Your options for accommodations on the east side of Glacier National Park are quite limited. There are only a few small communities on the east side, and as a result, you’ll probably end up paying a lot for your motel room. I decided to make East Glacier Park Village my base of operations for my visit to the east side. In addition to the most reasonably-priced rooms, this small town offers good food and other necessities, in a convenient-enough location.
East Glacier Park Village truly offers the entire spectrum of accommodations. You could stay in Glacier Park Lodge…
…a grand hotel built in 1913 to handle visitors who arrived via the railroad (Amtrak still has a station here). The cheapest room at the lodge will cost you at least $160. On the other hand…
… you could stay here, where I stayed, in cabin number 9 at the East Glacier Motel and Cabins. At around $65 dollars a night, this place was rustic, but it was perfect for me. Allow me to give you the tour:
The cabin is pretty small, so small that I couldn’t take a picture of the whole thing at once, so I’ll have to show it to you in parts. The full-sized bed was old, but good-enough. Notice the electrical system — clearly, there was a time when these cabins were not electrified.
The bathroom was also added as an afterthought. A low, sloped ceiling proved that the bathroom wasn’t part of the original construction. But, it was high enough that I didn’t hit my head, and the countertop provided plenty of room. Notice the bowl: that’s my ice bucket. The owner went into her kitchen and cracked some old-fashioned ice trays, and dumped them in a serving dish for me. I guess most people don’t ask for ice?
The shower was tiny and cramped, with rounded corners that sacrificed precious elbow room. I bumped into the walls a lot.
The heater was powerful enough to set the whole place on fire. So there’s that.
Above the window and front door, they found room to give me a flat-panel TV! It didn’t get any local channels, because there are no local channels out here, but I was able to watch about a dozen or so cable networks. And, I got a microwave, too!
So, that’s the place. It wasn’t modern by any means, but it was $100 a night cheaper than the grand hotel down the road, so I was able to live with the rustic feel of it. And, it was clean and bug-free.
East Glacier Park Village may be microscopic, but it’s big enough to have two downtown business districts. One of them is on MT 49…
… which is where you’ll find the World’s Largest Purple Spoon, affectionately known as Big Martha.
It’s been there at least since 2006, when I took this picture of it during my previous visit to the area. Behind the big spoon is a small storefront filled with smaller spoons, all hand-crafted. Who knew a spoon would be the perfect souvenir to take home from Glacier National Park?
There are several restaurants along the MT 49 stretch of businesses, but I opted for a cheap meal from a recent start-up food truck called Taco ‘Bout It.
It had delicious burritos at a great price — the only downside was the ferocious mosquitoes in the outdoor dining area. I should have taken it back to my cabin, which was within walking distance up the road.
Dinner was good, but I still needed dessert, and I knew that there was one thing I had to eat while in Montana…
… a Huckleberry Pie! Yes, I should have taken this picture before I took the first bite, I know the rules of Facebooking your food. But I was too anxious for a bite.
This pie is the star attraction at Luna’s Restaurant, directly across the street from my cabin. They have other food too, but you’d be crazy not to stop in for the pie.
Take MT 49 south through town…
… and you’ll pass underneath this colorful railroad overpass…
… and arrive at US 2. This is where the “other” downtown Glacier Park Village is located. A few more restaurants and motels are located here, along with the town’s only gas station and convenience store. (This picture is from my 2006 visit — you can read it here.)
One more thing: you’ll have a decent view of the mountains from town, but the view gets even better, just a short drive up MT 49. Watch for this incredible view to the west, looking into the park. MT 49 only gets better from there — you can read all about this incredible road here.
The Bottom Line
East Glacier Park Village offers good food, decent and affordable lodging, and it’s reasonably close to the east-side attractions at Glacier National Park. Prepare yourself for some intense mountain driving when you’re staying here.
East Glacier Park Village is located on the southeast side of Glacier National Park, along US Highway 2 at Montana Route 49. It’s about 85 miles from Kalispell via US 2, and 12 miles from Browning, Montana to the east.
East Glacier Park Village is most convenient to the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. The entrance is just 7 miles away, via MT 49. The east end of Going to the Sun Road is 31 miles away, and the entrance to Many Glacier is 44 miles away. Keep in mind, these are curvy, narrow mountain roads, and 44 miles can mean 90 minutes or more, given your own driving skill and the skill of the person in the RV in front of you.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive on US 2 from Columbia Falls to East Glacier Park village…
… and all of Montana 49, beginning and ending in East Glacier Park Village: