Best backcountry campsites

Hi there, I’m trying to arrange a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip this summer.

I’d like to do the Northeast corner of the park because I think it’s the most scenic, but I’m having trouble picking between the many campgrounds (COS (Cosley Lake), GAB (Gable Creek), GLF (Glenn’s Lake Foot), ELF (Elizabeth Lake Foot), ELH (Elizabeth Lake Head), etc.).

I need to put in some advance backcountry permit requests, but I don’t know where to camp.

Do you have any recommendations for campgrounds in this area?


Hi Doug,

Of all those campgrounds, I’ve only stayed at Glenn’s Lake Foot. It’s a very pleasant campground.

However, I have backpacked past Elizabeth Lake Foot and Head to Helen Lake (HEL), which I would highly recommend.

Helen Lake isn’t as crowded as Elizabeth Lake and you can find a lot more peace and quiet.

All campgrounds in the Many Glacier/Belly Region of Glacier National Park are gorgeous.

You won’t be disappointed with any site.

That said, the locations you stay at should be chosen more on your hiking/backpacking experience, physical fitness, time given to adjust to Glacier’s altitude (big difference from sea level at Boston), and the experience and fitness levels of those in your party.

If you are spending a week in higher elevation before backpacking and are in tip-top shape, plan your backcountry trip accordingly (8+ mile days).

If you’re in good shape but only arriving in Glacier National Park a day or two ahead of time, plan to hike no more than 8 miles a day.

I offer customized itineraries for $19.95 and would be happy to write one up that meets the needs and demands of your vacation.

If you are unsure of what’s best for you and your party, I’d recommend planning for no more than 6 mile days, taking things at a leisurely pace, and not risking tiring yourself out too quickly.

Best of luck!

~ Perry

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