Lake McDonald Lodge is a National Historic Landmark nestled on the shores of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. The Lodge opened its doors in 1914 and is one of the finest examples of Swiss Chalet style hotels in the United States.
The floors in the lobby have messages in Kootenai which translate to “welcome” and “new life to those who drink here”. Guest rooms are split between the main lodge, duplex style cabins, Snyder Hall and the Cobb House.
Guest rooms have modest amenities and Old World style accommodations resulting in a one of a kind experience.
The lobby fireplace is where the famous Montana cowboy artist Charles M. Russel used to tell cowboy stories to visitors.
There are 79 newly renovated guest rooms and cabins along with four suites. Rooms include both king and queen size beds. Each room has an alarm clock, telephone, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, fan and some rooms have coffee makers.
The lodge is located 10 miles from the park entrance at West entrance of Glacier. You can easily take red bus tours, Lake McDonald boat cruises, and numerous other activities and enjoy easy access to the Going to the Sun road.
Lake McDonald Lodge
Lake McDonald Lodge offers guests the opportunity to relax on the shores of the largest lake in the park. The lodge is easily accessible via West Glacier along the Going to the Sun Road.
The lodge offers ADA accessible rooms and evening programs at the Lake McDonald Lodge auditorium.
Lake McDonald Lodge – Cabin
We stayed in a cabin near the shores of Lake McDonald and it was amazing. The cabin comes with either double beds, queen, or king beds depending on the size of the cabin.
Each cabin has a private bathroom. The cabins share a shared entrance and most have stairs leading up to them.
The sink and mirror are near the door in the main room of the cabin. This is fairly common in National Park Lodges but just in case I wanted to let you know. There was a great assortment of coffee and tea available with a coffee maker.
We found the cabin to be really comfortable and would definitely stay there again. Even with other rooms sharing the same cabin it was really quiet and we enjoyed a great night’s sleep.
Lake McDonald Lodge History
The Lake McDonald Lodge story pre-dates the creation of Glacier National Park. The lodge site was established in 1985 when George Snyder homesteaded on the land and built the small Snyder Hotel.
Ownership then passed to John Lewis from Columbia Falls who had a fishing and tourist camp on the site for many years. Mr. Lewis constructed log cabins in 1910 and added the present lodge structure in 1914. The lodge structure was operated as “Lewis’ Glacier Hotel”.
The building cost approximately $68,000 to construct with a large share of this being spent on transporting Spruce and Fir logs and materials by boat along the lake to the lodge site.
Several of the hunting trophies that are on display in the lodge lobby are from Mr. Lewis. They were originally part of his private collection.
The fireplace and hearth originally served as the combination kitchen and furnace for the lodge.
Later on more cabins, a coffee shop, and the camp store were added to the complex. This brought the total accommodations to 82 rooms. During the winter of 1958, a modern kitchen was installed and the lodge was refurbished.
The lodge was purchased by the Glacier Park Hotel Company in 1930. The main lodge structure and several cabins were operated by the Great Northern Railway using the name Lake McDonald Hotel.
In 1932 Great Northern Railway sold the hotel and land to the National Park Service.
The name was officially changed to Lake McDonald Lodge in 1957.
In 2014, Xanterra Parks and Resort took over operation of the lodge.
In 1978 the lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its unique architecture and significance to local history.
The lodge was recognized as a national landmark in 1987
In 1988 a partial rehabilitation of the main lodge building was done by the National Park Service.
In 2013 the Cobb House and Snyder Hall were renovated and turned into guest lodging.
The historic cabins and lodge also underwent extensive refurbishments since 1988.
In the spring of 2016, all electrical and heating was updated along with bringing in new furniture, flooring, and soft goods.
The original hunting lodge atmosphere has been kept for over 100 years even with all of the updates.
2014 was the centennial year of the establishment of Lake McDonald Lodge.
Lake McDonald Lodge Restaurants
Russell’s Fireside Dining Room
This restaurant was named for legendary Montana artist Charlie Russel. The restaurant offers a comfortable environment to enjoy a meal while gazing out at Lake McDonald.
The restaurant is decorated with hunting trophies and Western Red Cedar beams. Creating a hunting lodge atmosphere including a fireplace.
Lucke’s Lounge offers Montana craft beers, wine and liquor options. They also have late night appetizers and a all day bar menu. There is a TV in the lounge.
Jammer Joe’s Pizzeria
Jammer Joe’s offers an all you can eat lunch buffet or create your own pizzas. They also have sandwiches and salads available.
The pizza was pretty good but not amazing. The pizzas were larger than we expected so we had a great number of leftovers. They have a very bready and thick crust.
The gift shop is located in the main lobby of the Lake McDonald Lodge.
Things to know when planning a visit to Lake McDonald Lodge
Quiet Hours – 10 pm to 6 am
Check-in time – 4 pm
Check out time – 11 am
Smoking and vaping are prohibited in all guest areas unless designated.
Service Animals are permitted in the hotel. No other animals are allowed in the rooms
Guests with hearing impairment can get alternative communication devices including TTY’s, phone flashers, door knockers, bed shakers, and alarm clocks from the front desk.
ATM – Located in the lobby of Lake McDonald Lodge
Box Lunches to Go – You can order box lunches to go from the restaurant. Orders need to be placed by 8 pm. Lunches can be picked up the next day before 10 am.
Check out all of the Glacier National Park Lodging options! We try to move around to different lodges each night as we explore the park.