Frequently Asked Questions
- General questions about the Chalet and available services.
- Questions about reservations.
- Questions about the trails and hiking.
What is the difference between Sperry Chalet and Granite Park Chalet?
We are sad to inform you that Sperry Chalet is not in service following a forest fire in August 2017.
The two chalets sit in different places of the park with different access trails and scenery. Both are incredibly beautiful and worth a visit.
Aside from location, the biggest difference is in the services offered. Granite Park Chalet is a hikers hostel for the do-it-yourself crowd. Bring your sleeping bag and prepare your own meals in our kitchen while enjoying the heart of Glacier from your private room. If that is a little too much doing it yourself, we can help lighten your backpack with our retail menu and optional bed linen service.
Sperry Chalet provides a full service stay on the American Plan, including private rooms, warm bedding and three meals from our restaurant. All you will need to bring is a day pack with your overnight clothes, your outdoor gear, and your sense of adventure.
Are there good day hikes from the chalet?
Yes. Hiking is the principle activity at the chalets and you will find several excellent trails to explore.
Are children allowed at the chalet?
Yes. The Chalets have hosted children of all ages, we are happy to have your family join us.
Are pets allowed at the chalet?
No. Pets are not allowed anywhere in the Glacier Park backcountry. Your friendly pet and the native wildlife of Glacier do not like each other. They may even try to eat each other. More information here.
Can we park overnight at the trail heads?
Yes, although parking is limited. You should consider using a shuttle.
Is it better to stay two nights? How long do most people stay?
For people who just want the experience and flavor of a stay in the backcountry, one night is usually fine. For people who want to hike and explore farther into the wilderness, two or three nights is a good idea. Being in the wilderness longer than three nights starts to become a little uncomfortable without hot showers and modern conveniences, but a handful of people do enjoy it.
Do I need a backcountry permit to stay at the chalet?
No. Your chalet reservation is all you need.
Is there a campground near the chalet?
Yes. Campground reservations are handled by the National Park Service and require a permit.
What kind of weather and conditions can I expect early in July?
Expect to find snow in the high country. Check with a park visitor center to see if your favorite trails are open yet. It is spring-like, the streams are running full and new growth is exploding all around. Mosquitos are plentiful. The days are long, daylight lasts well into the evening making stargazing difficult. Temperatures can still be on the cool side. High temperatures at the chalet tend to reach the mid 70's Fahrenheit.
What kind of weather and conditions can I expect from mid July to mid August?
The snow around the chalets has pretty well melted away. While the weather could turn rainy and cold at any time of year, be prepared for hot and dry conditions. Bring extra water bottles on your hikes. High temperatures can reach the high 80's Fahrenheit. Evenings and mornings will be cool. August is a good month to watch the night sky for meteor showers.
What kind of weather and conditions can I expect in late August and early September?
The seasons have turned fall like. Many streams have dried up, days are shorter and temperatures are cooler. It is not unusual to see fresh snow in September. It is a good idea to bring extra layers and long underwear, just in case. There are few mosquitos and few bugs in general. High temperatures in the low 70's Fahrenheit.
Can I bring a bottle of wine to have with dinner?
We do not allow alcohol in the dining room. You may enjoy your libations in your room or on the balconies, but be advised, the chalets can be a dangerous place to be intoxicated. Rowdy or boisterous behavior is not appreciated.
What comes with the linens?
The optional linen package comes with sheets, blankets, a pillow and a pillowcase. It is enough bedding to keep you warm and comfortable at night.
What are the restrooms like?
The restrooms are an advanced pit toilet out in a separate building. They are stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Where do we get water at Granite Park Chalet?
- You may use whatever water you carry in with you
- you may purchase bottled water at the chalet
- you may fetch water from the nearby stream.
Can we get food at Granite Park Chalet?
Yes. There is no restaurant at Granite Park Chalet, but our sales counter can sell packaged foods, beverages, snacks, and bottled water. Overnight guests at the chalet can optionally pre-order from our retail menu to have your selection of food waiting for you when you arrive.
Do I need to bring my camp stove?
No. Granite Park Chalet has an excellent kitchen for our overnight guests. Twelve burners, two oven stoves and an assortment of pots, pans and utensils to help with the cooking.
How do we arrange time in the kitchen?
The chalet staff will help you sign up for kitchen time when you check in at the chalet. Thank you for working with us and sharing the kitchen with other chalet guests. Please be prepared to clean up after yourself.
What utensils should I bring for my meals?
We have available pots, pans, cooking utensils, reusable flatware, reusable dishware and mugs for guest use. Please clean up after yourself and be mindful that the sanitation of this equipment cannot be guaranteed.
You are also welcome to bring your own cookware, flatware, utensils or mugs.
Environmentally friendly paper plates and utensils are available for optional purchase.
Can we bring steaks for dinner?
Sure; if you are brave enough to carry a slab of raw meat on your person while hiking in the heart of Grizzly country. You have to carry all the stinky scraps and garbage out with you too. Bears have a great sense of smell, so don't be offended if we choose not to hike near you. Elaborate meals will also require a lot more cleanup and that extra water and waste is not very good for the ecosystem. We prefer to bring simpler meals. Freeze dried backpacking meals are light weight, easy to prepare, easy to clean up, have fewer animal attracting odors and are less impactful on the environment. Try the entrees from our retail menu, they are very good.
Is there a minimum stay?
No, not for most reservations. However, participation in our guided interpretive workshops does require a two night stay.
Will we get our own room?
Yes. All reservations get a private room.
Can you put me in my friends room? We both have reservations on the same date.
No. All reservations get a private room. You could join your friends party and make one reservation for everybody.
Can we get on a waiting list for vacancies?
No. We do not keep waiting lists. Any vacancy created by cancellation is immediately available, first come first serve, to the next requester.
Do you get many cancellations?
Cancellations do happen from time to time but they are not predictable. Any vacancy created by cancellation is immediately available, first come first serve, to the next requester.
I know that there are no more beds available, but can one person just sleep on the floor?
No. Sleeping on the floor is unsafe. The chalet does have a nearby campground, contact the National Park Service for backcountry camping permits.
When do we need to make reservations to make sure we get the nights we want?
Reservations are accepted first come first serve. We will begin accepting reservations for the following season in January. We will post the details and schedule in the fall.
When can I make reservations for the year after this one?
We begin accepting reservations for the following season in January. The exact date will be published on our website as soon as we know what it will be.
What does "Limited Vacancy" mean?
When our availability calendar shows limited vacancy that means we are very nearly sold out. There are usually only one or two rooms left and we may not have enough space for a large party. If you are interested in reserving one of these dates please call the reservation office to make sure we can accommodate you.
The reservation policy states "no second party reservations." What does this mean?
We do not accept reservations from travel agents, tour organizers or other middle men. If you are reserving with the intent to re-sell the booking to another party, we will not accept your reservation.
We are coming to the Chalets to enjoy the beautiful scenery, can we get a refund if the weather is rainy or foggy?
No. We are not responsible for the weather. Refunds are only available according to the terms of our cancellation policy. Your fare only covers lodging at the chalet; the trails, the wildlife, the mountains and the weather are all free of charge and cannot be refunded if they do not live up to your expectations.
Trails and Hiking
Do I need to do anything before I start the hike?
You do not need to check with our reservation office. The chalet staff will be expecting you, go get on the trail.
Here are a few things it helps to be mindful of:
- Double check your reservation before you start hiking. Reservation problems are always easier to correct before you set out for the chalet.
- Check today's weather forecast and make sure your equipment is right for the conditions.
- Make sure a friend or family member knows your itinerary and check in with them when you return from the wilderness.
What is the best trail for getting into Granite Park Chalet?
We can't speak to the best, all the trails are great hikes. The Highline trail is the most popular, 7.6 miles, moderate difficulty. The Loop trail is the shortest, 4.2 miles with a 2300 foot climb. The Swiftcurrent Pass trail is the most ambitious, 7.6 miles with a 2200 foot climb.
Can you tell me more about the Highline Trail?
The trail starts at Logan Pass across the road from the visitor center. This trail is popular for the panoramic views and easy walking. While there is some rise and fall along the way, Granite Park Chalet is at roughly the same elevation as Logan Pass so the hike is fairly level. The trail is 7.6 miles long and takes about 5-6 hours to hike.
When does the Highline Trail from Logan Pass open?
That depends on snow conditions in the spring. Do not expect it to open until the first week in July. You can check trail status at any visitor center in the park and trail status is also posted on the Glacier National Park website.
This trail is extremely dangerous when snow covered. Do not attempt this trail when it is closed. Do not hike on any park trail when posted as closed.
Can we get a refund if the Highline trail is closed?
No. If the Highline trail is closed Granite Park Chalet can still be reached via the Loop Trail.
Can you tell me more about the Loop Trail?
The trailhead starts from the U-turn on the west side of Going to the Sun Road, known as the Loop. It takes you through some areas dramatically burned by the 2003 forest fires and reveals one of the best kept secrets of burned areas; new vistas and amazing displays of wildflowers and new growth. The trail is 4.2 miles long, climbs 2300 feet, and takes about 3-4 hours to hike.
When does the Loop Trail open?
The loop trail is usually passable by mid June; well before Granite Park Chalet opens.
I want to hike in on one trail and hike out on another, how do I get back to my car?
Use a shuttle. Glacier National Park is operating a free shuttle along Going to the Sun Road with a regular schedule and stops at all trailheads. There is more information here.
If you are hiking over Swiftcurrent Pass to the Many Glacier area there are east side shuttles available from Glacier National Park Lodges, and Glacier Park Inc that can help connect you back to the Going to the Sun Road shuttle.
I have a fear of heights, are there any cliffs or scary drop-offs on these trails?
The easiest trail for you will be the Loop Trail. There are some exposed hillsides, but nothing too scary. The trail is wide and easy to follow.
The Highline trail does have some steep drop-offs. The worst of these is along the mile closest to Logan Pass; there is a hand rail installed along this part of the trail. Many park visitors have reported being intimidated by this stretch of trail.
The east side of Swiftcurrent Pass, if you are hiking to Many Glacier, also has many places with precipices and cliffs.
Where can I get trail maps?
If you are more interested in detailed topo maps, there are several places you can purchase custom maps:
U.S. Geological Survey
Most of Montana's sporting goods stores can sell topo maps as well.
Will we encounter any bears on the trail?
Possibly. Any time you are inside Glacier National Park, at any place, on any road or trail there is a chance of encountering a bear. Information on being safe in bear country is available at park entrance stations and visitor centers.
Have you seen any bears? What have the bears been doing?
Yes, we have seen bears recently. They have been behaving like bears.
We understand that you want to be reassured about bears and their potential dangers, but the truth is that previous bear sightings are not very good indicators if you will see a bear or how one will behave should you encounter it. Visiting bear country safely depends more on you and your actions, and less on what the bears are doing.
If you are worried about bear encounters the best thing you can do is to educate yourself about bears and how you should behave while in their habitat. A good place to start is this web page from the National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/glac/naturescience/bears.htm
If you want still more information about bears, there are many good books and resources available through the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Many of these books are also available through Glacier National Park gift shops and visitor centers.
As you learn about bears you will discover that they are fascinating and wonderful animals, and Glacier National Park is one of the worlds' premier sites for studying them. Visiting bear country can be done safely, but your safety depends on you, your behavior, and your willingness to learn.
What can I do to avoid meeting a bear on the trail?
Only hike on marked trails in daylight hours.
Hike in groups.
Talk, yell or sing while hiking, especially when going around blind corners.