St. Mary Campground in Glacier National Park


It is our last day in Glacier National Park so we want to share helpful tips we picked up along the way for visiting the park. We also want to fill you in on why even though we loved Glacier, we couldn’t wait to leave our campground. Glacier National Park has to get to the top of your list for places to visit. I know we have many more parks in our near future, but this one is going to be hard to beat!

Grinnell Glacier Trail 18

And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 1 Canadian province and 11 national parks. For the upcoming months, I will be sharing with you our highlights, lowlights, adventures, favorite spots, best tips and our thoughts on three months of road tripping and living in a pop up.  I’ll try to answer any and all of your questions too!  You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Miles Driven Today: 20

Total Miles Driven: 4,340

Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.61

States: Montana

If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.

Tips for Visiting Glacier National Park

  • Start your day early (before 10 AM) to avoid crowds on the trails, to get parking spaces and to see wildlife.
  • Free shuttle buses are available and work great, but if you get up early you do not need to take it.
  • Free Wi-Fi at St. Mary Visitor Center and the Travel Alberta West Glacier Information Center.
  • Significantly cheaper gas on the west side in the town of Coram.
  • Split your time between each side of the park. Book a few days on the west side and a few days on the east.

Grinnell Glacier Trail 17

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Love – Hate Relationship with St. Mary Campground

St. Mary Campground is well-reviewed and is one of the largest campgrounds on the east side of Glacier National Park. So why did we hate it? It has no hookups for electric or water, the shower situation is ridiculous and I probably picked the worst campsite in the entire campground for privacy.

St Mary Campground Glacier National ParkThe sites themselves have absolutely no privacy to begin with, but ours (site C105) was the worst. We had the only water spigot in our area so everyone was coming to our site for water at all times including first thing in the morning and after we were already trying to get to sleep.

St. Mary Campground Glacier National Park (2)
Well hello, come on in

We were also right next to the shortcut to the shower house so there was constant traffic in our spot between the water spigot and the trail.

St Mary Campground Glacier National ParkAnd that leads me to the final reason we hated our campground, the shower situation. It has only four showers for the entire campground! The showers are unisex so that’s only four total for both men and women. I kid you not, one family would stop and take over the entire shower house. No matter what time of day we went to shower, there always seemed to be a line. We would wait on average about thirty minutes sometimes while swatting mosquitos only to get into an ice cold shower.

St Mary Campground Glacier National Park
Shower House at St. Mary Campground
St. Mary Campground Glacier National Park (7)
Bathrooms with running cold water only at St. Mary Campground

We were clearly not a fan of St. Mary Campground BUT would stay there again next time we visited. Why? Location, location, location. It is conveniently located near Logan Pass and Going-to-the-Sun Road and is located only a half-mile from St. Mary Visitor Center which had free Wi-Fi. The east side is also a great spot for viewing wildlife which we love so we would often stop on the way back to the campground to see if we could spot some animals.

Day 24 St Mary Campground

St. Mary Campground Glacier National Park (4)

The views aren’t half bad either.

St Mary Campground Glacier National Park

St Mary Campground Glacier National ParkIt is also a cheap option at only $23 per night so between the location and the cost, we would definitely stay again.

*Laundry Tip – St. Mary Glacier Park KOA has nice laundry facilities only 5 minutes from the campground.

St Mary Campground Glacier National Park St Mary Campground Glacier National Park

Next: Stunning Banff National Park


Thanks for following along! Do you have any questions for us about our epic 80 day summer road trip?

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10 Responses

  1. Last summer camping trip, we stay at St Mary KOA instead of the St Mary Campground because we need hook up (electricity). KOA cost me $63 per night. Therefore $23 for St Mary Campground is a great deal. But the facilities at St Mary KOA is very nice. They also have in ground pool and hot tub.

    We are very lucky and we got a chance to see Aurora Borealis (Northern Light) during the 3 days stay @ KOA. We participate a Star Gazing activities at St. Mary Visitor Center at 9pm. The park ranger informed us about the opportunity and we stay with the ranger till 2am. The ranger teach me how to take Astro nightitme photo. I’m able to capture many nice pictures of the Northern Light.

    • The KOA facilities did look a lot nicer when we went to do laundry. We hd no idea they had a hot tub though. A soak at the end of a long day of hiking would have been great! Wow, you are so lucky to have seen the northern lights! What time of year were you there? I saw them in Alaska years ago and it was incredible. So glad you learned how to take nighttime photos too. We bought a new camera before this trip and are still trying to figure things out!

  2. I found your blog via Pinterest and have really enjoyed following along because we are (almost literally) following your route, about 1-3 days behind. We were in St. Mary also-down in B loop with a similar amount of limited privacy. We are in a truck camper with hard sides, so the traffic and showers weren’t an issue, thankfully. Funny that you guys were in C105. My parents were in C107 with the ginormous motor home right when you were there!! Small world!

    • That is crazy Lauren. It is such a small world!! You are lucky with the truck camper. I am figuring out that I really want a bathroom and shower for long-term camping trips. Are you going to Washington too? I wonder if our days will overlap at all along the way… so awesome.

  3. No, Glacier was as far as we made it west and north on this trip. We are from NC, so the 2,300 miles to Glacier was a haul! We have started south and went through Yellowstone (too crowded!) and now Grand Tetons (beautiful!). We are working back through SD and then NC from there. We would LOVE to go to the additional parks you are visiting. I will keep up with your adventures so we know what and where to go! Thanks!

  4. I’m heading to Glacier in a few weeks! I can’t wait. I”m so excited.

    • Awesome! Great time of year to be there. Make sure to hike the Grinnell Glacier trail, drink huckleberry beer (if you drink), St. Mary’s Fall hike and bring bear spray!!

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