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Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

10 posts
Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

I originally booked the St. Mary Tiny Home due to this being our only lodging option, I have continued checking for openings and ended up finding options at both the St. Mary Great Bear Lodge and Many Glacier. There is certainly the allure of staying in one place at our tiny home (this was the only room we could keep all 3 nights), but I hate to miss out on Many Glacier if it really is that amazing (even if we didn't stay there, we would definitely drive up to visit Many Glacier). I will have my own kayak with me also, and would like to kayak time permitting. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :) thank you!

July 16, Day 1: arriving early evening from YST, staying ?? (Options(3): St. Mary Tiny Home, St. Mary Great Bear Lodge, Many Glacier)

July 17, Day 2: tour Glacier, staying ?? (Options (3): St. Mary Tiny Home, St. Mary Great Bear Lodge, Many Glacier)

July 18, Day 3: tour Glacier, staying ?? (Options (2): St. Mary Tiny Home, Many Glacier)

July 19, Day 4: depart Glacier, stopping at Prince of Wales Hotel, arriving at Lake Louise evening staying at Emerald Lake Lodge

**Helpful info - We may do some short, easy hikes - but one person in our traveling group is fairly low mobility, and I don't want to leave them behind a lot - if there are any must do short hikes, though, they will happily stay back at the hotel. I understand Many Glacier is an excellent location for hikes, but with this limitation I'm not sure if that makes a huge difference for us.

4 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

With only 2 full days in GNP, I'd spend one day in Many Glacier and one day at Logan Pass and along the Going-to-the-Sun Rd.

I would probably just stay in St. Mary - you get 3 nights in the same place, and you're close to Logan Pass so you can get up there early in the morning to find parking. For your day in Many Glacier, you can kayak in Swiftcurrent Lake while others in your group enjoy sitting on the back porch at Many Glacier Hotel, taking in the views. Or they can walk the Swifcurrent Nature Trail, or maybe visit Fishercap Lake and Wilbur Falls if they can walk short distances.

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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2. Re: Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

Very Good suggestions above concerning what to do for 2 full days.

I too advise St Mary/Rising Sun as a home base. And grab any motel/hotel you can immediately when it comes up or it will disappear the next time you look....booking a day at a time is easier than finding a block of 3 nights. The tiny houses only have bathrooms outside of them. Don't worry much about cancellations...the cancellation policies up here are pretty lenient as they know the rooms will fill regardless.


At RISING SUN, an IN-PARK motorlodge and rustic cabins just inside the East Gate.

In ST.MARY just BARELY OUTSIDE the East Gate: St. Mary Lodge complex, its Great Bear annex (the only one with TV, AC and fairly good WiFi), it fairly new cabins, two basic 50's style motels and now some very very small "tiny houses" with detached bathrooms. Also Glacier Trailhead Cabins, The Cottages at Glacier, Johnson’s and the new cabins at the KOA. The Red Eagle Motel has said it renovated 12 rooms for this season...SM may not be inside the park boundary...but it may as well be, it abuts it.


Its about a 40 minute drive from there to MG and you do not have to overnight there. Make your boat tour or hikes, visit Fishercap Lake in the evening to see the Moose before you begin the drive back to SM.


You are going to have a very long day driving some very scenic roads the day you leave and end up at Emerald Lake. The best route is actually also at least as fast as any other. The freeways are not as quick as you might imagine.

The Cowboy Route first to Banff and then up the Canada #1 to LL and Emerald Lake. That is the way Banff/Jasper used to be and before all the huge bus loads of visitors began to descend on Banff township and beyond. It is also where so many movies and TV shows have been filmed.

The Cowboy Route is the #6 from Waterton to Pincher Creek (use restrooms if needed)...the #3 west for a few miles to the #22. Then north to Longview and take the #541 west from there to the #40 heading north. Stop at Kananaskis Village for a coffee and a restroom stop if needed. There is a Starbuck's inside the Marriott Resort Hotel there. After that continue to the #1 and head to Emerald Lake.

10 posts
3. Re: Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

These suggestions are SO helpful, thank you!! We have decided to keep Saint Mary as our base. I still have room options for the "Great Bear Lodge" or a Tiny Home. Big difference to use seems to be air conditioning at the lodge...none in the tiny home. Coming from Oklahoma....A/C while trying to sleep feels pretty important, but I realize things are different that far north! Does it cool off enough in the evenings to sleep cool without A/C? (will be there July 16-18)

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4. Re: Lodging Help - Many Glacier vs. St. Mary

It depends. Sometimes it can be cool enough that you'll want to turn heaters on a night. Sometimes it can be hot during the day and you'll need fans to help with air circulation in your room to cool it down at night. Also depends on your personal comfort level.

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