This Gorgeously Rustic Lodge Inside Glacier National Park Is The Perfect Place To Stay

Etched into the floor of the lobby of the historic Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park is a message written in Kootenai, which is a local Native American dialect. The words are translated to mean, "Welcome," and "New life to those who drink here." Ever since it was built in 1914, this iconic hotel has welcomed visitors to enjoy the wonder of this part of northwest Montana. 

Located on the western side of Glacier National Park, the lodge is set on the shore of Lake McDonald, which is the deepest lake in the park. It's open between mid-May and mid-September when temperatures are mild and perfect for exploring. It is registered as a National Historic Landmark, and its picturesque location is enhanced by the charming style of its architecture. This style of design is notable for its historic relationship with the beautiful environment that surrounds it. Renowned author and architect A.J. Downing described the significance of the setting for a Swiss chalet structure in his book, "The Architecture of Country Houses," in 1850. 

Downing wrote, "The true site for a Swiss cottage is in a bold and mountainous country... or in a wild and picturesque valley. In such positions, the architecture will have a spirit and meaning which will inspire every beholder with interest, while the same cottage built in a level country, amid smooth green field, would only appear affected and ridiculous." This historic lodge is set in one of the most scenic areas of the country, and it invites visitors to explore the beauty of its surroundings and be inspired by time spent there.

Choose from rustic yet modern accommodations

Several different types of accommodation are available at Lake McDonald Lodge, including the historic main building, the individual cabins next to the lodge, Snyder Hall, and the Cobb House. The main lodge is three stories tall, with guest rooms located on the top two floors. These rooms include private bathrooms and one or two queen beds. The cabins are designed as either duplexes or six-plexes, with a choice between a smaller or larger deluxe room. Snyder Hall, converted from a historic dormitory, offers eight hostel-style rooms. Each room has a sink, a double bed or bunk bed, and a community bathroom nearby. The Cobb House provides the most spacious accommodations, offering three suites that feature a sitting area and a private bathroom in each. The Cobb House and Snyder Hall are both separate from the main lodge but within walking distance.

There are a variety of dining options available on the property, but one highlight has to be Russell's Fireside Dining Room inside the lodge. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet before the day's activities, and the restaurant serves lunch and dinner as well. Box lunches can be available upon request. Lucke's Lounge is situated next door to the dining room and offers outdoor seating that overlooks the lake with a bar menu that is available all day.

Explore Glacier National Park

One of the most memorable activities to enjoy in Glacier National Park is to book a trip on a Red Bus Tour. These iconic vehicles were the first motor transportation to be allowed in the park in the 1930s, and many of the historic buses have been restored for use today. The distinct advantage of taking a tour in a Red Bus is that the roof can be rolled back to provide passengers with a clear view of the stunning landscape. There are several doors along both sides of the bus, which makes it easy to disembark and explore. Many of the tours travel along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. Visitors can purchase a tour that lasts three to four hours, such as the Western Alpine Tour, or a longer tour that can last over nine hours, such as the West Side Crown of the Continent Tour.

Guests can also choose from a variety of activities on the lake, such as a narrated boat tour of Lake McDonald. The Glacier Park Boat Company provides visitors with an hour-long tour of the beautiful waters of the lake and surrounding scenery. Several of the boats used for the tours belong to the National Register for Historic Vessels. Personal watercraft rentals are also available, including double kayaks, rowboats, paddleboards, and motorboats. It's these types of activities that draw visitors each year to the beauty surrounding the Lake McDonald Lodge.