SFR: Camping near Glacier NP

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Itchy Dog, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,763
    Ratings: +451 / 1
    Will be heading to Glacier in late June, and we're trying to pick a campground to stay at. Has anyone ever stayed at Lake McDonald, and can you recommend any good campgrounds there or nearby? It's a family vacation, so the flyrod will be along but only allowed out to play if convenient.

  2. Highfly Member

    Posts: 77
    Everson, WA
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    Glacier is full of wonderful car camping opportunities, in addition to the backcountry sites. If you are interested in the Lake McDonald area, my personal favorite is the Fish Creek Campground. There is a healthy population of little cutthroats in the creek that runs through the site, and it has great views of the lake. Apgar campground is great for families, as it is close to the amenities of Apgar and West Glacier. If you want a little more isolation, Two Medicine campground is a great pick- you can hop on a scenic boat ride there, then hike up to upper Two Medicine Lake for its massive brookies. However, it is a little chilly there, as there always seems to be a lot of wind coming off the lake. If you don't want to see many other people while you are there, check out Cut Bank campground. The creek there is loaded with cuttys and bulls. Have fun on your trip. I hope the pass will be open by that time, so you can check out Hidden Lake and its cuttys. Watch out for grizzlies!!!
  3. QHays Premember

    Posts: 168
    Here and There
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    Damn, I can't believe I'm saying this but... Having worked in GNP and spent what seems to be half my life there... On the west side of the park Kintla has to be the best. Although the fishing in late June might be a little slow on the lake itself, you can really, really hammer the cutties just after ice-out (but you need a non-motorized boat (check out the WaterMaster demo)). It's a bit of a drive though... If you want some wildlife viewing try the east side where the veg is a lot thinner and things like griz are much more readily seen (Many Glacier is the most reliable griz-watching area in the park). Of course the thick foliage on the west side makes for much more exciting encounters. Gotta scold Highfly a little bit -- it's technically illegal to fish for bull trout in the state of Montana, they're not like the dollies you guys get off the coast over there, and pulling them out of little creeks is a particular no-no. Now if you make the mistake of thinking there might be brown trout in there and pulling some big streamers through the deep holes... Anyway, Highfly is right about getting into the backcountry, there's some nice car-camping but there's nothing like seeing Glacier from the trails. Let's hope we get a nice wet June like we're suppposed to and the fires won't be that bad this year...
  4. Highfly Member

    Posts: 77
    Everson, WA
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  5. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,507
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Our Family usually stays at Bowman Lake. Beautiful area and off the main road.

  6. QHays Premember

    Posts: 168
    Here and There
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    I know -- it's the age-old Montana technique of "fishing for browns" during runoff on the Blackfoot with 6-inch bunnies... Good way to act like your fishing for the big browns and end up with a 30+ inch bull. Can't say I've never done that... While I'm thinking of it -- the other great thing for out-of-staters fishing in Glacier is that there's no license necessary... (although MTFWP does need all the license fees it can get). Sorry for the scold Highfly, I just wish they'd been listed when they had a chance... and with the current administration...
  7. wrench Member

    Posts: 408
    Libby, Mt, US.
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Fish Creek, that runs thru Fish creek campground is CLOSED TO FISHING!!!!
    Read the regs.
  8. flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    The west side of Glacier has some nice places, in and out of the park. I'll take a look at some of the maps I have, since the names escape me.

    There are some nice lakes from the west entrance, Bowman which someone else mentioned is one of them. The road up to Bowman used to be pretty bad, but I haven't been up there in a while, at least 5 years. Also think about heading up to Polebridge, a tiny town just outside of the west entrance. They used to have a great little bakery there and there are a few cabins and campsites that you might want to check out.

    The main campgrounds in the park are okay, but pretty big. Still a good option though.

    I've been thinking about heading back up over there, but the fishing isn't as good as in other parts of the state. There are also some nice rivers to do some river rafting up there, so keep that in mind too.

    Enjoy! :cool:

  9. Jim Fitz Member

    Posts: 446
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I agree that if you are with your family, Apgar and Fish Creek are both nice and within latte driving or walking distance. Apgar is closer to the "conveniences". There is also a state campground (Big Creek or something like that) up north on the NF flathead that is nice. We reserved the group site last summer and found that you could probably camp 100 people there. Probably a little remote for your purposes. Not that far a drive but the road had horrible washboard.

    You might want to consider spending one night at Lake McDonald Lodge. We did that to break up a 3 week camping a few years ago. It is an old classic lodge with lots of stuffed animals and the like. Also, nice re$taraunt in the lodge and nice, cheaper one across the street. Remember, you can eat only so many hot dogs.

    Don't forget your swimsuit. That is a joke. One thing about that area/altitude - the water is always cold. I jumped in Fish Creek in the dead of summer and had hypothermia by the time I jumped right back out.

    With respect to fishing for bulls, great example to check the regs and not the
    books you might buy. I was "prepping" for my trip last summer and a few books (which I assume were outdated) talked about how to catch those bulls. Kind of surprised me but the regs are crystal clear on that issue. Just like around here, read close as random creeks are closed.

    Have fun. Nice area. Fire sure took its tole on the area in last several years. Fishing didn't seem to suffer much from my experience.

  10. PeteM Member

    Posts: 626
    Snohomish, WA, US.
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Fish Creek, reserve ahead and pick a spot on the lake edge. Those campsites are larger and you have great access to the lake. Hike into Avalanche lake while you are there. It's a great view and plenty of cutthroat.