Doing Business With the Park

Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States. As in other National Park Service areas, commercial visitor services or other commercial activities may be provided only by those holding an authorization from the United States.


In Glacier National Park, concessions contracts have been issued to provide certain visitor services. These services include transportation and tour services, food services, backpacking and day hiking guide services, boat tours and small boat rentals, horseback riding, lodging, and retail sales. No other businesses are currently authorized to provide these services in Glacier National Park.

The following business hold the current concessions contracts to provide services in Glacier National Park:

  • Glacier Park Boat Co. provides boat trips (some with guided hikes as an option) and rental boats at Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier, Rising Sun, and Two Medicine.
  • Xanterra Parks and Resorts dba Glacier National Park Lodges provides lodging, campstores, historic red bus tours, and restaurant services throughout the park They operate the Village Inn Motel, Lake McDonald Lodge, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, and the Many Glacier Hotel.
  • Swan Mountain Outfitters offers guided horseback rides inside the park at Many Glacier, Lake McDonald, and Apgar. They also provide drop camp service (packing visitor's gear using stock) into certain backcountry campgrounds.
  • Belton Chalets, Inc., operates Granite Park and Sperry Chalets...Glacier's two remaining historic backcountry chalets.
  • Glacier Guides Inc., offer guided day hikes and backpacking trips into Glacier's backcountry. They also provide camping equipment rental.
  • Sun Tours offers interpretive bus tours highlighting Blackfeet culture.

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA)

A CUA allows an individual, group, company or other for-profit entity to provide commercial visitor services within a National Park area. Commercial activities are generally prohibited in National Parks unless authorized by a CUA or concessions contract.

Glacier National Park issues Commercial Use Authorizations for the following visitor services:

Summer (June 1 October 15)

  • Guided Bicycle Tours
  • Instructional Photography, Birding, or Art Workshops
  • Step-on Guide Services
  • East Side Shuttle Services

Spring and Fall (Hiker/Biker Season)

  • Guided Bicycle Tours and Bicycle Shuttles

Winter/Spring (November 20 May 1)

  • Guided Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

If you are interested in providing commercial services under a CUA, please visit our general CUA webpage for more information or visit our CUA application webpage for the process to apply. Specific requirements must be met including insurance coverage, guide training, and payment of authorization fees.

Feel free to e-mail us at glac_cua at with additional questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

A CUA is required if an entity provides a good, activity, service, or other function to visitors in a NPS managed area, uses park resources and results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit.

No, guided hiking (day hiking or backpacking) may only be permitted through Glacier Guides, Inc., our current concessioner, or the Glacier Institute our official educational partner. Any commercial activities of this nature must be coordinated through Glacier Guides. We do not issue Commercial Use Authorizations or other permits for this service.

The only commercial operators authorized to conduct motor vehicle tours on Going-to-the-Sun Road between Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun are Glacier National Park Lodges and Sun Tours. Glacier National Park Lodges operates the historic Red Buses. Sun Tours operates interpretive tours highlighting Blackfeet culture and history.

Non-scheduled, infrequent commercial motor vehicle tours where the visit to the park is incidental to the larger tour and carrying roundtrip passengers are allowed to enter the park from the west to travel to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the east as far as the Rising Sun boat dock without written authorizations in 2023. These tours are not permitted to travel between Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun boat dock on Going-to-the-Sun Road. These commercial tours are also allowed to travel into the Many Glacier and Two Medicine areas without additional authorization. Commercial tour entrance fees will be charged upon entry to Glacier National Park. No commercial transportation is available or authorized in the North Fork area on the inside North Fork Road.

Please reach out to our Commercial Services office if you have additional questions or unsure if what you want to do will require a permit at We recognize this can be a confusing topic.

Glacier National Park defines “commercial” services or activities as those that use park resources (including roads and trails) and result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit to an individual, organization or corporation whether or not such entity is organized for purposes recognized as non-profit under local, state, or federal law. Gain is further defined as compensation beyond actual cost. A service or activity is considered “non-commercial” only if there is a bonafide equal sharing of actual expenses for the activity or service where there is no compensation, gain or means of barter accruing to the leader, group or organization.

Non-commercial activities, even when provided by a non-profit organization may require a Special Use Permit, depending on the type of activity. For more information please reference the Noncommercial and Nonprofit Groups section of our Permits & Reservations Webpage. You may also contact our Special Use Permit Office at for additional information.

We realize that these regulations are sometimes difficult to understand. If you think your activities might be “commercial,” or if you have questions about how your activity will be defined, would like clarification about the need for an authorization, or think your activity might conflict with rights already granted to a park concessioner, please contact our commercial services office at

Last updated: April 21, 2023

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PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



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