Campground Reservations

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Campground Reservations

Postby IndianaTom » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:04 am

Has anyone had any luck making a reservation online at 10AM.

For two weeks I have waited until exactly 10AM to make a reservation and every time someone beats me to the punch. Are they calling it in or is my internet connection just slower?

Thanks,
Tom
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby teapot57 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:26 pm

There is very fierce competition for campsites on the mornings they first become available, at least with Many Glacier campground. I was lucky enough yesterday to make an MG Campground reservation at 8:00 am MT, but it was my first time being successful after many attempts. It truly is luck to be first to make the connection to Recreation.gov. My strategy this time was to try for a campsite that, while nice, is less desirable than the ones along the river, as I figured there would be less competition for the site I chose than the 2 or 3 "primo" river sites that opened up. Be sure to log in and have everything selected so that you can press "book this site" at the exact time the clock turns to 8:00 am MT.

Try watching for cancellations starting in the next few weeks. If you are diligent and check often, a campsite in your date range will open up. That is how I made my bookings last year.

Good luck.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby Jay w » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:20 pm

Teapot is too generous. I too have tried to get a reservation (last year) with no luck. The frustrating thing is that when you actually go to the campground, some of these sites sit empty because it's easy to make a reservation, but much harder to actually show up at the campsite on the reservation date. It's a BS system and I hate it. But, keep trying and if you can't get a reservation, show up at 4 am on the date you wish and sleep in your car until 10 am or so. Check in is painfully slow, but a few cars do get a site.

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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby PeteE » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:18 am

Jay is right.
The current system is horrible, worse than BS.
The only reason we both got campsites last year(in the unreserved area) was because the weather was horrible.
Many people simply didn't show up. And so yes, there were "reserved" sites that went unused.

The Park Service needs to do away with reserved sites altogether at all the CG's.
Recreation.com is an abomination, a typical Federal folly.
Go back to first come first serve. Every site will be occupied with someone.
Yeah there will be long lines, but that's the case now.

pete :wink:

PS

If you want to camp inside the park this year, or any time in the near future considering the crowds in recent years, good luck.
If you're willing to camp outside the park, consider private CG's like KOA or Johnson's if on the East Side.
I laugh at those who say the private CG's are "too expensive".
Really??????????
You spend hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars getting here, and then complain about the few extra dollars a private CG site cost?
Defies logic imo.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby IndianaTom » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:56 am

Thanks for the heads up! Trying to make my fifth trip in a row. Last year I got lucky with reservations. Two years ago I got my reservation for Many Glacier on a Cancellation (appreciate those people taking the time to do that). Then I got up at 5AM to move to Rising sun. Took a folding chair with me, left wife sleeping. I was 2nd in line, got a spot, drove back at 9 to pick up the wife.

I am half tempted to buy property on Duck Lake so I have a spot to go to for the rest of my life with no hassles. That might end up in divorce court.


**Update** Missed out today. I may just stop this madness and go for a backcountry permit.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby PeteE » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:36 am

IndianaTom wrote:Thanks for the heads up! Trying to make my fifth trip in a row. Last year I got lucky with reservations. Two years ago I got my reservation for Many Glacier on a Cancellation (appreciate those people taking the time to do that). Then I got up at 5AM to move to Rising sun. Took a folding chair with me, left wife sleeping. I was 2nd in line, got a spot, drove back at 9 to pick up the wife.

You got it. That's pretty much what it takes to get a spot these days.

I am half tempted to buy property on Duck Lake so I have a spot to go to for the rest of my life with no hassles. That might end up in divorce court.
That's funny :)


**Update** Missed out today. I may just stop this madness and go for a backcountry permit.
BC reservations are tough too. However the process is more fair that front country reservations. At least I believe they will be after the changes they made for this year.

If your main interest in visiting GNP is day hiking and/or backpacking/backcountry camping....
I believe your best off finding a place to base camp, either inside the park or close by to your area of interest, e.g. East Side, West Side, Two Med etc.
Then just drive/shuttle to your trail heads. Otherwise you'll spend too much time driving, moving, waiting in lines, blah blah.

IF, you are the type that wants to just car camp and enjoy the ambience of the CG's inside the park...
Then brace yourself for long lines and all the hassle that goes with it.
GNP is just NOT what it used to be.

my 2cents


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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby IndianaTom » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:37 am

I started coming to glacier in 2014 and it's amazing the way the visitorship has changed in that short amount of time. In 2014 we had a north circle backcountry permit, after the first night we had an injury so we came out of the backcountry, arrived at St Marys at 4 PM, there were plenty of sites available. I woke up at 9 am the next day went to Many Glacier and was able to grab a site on the river no problem. Fast forward 3 years, and the waking up at 4 AM is the new norm. Lucky for me, I only sleep 5 hours a night and have a wonderful group on this chat to get advice from.

I am all about back country, but my wife is not so much. She did survive a week on Isle Royale backpacking, but she said she'll never do that again. I am in the midst of planning a two week road trip, hoping to hit Yosemite, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, and hope to loop a couple days in my favorite park on the way home. Just an 8 hour detour north is all it'll take.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby IndianaTom » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:16 am

I don't like the reservation model, I prefer the first come, first serve method. I still haven't been able to get a reservation for Many Glacier, but I now have experience from another national park in high demand. I recently got a campsite Memorial day at North Pines in Yosemite. The method they use to release an entire month of sites at 10 AM on the 15th of the month, 5 months in advance. It was still super competitive with most the sites being filled within seconds, but it's more convenient in the fact that you aren't logging in every day. It's interesting to me that there isn't a policy across all the parks and each one operates independently even though they use the same reservation software.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby PeteE » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:16 pm

IndianaTom wrote:I don't like the reservation model, I prefer the first come, first serve method...


Me too Tom. It's the most "fair" way, although I don't like the term "fair" too much since it can't be easily defined imo.


It's interesting to me that there isn't a policy across all the parks and each one operates independently even though they use the same reservation software.


I don't think Yosemite's way would work nation wide.
If you think about it, the National Parks vary too much over the country.
The "one size shoe fits all" method just won't work for every park....which is why using Rec.gov sucks.

It may be possible that several, maybe many parks could use the same methodology, but they shouldn't be forced to do so.
The is NO plan that will make everyone happy, so it's First Come, First Serve.
Just like being in the service again...Hurry up, get in line, and wait.

8)

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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby teapot57 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:07 pm

The frustrating thing is that when you actually go to the campground, some of these sites sit empty because it's easy to make a reservation, but much harder to actually show up at the campsite on the reservation date.


Easy to make a reservation? I thought the point of this thread was the opposite- it’s quite hard to make a reservation for MG campground!

I am fortunate to be able to make many short trips every summer to the Park. Since I live closest to the Many Glacier entrance, MG campground is my favorite place to stay. I don’t think the problem of empty campsites is as great as you guys make it sound. Someone mentioned that the weather was horrible on the days you saw empty campsites and were able to get an unreserved campsite. Perhaps the bad weather had something to do with the vacancy. I camp there at least 2 or 3 times every summer, and rarely have I seen an empty campsite in the reserved section. A few times, my neighbors have arrived at their campsites late in the evening, so while maybe their sites were empty until 10:00 or so, they did eventually arrive late and the campsites were occupied. The rules provide for reservations to be cancelled if sites are not occupied by checkout time after the first day of the reservation, so the few that are empty shouldn’t be unoccupied for more than 24 hours.

The is NO plan that will make everyone happy, so it's First Come, First Serve.
Just like being in the service again...Hurry up, get in line, and wait.


Unfortunately, the border doesn’t open until 7:00 am, so I am unable to get in line for a campsite at the wee hours of the morning. And how about the family that is traveling from the West side to the East side and wants to hike at Logan Pass on their way across the Park before making their way to their MG campsite? The reservation system makes them happy and works for them, too. So I agree that there is no plan that makes everyone happy, but the reservation system works for some of us better than first come, first serve.

IndianaTom, if you check your pm’s, you will see that I saw a cancellation come up for the week you seemed to be looking, and I pm’d to alert you, but you haven’t opened the message. Cancellations do pop up, if you are willing to be diligent about looking for them. In fact, I was able to book 4 different campsites on one night before our group backpack last year, all on cancellations.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby PeteE » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:42 pm

I'll simply reiterate that there is no plan that would make everyone happy.
That said, I think Teapot is correct about looking for cancellations if you don't get a spot at the git go.
It's a pain in the butt, but I don't see another option.

The problem is similar to parking spaces.
Park visitation is WAY, way up compared to the recent past, and therefore demand for everything is up.

And so I believe folks wanting a camping spot in the park will have to do what those seeking a bed at Granite Park Chalet do:
Check for cancellations every morning. It's very tedious, but it can work for you.
I was able to get three nights in a row at Granite Park last year that way. I got two of the nights one morning, and the third a couple weeks later.

pete :wink:

I still believe that each park should have their own reservation system.
One shoe doesn't fit all and...
It ain't rocket science. 8)
Get rec.gov the hell out of it.
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby Jay w » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:53 pm

teapot57 wrote:Easy to make a reservation? I thought the point of this thread was the opposite- it’s quite hard to make a reservation for MG campground!


The process of making the reservation is easy. Getting lucky is rare (hard). We walked around the campground a few times and spotted open sites each time. I guess they let the site sit open for two nights and then give it to a camper.

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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby Syrio » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:27 am

Word to the wise; I went online this morning for Many Glacier, pre-selected my sites and clicked right at 10 AM est. It failed (unable to process or something), went back to the availability page, saw sites still open and tried again, failed, and then went back one more time selecting my sites and was able to get one. This was a minute or two after 10 am est. So its probably worth refreshing and trying again, perhaps everyone is going for one or two sites (there were 5-6 available I think).
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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby PeteE » Fri May 24, 2019 1:06 pm

I was just talking with a young gal whose parents own the KOA franchise in Whitefish.
(She's a barista at the coffee shop in one our joints)
She said they are already nearly booked up for the entire summer season.

She was out in West Glacier yesterday afternoon with friends to hike Avalanche lake.
They ended up not finding a parking place and came back home. She said traffic was "horrible".
Sooooooo.....

It looks like this season is picking up where the last few have left off. :(

Get on the road early if you want to find parking.
You'll see more wildlife too, the "four legged kind", and not just the two legged sort! 8)
Just sayin'

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Re: Campground Reservations

Postby teapot57 » Fri May 24, 2019 3:43 pm

She was out in West Glacier yesterday afternoon with friends to hike Avalanche lake.
They ended up not finding a parking place and came back home. She said traffic was "horrible".


I am glad most of my plans this summer are in the backcountry. The crowds are definitely getting worse year after year.
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