Glacier Park Lodge (East Glacier): Should You Stay Here? An Honest Review

Glacier Park Lodge: The Big Tree Lodge of Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is stunning and a dream location for many travelers. Because of its massive size, most tourists switch locations if they want to see all sections of the park.

The Glacier Park Lodge is the closest national park lodge to the Two Medicine section of Glacier National Park and is located on Blackfeet Nation land. Compared to other lodges within the park, it has the most impressive lobby, lower prices, and is near the Amtrak station- but its rooms are old, the Great Northern Dining Room restaurant is rated mediocre, and there is no lake view.

I’m Cheryl and have stayed in 6 of the Glacier National Park Lodges including Many Glacier Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel, Lake McDonald Lodge, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins, Belton Chalet, and of course the Glacier Park Lodge. I teach special education and travel with my family whenever I get a chance. My husband, Matt, writes travel itineraries and audio guides to help people plan their trip to the West.

If a trip to Glacier National Park is in your future (and I sure hope it is), read on to see if the Glacier Park Lodge is right for you.

Glacier Park Lodge
East Glacier Lodge

At a Glance

Beautiful groundsArea surrounding the lodge is run down
Best lobby of Glacier LodgesRooms are old (not in a good way)
Close to Amtrak train stationBathrooms are very small
Sun Tours access pointPoor Wi-Fi
Closest lodging to Two MedicineNo TV, AC, microwave, or fridge
Huge lodge with a lot of room optionsNo lake view
Free tours of the hotelTwo Medicine is one of the least scenic areas of Glacier
Less expensive than some of the other lodges
Pros and Cons of staying at the Glacier Park Lodge


Map of Glacier National Park including Lodging areas

Glacier National Park is really big. In fact, we stayed in all 4 sections of the park on our last trip, just so we could make the most of our time. Many Glacier is the most beautiful and our favorite followed by the Lake McDonald/Apgar Village area, Waterton Peace Park (Canada), and lastly Two Medicine.

All areas include towering mountains, crystal clear lakes, wildlife, and wildflowers covering the hillside but Two Medicine is my least favorite for a few reasons.

First, it’s small. One single parking lot is the jumping-off point for everything. We have done most of the hikes in the area and there isn’t anything super special about any of the waterfalls or views. Similar beautiful sights are common in other areas of Glacier.

Second, it’s known for being the best place to kayak or see wildlife but it was so windy the day we were there that small watercraft weren’t even allowed on the lake. We also didn’t see any more wildlife here than we did in other areas of the park.

Third, there aren’t many amenities. Boat tours and rentals are available but there is no lodge or restaurant. The visitor center has a little cafe that serves food similar to what you can purchase at a gas station.

Boat and boat dock at Two Medicine
Boat Tours at Two Medicine

The Glacier Park Lodge is the closest lodging to the Two Medicine area which is, in my opinion, the biggest reason NOT to stay here. If you are limited on time, you’d want to stay in the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Many Glacier Hotel, or the Lake McDonald Lodge to see the best areas of Glacier National Park.

One other problem is that East Glacier, where the Glacier Park Lodge is located, is very run down with boarded-up windows and dogs wandering the streets. It’s very sad.

The Amtrak train tracks separate the lodge from the town and there is no better example of “on the wrong side of the tracks” than the setup of the Glacier Park Lodge and East Glacier.

Lastly, even though you still have views of the mountains of Glacier, there isn’t a lake to enjoy until you drive into Two Medicine so the view from the lodge isn’t as nice.


Bedcroom at Glacier Park Lodge
East Glacier Lodge Room

Unfortunately, the rooms at the East Glacier Lodge were of the lowest quality (excluding the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn) of the lodges within Glacier.

Built in 1913 for the super-rich by the Northern Railway, the lodge is beautiful both inside and out but the rooms are small and old….. and not in a charming way.

The furnishings didn’t match and there were painted, exposed pipes in our room. It looked like the last upgrade was done in the 1960s. We had a small desk and a fan to keep our room cool.

The bathroom and shower were so small that I wouldn’t recommend a larger person staying here.

Bathroom at Glacier Park Lodge
Tiny bathroom at East Glacier Lodge

That being said, our room was clean and our bed was comfortable. It was a bit of a disappointment to pay over $200 a night for these accommodations but we spent very little time in our room. After all, the best place to hang out in the hotel is lobby! More on that later.

One last thing to know is that TV’s are never in national park lodges (at least to my knowledge). I guess the National Park Service wants us to get out and enjoy nature and mingle with other travelers. I’m grateful for the mild suggestion to get out more.


Tipi and grounds at Glacier Park Lodge
Beautiful ground at the East Glacier Lodge

The East Glacier Lodge had several amenities that set it apart from other lodges within the park. Most of the lodges are fancy, but this one was really fancy.

If you are into golf, this is the place for you. There is a golf course and putting greens right on the grounds of hotel. There is also shuffle board out back and an outdoor venue to host events like weddings.

Even though the Amtrak train station is right in front of the lodge, the grounds are so expansive that a train pick up service is available to hotel guests to get them and their luggage to and from the train station.

Bellhops are also available to help with luggage which is a big deal. There is no elevator and taking your luggage up and down several flights of stairs can be cumbersome.

The Great Northern Dining Room is the onsite fine dining restaurant. Unlike most of the Glacier lodges, the dining room does not have a view of a lake but does have a pretty view of the mountains and gardens.

Breakfast is served buffet style and dinner will cost around $30, excluding wine. No lunch is served. No reservations are accepted. The food served is locally sourced.

Dining Room at Glacier Park Lodge
Great Northern Dining Room

Matt and I chose not to eat here because we had heard poor reviews from other guests. Plus, our friend who has worked at Glacier National Park the past few years recommended we try Serrano’s just across the tracks. It was a good choice. The Empire Lounge and Empire Café are also onsite.

There is also the Glacier Park Gift Shop which carries regular souvenir items plus unique local crafts created by the Blackfeet Nation such as jewelry and blankets. The Country Corner carries snacks, drinks and toiletries. Both are located on site.

The employees running the information desk were helpful and friendly. I recommend stopping by and telling them your plans. They may have some insight to make your trip even better.

Like all the lodges in Glacier National Park, the East Glacier Lodge does not have air conditioning. This usually isn’t a problem because the climate is generally on the cooler side. However, I was uncomfortably warm in August.

The Wi-Fi is spotty. It didn’t work in our room at all and was hit and miss in the lobby. This is also common at all Glacier lodging. You also will not be finding swimming pools, fitness centers, or free continental breakfast (except breakfast at the the Belton Chalet) at any of the lodges.


Lobby at Glacier Park Lodge
East Glacier Lodge Lobby

The lobby of the East Glacier Lodge was my favorite of all the lodges. The giant Douglas Fir beams throughout were both beautiful and impressive. We learned on our tour of the lobby (which is free and we recommend) that the trees were shipped in by train from Washington because trees didn’t grow big enough in the Glacier area.

I loved the natural light during the day and the warm ambiance created by the chandelier at night. The wood railing surrounding the rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors also added to the overall beauty.

The lobby is the place to mingle. There are several couches, chairs, and tables scattered throughout as well as a fireplace and a grand piano. There is no professional musician on staff but it’s fun to see the talents of the guests staying there.

On the night we were there, we were lucky to hear a guest sing and play the guitar. What a wonderful treat.

There really aren’t big windows to view the outdoor scenery which is a little disappointing but the scenery at East Glacier Lodge is different.

Matt and I enjoyed sitting on the deck and overlooking the Amtrak station, golf course, and pretty flowers. It doesn’t sound that amazing but it really was a peaceful experience and a nice atmosphere.

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Gardens leading to Glacier Park Lodge
Gardens leading to East Glacier Lodge

Know Before You Go

The East Glacier Lodge is open from late May-September. Glacier gets so much snow that accessing most of the park is difficult until things thaw out or roads get plowed.

There are rooms within the main lodge as well as in the Great North Wing.

Value Rooms– double bed, located within the main lodge,
no view
Starting at $100
Main Lodge and Great North Wing– 1 king or 2 queen beds, mountain or garden views, the rooms in the North Great Wing are slightly bigger, can upgrade to have a shared balconyStarting at $219
Renovated Rooms– 1 king or 2 queen beds, mountain or garden views, sitting area, newly renovated to keep the same old fashioned feel with some modern touchesStarting at $259
Suites-King bed, view of Dancing Lady Mountain, sitting areaStarting at $329
Family Rooms– open floor plan with space for 3 or more double beds, mountain or garden views, above lobbyStarting at $249
Cottage/Golf House– there is only 1 of each of these but a nice option if privacy is what you are looking forStarting at $299
Available Rooms at the Glacier Park Lodge

Because of the short travel season, and the growing number of tourists (3 million in 2021!) accommodations can be hard to come by. Guests are able to book lodging 13 months in advance and it’s highly recommended you book as soon as you know your travel dates.

That being said, we got our accommodations to the East Glacier, Many Glacier, Lake McDonald, Belton Chalet, the Swift Current Motor Inn, and the Prince of Wales Hotel between 1-5 months before our trip.

In most cases, reservations are fully refundable if cancelations are made within the contracted window time. It isn’t uncommon for rooms to come available at short notice. However, it does require vigilance of checking availability every morning and during the day for openings.

Should you Stay?

I’ve never regretted staying at a national park lodge. The proximity to the parks and charming architecture are well worth the the extra cost. I don’t mind going without A/C, TV, and even having spotty Wi-Fi, if it enables me more time to take in the beauties of the surrounding area.

Parts of this review may have come across negative but I really did enjoy my stay here.

However, my favorite places in Glacier to stay are Many Glacier and Lake McDonald. Both the lodges and surrounding scenery are the best Glacier National Park has to offer and are worth the additional cost. The East Glacier Lodge is just too far away.

Two Medicine12-minute drive
Many Glacier1 hour 5-minute drive
West Glacier (Lake McDonald and Apgar)1 hour 11-minute drive
St Mary’s Village (Wi-Fi)55-minute drive
Whitefish (biggest city near West Glacier)1 hour 32-minute drive
East Glacier Lodge distance to popular locations

I would only visit the East Glacier/Two Medicine area if I was on a 4 day trip. Otherwise, I would choose to spend more time in West Glacier and Many Glacier.

Alternative Lodging in East Glacier

If you are looking for accommodations that offer more than “national park rustic,” St. Mary’s Village is a good option for you. The hotels are not run by the concessionaires of the NPS and you may find more amenities and cheaper rates. Plus, St. Mary’s is our go-to spot when we need cell service.

It’s about a 50-minute drive to Two Medicine.

The city of Whitefish is on the west side of the park and is populated with the most hotels, restaurants and other activities.

There are many hotels, VRBOs, and Airbnb’s in the outlying areas. We recommend using to find the best deals for lodging in the areas that are outside of the park.

Is there anything else I should know?

Yes! Planning a trip to a national park can take days. It can be overwhelming and stressful. Let us lighten the load. Check out our must-have Travel Itinerary to Glacier National Park 

Our itinerary provides you with a daily (yet flexible) plan to help you efficiently see the park. It will get you to the most important places, at the right time to avoid the crowds, by telling you exactly how to do it. You can’t go wrong. Get your travel itinerary today!

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