Review: Two Medicine Campground Glacier National Park
Camp, Hike, the Southeast goes west.
It’s a long way from Madison, Georgia to Kalispell, Montana, and it takes a long time to get there. It’s noon on Saturday afternoon and I’ve made it. My plan for the next seven nights is scratched into my mind but there are lots of variables that need to fall into place for a smooth week.
By design I waited until after all of the full-service amenities at the park had closed before my arrival, meaning several campgrounds were closed. Those that remained open no longer had water available, they were down to a single vault toilet with half of the camping sites closed, and they were all first-come, first-served.
After getting my rental car, doing a quick food shop and picking up the camping gear I had rented from RightOnTrek, I headed to Two Medicine campground just outside East Glacier Park Village in the southeast part of Glacier National Park. It’s more than two hours from Kalispell, but the scenery during the drive on US-2 is fantastic.
I turned left off US-2 and headed north on MT-49 toward camp. As I’m pulling onto Two Medicine Road the campground sign is showing as “full.” I swallow hard as it’s after 5 p.m. and my backup plan to another campground is more than an hour away. Over the years I’ve learned not to fully trust those signs, so I venture down the road and after about 20 minutes I enter the campground.
As I pull into Two Medicine I experience my first wildlife sighting, there are bunch of mountain sheep roaming the campground. I stop at the check-in board and grab the yellow registration card that I will hopefully fill out soon before beginning to slowing drive through the loop that remains open for camping. Looking from side to side I scan site posts for yellow reserved slips. The farther I proceed through the loop, the more worried I become as this place is loaded with campers. As I’m just about to complete the loop, I spot an empty site and quickly pull in. I check the campsite marker post and sure enough there is no registration ticket attached. It’s not the best site, but it’s the only one left and it’s mine!
Site 4 is relatively small. There is no tent pad, the picnic table is covering the only level spot available for a tent and the vault toilet is only about 20 yards away. This site is best suited for a travel trailer, but I move the picnic table over a few feet, kick a few rocks out of the way and set up my tent. It ain’t pretty but it’s home for now.
The site includes a fire ring and that picnic table I mentioned. No lantern post like is usually found in campsites around Georgia. Across from the loop road in front of my site there is a small stand of trees with Two Medicine Lake on the other side of them. There is a small parking area with about 15 spaces down beyond my site that allow access to a rocky lake beach. This is a great spot to watch the sunset or sit and look for wildlife. The huge mountain in front is only a bonus.
The campground is a good home base for hiking, too. There is a trailhead on the northern edge of the open portion of the campground named “Northern Shore” with overflow parking as well as a larger parking area to the south just outside the campground entrance close to the Two Medicine General Store. You’ll find the “Southern Shore Trailhead” in this parking area.
Overall the Two Medicine Campground was in pretty decent shape after what was likely a busy summer with thousands of campers passing through. Most of the campsites are within the trees giving privacy from other campers as well as some shade on what I’m sure are warm days in the middle of summer. The Park Rangers drive through often and they walk through every morning to collect yellow tags off campsite posts for those exiting each day. My cost was $10 per night since it was primitive season. The traffic volume within the campground was more than I experienced at the other campgrounds where I stayed, but that is likely attributed to the parking area for the Northern Shore Trailhead. I felt safe and the stars at night were amazing. If I could reserve a site I likely wouldn’t choose number 4 but having arrived after 5 p.m. on a Saturday this site was everything I needed. I would definitely stay here again.
When fully operating, the campground has 100 sites available. There are flush toilets, sinks and potable water. There are several day-hike opportunities that begin from the campground. I hiked to Rockwell Falls then looped over to Twin Falls before heading back to the campground. This was a 10-mile loop with fantastic views.
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