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The Wild West or Easy East – Best Towns to Stay in Near Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is impressive in its expansive nature. 

Navigating from the Western Entrance (West Glacier) to the Eastern Entrance (Saint Mary) is roughly a two-hour car ride. Specific attractions within Glacier National Park are, in some cases, only accessible from a specific entrance.

Photo by Paje Victoria

It stands to reason that what you want to see and which entrance you want to use to get there influence which are the best towns to stay in near Glacier National Park.

The towns West of Glacier National Park are busier and more developed than towns East of Glacier National Park. Therefore, those seeking quiet bliss should consider East over West. Those looking for local vibrancy should veer West:

Best Towns to Stay in Near Glacier National Park – Wild West:

West Glacier

The anchor of the West Glacier Western Entrance to Glacier National Park

For those not looking for a holiday spent within Glacier National Park, West Glacier offers trails, rafting, skiing as well as luxuries such as a golf course. It has been dubbed as “Guide Central” – whatever the activity, you will find it here.

Hungry Horse

South of West Glacier, about 11 minutes from the Western Entrance. it is a town born from necessity and named from legend. This quiet town is surrounded by magnificent mountains offering scenery, hikes, and fishing. The Hungry Horse Dam is the pride of the town, and tours are available for the culturally interested visitor.

Columbia Falls

West of Hungry Horse, Columbia Falls is regarded as one of the safest towns in Montana. It is truly a place for someone who loves nature’s magnificence as it gives visitors access to the Flathead National Forest – all 2 million acres of it!


West of Columbia Falls and a tourist hot spot, Whitefish, is one of the more developed towns on the Western side of Glacier National Park. It’s a year-round tourist attraction and serves its visitors with a professional theatre and stellar dining right near the Whitefish MT hotels!

Best Towns to Stay in Near Glacier National Park – Easy East:

Saint Mary

The closest town to the St Mary Eastern Entrance. To the East, the Great Plains of Montana stretches as far as the eye can see, and to the West, one’s breath is taken away by the dramatic rise of the mountains of Glacier National Park.


Kiowa is located south of Saint Mary. By staying in Kiowa, you will immerse yourself in a quiet community with a rich history. This town boasts its own trails, and accommodation can often be secured by renting spaces from the locals themselves. 


Babb is located north of Saint Mary, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. If you are interested in fishing, Babb is the perfect town for you. To the East of Babb lies Duck Lake, a stocking program that produces Rainbow Trout of 10 pounds! It is important to note that no alcohol is sold in Babb.


No matter where you choose to stay, West or East, it’s all magnificent! Finding the right place to stay on your Glacier National Park trip is essential to enjoying your experience. Don’t forget to look at different hotel options and see all that each area has to offer.