Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park is Worth a Night (or Three)

I’ll never forget spending the night at the Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park with my 15-month-old daughter. Simply put, it was an incredible experience. The stunning mountain views, amazing hospitality, and surprisingly solid night’s sleep in this iconic hut aren’t something I’ll forget.

Inside this guide to the Granite Park Chalet, I’ll give you pro advice for visiting, including what it’s like to take a baby for an overnight adventure in this locale.

About this Guide to the Granite Park Chalet

Here’s what you’ll find in the guide:

  • Tips to secure your Granite Park Chalet reservation
  • Info about the chalet, including a few pro tips!
  • A look at the unique history
  • Trails that access the Granite Park Chalet
  • Things to do
  • Staying at the Granite Park Chalet with a baby or toddler
A wooden building sitting on the side of a mountain at sunset in Granite Park. The skies are blue and filled with clouds.

How to Reserve Your Spot

Spending the night here is extremely competitive. To give you an insight into just HOW competitive it is, I filled out my reservation request within 3 minutes of reservations opening (I had to add a line about a crib) and I was 809th in line.

So the best way to get a reservation is to be online, refreshing the page (with multiple tabs) minutes before reservations officially open. This is typically in JANUARY each year.

You can only snag a spot through their website, so do your homework. We wanted to be there for closing weekend – or the weekend after Labor Day, and we got a room! Here are a few ways to better your chances:

  • Book during the week
  • Avoid booking over holidays
  • Have multiple possible dates you could be here – plan your trip around what you get assigned, not the other way around.
  • Going after Labor Day will substantially better your chances

It’s really luck of the draw, so the more availability you give them and the more flexible you are, the easier it is to snag a room!

Do You Also Need a Reservation for Going to the Sun Road?

No! The great news is if you’ve got a reservation for the Granite Park Chalet, you automatically have a reservation for Going to the Sun Road or Many Glacier.

However, finding a parking spot at Logan Pass is a completely different animal. We arrived at 6:30 AM on the Saturday after Labor Day and we were the 5th car in the lot. By the time we collected ourselves (we had a toddler, remember?) the parking lot was full – it was nearly 7 AM.

Note: In past years there has been a lot of construction on Going to the Sun Road – particularly on the west side. If you’re coming from West Glacier, be sure to read up on road closures and plan accordingly!

How Many Nights Should I Spend Here?

That’s entirely up to you. However, at $140 per night minimum, this isn’t exactly a budget-friendly adventure. Most people opt to spend 1-2 nights here.

My recommendation would be that if you’re a faster hiker or you have a lot of endurance, one night is sufficient. But if you want to take your time, or you aren’t used to bigger mileage hikes and you want to explore, book 2 nights.

Pro Tip: We stayed one night and that was perfect for us, but we had to take A LOT of snacks and food for our little, so our bags couldn’t have handled another day!

Stunning view of the surrounding mountains at sunset  at Granite Park Chalet.

About the Chalet

The Chalet was built in 1914 and it was used as a stopping point for horses and mule trains. The idea was to connect the mountains of the park (no railroad) via chalets where groups of travelers would travel from one end to another.

Granite Park Chalet sees TONS of visitors. It’s uber-iconic and in an unbelievable setting. It sits at 6,693 feet above sea level, so if you’re coming from flatland, you may find yourself breathless here (views aside).

The Chalet is staffed by the most loving and amazing people. Seriously. We were a little concerned we would be “those people” traveling with a newly minted toddler who had just learned to walk. But the staff (and guests) felt like family. It made our stay extra special.

And honestly, we were impressed. It was closing weekend – and working at a primitive chalet is a TON of work, so it was really unique to still see so much love and enthusiasm for the guests.

How Many Rooms Does the Granite Park Chalet Have?

12. Some are in the main building and some are in the annex. We stayed in the Annex which was totally fine since the main building was a 30-second walk away.

The rooms are basic, but cozy and clean. You get a couple of folding chairs, some bunks, a table, and (optional) linens. If you need a crib, the cribs meet safety standards. We loved putting the folding chairs outside of our door in the sun during nap time!

My only complaint is the walls are SUPER thin – like have some gaps kind of thin. So certainly bring earplugs (we also had a sound machine, which everyone loved since it drowned out our daughter’s occasional night whimpers).

What Amenities Are There?

Granite Park Chalet has everything you need for a comfortable stay, but you’re still in the backcountry.

You can opt to pre-purchase freeze-dried meals. There is a sizeable (but expensive) snack bar. And you’ll have use of a primitive kitchen with everything you need to eat (and clean).

There’s a communal pump sink for brushing teeth, and you’ll get a water storage jug. Legally, they can’t claim to have safe-to-drink water. However, everyone was drinking directly from the water cistern that’s about a half mile walk round-trip. The rangers treat it with chlorine and test it daily.

We opted to bring our gravity filter just because we had Baby M with us, but had it just been us, we would have felt safe drinking the water.

Lastly, you can also rent linens – I HIGHLY recommend this! It’s just much cozier than sleeping bags on a mat. We didn’t have any trouble with being cold and we were visiting in September!

Pro Tip: You’re required to pack out all of your trash, so be sure to pack your food in odor bags and bring an extra for your trash – this is grizzly country after all!

Toilets are pit-style and are well-kept throughout the day. At night, there is a light, but I appreciated having a headlamp.

A main holding his daughter and swimming her but the arms on the proc of a mountain chalet in Glacier National Park. You can see the mountains all around.

How to Reach Granite Park Chalet

There are three trails that pass by the Granite Park Chalet. Most people opt to access the hut by taking the Highline Trail to the Loop Trail.

Just keep in mind dogs are not allowed on any trails in Glacier National Park.

Can You Drive to the Granite Park Chalet?

Nope! There are no roads to the Granite Park Chalet. Your only option is to go by foot. The hut gets all of its supplies and packs out all of its waste via a weekly mule train.

How Long Does it Take to Hike to the Granite Park Chalet?

It took us about 2.5 hours, but we are fast hikers. The fastest route will get you here in 2 hours, but it’s the steepest and the least scenic. It will take most people between 3.5 and 4 hours to hike to Granite Park Chalet.

The Highline Trail to the Loop

The most popular (and scenic) way to access the Granite Park Chalet is to take the Highline Trail to the Chalet, then return to Going to the Sun Road via The Loop Trail.

The Highline Trail is a gorgeous trail that climbs along a steep hillside starting from the Logan Pass parking area. A lot of initiated hikers will find the exposure on the first half of the trail to be pretty daunting. In fact, they’ve installed steel cables to help hesitant hikers along.

We found this trail to be extremely straightforward and not scary at all. But keep in mind that we are climbers and mountaineers from Colorado. We had zero issues taking our daughter on this trail (other than she screamed for half of it because she was cold).

Carrying her in a backpack was easy, but I wouldn’t have let her out to walk around – especially if the trail was busy – until we reached the pass.

The Loop was steep, exposed, and didn’t have great views. But it was a quick return to Going to the Sun Road. From here, we hopped on a shuttle back to Logan Pass

Pro Tip: Logan Pass TH fills up insanely early – like earlier than 6 am during the busy summer months. Plan accordingly! We had people fighting over our parking spot when we left, but had no trouble finding a parking spot on a weekend after Labor Day at 6:30 AM.

Mileage: 11.4
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours to get to the hut, 2 hours to get to the Loop parking area.
Difficulty: Moderate (novice mountain hikers will probably find this one difficult)

A hiker with a giant back pack walks along the trail and enjoys sweeping views of the mountains in Glacier National park.

Swiftcurrent Pass Trail

This trail is the second-best way to get to Granite Park, but it’s a bit long. You’ll start at the Many Glacier Area and climb your way up and over Swiftcurrent Pass. From here, it’s a short jaunt (comparatively) down to the hut.

However, you’ll have to go up and over the pass on your way back. However, if you do choose to do this route then be sure to make a stop at the Swiftcurrent Lookout before you reach the hut.

Mileage: 13.7
Elevation Gain: 2,467 feet
Estimated Time: 4 -5 hours to get to the hut.
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

The Loop Trail

This is the most direct way to reach the Granite Park Chalet, but it is the least scenic. It’s also the steepest, has little shade, and has the smallest parking area. The trail goes through a burn area from a fire in 2003. You’ll feel the heat on this one since the shade is really minimal.

But if you’re looking to make it here quickly, then this is your trail!

Pro Tip: Honestly, it’s best to do the Highline Trail to the Loop. You’ll still see the Loop Trail (and have a relatively quick hike out) but you will also get the stellar views of the Highline Trail.

Mileage: 4
Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet
Estimated Time: 2.5 hours to get to the hut.
Difficulty: Challenging

Things to Do Once You’re There!

There are a few things to do once you’re at the chalet. Here are a few highlights.

Grinnell Glacier Overlook

This steep 1.4-mile out-and-back scree-ridden trail delivers amazing top-down views of Grinnell Glacier. We had plans to do this one, but given the fact that we were hauling a toddler (and 50lb packs as a result) we skipped it, but I’ve heard it’s totally worth the effort!

Swiftcurrent Fire Lookout

At about 0.9 miles away, the Swiftcurrent Fire Lookout is worth a visit. This is the highest fire lookout in the area and you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the park.

Interpretive Hikes

The lovely folks at the chalet give an interpretive workshops that flow with the seasons. Their lineup is always changing and you need to have a 2-night reservation to partake. It’s $120 and includes water and snacks!

Fifty Mountain and Waterton Lakes

So we cheated and drove to Waterton Lakes, Canada (worth it), but you can hike there! In fact Ghost Haunt, the terminus point for the northern end of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), is only 28.4 miles away. From here, you can take a boat to the charming enclave of Waterton.

Pro Tip: This is an excellent adventure for avid backcountry campers, and you’ll need backcountry permits as well as an advanced reservation for a return journey to get there.

A man kneeling on the ground with his daughter on his knees. They are sitting on rocks along the shore of a mountain lake with mountains in the background on a sunny day.

Ahern Pass

For a sense of tranquility, you can hike to Ahern Pass (5 miles). From here you’ll pick up the CDT and be treated to incredible views.

Just Enjoy the Scenery

This is a totally valid way to spend your day! Slow down, relax, watch the day go by, and enjoy the views!

Spending the Night at Granite Park Chalet with a Baby or Toddler

Okay, so I’m a bold human and every year we plan a “crazy” adventure with our little (when she was 4 months old, we took her to the remote Toroweap Overlook in the Grand Canyon). So when I signed us all up for a night at the Granite Park Chalet I was THRILLED.

My partner…not so much – and with good reason! It’s anxiety-inducing to take your tiny human to a remote part of the wilderness.

As one of the staff members told us, it takes a special kind of parent to bring a young (just walking) child here.

Nothing is childproof. Sleep is not a promise. And you’ll be packing out ALL of your diapers (turns out that wasn’t a huge deal).

But the staff was so accommodating and really enjoyed having her around. The ground was pretty uneven, so it meant that we had to do a lot of hand-holding and spotting (read: we hiked 7 miles to get here, then walked around another 7 miles chasing her).

But it was TOTALLY worth it. She LOVED exploring, saying hi, and slept shockingly well. Not to mention, she’s a huge fan of hiking snacks!

If you’re experienced in backpacking, camping, and hiking this is an absolute must-do adventure. It’s totally manageable and still gives you a real sense of adventure.

Pro Tip: I’d strongly recommend camping with a baby first. That way you know what to expect and how your child responds to being in the wilderness. We had our systems ironed out really well, so the added luxury of having a roof over our heads and a spacious kitchen made a world of difference!

We had a great time as a family, and I’ll never forget that experience!

A man sitting on the ground with his daughter with the mountains in the background.

What to Pack when Visiting with a Baby

We used our Osprey Poco Plus and a backpacking bag. Since the Poco Plus sucks to wear (we both find it uncomfortable after a few miles) we traded packs. With our daughter, fully loaded, our bags both weighed 50 lbs. So train up!

Here’s what else we brought just for our toddler:

  • Battery-powered noise machine (a must)
  • Morrison Little Mo sleeping bag
  • Formula (she was on cow’s milk, but this was just easier to carry since powdered milk needs a ton of water).
  • 2x sippy cups
  • 1x bib
  • 1x lightweight collapsable backpacking bowl (for her meals)
  • 1x pack of wipes
  • Diapers and night diapers (we brought 2 extras)
  • An odor-proof bag specifically for diaper waste
  • Biodegradable dog poop bags to individually wrap diapers for hiking changes
  • Fleece layer
  • puffy layer
  • 2x warm socks
  • warm pants
  • long-sleeved shirt
  • baby sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • sunhat
  • beanie
  • shoes
  • 2x fleece footie PJs (in case of a blowout)
  • teether
  • stomach meds
  • thermometer
  • tylenol
  • dosing syringe
  • portable changing station
  • water cup (optional – we just used our water bladder)

Pro Tip: Leave toys at home, there are plenty of rocks, sticks, and other tiny things around to make some fun!

The Highline Trail with a Baby

As I’ve mentioned before, I did not find it to be a huge deal to carry a baby or toddler in a pack along the Highline Trail. If heights freak you out, then you may struggle, but my partner and I hardly noticed. This isn’t a place I’d let my child (now almost 2) walk around without holding hands, but it’s not insanely narrow or dangerous. If you know how to walk on uneven terrain, this trail is just fine.

The Highline Trail at sunset. A hiker walks along the narrow path on a clear day and it is lined with blue cables.
A look at one of the “narrow” parts of the Highline Trail where there are cables.

What to Pack for An Overnight at the Granite Park Chalet

Here’s a look at what YOU should bring (baby aside) to the Granite Park Chalet!

  • All food, including plenty of delicious snacks (you can purchase food here, but it’s very expensive)
  • Odor-proof bag for food storage, including a separate one for trash
  • BEAR SPRAY
  • A hot beverage such as instant coffee, tea, or something else.
  • headlamp
  • puffy layer
  • wind/rain layer
  • Fleece layer
  • non-cotton hiking shirt
  • base layers for cool nights
  • non cotton hiking pants
  • sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses, and a sunshirt
  • beanie
  • Warm socks to change into
  • camp shoes
  • a spare pair of clothes (or embrace the dirt and wear what you have)
  • PJs
  • Inflatable pillow
  • EARPLUGS (MUST)
  • hiking poles (helpful)
  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • non-cotton socks (extra camp socks are really nice)
  • toiletries
  • first aid kit
  • Sleeping bag (if you’re not purchasing linens)
  • Water filter (optional)
  • camera! (If I had room, I would have packed my tripod – sunset was epic)
  • a book or something to do while lounging around
  • money if you want to purchase snacks/water
  • GPS/emergency beacon (optional, but a good practice)
  • water bladder or water bottle
Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

Hi There!

Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.