At large camping near Glacier NP?


Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
May 5, 2012
I'm considering making a short-notice run up to Glacier National Park in a week or so. Expecting full campgrounds and booked-out motels. Does anyone have a line on good places to set up outside the park for a car camp? PM me if necessary.


Dec 11, 2015
It's been a number of years but heading up the North Fork road on the west side of the park (start from Columbia Falls) gives some great access for dispersed camping. Just head toward or beyond Polebridge depending on your whims. You can also access the Whitefish Range from Whitefish if you want to check out the town of Whitefish, just head toward Upper Whitefish Lake. According to the Flathead NF Motor Vehicle Use Map, there's still miles of dispersed camping in the Whitefish Range. Here's a link to the MVUM.

If that link doesn't work just Google Flathead NF MVUM and go to the Glacier View District MVUM. Nice country, some great hikes and easy access to the west side of the park. Fairly quick access to the Going-to-the-Sun Road if you don't travel too far north on the North Fork Road and take the Camas Road over. Lots of other areas south of the park are wilderness or restrict car camping (or at least used to, I doubt they have eased restrictions).

EDIT: I just checked and there is some dispersed camping in the Hungry Horse Reservoir area but it is much less than than in the Whitefish Range.

Of course I know nothing of your habits but if you have had a beer or 2 along the way, do not drive through Columbia Falls on your way up, they have been notorious for a long time for pulling non-locals over and checking for any indication of alcohol. I also doubt that has changed.

And have a great trip!
Last edited:
Aug 31, 2015
I'm not sure how much at large camping there is in the area, but like Outdoor_Fool said, the Whitefish and Kootenai NF's have promise. The wilderness zones you can camp at if are willing to work a little and not car camp (If the great bear and bob Marshall wilderness run how I think they do) Hope you enjoy your trip there; it is truly wonderful! My dad and I will be up there in 3-4 weeks for our second leg of glacier trips.
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