Permits & Reservations

historic image of man at lodge reservation desk with employee holding luggage
Lake McDonald Lodge reservation desk, 1920s

NPS Archive/R.E. Marble


Some services and activities in Glacier National Park either require reservations or reservations are recommended.


Lodges fill up quickly and reservations are very strongly encouraged. Addresses and phone numbers are found on the Eating and Sleeping page.


Most campgrounds in Glacier are first-come first-served with the exception of Fish Creek, St. Mary, some of Many Glacier, and half of the group sites in Apgar which can reserved on Reservations through must be made 3 days in advance.

Backcountry Permits

For the 2020 camping season all backcountry reservations have been canceled and all backcountry permits are obtained in-person only at the Apgar Backcountry Permit Center. Permits may be obtained up to 24 hours in advance of your scheduled trip.

Backcountry sites can be reserved in advance starting March 15 for groups of 1-8 campers and March 1 for groups of 9-12 campers. There is a $40 application fee ($10 administrative fee + $30 fulfilled trip request fee) for EACH application you submit. The camping fee of $7 / night / person is due upon picking up your permit. Applications can be submitted ONLINE ONLY.

Visit our Backcountry Advance Reservations page for more information on how to submit an application.

Ranger-led Activities

A handful of our ranger-led activities require reservations or tickets due to limited space. Details can be found in the monthly Ranger-led Activity Schedule.

Other Services

Guided Tours, like bus tours, guided hikes, horseback rides, and boat trips are often available without reservations, but if your trip plans are not flexible you should contact the companies providing those services directly and make reservations prior to coming to the park.




Aquatic invasive species are a growing concern. Freshwater zebra and quagga mussels have steadily advanced westward, transported on trailered boats. Protecting the waters of the Glacier requires immediate action, both by the parks and by every boater (be they kayaker or sport fisher). Learn about the park's boat inspection and permit program.


Scientists representing academic institutions, government agencies, or private research organizations who are interested in obtaining a research and collection permit should visit the Research Permits page.


Special Use

Glacier National Park is home to many beautiful landscapes and settings that are ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as events, wedding ceremonies, and film and photography projects. Most special events and activities held in the park require a special use permit, issued only after the National Park Service determines that the activities involved will not impair park values and resources. Please note that there are usage limits for the number of people and vehicles for any special activity.

Filming and Photography Permits

Permits are generally issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recordings to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas normally closed to the visiting public, or either before or after normal visitation hours. The following procedures/guidelines apply to issuing permits for commercial filming and still photography.

Please note: a full application packet including a detailed application, non-refundable $100 application fee, and proof of general liability insurance (underwritten by a United States based company in the amounts of $1 million Each Occurrence and $1 million General Aggregate and naming the United States of America and Glacier National Park, PO BOX 128, West Glacier, MT 59936, as "Additionally Insured", with Glacier National Park listed as the Certificate Holder) must be received a minimum of 10 business days prior to requested permit dates.

If you are interested in conducting a commercial instructional photography workshop, please visit Commercial Use Permits.


Commercial Operators

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.

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Noncommercial or Nonprofit Groups

Noncommercial or nonprofit groups leading trips into Glacier require a permit. Please complete the application for a Special Use Permit and return with and your $100 non-refundable application fee, proof of your organization's nonprofit status (such as recognition from the IRS of tax-exempt eligibility) and proof of liability insurance with the additionally insured listed as "United States Government, the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Glacier National Park, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936". Mail everything to the following address:

Attn: Special Use Permit Office
Glacier National Park
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

With the Special Use Permit, nonprofit groups are charged normal visitor entry fees for a 7 day pass for each vehicle with a capacity of 15 or fewer. More information about other vehicle sizes and pass options is available on our website under Entrance Fees.


Spreading of Ashes

Regarding spreading of ashes in Glacier National Park, we, must abide by the terms outlined in Title 36, "Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.62(b), which states in part: "the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, or in designated areas according to conditions which may be established by the Superintendent."

In Glacier National Park, human ashes may be disbursed only in undeveloped areas of the Park; that is, not within 200 feet of any developed location, such as a road, trail, building, parking lot, boat ramp, swimming beach, campground, lake, etc. The ashes must be scattered and not deposited in any type of container. No marker or memorial of any sort may be placed at the site.

Also, please keep in mind that winter-like weather can occur at any time during the year, usually November through April, which may make access to a particular area impossible.

When you are ready to disburse of the ashes, send in a special use permit application and a letter will be sent to you which will serve as the official permit required by the citation referenced above and the instructions regarding location and notification will serve as the terms and conditions required by the citation. This letter or a copy thereof must be in the possession of at least one member of the party present when human ashes are scattered in the park.



If you are interested in getting married in Glacier National Park please visit our Wedding Permits page.

Last updated: September 29, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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