Backcountry Advance Reservations

Goat Haunt Backpacking Update - March 7, 2019

Due to a critical shortage in water utility operators, the Goat Haunt water system is not expected to be operational at the beginning of the 2019 summer season.

Backpackers will still be able to hike through Goat Haunt, but the Goat Haunt Shelters backcountry campground will not be available and tour boat landings may not be possible. These measures are being implemented to reduce human waste impacts while the water system including restroom facilities are not operational.

Visitors seeking advanced backcountry reservations that enter or exit at Goat Haunt should factor into their itinerary the extra 8.5 mile hike between Goat Haunt and Waterton Townsite. Waterton River backcountry campground is also a potential substitute for staying at the Goat Haunt Shelters. If either of these options are not feasible for your group, we suggest choosing an itinerary in another area of the park.
Please note that this is an evolving situation and as viable solutions are identified in this remote location, services and reservation options may change as summer progresses.

The Basics of Advance Reservations

  • 100% Online application via Fax, phone, or in-person applications not accepted.
  • New in 2019! Standard group (1-8 campers) advance reservation applications will be processed using a modified lottery system in 2019 - All applications submitted on opening day (March 15) between 12:00am MST and 11:59pm MST will be processed in randomly sequenced order. All applications received after opening day will be processed in the order they are received.
  • New in 2019! Large group (9-12 campers) advance reservation applications will be processed in randomly sequenced order in 2019 - All large group applications received on March 1 between 12:00am MST and 11:59pm MST will be randomly sequenced. Only the first five (5) large group permit applicants from the randomly sequenced list will be awarded reservations. The 2019 large group application will close at mid-night MST on March 1.
  • Reservation applications (standard group only) will be processed up to seven (7) days prior to trip start date.
  • Limit of 16 miles per day on advance reservation applications. Higher mileages allowed for walk-in applicants only.

Securing an advance reservation before you get to Glacier can eliminate the stress of competing for a walk-in permit at the height of the busy summer season.

Advance Reservation Policies


There is a $40 application fee* ($10 administrative fee + $30 fulfilled trip request fee) for EACH application you submit. If backcountry personnel are unable to award an advance reservation itinerary based upon the parameters you indicate, the $30 fulfilled trip request fee will be refunded.

*We strongly recommend payment via credit card or Paypal for your advance reservations. National Park Service regulations related to certain ACH transactions require us to collect an enormous amount of personally identifiable information and take several weeks to process.

Processing Your Application

We will email applicants as we process their applications. Due to the high volume of applications in early season (March/April), processing and notification may take more than one month for some applicants. Later application submissions (May - Sept.) are often processed within a day. Verification of application receipt is not possible.

Changes to Confirmed Advance Reservations

If your advance reservation request is successful but you wish to change it for some reason (a preferred campground on your route opens early, your dates change, etc.), you have two options:

You can submit another advance reservation application. There is an "existing reservation" field on the application. You will enter the permit number for your current reservation in this field. Reservation changes are subject to all fees ($10 administrative fee + $30 fulfilled trip request fee) if we are able to make your requested changes).

You may also change your reservation when you pick up your permit at the park, subject to walk-in availability. There is no charge for changing permit itineraries on a walk-in basis, up to 24 hours before the start of your trip.


All backcountry fees are non-refundable except as indicated on the advance reservation application. Amendments to existing advance reservations are subject to all fees. If your plans change and you cannot use all, or part, of your backcountry reservation, please call (406) 888-7900 to cancel your trip. A refund will not be provided, but your cancellation will allow other campers to enjoy the campsites you cannot use.

Advance Reservation Opening Dates

In a typical summer, campground reservable dates represent a conservative estimate of when each campground will be snow-free and available for backcountry campers. If backcountry campgrounds emerge from snow cover early, these campgrounds are then placed in an “open” status prior to the listed dates, and are made available for advance reservations. In some years, there is more snow than usual and campgrounds may not open by the dates listed or reserved. In such cases, reserved itineraries will be modified, based on campsite availability, when you pick up your permit at a permit issuing station.


Standard Groups (1-8 Campers)

  • We process as many standard group applications as we receive.
  • The first day to submit advance reservation applications is March 15.
  • Approximately half of the sites in a given campground are reservable in advance.
  • Due to snow pack and unpredictable early season campground conditions, each campground has an “earliest reservable date.”
  • Reservations are available for trips with starting dates of June 15 - September 30.
  • Check the reservable dates for campgrounds on your desired itinerary. Lower elevation campgrounds open earlier than those at higher elevations and this may limit campground choices for your desired starting date.
  • Campgrounds may open earlier than listed based on early melt out. Campgrounds placed in "open" status prior to the advertised date may be reserved as soon as their open status is confirmed. Check the Advance Reservation Availability page during the season for early openings.
  • All advance reservation applications must be submitted online at using the Standard Advance Reservation Application. We will not accept applications via email, phone, fax, or in person.
  • Successful applicants will receive an email confirmation letter with their permit itinerary and instructions for permit pickup when they arrive in Glacier.
  • It may take up to eight (8) weeks to process an application in the early spring due to high application volume. Processing times can be as short as one day later in the season.
  • Advance reservations are only available for designated campgrounds. Undesignated camping in the Nyack/Coal Creek camping zone is only available on a walk-in basis.

Large Groups (9-12 Campers)

  • We will process a total of five (5) large group applications per year. The application page will open on March 1 at 12:00am MST and close at mid-night MST on March 1.
  • All applications submitted on March 1 will be randomly sequenced and the first five (5) applications in that sequence will be processed.
  • Since large groups require three sites, we will waive normal campground reservation availability. Campgrounds with only two total sites cannot accomodate large groups.
  • All applications must be submitted online at using the Large Group Advance Reservation Application. We will not accept applications via email, phone, fax, or in person.

Submitting an Application

We recommend viewing the following before submitting an application: Tutorials

Standard Group Application (1-8 campers)

First date to submit reservation applications - March 15

Large Group Application (9-12 campers)

First date to submit reservation applications - March 1

Technical Difficulties

If you are having difficulty accessing the application or are experiencing any other technical difficulties with the website, please call customer service at: 800-624-1373, Option #2.

Backcountry staff cannot diagnose technical issues related to the website.

Last updated: May 6, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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