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“Sperry Chalet - Hiker Heaven - Plan Ahead!”
Review of Sperry Chalet

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Sperry Chalet
Groveland, California
Level Contributor
247 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
“Sperry Chalet - Hiker Heaven - Plan Ahead!”
Reviewed 23 September 2013

A reservation request window opens in October, for a very short period of time. Applications are accepted, sorted and filled, and then it is booked for the season except for last minute cancellation openings. I booked 10 months ahead during that early booking period, for both chalets, my entire 10 day trip to Glacier was built around getting into the 2 chalets, then I got airfare, then filled in the rest of my lodging, then a rental car, all almost a year ahead of time. Planning pays off, I had rates half of what I heard other people say, and I got lodging where I wanted to be not miles away. Stay for at least 2 nights, so you have a "layover day" to do a day hike or two! More than 3 nights might get boring.

Sperry is full service, 3 meals a day, bedding, all included in the price. Rooms are all private, but it is an old bunk house and sound carries (A LOT!) and there is no electricity or water in the bunkhouse. The rooms were clean, and basic, with great views, and absolutely perfect. The staff could not be better, from very young to quite mature, they were really lovely.

Bathrooms are a separate building, composting toilets, and one outside sink for all to share for washing up a bit and teeth. There are no showers, there is no hot water. (Unless if you pack a stove and heat your own, I do that, JetBoil & 2 minutes equals clean-ish hair each day). There is a clothes line for rinsing out and drying things you can use.

Meal House and "community hall" are the 3rd building, set hours for breakfast and dinner, a pack lunch for hiking during the day. A nature type talk most nights, and games/social time before lights out.

There is a horse transport option at Sperry, but hiking is better if you can do it. Gunsight Pass Trail, 13 to 15 miles from one direction, or 7 miles from the other. I went with the shorter, more traveled route because I was hiking alone and there had been two grizzly warnings on the longer trail while I was there.

Hikes: Sperry Glacier for sure, take all day to really enjoy it. Lake Ellen Wilson and Gunsight Pass too, half to full day. Save some time for relaxing in the afternoon sun, soak up the view of Lake McDonald below and take photos of the mountain goats, they're everywhere.

Room Tip: Rooms on one side of the bunkhouse have a view of Lake McDonald and the sunset, nice.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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6 Thank CTBCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Iowa
Level Contributor
152 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2013

The Sperry Chalet is a wonderful place to spend the night after a day of hiking. The staff are incredibly friendly and accomodating. The food was good and the accomodations are fun and relaxing. The views are incredible and you can easily hike up to the Sperry Glacier.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank IowaRod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
501 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2013

History at its finest. It is best to read the book entitled "View with a Room" before arriving. It will give you the full history of the chalets and the development of the park by the railroad. We love this place. You can only reach it by foot or horse, no cars, taxis, or planes. The best, but longest of the two common routes, is from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Gunsight Lake and then up and over Gunsight Pass down to Lake Ellen Wilson and then up and over Lincoln Pass. The shortest route is from Lake MacDonald to the Chalet, but you are in the woods and there is less variety in the views along the way. We generally stay for at least 2 days. Day one is the hike in and some hiking in the area. Day 2 is a hike up to Sperry Glacier and some hiking in the area. The to Sperry Glacier is one of our favorite hikes in the park. Lots of mountain goats in the area. Some marmots, Columbia ground squirrels, a bald eagle, osprey, and even a grizzly bear! Seating out on the rocks and looking down over the valley to Lake MacDonald or up towards Lincoln Peak and Pass or Sperry Glacier area is a great way to spend the afternoon reading or listening to music or taking to a new friend. While this is not the Ritz, I would rather stay here any day of the week than in a fancy hotel in a big city. The hotel rooms are nothing fancy, but the views are great. At night it is a little noisy, but remember the the building was built in 1912. The staff is wonderful. The exercise facility is all the hiking in the area and no fancy equipment.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank NSP9454
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Valparaiso, Florida
Level Contributor
83 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2013

Don't get me wrong, we loved our 2-night stay at Sperry, having made the reservations 9 months earlier (first day they accepted res). We read the reviews and expected it to be bare bones. However, I agree with the reviewer who compared it to rustic chalets in the Alps. These beds are ancient, swaybacked, and the pillows flat and lumpy (terrible). There are no outside chairs or lobby chairs, so if you want to sit anywhere except in your dark room, you must carry the uncomfortable directors chairs (in our case, from upstairs) down steep dark stairs to the outside, so that you can see to read a book, or enjoy the view. Otherwise we have no complaints. Meals were tasty, and staff very cheerful and efficient. The 8 mi roundtrip hike to Sperry Glacier was REALLY worth it for the incredible vistas, waterfalls, and profusion of wildflowers. Go if you can.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank kelly053
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vannes
Level Contributor
421 reviews
132 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 448 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2013

This year, we decide to overnight in Sperry Chalet during our Glacier's trip.
Our first request-the day of the open reesrvation was out...
But, 3 weeks before departure some rooms became vacants...
I phone immediatly and we got one.
We arrive by Gunsight Lake, pass and Lincoln pass.
Terrific hike by its beauty.
The Sperry has a special atmosphere in itself but the WHOLE STAFF contribues to what was a perfect "adventure"...
We were there the day of their "Thankgiving's" celebration...
It's an american plan and so, all is include(diner, breakfast and perfect luncbox).
Be prepared as there is no heat and the toilets are in a separated block/rooms.
To do again ...if we arrive to get a room...
The Sperry Glacier hike is a must, perhaps the nicest of the park(Dawson/Pitakaman is also on the list...).

Room Tip: All the rooms are in midddle of Glacier NP...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Monpetit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
98 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2013

A lovely place, great food and perfectly adequate accomodations. I read some of the other reviews and wonder "what do they expect?". This place is a steep climb, has no electricity, no hot water for bathing and uses propane for cooking. That IS the charm of the place. Please don't complain because it isn't luxurious enough for your city tastes. Everything came up there on the back of a donkey! Enjoy! It is the jumping off point for some of the greatest hikes in the park, including Sperry Glacier.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank MilwaukeeMarauder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mill Valley, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2013

My family (me, wife, 11 yr old son and 10 yr old daughter) made the 14 mile hike through gunsight pass to the Sperry Lodge. There is a 6.5mile access path, but Gunsight is the real deal. It was hard, but we made it, and we were thrilled by the location and the "look" of the place.

But lets be honest. This place is long past its prime. It has the potential, but the current management vision and execution is unexceptional and at some level embarrassing.

Let me explain. I compare Sperry to Obersteinburg in the Alps, which is incredible. Both are very basic - no water or power in the rooms, group meals, VERY basic amenities. Neither are a Four Star resort hotel, because the point is to create a bastion of peace and beauty that is in harmony with nature but provides comfort and security.

The contrasts?

Obersteinberg has sturdy, if basic wooden beds with clean, comfortable linens and duvets. Sperry has metal beds from the 60s with broken springs that tilt 10 degrees, ratty linens and polyester blankets with lumps for pillows. There is a luxury, there is quality, and there is motel. I don't expect luxury, but a basic level of pride.
When you arrive at Obersteinburg, there is a basic selection of drinks, including beer and wine. Sperry has Reeses and lemonade. There is a ban on alcoholic beverages in the dining room, even if you bring them. I am not looking to get loaded, but after a grueling hike, it was really nice to have a beer. I am an adult.
The buildings at Sperry are maintained, but only barely. Paint is peeling off the windows. The railings are clearly not built by someone with experience in log building. Locks were missing from the bathrooms. Clearly, none of the above was the case in Switzerland.

Note, there are other "charms" to Sperry, like paper-thin walls where you can hear people's thoughts in the next room. Not ideal, but I am not complaining. Oddities like this are part of the charm of the old building. What I am talking about is not "charm" but just shoddy management.

I believe that the staff was fantastic. Friendly, helpful, and sweet. But it is time to find an operator that has vision, or who has at least visited a well-run hiking chalet. Sperry could be a true gem, but is instead a genteel, upscale Boy's Scout camp.

From what I understand, the waiting list for Sperry fills in minutes every year. Raise the price $10. Ask for donations to improve the facility. Get people to sponsor projects. But show some pride.

I would not return to Sperry. I would go to Obersteinberg 100 more times.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank KaraR0che
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sperry Chalet

Property: Sperry Chalet
Address: South Central Glacier National Park, West Side of Gunsight Mountain, Glacier National Park, MT 59936
Region: United States > Montana > Glacier National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Speciality Lodging in Glacier National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Sperry Chalet Hotel Glacier National Park
Sperry Chalet Glacier National Park, Montana

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