The Sperry Chalet - We Were Lucky Enough To Stay There
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Distance from Mt. Forge: 1.5 hour drive
The Sperry Chalet is one of the most amazing historical landmarks in America. Originally built over 100 years ago, it stands deep in the wilderness of Glacier National Park. In 2017 it unfortunately was burned in a forest fire an has since been refurbished. We hiked the Sperry Trail once before in 2019 and it was amazing (and very challenging).
This time though, we had the incredible opportunity to stay overnight at the Chalet. You have two ways to get a reservation at the Chalet, the first is reserving a space the day that reservations for that season open up. Even then it is first come first serve and the entire season (usually early July to early September) fills up in less than a few hours. The other option is to do what I did and spend every day for 2 weeks prior to our trip refreshing the website hoping for a cancellation to open up, and much to my surprise one did! I immediately booked it and surprised Nicole for her birthday.
The hike was just as brutal (actually worse because we brought more stuff) as we remembered. It has amazing views along the way, but it's a very challenging 6 mile uphill trek.
Upon arrival at the Chalet we checked in (free lemonade!) and ordered delicious soup from the a la carte menu. We were then given access to the room, which is a very rustic but beautiful site with comfy beds. There is no electricity or running water at the Chalet. There is communal pit toilets (which are kept very clean) and a water tank for hand washing and teeth brushing, but that's it.
After eating lunch and relaxing a bit we decided to hike up a bit further past the Chalet to Lincoln Peak (recommended to us by Moose from Swan Mountain Outfitters). It's about a mile and worth every step. It's mostly uphill switchbacks, but it leads you along the Gunsight Pass Trail to an incredible overlook into the Pass where you can see down to Lake McDonald one way and Lake Ellen Wilson the other.
When we returned to the Chalet we drank some Huckleberry Wine (from D. Berardinis) before it was time for dinner. We had an amazing prime rib dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The entire staff (they live on site and work 7 days a week for the entire season) introduced themselves one at a time and told us their role along with some clever advice to heed while staying at the Chalet. They then asked everyone to introduce themselves and share where they are from. It was a very unique experience that built a strong sense of community and connection between the guests and the staff.
After dinner our host, Michael, held a happy hour where he provided complementary coffee and pastries while telling us all about the history of the Chalet. His family has been involved in running the Chalet for over 50 years, the amount of knowledge that he has about the park is unparalleled. It's the type of information that you acquire from spending several months living deep in Glacier National Park every year and that you can't learn from anyone. His willingness to share his story and knowledge was one of my favorite parts of the experience.
Nicole and I feel a strong connection to the Sperry Chalet and I'm sure this will not be the last time we stay here. Our next goal is to plan a through hike from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Lake McDonald via the Gunsight Pass Trail.