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Glacier Park Lodge – a Yesteryear National Park Lodge Not to Miss

Glacier Park Lodge – a Yesteryear National Park Lodge Not to Miss

I can remember my first time visiting the Glacier Park Lodge is East Glacier, Montana. I thought it was one of the coolest buildings I’d ever been in and exactly what I would build if I were making a fancy hotel in the Rockies. That was 30 years ago and now I’ve gotten to stay at the Glacier Park Lodge with the kids and have all the details of what it’s like. Most of our stay was great, but there are some things to know before planning your own visit. Whether this is your home base for a week in Glacier National Park or just a single overnight, we’ve got the scoop for you.

Are you thinking of staying at the Glacier Park Lodge? If so, read on and take notes, because we have some tips for both having the best stay and things to do at and near East Glacier. The Lodge is open from late spring (end of May) to early fall (end of September) so you can see nearly all the seasons here (beautiful fall colors!) Glacier National Park is in my top three favorite National Parks so if you have any questions about hiking in the park, wildlife, or want specifics of staying at the Glacier Park Lodge, please leave a comment or send us a note!

Full review of the Glacier Park Lodge on the east side of Glacier National Park in Montana. From opinions about the rooms to reviews of the dining options at the lodge, this is what you can expect at this vintage National Park hotel.

What Are the Room Options at the Glacier Park Lodge?

When you’re booking your stay at the Glacier Park Lodge, keep in mind that this is a historic lodge and it’s quite vintage in its room types and styles. The lodge is very large and has been going through a rolling renovation, so there are both newly refreshed/redesigned rooms and accommodations that are in need of an update. The difference in old vs new is stark, both in basic finishes and overall maintenance. 

  • Two Queen room
  • One King room
  • Three beds, may vary
  • Family suite, limited with multiple beds
  • Lodge Value room, one double bed
  • Renovated King and Two Queen rooms

Keep in mind that this is an old National Park lodge and there are three floors of rooms. There are no elevators, so be prepared for both a long walk through vintage corridors AND to climb a flight of stairs or two of your not on the ground floor.

Book the Glacier Park Lodge here!

Unrenovated Two Queen Room at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 2

Top Pick: Any Renovated Room

When I say that the value of the renovated room is much higher than an old room, I mean it. While the old rooms still have the charm of a vintage National Park Lodge, they also have the qualities of an old inn that’s been forgotten about. The new rooms are beautiful with detailed woodsy, vintage style, wonderfully comfortable beds, beautifully trimmed bathrooms and rich tones that really bring out the National Park Lodge vibes. The wallpaper and ceilings in the newly renovated rooms are just perfect and remind me of staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

New or old room, you still won’t find any televisions at the Glacier Park Lodge. The technology level here is minimal so you’ll have to just enjoy the lodge and the outdoors. Yes, there’s Wi-Fi, but that’s not why you’re staying in East Glacier. If you’re doing Glacier with kids, they might not understand the vintage concept of no technology anywhere, but after a day or two, they’ll get used to it.

Note: the reason we stayed in both a non-renovated room and an updated one is because I didn’t feel that the old room and its upkeep matched the expected value of the room rate we paid. The front desk was very accommodating without question when I asked to move.

Renovated Two Queen Room at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Are the Old Rooms Bad?

The old rooms at the Glacier Park Lodge aren’t bad, per se, but they’re not nice. They were last updated in probably the 60s or 70s (don’t quote me) and have lots of time for improvement. The floors are not well maintained (separating floor boards and swollen/cracked linoleum in the bathroom) and the furniture is squeaky. The walls are aged and need of care, and the windows shake with the wind. 

Are they fine? Sure, but they are not $300+/night worth it in the slightest. I know you’re paying for the vintage experience of a beautiful old National Park Lodge, but the old rooms are so bleak you’ll be sad that your room rate doesn’t match the experience. The new rooms are awesome and do match the room rates, including the cool, updated bathrooms. We’ve stayed in both, so we know.

Taylor Family in Renovated room bathroom at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Check in / Check Out at the Glacier Park Lodge

Remember, we’re taking about a vintage National Park lodge, so be ready to be handed a metal room key (don’t lose it!) and a quick run down on the history of the building. There is a lot of info to take in regarding dining, property layout and what’s happening at the lodge, so be sure to get your questions answered before heading off to your room. The staff at the Glacier Park Lodge is lovely, I will say, and they’re very invested in the guest experience, both good and not. The bell staff (dressed as railway engineers) is helpful and fun, and the front desk crew is excited about sharing the lodge with guests. Top notch service, to be sure.

Taylor Family in Lobby at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Glacier Park Lodge Amenities

Think of the Glacier Park Lodge as a place to return to at the end of a beautiful day exploring Glacier National Park. It’s welcoming and warm and it’s built for relaxing. You won’t find a gym or business center here, but there and countless couches and cushy chairs for sitting down to read or do a puzzle. There’s a wonderful fireplace den the roars all season. There are decks with rocking chairs to sit and have the mountains, and indoor lounge spaces for listening to history presentations or participating in trivia. It’s a very communal experience and even I, who doesn’t live to meet new people, really enjoy time in the grand lobby and breezeway lounges.

There used to be a swimming pool at the Glacier Park Lodge, but that’s since been removed and replaced with a horseshoe court and summertime outdoor space. It’s nice and makes more sense than a large swimming pool in finicky Montana.

Taylor Family with fireplace at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Wi-Fi Access at the Lodge

And YES! There is Wi-Fi at the Glacier Park Lodge. The Wi-Fi is surprisingly good, even. While I aim to not do computer work while on trips (fun or work trips) I did have to login and found good speeds and consistent connectivity for doing photo and video work in the cloud, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Dining at the Glacier Park Lodge 

There are three options for dining at the Glacier Park Lodge:

  • Great Northern Dining Room
  • Empire Lounge 
  • Triple Divide Coffee Bar

It’s rare that I’ll be excited to talk about hotel food, because that’s not my forte, but the food at the Glacier Park Lodge was impressive. The Great Northern dining room had a wonderful menu and really did Montana cooking right. From the pork belly Brussels sprouts to the giant portions it pot roast and delicious mashed potatoes, we left full, happy and not regretting our dining choice. The Great Northern dining room is nice, but not overly fancy. It’s a solid choice for adults looking for a very nice meal and with kids. We also did the breakfast biggest here which was a very nice spread, and again, a very good value.

The Empire Lounge, connected to the Great Northern, also is wonderful. More low key and lower prices, the Empire Lounge has more sandwiches and less formal meal options. I liked the vintage feel of the Empire Lounge because it was reminiscent of the Oregon Caves Chateau or the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone. The quality of food and value was spot on, which was great considering that historically National Park dining isn’t usually that great (but that’s changing).

The Triple Divide Coffee Bar is self explanatory: coffee bar with drinks and light breakfast fare. 

Roast Chicken dinner at Great Northern Dining Room Restaurant Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Stores on Site at Glacier Park Lodge 

Since the Glacier Park Lodge is near the town of East Glacier, there’s not a full on convenience store on property, but there is an awesome gift shop. I love how National Park souvenirs have evolved to be cool, trendy, sustainable and unique. That’s what you’ll find here. Also, since the Glacier Park Lodge is run by Pursuit (same company as the Belton Chalet in West Glacier and Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton), they carry NPS specific Pendleton products in their shop. We may or may not have gotten a new travel blanket…

Pendleton Wildlife Blanket in gift shop at Glacier Park Lodge East Glacier Montana 1

Book the Glacier Park Lodge here!

Where is the Glacier Park Lodge?

Glacier National Park has quite a few lodges thanks to the Great Northern Railway building luxury properties in the Rockies in the 1910s and 20s. There’s the Belton Chalet in West Glacier, Lake McDonald Lodge near Apgar (west side), the Many Glacier Hotel (up in Many Glacier) and the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier near Two Medicine. This Lodge is located outside the park boundary (don’t worry, that’s fine) directly across from the East Glacier train station. It’s about twenty minutes to the main area of Two Medicine, about an hour from St Mary, and maybe an hour and a half from Many Glacier. I love the location because it’s not so remote that you’re without cell service but clearly you’re at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, and still you’re plenty close to many great things to do in Glacier National Park.

The town of East Glacier is small but has fuel, restaurants, an Amtrak station, convenience stores and some cool Blackfeet exhibits. This while area is a part of the Blackfeet Reservation and ancestral lands, and as such any local customs and holidays are observed by the lodge and town. 

Taylor Family at Two Medicine Entrance Sign Glacier National Park Montana 4

Transportation To and From Kalispell or Missoula

Staying on the east side of Glacier National Park is my favorite Even though it’s a bit further from airports than West Glacier. The Glacier Park Lodge is about a two hour drive from the Kalispell aimaprport or three and a half hours from the Missoula airport. There’s not a great bus system to the area, but you can take the train from Seattle or Chicago on the Amtrak Empire Builder line. Rental cars are available in Missoula, Kalispell and Whitefish (a train stop), but no longer available in either West or East Glacier.

Amtrak Train Station in East Glacier Montana 1

Can I bike from the Glacier Park Long into the park?

If you’ve brought your bike and are planning on biking into Glacier National Park, you totally can, but it’s a long ride. Two Medicine is a little over a half hour ride from the Glacier Park Lodge, and St Mary is no less than three and a half hours on a bike. Biking from Logan Pass to the Glacier Park Lodge is five hours, but if you’re doing the reverse going up the pass, it’ll take you significantly longer.

If you’re planning on biking, staying at the Glacier Park Lodge is probably best as a one night stay along your route versus being a home base. You do you though, and if you’re a big biker and in great shape, plan the adventure that’s right for you!

Fall Colors Snowy Mountains at St Mary Lake Rising Sun Glacier National Park 3

Parking Details at Glacier Park Lodge 

Parking is free at the Glacier Park Lodge. It’s all self-parking and is very near the main lodge building. You can park right in front of the lobby to check in and unload, but then you will need to park just down from the main building.

Ten Fun Things to do at/near the Glacier Park Lodge

I’m all about hiking in Glacier National Park, but I know that not everyone goes at our pace. There’s a ton to do very near the Glacier Park Lodge and on the east side of Glacier NP, so putting together a plan for your visit is easy! These are our top picks for things to do near the Glacier Park Lodge:

Taylor Family boarding Sinopah Glacier Park Boat Company tour at Two Medicine Lake Glacier National Park Montana 1

We enjoyed our stay at the beautiful Glacier Park Lodge. As I said, there are some areas for improvement with the older rooms, but the lodge as a whole and the newer rooms are awesome. I would definitely return if I found another deal and availability for two nights. 

If you have any questions we didn’t answer here or want to share additional tips for visiting the Glacier Park Lodge or National Park, please leave a comment or send us a note. Happy travels!

Full review of the Glacier Park Lodge on the east side of Glacier National Park in Montana. From opinions about the rooms to reviews of the dining options at the lodge, this is what you can expect at this vintage National Park hotel.