Outside of West Glacier
Our campsite at Blankenship Bridge, also known as Middle Fork Flathead River, was just one of those you wish was a better kept secret.
The Blankenship bridge is 5 miles from HWY 2 and only a few more miles from West Glacier and into the park. The road heading to West Glacier is maintained gravel. It’s an easy and quick drive to the West Entrance of the park. It’s 10 miles on paved road back to Colombia Falls which is large enough for finding anything you need. The drive in from Colombia is all paved and only difficult part of accessing the river is the dirt track off the road. Overnight camping is only allowed on the SW side of the bridge; the other side of he river is a boat ramp and fishing access only site. The road in is quite bumpy with a few deep, large pot holes. Even in that condition we did see a couple trailers come on down but most of the neighbors were cars, vans and a fellow truck campers. Rocky beach during low water attracted more folks to camp at water’s edge. The natural river bank was higher, less rock, more trees…just our cup of tea. We headed towards the far end away from the bridge and rocky beach campers. Although the area appears to get heavy use, while we were here, there was us and 3-4 others down at the far end away from the bridge. Most folks would cluster closer to the bridge and many came just for an overnight stay. This was a great time to be here; we never felt crowded and had some sense of privacy being tucked up and down further from the bridge.
GPS location: 48.464126,-114.072604
Although we had adequate data one day of the stay mostly our Cell signal was none to barely anything useful. We did receive periodic text messages and could make / receive phone calls.
- Verizon reported 3 bars LTE but was too slow to be of any use (our data only service)
- Google fi reported 1-2 bars and 3G data (sometimes)
- T-mobile had 0 bars
Definitely a doable free home base for visiting Glacier National Park’s west side. We determined that to see the Two Medicine and Many Glacier area we’ll relocate toward the SE end of the park.
USFS Campground outside of East Glacier
Free dispersed camping is much more difficult to find on the east side of the park so we opted to head over to a forest campground on the southern end of the park border.
Summit campground turned out to be a pleasant area to dock for our planned 2 nights. Even with relocating our camp, it was still a 2 hour each way drive to get into Many Glacier area. That made for a really long day trip and hike outing. Cooper stayed and guarded the rig.
Admittedly on top of being very tired after that day trip and just enjoying the location of being in a nice sunlit wooded area, we ended up staying a 3rd night.
All in all we stayed a full week near Glacier National Park and hope to sometime make it back here for a more in depth back country stay.