump sites.

The gallery exhibits artwork created by members of the Blackfeet Tribe, including traditional beadwork.

Cut Bank Entrance

The Cut Bank Entrance is the least frequented access point to Glacier National Park. It is accessed via a dirt road that leads to primitive campgrounds, backcountry trails, and day hikes.

Where is it?

The Cut Bank Entrance is located on the eastern side of the park, to the south of St. Mary. You can reach it by taking Cut Bank Creek Road, which comes off Highway 89, around 18 miles north of Browning, MT.

When is it open?

Though this entrance remains open all year, it is only open for vehicle access between mid-May and mid-October due to snow cover.

What is it best for?

The Cut Bank Entrance brings park guests to the primitive Atlantic Creek Campground and day hikes into the surrounding mountains. It’s best for those who are looking for peace and quiet during their trip to Glacier as this entrance is the least-frequented and attracts the fewest crowds.

Nearby towns

  • Kiowa
  • Browning
  • St. Mary
  • East Glacier Park Village

What attractions are outside the entrance?

Situated on the eastern side of the park, the Cut Bank Entrance is close to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation,  St. Mary Village, and the Flathead National Forest.

Glacier National Park Entrances – Conclusion

Every Glacier National Park entrance offers something unique, from direct access to major points of interest to authentic wilderness and uninterrupted tranquility.

The best entrance is the one that fits in with your itinerary and gives you the experience you want, whether that’s a backcountry vibe or a route to the center of the park’s action.

Here’s a summary of every entrance to help you find the best one for you:

  • West Glacier Entrance: Most popular entry point to Glacier, open year round.
  • Camas Creek Entrance: Remote western gateway to Going-to-the-Sun Road.
  • Polebridge Entrance: Northeastern entry point off the beaten track offering access to hidden park gems.
  • Mary Entrance: Prominent entry point on the eastern side of the park near St. Mary Village.
  • Two Medicine Entrance: Eastern entry is situated close to Blackfeet Nation.
  • Many Glacier Entrance: Northernmost entrance is best for the Many Glacier Hotel and Iceberg Lake.
  • Cut Bank Entrance: Off-the-grid entrance best for backcountry trails.

Which is your favorite entrance? Let us know in the comments below.

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