Glacier National Park Wilderness Permits
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park will implement two early access lotteries for Wilderness Camping advance reservations in 2024 using the Recreation.gov Wilderness Camping Permits online platform. Please visit the Wilderness Camping Advance Reservations webpage for details.
- Large group lottery (9-12 campers) – Application submission date March 1, 2024.
- Standard group lottery (1-8 campers) – Application submission date March 15, 2024.
With its towering mountains, pristine alpine lakes, abundant wildlife, over 700 miles of trails, and 65 wilderness campgrounds, Glacier is a backpacking paradise. A permit is required for backpacking in the park. For complete details on securing wilderness camping advance reservations, visit the Glacier National Park Wilderness Camping Advance Reservations page.
Due to individual differences in fitness, backpacking experience, and personal preference, we don’t offer specific trip recommendations. What we can tell you is that in the broadest sense, Glacier's wilderness comes in two flavors—east and west roughly split along the Continental Divide. Each trail on a respective side offers a similar "feel." West side trails start at around 3,200 feet in elevation, are more heavily forested, and offer the greatest solitude. East of the divide, trails start at around 5,000 feet and the terrain is more sparsely vegetated, creating more open vistas.
Glacier was recommended for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1974. National Park Service policy requires that the park’s character not be degraded and remain unimpaired for future use and enjoyment. Recommended wilderness lands are managed differently than front-country or backcountry areas, with minimal human manipulation of a diverse, intact, natural ecosystem. Remaining undeveloped, with minimal mechanization and modern influence, wilderness lands provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive, unconfined recreation. As such, Glacier National Park is managed in a way to preserve its wilderness character for future generations.
Notifications and Alerts
Permit & Season Information
In order to preserve the extraordinary wilderness character of Glacier National Park, a Wilderness Permit is required year-round for all overnight trips in the backcountry. A Wilderness Permit allows the permit holder and their group (up to 8 people for advance reservations) to camp in wilderness campsites and is valid only for the dates, locations, and party size indicated. Your permit must be in your possession while in the wilderness.
- For trips between June 15th and September 30th, 70% of wilderness campsites may be reserved in advance. See below for details.
- Remaining sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis in person at a Wilderness Permit office no more than one day before the trip begins.
- Campsites that melt out before June 15th will be made available for advance reservations on recreation.gov
- Please see the Winter Wilderness Camping webpage for information on how to obtain a wilderness permit between November 1st and April 30th.
Need to Know
When planning your trip, please keep the following in mind:
- Permits are required year round for any overnight stay in the backcountry. Learn more about Wilderness Camping and Winter Wilderness Camping .
- Plan your trip carefully - consider how many miles you want to hike each day, how much elevation gain you are willing to undertake, and the totality of the experience and skill of all of the members of your group. Planning using the Wilderness Campground Map , the Glacier National Park website, and other trip planning resources such as guide books and maps is strongly encouraged.
- Recreation.gov provides access to view availability and to secure reservations for permits.
- Reserved permits must be picked-up in person by 4:30pm the day before or on the start date of the trip, or the reservation will be cancelled.
- Because camping off itinerary can affect camping opportunities for others and damage natural resources, your itinerary must be achievable. For this reason, the maximum daily mileage between camps is limited to 16 miles on Recreation.gov. Trips with longer daily mileage can be booked in person at a Wilderness Permit office and are subject to first-come, first-served walk-in availability.
- Camping is only permitted in the camp area designated on your permit itinerary, on the date indicated. Reserving campgrounds with the intent of not using a portion of the itinerary is prohibited and will lead to your permit being revoked. Camping off permit or outside of designated sites is subject to law enforcement action.
- It is possible to book reservations for areas that include life-threatening hazards and require specialized equipment and experience. Stay up to date with Current Park Conditions .
- In designated camps, all food, garbage, and scented items must be hung from the provided food poles, and/or placed in, the provided bear boxes. Durable bags, and at least a 25' rope, or paracord are necessary to hang with, and are not provided. Animal-resistant food storage canisters/bags are not required in campgrounds in summer status. However, visitors utilizing campgrounds that are still in winter status are required to provide, and use, their own IGBC certified bear resistant storage container for all food and scented items.
- Glacier National Park is a dynamic resource where natural events and conditions are unpredictable. There is a possibility that trail and campground closures, campground environmental conditions, natural events (such as fires, aggressive animals, etc.), or other NPS management actions may render a particular itinerary impossible. In the event that this occurs, every effort will be made to provide you with an alternate itinerary, however THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOUR ROUTE WILL BE PASSABLE OR ITINERARY AVAILABLE WHEN YOU ARRIVE. Refunds are not available for campground closures.
- Visitors are limited to 14 days in the backcountry per permit and per calendar year. Overlapping reservations for the same permit holder are not allowed.
- Wilderness campgrounds have a variable number of tent sites - each permit allows up to 4 people to camp in a single site. Hammocks are strongly discouraged.
- Stock are allowed only in specific camp areas and trails. Grazing is prohibited. Certified noxious weed seed free feed must be packed in. Stock must be kept at the hitch rail only. Learn more about Private Stock Use .
- Wood fires are permitted in a few select wilderness campgrounds and prohibited in all other areas of the backcountry. Never leave a fire unattended and be sure the fire is completely extinguished.
- There is no guarantee of your safety; Risks of wilderness travel include serious injury and death.
Leave No Trace
Please follow all principles of Leave No Trace including: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.
Wilderness Permit Fee:
- A $10 non-refundable fee is required for each wilderness permit
- A $7 per person, per night fee is required for each person on the wilderness permit
Only debit or credit cards will be accepted, no cash.
Park entry requires a separate fee or pass.
Your wilderness permit will serve as your timed-entry permit for the duration of your trip.
- You may cancel your reservation up to 7 days prior to your trip start date and receive a refund of your $7/person/night camping fees. The $10 wilderness permit fee is non-refundable. Quota from cancelled reservations will immediately be released and available on recreation.gov.
- Changing the start date: you must cancel your current reservation and reserve a new permit. A $10.00 reservation fee will apply to the new permit reservation.
- You may make changes to your reservation itinerary, if space is available, up until two days prior to your trip start date via recreation.gov, and in person at a permit issuing station after that.
PO Box 128 West Glacier Montana 59936