Granite Park Chalet is one of the eight chalets originally built by the Great Northern Railroad. Of those eight chalets, only Granite Park Chalet and Sperry Chalet remain. Granite Chalet was built, using local stones and imported wood, in 1914. Once upon a time it was a full service chalet. Now it is a hiker’s hostel.
Guests (who must reserve many months in advance) are responsible for both providing and cooking their own meals. If guests want to lighten their hike load, they can pre-order freeze dried meals. Supplies are hauled to the chalet via mule train.
Guests have use of a kitchen equipped with a 12 burner propane stove / double oven (really puts out the BTU’s), pots, pans & skillets, measuring cubs, etc. Cutlery is not provided, but biodegradable cutlery may be purchased. Guests are likewise responsible for their own cleanup, using minimal water in a three sink sanitation system.
My husband firmly believes that good meals are mandatory to go with good times, and loves to cook, so he packs in steaks (pre-seasoned, individually vacuum sealed, frozen, then vacuum sealed as a bundle). His steaks are always a treat, but they never taste better than after a hike at Granite Park Chalet.
Similarly, if guests want to lighten their load by not packing a sleeping bag, they can pre-order rented sheets, blankets and pillow (but must make up their own bed). Beds are bunk beds. There is no insulation. You can hear anything that happens in the building (ear plugs are offered for free). If it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside (though the walls do diminish winds).
Guests must walk 1/4 mile (1/2 mile round trip) along a rugged trail to retrieve water. At present, the water is filtered and potable, but on our first visit, water had to be filtered or treated by guests or boiled for 5 minutes.
The dining room is furnished with bench tables, a book case, maps, and a game cabinet and lit with propane lamps. There are picnic tables in the yard outside. In nice weather, guests enjoy the breeze and view view at the outdoor picnic tables.
In stormy weather, guests huddle around the wood stove, above which is a clothes line on which hikers hang their clothing to dry.
Each evening, the staff at Granite Park Chalet hosts a “Coffee Hour,” during which they supply coffee, hot chocolate, cider, etc. to guests and deliver a talk on subjects of local interest (The Trapper Creek Fire of 2003, wolverines, bear safety, the history of the chalet, etc.)
Visitors can get to Granite Park Chalet via 3 day hikes: The Highline Trail, 7.6 miles with a net elevation change of 800 feet; The Loop Trail, 4.2 miles with a net elevation change of 2300 feet; or the Swiftcurrent Trail, 7.5 miles and net elevation change of 2285 feet. The more ambitious can get there via the Fifty Mountain/Waterton Lake Trail, I suppose, 24.8 miles coming from Waterton Lake, Canada.
We LOVE it. The atmosphere, view, company of other hiker/guests… We have enjoyed each of our visits and look forward to the next!