This trip offers the best of both Glacier National Park worlds: the backcountry and the front country. You’ll experience Glacier National Park’s stunning interior in the comfort of the historic walls of Granite Park Chalet. Savor gourmet meals, miles from a grocery store, in the charming chalet dining room. Let your eyes widen as they try to take in the amount of stars studding Glacier’s internationally recognized dark night skies. And you’ll get to do all of this without having to carry a heavy pack!
Depending on trail conditions, you’ll hike to the Chalet via the Loop Trail (3.8 miles, 2000′ elevation gain) or the Highline Trail (7.5 mostly level miles). The Chalet features a fully equipped kitchen and beds with linens. In addition to getting to experience Glacier’s backcountry with many of the comforts of civilization, this 3 day adventure to Granite Park Chalet offers guests an excellent chance to observe Glacier’s abundant flora and fauna.
Flora and Fauna
We often see Glacier’s iconic mountain goats and Bighorn sheep on our way to Granite Park Chalet. 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.
A trip to Granite Park Chalet is the definition of a unique experience in Glacier National Park. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a stay at the last chalet standing in the park, and the chance to view two of the park’s last remaining glaciers.
Meet at our office just outside of West Glacier at 7:30 AM to go over the contents of your pack with your guide. Sit back and enjoy the ride to the trailhead. We’ll navigate Glacier’s historic Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. Next, our 7.5 mile hike on the Highline Trail begins.
This is a moderate hike. The trail undulates, gaining and losing a couple hundred vertical feet of elevation over its course. We’ll be hiking in an alpine environment with wide open views of the majestic peaks all around us. In late afternoon, we’ll arrive at Granite Park Chalet. Time to settle in, enjoy the amazing scenery, and watch for wildlife before dinner. Our guides love this trip because the fully equipped kitchen allows them to create gourmet backcountry masterpiece meals!
After breakfast, we’ll choose from a couple of hiking options. One guest favorite is the hike to Swiftcurrent Lookout, which sits on the Continental Divide and offers one of the best views in Glacier. From Granite Park Chalet, this is a rigorous 2 mile hike with an elevation gain of about 1,800 feet. Total mileage is 4 miles round trip.
Guests who want more mileage, but not so much elevation gain, may choose to hike from Granite Park Chalet to Ahern Pass. At Ahern Pass we will get a glimpse into the remote Belly River area of Glacier. We’ll look down on turquoise Helen Lake. The hike to Ahern Pass from the Chalet is 4.5 miles one way, or 9 miles round trip. There is not a significant amount of elevation gain or loss.
After another delicious dinner, we’ll spend a second night in the comfort of Granite Park Chalet.
Following breakfast,guests may hike to Grinnell Glacier Overlook. This is a 1.5 mile hike with an elevation gain of 900 feet — steep, but worth it! From the Overlook, we’ll enjoy staggering views of Grinnell Glacier, one of the largest remaining glaciers in the park. Total mileage is 3 miles round trip.
Guests that prefer a more easy going day are welcome to pass on this hike. Instead, relax and enjoy the views from Granite Park Chalet. Our group will reunite at the Chalet for lunch. Then, we’ll hike down the Loop Trail — 4.5 miles with 2,200 feet elevation loss — to the Going to the Sun Road. Expect to return to our West Glacier office around 4 p.m.
Typical Granite Park Chalet Menus
Hashbrown quiche, sausages, melon
Blueberry or banana pancakes, bacon, melon
Cheese, meat, crackers; hummus pesto; oranges; fruit leathers, cookies, chips
Chicken wraps or peanut butter + jelly or hummus pitas; fruit; trail bars, chips, cookies
Steak or chicken fajitas with rice and beans, salsa, tortillas; spinach salad with strawberries and almonds; brownies
Super pasta; veggie salad with ranch or balsamic vinaigrette; garlic bread; no bake cookies
Snaps from the Granite Park Chalet Area
Further Reading About Glacier National Chalets
Interested in learning more about the Glacier National Park Chalets? There were once 9 chalets in the park that predated the Going to the Sun Road. Today, only 2 remain in service as chalets: Sperry and Granite Park. The main building at the Sperry complex burned in 2017, but will re-open in Summer 2020. The Two Medicine Chalet is now a camp store. Here’s a list of good reads about the chalets:
Sperry Chalet burns to the ground on August 31, 2017. NPS Photo.
Granite Park Chalet is equipped with a propane-powered kitchen. There, your guide will prepare and serve delicious home cooked meals. Adjacent to the kitchen is a comfy, rustic dining room where you may relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
Sleeping accommodations are in the upper level of the main Chalet or in the Annex, about 200 feet from the main Chalet. The rooms are hostel-style and furnished with single bunk beds (2 to 6 beds per room) and linens are provided. We can make requests to the Chalet that couples/groups have their own rooms, but we cannot guarantee this.
The Chalet’s walls are very thin. If you are a light sleeper we recommend ear plugs.
There are no shower facilities, but drinking water is available. Bottled water can be purchased or local water can be obtained from a filtered system near the Chalet.
There are pit toilets equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer near the Chalet.
Guests should call our office the day prior to departure at 406-387-5555 or 1-800-521-7238 to check-in. The day of the trip, you should arrive at our office at 7:30 AM to meet your guide. Click on directions for how to find us.