Glacier National Park Reservations 2023: What You Need to Know

Glacier National Park welcome sign

If you’re planning a trip to Glacier National Park in 2023, you’ll need to make a reservation to access all the best things to do in the park. New for this year, reservations will be required for four of the park’s main areas, limiting what you can do without a reservation.

If you’re looking for more information about the Glacier National Park reservations for 2023, including how to make a reservation and what to do if you can’t get one, keep reading!

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Glacier National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving in, here are a few highlights to help you plan your trip:

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer is the best (and most popular) time to visit, thanks to warm weather and all park facilities being open. Visit in early to mid-September to avoid peak crowds.
  • Where to Stay: If you’re looking to stay in the park, I highly recommend the Many Glacier Hotel. To stay outside the park, look for accommodations in Babb or St. Mary, like St. Mary Village.
  • How to Get There: Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) in Kalispell, Montana, is the closest airport. Use Skyscanner to browse flights and find the best price.
  • How to Get Around: The best way to get around the park is by having your own car. Use Rentalcars.com to browse deals on rental cars or rent an RV or campervan with Outdoorsy!
  • Best Self-Guided Tour: My favorite way to learn more about the park is with GyPSy Guides, a narrated self-guided tour perfect for road trips and scenic drives. The Glacier Going-to-the-Sun Road Guide provides incredible commentary and detail about history and geology.
  • Don’t Forget: Be sure to get an America the Beautiful National Park Pass ahead of time. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites (including Glacier!).

Will Glacier National Park require reservations in 2023?

Glacier National Park will require reservations in 2023 to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine. The reservation system limits the number of daily visitors allowed to enter these park areas to improve traffic and protect park resources.

Since these are the park’s most popular areas and contain the vast majority of things to do in Glacier National Park, you’ll need a reservation when visiting Glacier in 2023.

Why is there a Glacier National Park reservation system?

Glacier National Park is expanding their reservation system in 2023 to reduce traffic and congestion and improve the visitor experience. As national parks continue to set visitation records, reducing the number of vehicles in highly-trafficked areas is crucial.

Reducing the number of visitors in popular areas allows emergency vehicles and park rangers to navigate the park without encountering dangerous traffic gridlocks. Less traffic also makes it easier for you to get around the park!

What park areas are requiring Glacier National Park reservations in 2023?

The map below shows the reservation areas in Glacier National Park for 2023, including access to Going-to-the-Sun Road. The orange outlines reflect the roads only accessible via reservation. As you can see, nearly every park road will require a reservation to access.

You can view this Going-to-the-Sun Road map in more detail here.

Map of Glacier National Park Reservations for 2023
Source: National Park Service

Details on the 2023 Glacier National Park Vehicle Pass

In 2023, Glacier National Park will require all visitors to drive the majority of park roads between May 26 and September 10, 2023, between 6 am and 3 pm. However, the exact dates that the reservations are in effect vary by region, so keep reading for the details broken out by region.

Reservations can be made via Recreation.gov starting February 1, 2023, at 8 AM MST for trips from May 26 to June 30. After that, reservations will be released at the start of each month for trips three months out. Read the “How to Make a Glacier National Park Vehicle Reservation for 2023” section below for more details.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Reservation Dates

  • West Entrance Reservation Dates: May 26 to September 10 from 6 AM to 3 PM
  • St. Mary (East) Entrance Reservation Dates: July 1 to September from 6 AM to 3 PM
  • Reservation Period: 3 Consecutive Days

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road

North Fork Reservation Dates

  • Reservation Dates: May 26 to September 10 from 6 AM to 3 PM
  • Reservation Period: Single day

Many Glacier Reservation Dates

  • Reservation Dates: July 1 to September 10 from 6 AM to 3 PM
  • Reservation Period: Single day

Two Medicine Reservation Dates

  • Reservation Dates: July 1 to September 10 from 6 AM to 3 PM
  • Reservation Period: Single day

Important Details About the Glacier National Park Ticketed Entry

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road reservations are valid for three days. You are not required to make multiple ticketed entry reservations for each day within that three-day window. However, you’ll need an additional reservation if you want to drive Going-to-the-Sun for longer than three days.
  • North Fork, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine reservations are only valid for one day. Therefore, you’ll need multiple reservations if you want to visit these areas for more than a day.
  • All reservations are per vehicle. Your reservation (and park entry fee) covers everyone in your car. However, if you bring multiple vehicles and caravan through the park, you’ll need a reservation for each car.
  • Ticketed entry reservations cost a $2 reservation fee. The reservation fee does not include your entry fee to the park. You will be required to pay for entry to the park separately.
  • The ticketed entry system does not cover your park entrance cost. All visitors must either present a valid national park pass (including lifetime senior passes) or pay the $35 7-day entrance fee upon entering the park.
  • Your national park pass does not grant you access to Glacier National Park. Even valid America the Beautiful and Lifetime Senior pass holders must make a ticketed entry reservation.
  • A Glacier National Park reservation does not guarantee a parking space. To avoid crowds and find parking spots, be sure to enter the park before 10 AM.  For popular trailheads like Logan Pass, plan to arrive by 7:30 AM to secure a parking spot.

How to Make a Glacier National Park Vehicle Reservation for 2023

You can secure Glacier National Park reservations in two ways:

  • Book 3 months in advance. Most reservations will be released in advance, beginning on February 1, 2023, at 8 AM MT, on Recreation.Gov. Below is the complete list of release dates:
    • Book February 1, 2023, at 8 AM MT for reservations from May 26 to June 30, 2023
    • Book March 1, 2023, at 8 AM MT for reservations from July 1 to July 31, 2023
    • Book April 1, 2023, at 8 AM MT for reservations from August 1 to August 31, 2023
    • Book May 1, 2023, at 8 AM MT for reservations from September 1 to September 10, 2023
  • Book one day before. The remaining reservations will be released one day in advance, starting on May 25 at 8 AM MT. You can also make these reservations via Recreation.Gov.

Each corridor requires a separate reservation, so it is important to have your Glacier National Park itinerary finalized before booking your reservations.

Important Note
The easiest way to make reservations is online via Recreation.gov. However, you may also make reservations by calling the Recreation.gov Call Center (Reservation Line: 877-444-6777). Phone reservations are meant for those without internet access and do not provide any advantage over booking online.

Tips for Reserving Your Glacier National Park Entry Reservation Ticket

  • You’ll need to pay the $35 entrance fee or buy a national park pass. I recommend purchasing the America Beautiful National Park Pass in advance, which gets you into 400+ national park sites for only $80 per year!
  • Make reservations at 8 AM MT the day they are released. Reservations will be in high demand, so I recommend making your reservation at 8 AM MT the day they open. See above for the exact reservation release dates, which are released roughly three months out on a rolling basis.
  • Create a Recreation.gov account ahead of time. Reservations are expected to sell out quickly, so make an account on Recreation.gov the day before and be logged in precisely at 8 AM MT when reservations are released.
  • You don’t have to enter the park on the first day of your Going-to-the-Sun Road reservation. Per the Glacier National Park website, visitors are strongly encouraged to arrive on the first day of their Going-to-the-Sun Road reservation. Still, the reservation will be valid anytime during the 3-day window. For example, you could book a reservation for July 15 but enter Going-to-the-Sun Road for the first time on July 16. This is an excellent alternative if your target date is sold out. However, this does not apply to North Fork, Many Glacier, or Two Medicine, as those are only single-day reservations.
  • Download your reservation offline or take a screenshot ahead of time. Cell service is notoriously bad at the entrance stations, so download offline, take a screenshot, or print a hard copy.
  • You must provide proof of purchase for in-park lodging or tour services. If you are using lodging or tours as your entry, you must present proof of purchase (along with a valid park entrance pass or pay the entry fee). Again, I recommend making this available offline.
Many Glacier Hotel on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Reservation Exemptions

If you meet any of these conditions, you won’t be required to make a reservation to enter the restricted areas of Glacier National Park:

  • You are staying at in-park accommodations, including lodges and campgrounds. Entry is only permitted during your stay in that specific corridor. For example, staying at Many Glacier Hotel allows you to enter Many Glacier during your visit, not Going-to-the-Sun Road.
  • You have commercial activity reservations inside the park, including reservations for Red Bus Tours and boat tours through Glacier Park Boat Company. Entry is for that single day and only for the corridor in which the tour is located.
  • You arrive at the park before 6 AM or after 3 PM. Reservations are not required outside of those hours. However, entering Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance before 6 AM will not be possible due to overnight construction activities. If entering Going-to-the-Sun Road before 6 AM, use the St. Mary Entrance instead.
  • You’re visiting Glacier National Park after September 10, 2023. Reservations are only required from May 26 until September 10 along Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork and July 1 to September 10 in Many Glacier and Two Medicine. After that, access to Glacier National Park doesn’t require reservations. However, roads begin to close in late September or early October.
  • You are only driving Going-to-the-Sun Road from St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun. Reservations on the park’s eastern side aren’t needed until you reach the Rising Sun Checkpoint. Visitors can drive from St. Mary to Rising Sun (along St. Mary Lake) without reservation.
  • You have a special use permit, such as a wedding, photography, event, or commercial authorization.

As mentioned, you must have in-park accommodations or tour reservations in the corridor you’re attempting to enter to waive the entry reservation. Read below for the exact lodges, campgrounds, and tours that get around the reservation system for each area.

Read More: 35 Best Places to Stay In and Near Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road Reservation Exemptions

Tours & Equipment Reservations

Lodges

Campgrounds

  • Apgar Campground
  • Fish Creek Campground
  • Sprague Creek Campground
  • Avalanche Campground
  • St. Mary Campground
  • Rising Sun Campground (FCFS, so must register and get a spot before allowed reservation area access)
  • Wilderness camping permit for trailheads located inside the West Entrance, Camas Entrance, or St. Mary Entrance

Read more about what to do in the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor here.

North Fork Reservation Exemptions

Campgrounds

  • Bowman Lake Campground
  • Kintla Lake Campground
  • Quartz Creek Campground
  • Logging Creek Campground
  • Wilderness camping permit for trailheads located inside the Polebridge Entrance Station

Note: All North Fork campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Sites will be assigned at the Polebridge Entrance Station. After being given a site, you will be given access to the North Fork reservation area.

Many Glacier Reservation Exemptions

Tours & Equipment Reservations

Lodges

Campgrounds

Two Medicine Reservation Exemptions

Tours & Equipment Reservations

Campgrounds

Many Glacier Boat Tour on Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park

What to Do if You Can’t Get a Glacier National Park Entry Ticket Reservation

If you aren’t able to secure a Glacier National Park reservation in 2023, consider some of these alternatives:

  • Enter the park before 6 AM. Reservations are only required between 6 AM and 3 PM. Therefore, visitors can enter before 6 AM without a reservation and drive through the park. However, in 2023, there is nightly construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road lasting until 6 AM on the park’s west side. Therefore, you can only enter Going-to-the-Sun Road before 6 AM from the St. Mary entrance. 
  • Make a tour reservation. Reserving a boat, bus, or horseback tour grants you access to that part of the park on the day of your tour. See above for the tours that give you access to each park area.
  • Take the Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle. The shuttle is first-come, first-served and runs between Apgar Visitor Center and St. Mary. Without a Going-to-the-Sun Road reservation, you can park at the St. Mary Visitor Center and take the shuttle throughout the park. However, if you want to board the shuttle at Apgar Visitor Center, you must enter the park on foot at West Glacier and walk 1.5 miles to Apgar Visitor Center. Read more about the Glacier National Park shuttle.

Frequently Asked Questions about Glacier National Park Vehicle Reservations

How fast do Going-to-the-Sun Road tickets sell out?

The reservations for Going-to-the-Sun Road and the rest of Glacier National Park sell out quickly, often in the first few minutes. To give yourself the best opportunity to get a reservation, create a recreation.gov account ahead of time and book right when reservations are released at 8 AM MT.

What time can you get into Glacier without a pass?

You can get into Glacier National Park without a reservation before 6 AM or after 3 PM. These off-peak hours are an excellent time to explore the park and avoid crowds. However, you’ll still need a national park pass or to pay the entry fee to enter the park.

Can you get into Glacier without a reservation?

In 2023, you must enter Glacier National Park with a reservation between 6 AM and 3 PM. Outside of those hours, you do not need a reservation. However, you can get around the reservation system by booking lodging or a tour inside the park.

Final Thoughts on Glacier National Park Reservations in 2023

This post covers everything you need to know about the Glacier National Park reservation system for 2023. Reservations will be released starting February 1, 2023, and continue to be released on the first of each month.

To explore the best things to do in Glacier National Park, you’ll need a reservation to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine.

Looking for more posts to plan your trip to Glacier National Park? You’ll love these guides!

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