Is Two Medicine the most beautifully-situated campground I’ve camped in yet? Yes. A resounding Yes!
Two Medicine Campground in Glacier National Park has a stunning setting along Two Medicine Lake, surrounded by the mountain peaks this park is known for.
Though the campground is big, it’s surprisingly quiet and even semi-private, depending on your site.
When we were planning our trip to Glacier, I called on the counsel of our friend, Renee, who had spent two summers working in the Park. She recommended Two Medicine as being just as beautiful as the other campgrounds, but quieter and less crowded.
We found this to be true. The other three main campgrounds are much closer to/on Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The National Park Service says Two Medicine was the main stopping point for visitors coming to the east side of the park until the Sun Road was finished in 1952.
Now it’s more off the beaten path, which was just what we were looking for!
What We Loved about Two Medicine Campground
Our stay was at the end of June, which meant cool-to-cold nights, some snow left on the mountains, and very cold water in the lake. Here’s what we found to love about this campground:
It’s Off the Beaten Path: Not Much Traffic
It’s quite a ways off the beaten path—an hour from the St. Mary Entrance and the east end of Going-to-the-Sun Road. That meant that, though the campground’s 100 sites were full almost every night of our stay, there was surprisingly little traffic on the road to get there.
It got quite busy at the Visitor Center, being also a major trailhead. But in other ways it didn’t seem crowded like other areas of the park.
A Mountain in our Front Yard
We stepped out our camper door and looked right at a mountain. You can’t beat that! A short walk over to the east end of the lake gives you a 360º view of all the surrounding peaks. Simply gorgeous.
Lots of Local Wildlife
On our first evening at our campsite, a cow moose ambled through the site next to ours (the people weren’t there at the time!). She was very relaxed about it, although we sure weren’t! It was quite an introduction to the campground:
Here’s a video our son, Jason, captured:
And we saw these guys every day, somewhere or other in the campground:
Besides that, we saw more moose and some marmots when out on hikes in the area.
Pristine Two Medicine Lake
One of the things I was most excited about was kayaking on Two Medicine Lake. Beautifully clear, as all alpine lakes are, but not as big as some of the more popular lakes in Glacier.
I still had a stiff wind come up in the afternoon, and our last two days there were large whitecaps on the lake, so we didn’t paddle then. But what a marvelous way to get a different view of the mountains and lake!
And so picturesque. I took pictures each day, and each picture looks different because of the lighting or clouds.
Tons of Great Hiking
There are a dozen hiking trails from Two Medicine of varying lengths and difficulties.
Two of the three hikes we did during our time at Glacier were right from the campground. My “kids” (daughter, son-in-law, son and nephew) hiked the 12-miles out and back to Cobalt Lake one day from there.
And on our last full day, I hiked the 9 miles around the lake with my daughter and son-in-law. Even though that was loooooong for me, it was so worth it! And the trailhead right there. Awesome.
What to Know about Camping at Two Medicine
It’s Off the Beaten Path: Lots of Driving to Get to Other Places
The asset of Two Medicine being less crowded can also be a liability when it’s takes a long time to get to other highlights of the park!
Plan on lots of driving during your stay. But again, so worth it. The scenery along the way is stunning. Relax and enjoy.
It’s just over an hour to St. Mary Visitor Center and the east end of Going-to-the-Sun Road. And it’s over an hour-and-a-half to Many Glacier Hotel and that area. Then it’s an hour-and-twenty from Apgar Visitor Center, on the west end of the Sun Road back to Two Medicine.
All are incredible, though, and not-to-be-missed!
It Fills Up Daily in the Summer
None of the campsites are reservable at Two Medicine, and it fills almost daily in the summer season. We heard from the Montana residents next to us that this usually starts the 3rd week of June (we were there the 4th week) and continues through Labor Day.
Campers need to out by noon, so your best best is to shoot for arriving between noon and 3:00, although many sites will be vacated before noon. We arrived closer to 4:30 and had to drive through the campground twice to find a spot that suited our pop-up camper.
Park then Register
It’s self-registration at Two Medicine Campground. You’re directed to find a site, park your RV or plop some gear down to save it, then go back to the Registration Board, fill out the envelope and put your fee inside. Rip off your tab and clip it to the stake at your site with site number.
You can pay for as many nights as you plan to stay, but there’s no refund if you leave early. If you want to pay night-by-night that’s fine, too, but you’ll have to fill out a form before noon each day and repeat. When we were there in 2019 it was only $20 a night—so cheap for what you get!
No Showers or Hot Water
Big deal. You can do without for a few days!
There are flush toilets and running cold water in a couple of sinks, as well as electricity in a couple of bathrooms in the campground. My daughter and I washed our hair in the sinks a couple times using heated water we brought over from our camper.
Grizzly Bear Territory
All of Glacier is grizzly territory. Have bear spray along when you do any hiking. The rangers are very good about checking for bear-safe camping practices and are very strict about it.
Bear boxes are scattered through the campground—wonderful things! Use them to store all your food, even coolers.
We were OK with not seeing any bears while we were there!
Changeable Mountain Weather
Weather in the mountains is always fairly unpredictable, so when hiking, boating or even driving for any length of time your best bet is to dress in layers.
Even if it’s a clear blue sky in the mornings, it often clouds up and rains in the afternoons, so have rain gear along.
Nights are chilly to downright cold. We had packable down, wool socks, knit hats and gloves along for mornings and evenings. I think our nighttime lows were 35-40ish degrees.
Plenty of Mosquitoes
Glacier has plenty of water, which means plenty of mosquitoes! You’ll want your bug spray along. Try the natural stuff if you choose, but we’ve always found DEET works the best (and we’re from Minnesota—we know mosquitoes!)
On windy days, no mosquitoes!
Keep Your Dog at Home
Like all our national parks, Glacier has strict rules about pets in the park. They’re allowed in the front-country campgrounds, like Two Medicine. BUT…
- They must be leashed, kenneled or in your vehicle at all times…
- They’re not allowed by the lakeshore or on the lake (in a canoe or kayak)…
- They’re not allowed on the trails…
- They may not be left tied and unattended in your campsite…
- They’re not allowed in the backcountry at all.
You’ll have a lot more fun if you leave your dog at home—and so will your dog!
How to Get There
Glacier National Park is in northwest Montana, bordering Alberta, Canada. Two Medicine Campground is in the southeast corner of the park.
You definitely want to plan your driving with print maps or know where you’re going ahead of time. Cell phone service out there is sketchy at best, and non-existent often, so don’t rely on your phone’s GPS.
This 5-day stay at Glacier was a gift from the Lord! I had been there a few times before (30+ years ago), and our daughter Jamie once. None of the boys—our son, son-in-law and nephew—had been there.
It was a joy to make this trip together. It was also fun for me as a mom to do this with my adult children. When it came time to back our camper into an absurdly tight spot, my landscaper son could do it with ease.
Everyone helped with the meals, we planned our activities together, shared with the driving and all-in-all had a great time.
I’m so thankful I had Renee to get tips from! Be sure and read her Glacier hiking suggestions, too.