We visited St Mary in early September 2022, as part of Big Trip #4.
After super hiking in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and a subpar experience in Great Falls, MT, we finally landed in the Glacier area!
We first visited Glacier National Park on Big Trip #3 in 2020, and the east side of the park was closed due to Covid. In retrospect, it was probably good that we had to limit our 2020 activity to the west side of the park–because it’s a big park!–so that in 2022 we could focus on the east side. We LOVE Glacier, and now we especially love the east side!
I’m updating our Glacier National Park post with all the new stuff we did in the park, so be sure to go read that for updated hike descriptions. Below, I’m just writing about our non-national park activities while staying in St Mary.
We spent three nights in Heart of Glacier RV Park and Cabins, with a partial mountain view from the back of the Airstream. The campground is pretty basic, but the laundry was fine (this was our first laundry experience of Big Trip #4, and campground laundry rooms can leave a lot to be desired), and from the campground you can walk into the little commercial area of St Mary. You can also walk or bike into the national park, but that only gets you close to a hike or two. Bugsy wanted to walk over for the photo op.
St Mary is located in the middle of the east side of Glacier, between Many Glacier, 30 minutes to the north, and Two Medicine, an hour-plus (due to construction) to the south. Since Two Medicine was a longer drive from St Mary, our strategy was to spend two nights in St Mary picking off hikes near St Mary and up in Many Glacier, then move to the Two Medicine campground. We felt safer starting our Glacier stay with a reservation at a commercial campground to get the lay of the land, before moving on to a first-come, first-served campground in the national park. We ended up extending our St Mary stay by a night in order to do an extra hike in Many Glacier, and spent just one night in the Two Medicine campground.
Eating and drinking in St Mary
Most of “downtown” St Mary was closed for the season (or forever? hard to tell in some cases), but a couple spots were still hopping. Kip’s Beer Garden and Frog’s Cantina are next-door siblings, both serving food and drink with outdoor seating. Neither place is spectacular, but it’s nice to have options in a tiny town.
Kip’s was chill early in the day but probably gets boisterous at night. They have some local beers, a full bar, and a dark saloony interior. We had a beer in the backyard beer garden, which was surprisingly not dog-friendly.
Frog’s has margaritas, and if they run out of beer (which was the case while we were there) you can go next door and get a beer from Kip’s to drink at Frog’s. Frog’s has live music every evening; we had one good performance, and one not-so-good one. We took burritos home for dinner and they were blah.
Two Sisters Cafe is a bit farther from home—not walkable, but only a short drive. They are popular, so to avoid a long wait (although they let you order drinks while you wait), we went for an early-bird dinner. They’re popular for good reason! Good food and drink, fast service, and just really delightful people. We had a super experience at Two Sisters.
On our way up to Canada, we stopped at the Glacier Drip Coffee and Espresso in Babb, just north of St Mary, near Two Sisters Cafe. The truck serves good coffee drinks with alternative milk options and breakfast burritos. How fun to get an espresso drink and a breakfast burrito in the middle of nowhere! The coffee was yummy and burrito tasty per J, but overall it was quite expensive and the burritos were small–and they don’t have any vegetarian options. Boo! They do use local meats, though, which I appreciate.
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