any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/Sep)

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any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/Sep)

Postby slug420 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:31 pm

I have been to glacier twice before, but it has been almost 10 years since the last trip. Our plan was to fly into calgary and do jasper/banff/glacier (we love glacier and have never been to the canadian parks). I know I booked my travel later than this last time so I was quite surprised to find this week how fully booked up the park appears to be..and also surprised that ~300/nt appears to be a common price (on my first trip I camped at swiftcurrent but on my last trip we stayed in some cabin rentals between babb and st mary for ~150/nt).

We are looking to be in the park either the last week of august or first week of september. appreciate any advice on places to look that either have availability still, have waitlists, and/or are reasonably priced.

We might wind up trying to camp again but have a toddler with us this time so were preferring something with walls, a door, and a private bathroom :)
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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby orin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:10 am

Visitation has gone way up in the past few years. Even so, between now the end of August there will be lots of cancellations, especially in late spring or early summer. So your best bet is to check availability on the websites regularly. You will have a reasonable chance of getting something. Your chances will be better if your schedule is flexible.
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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby PeteE » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:59 am

Orin is right about the visitation. The last 3-4 years visitation has literally exploded.
Read stories and posts of the recent years on the chat here. You'll see what we mean.

You might want to look at motels and campgrounds in St Mary. KOA and Johnson's in St Mary have cabins that might work for you.
East Glacier/Two Medicine may also be a choice.

The Many Glacier area will likely be a nightmare this and next year.
Go here and read this park notice:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10215

You may want to consider something on the West Side as well.
Personally, I think it's going to be very crowded again this year with long lines everywhere.

Good luck

pete :wink:
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And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby slug420 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:49 am

thanks for the information...so i guess its not just me and the park is actually a lot busier these days :)

its a tough call, we have flexibility on dates now but I would like to lock in our airfare while its cheap...and then we will have less flexibility.

Almost makes me wonder if we should cancel our trip plans and aim for next year...wouldn't have the issues around many glacier and could book my lodging well in advance.

If holding out for cancellations, assume there are no waitlists? And is checking the website just as good as calling or have you found calling better?
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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby PeteE » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:55 am

Yeah, locking in air fares poses a problem by locking in dates but that really can't be avoided.
Personally, I preferring calling over websites.
Demand is so great these days that I think wait lists are a thing of the past....but I'm not certain about that.

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"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby orin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:30 pm

As far as I know there are no waitlists. Phone vs website is mostly personal preference. Scoring a cancelation is mostly a matter of persistence and luck. I have had good luck getting a night or two at the chalets at the last minute. If I had to fill an entire weeklong trip at this point I might consider getting an earlier start next year
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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby Selkie » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:13 am

slug420,

East Glacier has some decent lodging options, if you wanted to explore that sector of the Park. Right across the big lawn and railroad tracks from East Glacier Lodge.
Things have indeed changed - considerably - since your last visit.

Visitation is insane. The Park has instituted a dashboard, active during the summer, with estimates of wait times to get a parking space in various lots, and stops traffic on approach roads to those lots when the lots are full - including the road into Many Glacier. Waiting 2-3 hours just to access a road to a parking lot could be difficult with a toddler.

The entity operating the shuttle service terminated its agreement with the Park in December:
https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/glacier-national-park-will-seek-new-alternatives-for-next-season-s-shuttle-service.htm

The area in Canada that precedes Glacier NP, USA, on your itinerary is beautiful. 2 weeks cannot do it justice. Waterfalls, short hikes, towering mountains, wild animals by the roadside. Decent hostels and campgrounds; fewer moderately priced rooms (in your position, with a toddler, I might look into renting a small RV in Canada). A tad colder.
Jasper (as I expect you know) is 237 km north of Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway, which is gorgeous and invites many stops, including short hikes to massive waterfalls, glaciers galore, and ooh-aah moments. It's the Canadian Rockies! Jasper is a destination town (originally for the railroads), and hotel prices are high. Wapiti Campground is quite nice and takes reservations. If you travel west of Jasper on rte 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to Tete Jaune Cache, I can recommend the $75/night cabins at Tete Jaune Lodge and campground. Big buffet every evening elsewhere on the grounds, and right on the Fraser River.
Banff is also a railroad destination town. A few things - not many - of interest in the townsite itself (lots of International chains; think The North Face and Columbia clothing store). A river walk to the Fairmont Banff Hotel, perhaps to take in a boat ride, could make a very nice day. Banff has a hostel. Several hostels in the general area have family or private rooms. https://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta/hi-banff
Check also the hostels along the Icefields Parkway (Athabasca?), Lake Louise, and in Field (not an HI hostel) for private rooms.
Expect animals to walk through the grounds at night. "Yes, we have bears" (shrug).
Good luck!
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Re: any pro tips for apparently last minute lodging? (Aug/S

Postby PeteE » Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:10 pm

Today I was looking at availability at some of the motels and campgrounds on the East side.
Many of them are already beginning to fill up for the more popular time slots like 4th of July and Labor Day.

So those of you who haven't secured a place to stay yet better get on the stick.
Waiting around for the Xterra, GNP, and Recreation.Gov isn't a great idea imho.

I would suggest getting a place to stay now, and then try to improve it later on utilizing cancellations.

Just sayin' 8)

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And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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