Is there dispersed camping near Glacier National Park? Yes there is, and lots of it! The park is bounded on its west side by Flathead National Forest, and the forest has plenty of dispersed camping and free camping available.
Dispersed Camping Near Glacier National Park
While there is no dispersed camping inside Glacier National Park, there is plenty of it just outside of its western border inside Flathead National Forest. There are numerous forest roads where dispersed camping is allowed. You can find hundreds of previously-used campsites all of which are free. There are also several free campgrounds too choose from too.
Here are our top picks for dispersed camping near Glacier National Park. All of these sites are free and legal to camp in…
Hungry Horse Reservoir Dispersed Lot
Located right off of Hungry Horse Reservoir, this is a large dirt lot intended for dispersed camping and overflow parking. There’s enough room here for several large RVs, along with a pit toilet on site. It’s probably the most popular place for free camping near Glacier National Park.
Starting GPS: (48.3862, -114.0517) – In the town of Hungry Horse, at the intersection of US Highway 2 and West Side Road, take West Side Road heading south-east. This road becomes Forest Road 895. It will take you over the dam, and about 2.2 miles from the dam, you will cross Forest Road 895H. Take this road, and about 0.3 miles you’ll reach the lot.
Goose Head Campground
This is denoted as “F K & L Overlook” on Forest Service maps, but is more commonly called Goose Head Campground because the peninsula resembles a goose’s head in flight. It’s not a developed campground, but a dispersed camping area with primitive boat launches. The entire peninsula is open for camping, but most people camp in the dirt lot where people launch their boats.
Starting GPS: (48.3862, -114.0086) – In the town of Martin City, at the intersection of S Fork Rd E and Spotted Bear Rd, take S Fork Rd E and continue south-east. After 4.3 miles you will see an intersection with a sign for Emery Bay Campground. Take this turn. Another 0.1 mile down, you’ll see another intersection, take the right turn into Goose Head Campground.
Ryan Road Dispersed Area
Ryan Road is also marked as Forest Road 10325 on Forest Service Maps. Dispersed camping is allowed along this road. This road also leads to Ryan Field, a small airstrip used for Forest Service personnel. Ryan Road has several small pullouts and clearings where people can camp. There is also a large dirt lot down the road that can accommodate several large RVs.
Starting GPS: (48.4971, -113.9445) – Starts on US Highway 2, right at the intersection with Ryan Road. You can camp anywhere off of Ryan Road, as long as there is a previously used clearing or campsite.
North Fork Road Dispersed Area
This area lies along N. Fork Rd, also known as State Highway 486. It’s just large flat grassy area slightly elevated up from the highway, just enough to afford some privacy from passers-by. The area is large enough to accommodate several full-sized rigs. You can still get decent Verizon and AT&T service here too.
GPS Location: (48.4993, -114.1316) – The dispersed area is located right off of State Highway 486. There are no signs marking its location, so type the GPS coordinates into a digital map and follow the turn-by-turn directions. It’s 10.1 miles from the town of Columbia Falls, right where State Highway 486 crosses over the railroad tracks.
North Fork Flathead River Campground
This is a small free campground set up by Flathead National Forest right along the banks of the North Fork Flathead River. It’s about 5.4 miles further north from North Fork Road Dispersed Area (see above). There are three sites here with campfire rings. It’s also a popular parking area to launch kayaks and canoes. Because of its popularity, there is a short, three-night limit which may still be perfect for a weekend at Glacier National Park.
GPS Location: (48.5675, -114.1317) – The campground is located right off of State Highway 486 (N. Fork Rd). You can start in the town of Columbia Falls, and head along the highway. Entrance to the campground is about 15.6 miles from the town of Columbia Falls.