East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 21, 2006
Avalanche Creek is one of those "few amenity" campgrounds loved by those of us who prefer nature, but not for those that want showers and stores. The only thing you get here are flush toilets (plus drinking water, a fire circle, and picnic tables). NOTE: These bath houses are NOT lit. Flashlights - even for early evening - are mandatory. Having those flashlights as headlights (lights worn on your head) is extremely helpful.
Of course, the other amenity you get here is a beautiful mountain view, tall trees, nature sounds, and a central location from which to explore Glacier National Park. There's a popular hike right next to this campground, though we didn't get to hike it (sorry). (We didn't allow enough time to sufficiently see Glacier, so will need to return...)
We read that one needs to come early if one wishes to find a spot in Avalanche. It's first come, first served for all 87 sites. However, our visit was midweek in later August, so arriving in mid-afternoon worked OK. I don't believe it ever filled the nights we were there (2), but it wasn't empty either - probably 9/10ths full. I'd arrive much earlier if visiting in peak season.
Bears are a possibility here, so food must be stored inside your vehicle - no bear boxes. We assumed the bears here were car-friendly instead of the "eat in your car" variety found at other parks. We saw one bear in the park - along the road not too far from the campground, but never saw any in the campground itself. We did see deer walking around - and plenty of smaller critters. Signs warn to beware of mountain lions. We never saw any.
We were wondering if the temperature would be cold at night since we'd just left Yellowstone - farther SOUTH - with its frigid night temps. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the lows in the upper 40's to low 50's (15 - 20 degrees warmer than Yellowstone). Avalanche is at a lower elevation (about 3500' vs 7500'). I'd still be prepared for cold, you are in the far north. Snow is not unheard of in late August, but generally it's nice till mid Sept.
For its great location and peacefulness - as well as decent sites (privacy, etc.), Avalanche Creek comes highly recommended by us - if you're the type that doesn't need amenities. If you prefer those, look to St Marys or Rising Sun for your camping experience.
From journal 2006 Trip Part 3 - MT - Glacier National Park