Granite Park Chalet | Glacier National Park | Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

Granite Park Chalet | Glacier National Park | Glacier Guides and Montana Raft

How To Get a Reservation at Granite Park Chalet

 With the loss of Sperry Chalet last summer, a new frequently asked question around here is how to get a reservation at Granite Park Chalet. And it’s a question we love, as the experience provided by Granite Park Chalet is one we would wish on everyone. After all, how else do you get to see Glacier’s star studded skies from the backcountry without having to carry a heavy backpack?

Background: Granite Park Chalet

Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park

Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park. Photo by Guide Dre Cameron.

Let’s start with a brief history lesson. Granite Park Chalet was built in 1914 and 1915 by the Great Northern Railway to provide comfortable backcountry accommodations inside Glacier National Park. It was the last of the lodges and chalets built by the railroad — originally, there were 10. Granite Park Chalet welcomed backcountry guests for generations, pausing only for the Great Depression and World War II, which were hard on all of the chalets.
In 1992, the Sierra Club threatened to sue the National Park Service over waste-water management at both Sperry and Granite Park chalets. The chalets were closed. The Philips family of Bozeman, a husband and wife team who met at the chalets, started a grass-roots effort called “Save the Chalets.” This was aimed at working with the Park Service to re-open and maintain the chalets. Granite Park was restored and reopened in 1996. Not long after that, Glacier Guides and Montana Raft ran Granite Park Chalet for six summers, so it holds an extra special place in our hearts. Other than us, the Luding Family has lovingly operated and cared for the chalets since 1954.
The Garden Wall, Glacier National Park, Montana

The Garden Wall. Photo by Guide Corrie Holloway.

Granite Park Chalet Today

 Granite Park is a stunning place, with sweeping views of Heaven’s Peak, the Livingstone Range, the Lake McDonald Valley, the Garden Wall, and the Logan Pass area. From every direction, the trails accessing Granite Park — from Waterton/50 Mountain, Logan Pass, the Loop, and Swiftcurrent — are gorgeous, and amongst the most popular in the park. Granite Park Chalet is typically open from late June through early September. The Chalet is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is a treasured space in Glacier’s backcountry. 

How To Get A Reservation At Granite Park Chalet

Historically, the Chalet’s website opens on a pre-announced day in January to take reservations for the coming summer. Granite Park Chalet is so popular that it is typically sold out from practically the moment reservations open each year. Click here to check out how to make a reservation at Granite Park Chalet on its website. If you’re not successful in snagging a Granite Park Chalet reservation, there is another option — us!
We delight in leading several two night, guided trips to Granite Park Chalet each summerOn a Glacier Guides and Montana Raft trip to Granite Park Chalet, typically 12 guests and 2 guides hike in from Logan Pass, via the Highline Trail. If there are snow hazards or other issues, we might come in via the Loop trail. Since the Trapper Creek Fire of 2003, the Loop Trail is exceptionally beautiful, as it was opened up by that fire, and wildflowers have thrived in the post-fire soil.
Loop Trail post Trapper Creek Fire. Glacier National Park.

After the fires of 2003, the Loop Trail gained amazing views. Photo by Guide Corrie Holloway.

Regardless of which route you take, expect amazing alpine views and abundant wildflowers. Both of these trails offer the chance for wildlife sightings, too — remember that goats, sheep, bears, and all critters have the right of way on the trail, and if possible, you should always step down off the trail, not up, when yielding to them.

 Day 1 On A Granite Park Chalet Trip

Upon arriving at the Chalet, we relax on the famous stone porch, drinking in the views of Heaven’s Peak. We’ll enjoy appetizers like cheese, crackers, and fruit before the dinner hour. Guests share a large kitchen, each signing up for a cooking time slot — on a Glacier Guides and Montana Raft trip to Granite Park chalet, our guides sign up for these slots. Guides take great pride in showing off their backcountry skills in Granite Park Chalet’s big kitchen.  A typical dinner is steak fajitas with farmer’s market veggies, rice and beans, or maybe chicken parmesan with garlic bread and locally sourced salad. For dessert, brownies or cheesecake are likely choices.

Vegetarian? Gluten free? No dairy? No problem. Our in-house kitchen staff can accommodate any dietary restriction or preference with delicious, largely organic and locally sourced choices. We believe in feeding our guests and ourselves the most nutritious, delicious food available in the backcountry. After dinner, we retire to sleep deeply, safe and sound within the stone walls of the Chalet, on beds with fresh linens.

Sunset over the Livingstone Range, from Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park, Montana

Sunset over the Livingstone Range, from Granite Park Chalet. Photo by Guide Corrie Holloway.

Day Two On A Granite Park Chalet Trip

Sunrise over the Garden Wall, from Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park

Sunrise over the Garden Wall, from Granite Park Chalet. Photo by Guide Dre Cameron.

The next morning, we recommend you take a quiet moment to watch the sun rise over the Garden Wall. Then, enjoy a breakfast that might be local eggs scrambled with fresh vegetables, sausage, and english muffins, or perhaps huckleberry topped pancakes with bacon. A trip to Granite Park Chalet, when you’re going with us, is a two night affair, as we just can’t fit everything we want to show you into a one night trip.

You’ll likely have several options on day two, and the group might split up depending on guest goals. A favorite destination is Swiftcurrent Firetower, a fairly short but strenuous hike up from the Chalet. Other guests might choose to hike to Ahern Pass, continuing north up the Highline Trail. You can’t make a bad decision between these choices. Both hikes offer guests an excellent chance to observe Glacier’s abundant flora and fauna. We often see Glacier’s iconic mountain goats and Bighorn sheep in this area. At times, we also spot grizzly bears, wolverines, marmots, bald eagles, and more! The summer bloom of wildflowers create carpets of beargrass, sticky geranium, and Indian paintbrush along the trail. The views from the Highline Trail, and Granite Park Chalet, are largely unobstructed. You may feel the need to sing songs from The Sound of Music as you hike. Another delicious dinner at the Chalet awaits you on night two.

Day Three on a Granite Park Chalet Trip

The next morning, relax on the porch or join the group on the short-but-steep scramble up to Grinnell Glacier Overlook — so worth the effort! You’ll get a bird’s eye view of Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers in the Many Glacier valley. Next, we’ll retrace our steps to the Chalet, and enjoy a hearty lunch on the porch. Afterwards, it’s time to hike down the Loop trail. We should arrive back at Glacier Guides and Montana Raft around 4pm.

Grinnell Glacier Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana

Grinnell Glacier Overlook. Photo by Guide Dre Cameron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to Learn More?

Sunset falls over Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park.

Sunset falls over Granite Park Chalet, Glacier National Park. Photo by Guide Corrie Holloway.

By | 2019-07-09T11:51:02-07:00 April 25th, 2018|

About the Author:

Southern expatriate. Montana devotee since 1989. As Marketing Director for Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, I strive daily to meet our mission of providing exceptional active travel vacations and experiences in and around Glacier National Park, while preserving and protecting Glacier's unique ecosystem using the best available ecologically sound practices. Otherwise, you'll find me hiking, backpacking, rafting, skiing, or cleaning up the trail of glitter my kids leave in the wake of their own daily adventures. p.s. I like guest blogging. Shoot me an e-mail for details.

2 Comments

  1. […] An updated version of this love letter to Granite Park Chalet was published on April 25, 2018. Click… […]

  2. […] A more current post about Granite Park Chalet can be found here. Alright, I’ll be honest, I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Glacier National Park.  I can’t help it. Different places, people, weather, and situations have made many fond memories for me over the years. However, when people ask me what the “must-see” places are in Glacier, the backcountry chalets are consistently in my top 3.  I could talk for hours about why I love them (but don’t worry, I won’t).To keep it short, I’ll give you my top ten reasons to go (as if you needed any):1. Location. Location. Location.  Oh where do I begin (or end)?  These chalets sit amongst mountains, forests, stars, animals, sky, and breathtaking scenery. Simply put, it’s phenomenal. […]

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