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“Not up to KOA Standards”

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St Mary / East Glacier KOA
Reviewed August 28, 2013

We don’t often stay at commercial campgrounds, but when we do, we always choose KOA. They’re the most interesting campgrounds in the world! And sure, they’re pricier than most, but because you get so much for that higher price – large, clean and well-stocked restrooms, spacious sites, often a refreshing pool and hot tub, creative and beautiful landscaping (try the KOA in Missoula, MT for incredible landscaping), super-friendly staff, a value-priced restaurant of some sort (usually pancake breakfasts), and lovely landscaping and grounds – it’s not costly, it’s just great value.

I wish we could say that held true at our stay 7/30 & 7/31 at the St. Mary’s KOA near Glacier. We had actually planned to stay in the Park, but campgrounds there fill up early, and there were no vacancies the afternoon we arrived. But – no problem – because there was a KOA just outside the Park. We’d switch gears and enjoy a little KOA “resort” camping.

But our stay was a definite disappointment. The tent site was smaller than most KOA’s we’ve stayed at and the edges of the site were littered with napkins and tissues. Not a big problem, really, but not up to KOA standards. The worst situation, however, was the state of the restrooms. As stated in other reviews, there doesn't seem to be enough restroom capacity for the size of the campground, so the restrooms were always full. Worse than that, though, was the fact that the first night we were there, two out of three stalls in the women’s room had run out of toilet paper, and the one towel dispenser was empty. The toilet paper situation should not have occurred, because the restroom stalls each had a large-capacity, double-roll dispenser. If these had been checked, even once a day, this should not have occurred. And the men’s restroom was flooded due to a constantly overflowing urinal the two nights we stayed. My husband had to pull up his pants legs to keep them from getting soaked whenever he used the restroom. Of course, his shoes did get soaked. I would suggest that in the down season, this KOA add more restroom capacity – and, until then, rent a few Porta-Potties to be placed around the grounds.

The other little minor thing that really stood out for us – simply because it was a KOA – was the weediness of the grounds. There was quite a bit of noxious knapweed throughout the campground, and we know that it’s rampant in the area, and difficult to keep at bay, so tried not to be too critical about that. But, more than the knapweed problem was the graveled area around the pool which was full of dandelions and other weeds. It just looked …… unkempt ….. and uncared-for.

Now, none of these issues would be a problem if we’d spent $10 at a Forest Service campground, but the almost $40/night that we spent for a small tent site was simply not good value and definitely not up to KOA standards. And oh – at that price – the promised internet access was never available, either.

On a positive note, the employees were all super friendly and helpful, the camp store was clean and well-stocked, and the campground has great views. We hope that it can be brought up to KOA standards for future visits, whether for us or for other Kampers.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lamarvalley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StMaryKOA, Owner at St Mary / East Glacier KOA, responded to this reviewResponded June 15, 2014

I am sorry you did not find our KOA up to your standards. We consistently strive to improve our campground and it is disappointing to read your comments. We did experience some overcrowding problems last year due to the Park campgrounds in the area closing because of bear problems. We took in stranded guests who had no place to stay and it stressed our facilities to the max. Moving forward we will not take in displaced guests when the Park Service closes their facilities without warning because it isn't fair to our guests who made reservations and plans to stay with us. We hope you give us a second chance as we have just completed a new round of upgrades and enhanced our wifi.

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Reviews (213)
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163 - 169 of 213 reviews

Reviewed August 26, 2013

Since we didn't book months and months in advance we could only get a grassy site with power and water, which I am fine with for two nights.

The positive:
View from the campsite
Pool, hut tub and spray park
Pancake breakfast, pizza and bbq on site - didn't try it so can't comment. Is a nice added convenience.
I had no issue with using the showers at 9am, no line up. But you can tell that they had been well used since the last cleaning.
Fully stocked store if you forget anything
Well groomed campground. Clean and flowers everywhere, even at the sani station!!

Customer service at check in was par. I was disappointed when we were told that it was $65/night to park in a grass field right by the entrance, no privacy. As we drove up to the site there was a huge hole in the middle of the unleveled hillside site. There was gopher holes through out the site, careful don't want to roll an ankle in the dark.
The next morning when I walked down to the office to get the wifi password that wasn't provided upon check in, I was questioned if I was even a guest at the campsite...really.
When I proceeded to ask about tours it seemed like I was inconveniencing him.
On check out day there were a few people in line and they were greeted friendly and was asked how was there stay with some small friendly chit chat. When it came to us checking out, no friendly chit chat or how was your stay, all I got was o.k.

Two nights was enough.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LCC_april_canadian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

If you are in a cabin without a bathroom or in a tent area, be prepared that the bathrooms are limited and you have to wait in line to use them.

I wrote this review before, but it was deleted. So I am trying it again.

We stayed at this KOA for 5 nights wherein the bathrooms were in use most of the time. For the size of this property more are needed to accommodate the cabins and tents that don't have their own.

It rained for almost two days while we were there and because the showers and toilet were all-in-one that were close to our cabin, we had to wait in the rain and sometimes for 20-30 minutes.

Other than the bathroom issues, the property is very nice and very close to the road to enter Glacier National Park. The staff are helpful and friendly.

The vistas are stunning and most nights even with the place full, it was fairly quiet.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank LYNN J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
glacierhiker, Owner at St Mary / East Glacier KOA, responded to this reviewResponded August 26, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to review us. Sorry about the bathroom problems during your stay but we are listening. As you may know, one of the Park campgrounds was closed and most of those guests ended up here, stressing our bathrooms and facilities to the max. We are expanding our bathroom facilities next year and for the first time ever in 20 years we will be closing our gates at a certain point to overflow campers.

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Reviewed August 23, 2013 via mobile

After a bad experience at the KOA in West Glacier we would not have stayed here except we had prepaid for the night. I'm glad we did not miss this great place. The people here were great and the views from everywhere on the property were amazing. Don't miss this place but don't mistake this property from the one on the west side of Glacier NP.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank PaulSchm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

We stayed at this KOA in a deluxe cabin, as we were visiting Montana from the East Coast (and didn't want to spend our whole vacation driving). The deluxe cabin had bedding and everything else we needed (even a fireplace!), so it was very convenient, plus we got to have a campfire! The bed was SOOOOO comfortable, I wish I'd asked what kind of matress it was- I want to buy one! The pool was very nice, and the hot tub was great. I especially appreciated it because children were allowed in the hot tub, unlike many other places we visited where it was "adults only". When you have two young children, you can not exactly abandon them in the pool while you go sit in the hot tub! The views at this campground are also amazing. We enjoyed sitting on the porch swing and just looking at the mountains. I don't know about camping here in an RV, they looked like they were VERY tightly packed in. The only problem we encountered was a bit of a language problem with some of the staff, but that was an issue all over Glacier Park- I guess they bring in a lot of foreign students to work for the summer.

Room Tip: Stay in one of the Delux Kabins, you won't regret it!
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank MerrylandMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We had made reservations here for our first night's stay near Glacier. It had beautiful views and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We were in tents and they made sure we were on a larger site that could easily accommodate both. It was a very peaceful place for sleeping. When we couldn't get into the park they made sure we had the same site again that night so we didn't have to move our tents. We ordered their pizza that evening to be delivered to our tents and it was very tasty. Also one morning we had the pancake breakfast which was very good.

The reason I couldn't give them a higher rating was what other reviewers have said too. The bathrooms. Not enough for as many people staying there. And I wouldn't have minded that but they were dirty too. At one time there was no toilet paper in the stalls and only one dispenser had hand soap. When I went to shower midday(because that was when it wasn't too busy) one of the shower stalls had the shower curtain on the floor. I think all they needed to do was check the bathrooms more often and a large part of the problem could have been solved. But to be perfectly honest the bathroom problems wouldn't stop me from staying there again.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank cleanerupper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013 via mobile

This KOA needs work. I have suggested that in prior review but I guess they won't take the hint. The maintenance staff caused an ugly scene regarding our dump hose - they could not have been less nasty about our complaint which they solved with a brick. Site not level STILL. Laundry facilities are TINY for this size park.
The good news is that appears that there are other options forthcoming - Red Eagle and unbelievably Chewing Blackbones are working to provide other choices for this most beautiful section of Glacier National Park. I applaud their efforts and I hope they are successful because I am weary of this KOA's attitude and lack of responsiveness.

  • Stayed: August 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Thank Leonavalleydonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St Mary / East Glacier KOA

Address: 106 West Shore, Saint Mary, MT 59417
Location: United States > Montana > Saint Mary
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Saint Mary
Price Range: $30 - $250 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This campground resort is perfectly located for quick and easy access to Glacier National Park. Panoramic views from your campsite provide a backdrop of towering glacial carved valleys and peaks. Those in the "know" will tell you the best hiking and sightseeing are on the east side so pick up lunch fixings at the KOA grocery store and gift shop, then board a Glacier tour bus at the campground entrance or hit the trails to the remote backcountry. If you want to give your dog a day off while you explore, your hosts offer pet sitting. Put your feet up and enjoy this relaxing resort atmosphere while you hone your putting skills, play bocce or enjoy the new swimming pool and hot tub complex. Rent a kayak and explore the wilds of Lower St. Mary Lake and River. The AOK Grill serves up breakfasts, pizzas and dinners daily from mid-June to September. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
St Mary / East Glacier Koa Hotel Saint Mary
St Mary / East Glacier KOA Saint Mary, Montana

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