Working in Glacier National Park: Q&A on National Park Employment

I would like to work in the back woods areas if possible. Will do just about anything. I understand that there are some chalets in the back country that need to be serviced. If there are jobs there I would like one of those.


Hi Carl,

There are two backcountry Chalets in Glacier National Park. They are:

Sperry Chalet
Granite Park Chalet

I knew a few people that worked trail maintenance in Glacier National Park and would hike up with mules to the Chalets and tend the trails up there.

I don’t know how to get employment with them though.

My best advice would be to contact either Sperry Chalet or Granite Park Chalet and inquire with them about potential employment possibilities.

Let me know how it goes!

Has anyone out there worked at Glacier National Park’s Chalets and can give Carl some advice for working at either Sperry or Granite Park Chalet?

~ Perry

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How Old Do I Have to be to Work in National Parks?

I would love to work a summer job before my senior year in high school. Can 17 yr olds expect to get a job in National Parks? (Glacier National Park or somewhere else)?


I believe (and I could be wrong here), but I believe you must be 18 to work in any National Parks.

When I worked for Glacier Park Inc, all my fellow employees were between 18-30.

There were a few kids that had just graduated high school, but they were already 18.

The worst you can do is apply and see what they say.

There might be other spots outside of Glacier National Park (like the Park Cafe), that will allow 17 year olds to work.

I’m sorry that I can’t give you a more concrete answer.

If you find out, be sure to let us know!


Answer from Lynda

The minimum age for employment is generally 16 years old. The Student Conservation Corp has a program for high school students. Work groups are often stationed in National Parks. There are also parks that offer employment opportunities for high school students in National Parks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a high school employment program that provides local students with a 6-week job pairing them with researchers, interpreters, and other park employees to learn about working for National Parks.

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Summer jobs in Glacier National Park

I am interested in working at Glacier during the summer of 2010.

At present I work approx 7-9 months/yr performing supervisory duties at several midwestern nuclear power plants and have summers free.

I’ve been to Glacier before, have relatives in Whitefish and Swan Lake and wold love to spend 2-3 months in that part of the country.

Working outdoors would be a huge bonus as my usual job keeps me in an indoor, industrial environment.

Where do I begin the application process?


Hi Mike,

I’d investigate working at one of the Chalets (Granite Park Chalet or Sperry Chalet). You will be working outside, hauling equipment up, repairing structures etc.

Or you can work repairing trails. Both would be very rewarding jobs.

Have fun!


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Where Should I Work? Glacier National Park or Rainier?

I recently applied for many different jobs working in National Parks in the west this summer. I recently got two job opportunities. T

he first is working at Mcdonald Lodge in Glacier National Park.

The second is working out in Washington in Mount Rainier National Park in Paradise, Washington.

Hours per week, housing, working dates, payroll, are all similar.

With that aside where do you think I should work? They both seem like awesome places to live? I cannot not figure it out.

Thanks for the help


Hi there,

I have a feeling you can guess my answer :-). Of course you should work in Glacier National Park!

Especially if you have a gig at Lake McDonald Lodge, because, well, I’m 100% biased, love Lake McDonald, love Glacier, and even made a website on it!

But seriously, I’ll try to be as objective as possible from here on out…

You didn’t state what your job is, so I’m going to assume you have a job waiting tables. And if it isn’t a job waiting tables, then you should convince them to hire you as a waiter because that’s how you make money working in National Parks.

Glacier National Park is one of the most visited National Parks. In fact, I think only Yellowstone and Yosemite are more visited of all our national parks.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re going to be waiting tables, you can make a lot more money working at Glacier National Park than Rainier.

But more importantly

Glacier National Park’s beauty is unrivaled. I’ve traveled the world and nothing has compared. Not Colorado, not California, not Switzerland, not New Zealand, not Alaska…

Glacier National Park has the largest valleys, most expansive views, rugged mountain tops and breathtaking vistas.

I’m sure Rainier is beautiful, but I would not pass up the opportunity to work int his magnificent park.

Oh, plus there’s Glacier National Park’s wildlife viewing opportunities, which Rainier can’t compare with.

Answer from TJarley

I have several Facebook groups that I set up for former employees at Lake McDonald from the late ’60s and early ’70s. We still keep in touch and all share a love for Lake McDonald Lodge and the memories we shared. I have been to Mt Rainier and it’s beautiful but the history of Glacier and especially the four remaining hotels is reason enough to head for Montana. I was 10 years old when I first spent the summer at Many Glacier (1960 – my dad was a Ranger there) and spent 4 summers at McD, courtesy of Glacier Park Inc. that I wouldn’t have traded for anything. Am probably going up there again this summer to meet up with several of my old dear friend. So….pick Glacier and especially Lake McDonald Lodge.

Answer from Anonymous Visitor

Absolutely, concur with working at Glacier as there are so many trails to do and varied scenery. Waiting tables is the best job, but I think any job would be lovely.

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Working in Glacier National Park as a Foreigner
Maryna Shevaldina

Hello! My name is Maryna. I am an international student from Ukraine seeking seasonal employment during my summer university holidays (from 06/01/2010 till 09/07/2010).

I first heard about Glacier National Park as a child. I have always dreamed to visit it, so when I became a participant of Work & Travel USA program as one of InterExchange Programs (www. ; tel. 212-924-0446), I started seeking jobs at Glacier National Park.

Next summer I will have all necessary documents and J-1 visa, so my staying in USA will be absolutely legal.

Is it possible for me, a girl from another country, to become a member of Glacier National Park team? And if yes, what I should do to get a summer job?

I really need advice.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

~ Maryna


Hi Maryna,

Many employees of Glacier National Park (and other National Parks) are from other countries.

When I worked in Glacier, there were employees from Russia, Croatia, Ukraine, and other places.

The best place to contact would be Glacier Park Inc. They run many of Glacier National Park’s hotels and lodges.

You can learn more about working in Glacier on my page about Glacier Park Inc.

But contacting Glacier Park Inc directly is the best way to find out specific information about working in a National Park as a girl from Ukraine.



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Any advice for season workers?

We are a university student from the Czech Republic and we are considering working in Glacier National Park this summer.

Should you have for us some tips and advice? For example: are some things that we definitely should bring? Is it possible and realistic to find another job? Can we exist without a car? If the car important, you tip on a good used car? Is it possible to get wifi access in Glacier National Park?

I could not find this information. Thank you…


Hi Daniela,

Congrats on wanting to work in Glacier National Park! It’s a great experience.

Be sure to check out the stories of former National Park employees to help build your excitement!

In answer to your questions…

– Check out our pages on hiking and backpacking equipment. Be sure to bring all that gear if you plan on hiking and exploring Glacier National Park to the full extent.

– Plenty of people arrive in Glacier National Park without a job and find one. However, it’s best to apply for a job with Glacier Park Inc and have one before you show up.

– Yes, you can exist without a car. There’s a bus system throughout Glacier National Park and hitchhiking is easy.

– Wifi is tough to find in Glacier National Park. However, you have access to a computer with internet in employee lounge areas at all the lodges in Glacier National Park.

Hope that helps!

If anyone else has suggestions, please comment!

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How Much Do Red Jammer Bus Drivers Make in Glacier?

I was a Gear Jammer in 1959 driving Bus #84. Minimum wage in 1959 was $1.00/hour.

It appears, according to souvenirs, I saved from 1959 that I was paid $413.00 for my summer’s work. This was the best summer of my life. We were having so much fun I would have worked for free.

I am so excited about the Sept 2010 jammer reunion.

My question is “What do they pay Jammers today or How are they compensated for having a fantastic summer?

Thanks for your answer.

I am a retired TMJ-Orthodontist
Dr. Elmer L. Gaudet, DDS, MSD
Biloxi, MS


Hi Dr. Elmer,

I’m so glad you still have such fond memories of your summer as a Jammer driver in Glacier National Park!

It seems that everyone who has worked in Glacier recalls it as being the best summer of their lives.

If you haven’t seen this page, be sure to check out these stories of former National Park employees. It’s such a fun read!

Also, be sure to share your favorite memory with our readers.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how much Jammers currently make. I’ll look into that for you this week.

Do any of our readers know this answer?

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Is Family Housing Available for Glacier National Park Employees?

As I research information on seasonal employment within Glacier National Park I am only finding information on single, dormitory housing.

Do you know of any family housing availabilities?

My husband & I are both teachers & have summers off. We have 4 children.


Hi Anni,

Great question. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer.

Here’s what I do know:

  • The National Park Service has larger housing and that probably includes family housing
  • Campground hosts live in RVs, so that could be considered ‘family housing’, but any RV is probably too small for a husband, wife and 4 kids 🙂
  • There are many small towns outside of Glacier, like Kalispell, Hungry Horse, Columbia Falls etc. You can probably find housing there
  • I had one friend that worked at the boat dock at Lake McDonald Lodge. She and three friends lived in a cabin a short drive from Lake McDonald (still in Glacier)

I think the final option is your best bet. I don’t know how they got that cabin though… I believe that it was privately owned, but the owner leases the land from the Federal Government.

There are numerous cabins like that scattered throughout Glacier National Park (and other National Parks), and that’s probably your best bet for family housing if you hope to work in Glacier National Park.

Good luck!

Does anyone have other suggestions?

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Working for Glacier Park, Inc – Glacier National Park

Hey Perry,

Excellent site! Learned a lot and decided to give working in Glacier National Park a shot this summer versus being a disgruntled factory worker in Chicago.

I just applied at Glacier Park, Inc. for waiting, dining attendance, or bartending.

Do they usually hire folks in late June–let alone folks from other states with nothing better than a High School Diploma and positive employment history?




Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the kind words and Congrats on making the best decision of your life 🙂

Unfortunately, June is a little late to find a job via regular means. The vast majority of positions are filled and with this economy, I’m sure overfilled in some cases.

BUT… don’t get discouraged!

The vast majority of National Park employees live a transient lifestyle. Some will be working for a few weeks and then leave. Others won’t show up for their jobs at all.

While working in Glacier National Park, many of my co-workers got their jobs just by showing up.

They simply arrived in Glacier, drove to Glacier Park Lodge (that’s where Glacier Park Inc’s main office is), and asked if any jobs were available.

I don’t know if you’re in the position to do that or not, but it’s definitely how many people get jobs.

If you’re not in that kind of position, here’s what I recommend doing:

  • Call Glacier Park Inc. – 406.892.2525
  • Contact Park Cafe via email and phone number asking if they have any positions available
  • Contact the hotels and restaurants in West Glacier or East Glacier

To be perfectly honest, while Glacier Park Inc. has jobs in the best locations (Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Lodge etc.), the management is terrible.

They gave me the best summers of my life, but they also were very cruel to great employees by sending in under-cover Glacier Park Inc. folks to rate their performance and then fire them.

Mid-way through the summer Glacier Park Inc tends to fire a number of employees just to scare everyone into working harder.

I’d definitely recommend working at the Park Cafe instead of for Glacier Park Inc–but, if you get a job with GPI, take it in a heartbeat! (but know that the management sucks)

Let me know how things work out!

~ Perry

What Kind of Experience Do I Need?

What kind of job experience do you need to work in Glacier National Park? Thanks. T.

Hi T,

Thanks for asking about this. I’m sure a lot of people have thought about how fun it would be to work at Glacier or other national parks, but never followed through with it because they thought the requirements would be too strenuous. But now that you’ve asked this question, I can assure you and everyone else that just about ANYONE can work at Glacier National Park.

The reason? There are so many different types of job available, and many of them don’t require any experience at all–just an upbeat attitude and great enthusiasm.

Let’s clarify things for a second, though. When I say that there are tons of jobs available, I don’t mean through the United States National Parks Service. Those are positions that you need to actually go to school and study for. And besides, there isn’t a whole lot of turnover with those jobs, so finding employment can be a very hard task.

No, what I’m talking about is working at the countless restaurants, cafes, retail stores, resorts, and hotels in the area.

The best place to find out what kinds of jobs are available is the Glacier Park Inc. website. This is the company that owns most of the major hotels and lodges in and around Glacier National Park.

Through them, you can work as waitstaff, bellstaff, customer service specialists, and so much more.

You can read my thoughts on Glacier Park Inc here

Now, the truth of the matter is that some of these positions are going to want prior experience–especially those associated with high end hospitality service. So, not all of the jobs at Glacier are up for grabs.

But a great many of them are!

For instance, working at one of the many restaurants in the park is a great way to start. A lot of the positions don’t require any previous experience at all. And on top of that, the pay is excellent! You’ll receive regular wages plus any tips you collect from customers. It’s a great way to spend the summer!

A few other awesome benefits of working with Glacier Park Inc. include:

  • Free accommodations for employees
  • Free meals, three times a day
  • Solid 40-hour work weeks
  • The opportunity to spend some time in one of the world’s most beautiful parks on your days off

Applications are accepted through Glacier Park Inc. from October to April, so you have plenty of time to decide if this is something you want to do. But, obviously, the sooner you apply, the greater your chances are of getting the position you want.

I hope this helps you, T, and anyone else who’s on the fence about applying for a job at Glacier National Park. It’s such a good time. You’ll see some amazing sights and meet lifelong friends.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Answer from TJ

Hahahahah! Yes, it’s not “free”, but that’s just part of the experience of working in the Park! When I was a waiter in 1969, my salary was $145/month of which $110 was deducted for room and board, leaving $35 for R&R (?) However, where can you stay for $3.50 a day including meals??? I was also able to make about $1000-1200 that summer which at the time was pretty good money. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any former employees complain about the pay or lack thereof. I would definitely recommend that anyone seeking vast amounts of money to be made, look elsewhere, because in Glacier, you will be more concerned about having the experience of a lifetime in the most beautiful place in the world.

Answer from Anonymous

Perhaps things have changed, but working for GPI back in the 1970s definitely did NOT include free meals and accommodations. A substantial portion of our pay was deducted each week to pay for our room and board (and the accommodations are very basic). Working in Glacier is a fabulous experience and it was the best summer I ever had, but if you need to earn money to pay for school or other things, a job with GPI might not be for you unless you can snag one of the jobs that earn tips (bellman, dining room waiter, etc.).

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Job at the Polebridge Mercantile in Glacier National Park?

How can I apply for a job at the Polebridge Mercantile? I love that side of the park! Thank you!


Hi Shanna,

I love that side of Glacier National Park, too!

The Polebridge Mercantile is the absolute gem of Glacier.

I think your best bet is to contact them directly. Not sure if they hire seasonal employees or not.

Unfortunately, their old website is no longer working.

You can try calling them though: (406) 888-5105

Let me know if you get a job! Good luck!

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Glacier National Park Summer Jobs

I’m a 19 year old college student from Colorado looking for a summer job at Glacier National Park in 2010.

What kind of jobs might be available to me?



There’s a number of jobs available to you. I would recommend working in one of the many restaurants in Glacier National Park.

You don’t need any waiting experience and the pay is far better than other jobs in Glacier. Even with the poor economy, people still are traveling to National Parks and those people still need to eat, so why not serve them and make some money, right?

The best way to find a National Park job in Glacier is to apply through Glacier Park Inc.

Glacier Park Inc owns Many Glacier Hotel, Lake McDonald Lodge, East Glacier Lodge, and other major hotels in and around the park. They provide the majority of employment in Glacier National Park.

Also, by working for Glacier Park Inc, you get employee housing in Glacier, 3 meals a day, and the best access to all Glacier National Park offers.

Hope that helps!

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Getting a Summer Job in Glacier National Park

Hi Perry,

Thanks for such a cool site.

I’m a teacher and cannot arrive until mid June to Glacier National Park.

Is this time frame considered a mid-season job opportunity only? Or, can I apply for other jobs on the Glacier Park Inc. site (ie, gardener, bartender, golf shop host)




Hi David,

I arrived in Glacier National Park in mid-June during both summers that I worked there, so you should be a-OK!

My jobs hosting/bussing/dishwashing in Jammer Joe’s and then being a waiter in Jammer Joe’s.

The only thing is location. Arriving in mid-June limits your locations and basically excluded Glacier Park Lodge since it opens earlier.

But to be honest–you don’t want to work there anyway. Glacier Park Lodge is the worst place to work in Glacier. Very removed from almost everything that you’d love to do 🙂

If you want to work for Glacier Park Inc., try getting a bartending job.

Here are the benefits:

  • You work at nights, so you have your days off
  • You make LOTS of money. Boat loads more than everyone else
  • You typically only work 4 days, so you have plenty of days off to go hiking or backpacking in Glacier National Park

Let me know what job you take and where!

Best of luck,


Answer from TJ

There are emps quitting all the time in the Park. I got a job around the first of AUG one year, just by asking the Manager.

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Working for GPI at Many Glacier Hotel


I’m driving out to Glacier to work for the kitchen at Many Glacier hotel in May. Just wondering how they are to work for?

Also, if there’s any positions that are better than others. If you could give me some detail about the work environment I would appreciate it.


~ Bruce


Hi Bruce,

Glacier Park Inc (GPI) is one of the largest employers in Glacier National Park and they’re actually who I worked for when I worked in Glacier.

Overall, I found them to be pleasant to work for. The management is very strict on underage drinking, so be aware of that if you are under 21.

When I worked in Glacier, I worked at Jammer Joe’s on Lake McDonald Lodge. I highly recommend working as a waiter, as you’ll actually make good money. They work you like dogs in the kitchen.

One of the largest problems with working in Glacier National Park is theft by fellow employees.

You live in bunks with virtually zero privacy. While Glacier Park Inc provides you with the option of direct deposit if you open a local bank account, it’s a tedious process.

Be very careful with your belongings.

Overall, it’s a fantastic experience and one you’ll remember for your entire life.

One final note: GPI conducts stings on their restaurant employees. That was probably the worst part of working for them. Every year they’ll go through a firing phase over the summer and chop 1-2 servers for a ‘poor performance’ review written up by an undercover GPI agent.

It was pretty miserable, but hey, they have a monopoly on Glacier National Park’s lodges, restaurants etc. Not much you can do.

Here are a few resources for you to check out:

Comment from Hockey Ref

I worked for GPI at Many Glacier Hotel way back in 1973, as a clerk in the hotel gift shop. I know that things have changed a great deal since then, so I can’t comment on current working conditions. However, there was no theft problem among employees that I was aware of back then. It simply wasn’t an issue. The legal drinking age back then was 18, so that wasn’t an issue, but there was plenty of less-than-legal stuff, too, and no one that I was aware of ever was disciplined for it. But again, that was nearly 40 years ago. The best advice I can offer is to take as many opportunities as you can to explore the park on your off days. Find other employees who share your interests and stick with them. You’ll have a blast. The summer of 1073 still ranks as my best summer ever, and it started my life-long love affair with Glacier. Hope you have a great summer.

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