A little bit of heaven is found in a vacation rental log home two-and-a-half miles from Glacier National Park.
Each year, over three million people visit the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park, a spectacular million-acre destination that includes parts of two Rocky Mountain sub-ranges, more than 130 lakes, hundreds of animal species, and over a thousand species of plants. Three miles from its West Glacier entrance lies another gem, the West Glacier KOA Resort. Out of 500 North American KOA properties, only ten have a “resort” designation, and the 45-acre West Glacier KOA, owned by Greg and Teresa McClure, is one of them. This resort offers a smorgasbord of overnighting options for just about all family sizes and tastes. In addition to tent, RV, and cabin sites, guests can rent an 1800-square-foot private log home that sleeps eight, named Tucker Lodge.
Originally built for Greg’s grandparents, Tucker Lodge sits at the edge of the resort property, surrounded by trees. Like the rest of the resort, the landscaping is meticulous. Manicured lawns, shrubs, and flowerbeds segue into a natural forest. Flora is a point of pride at the resort, but the interior of the lodge shows an equal attention to interior design detail. A massive brick hearth extends up through the vaulted ceiling from the center of the great room. Natural light pours in through gable-end windows in both the loft and main level. From the deck outside or sofa inside, you see the mountains that lure the masses annually. You’re inside and outside simultaneously; the surrounding notched larch logs stacked up under the towering trees they once joined. An $80,000 renovation to the home produced a new kitchen, bathrooms, and an open sleeping loft. The main-level queen bedroom feels like its own log cabin, with natural log walls, tongue-and-groove and log-beam ceiling, and a sleigh bed tucked into the corner. And, unlike the unpleasant ordeal of the early venturers, the bathroom is right at the edge of the hall, not out amongst the icy aspens. Six more can sleep in the loft, where two queen beds and a bunk bed make for a family-style slumber party with starry views and the gentle sounds of the crackling hearth.
Tucker Lodge guests enjoy the benefits of weekly or nightly rentals in the private residence, while also gaining access to all the amenities of the resort: adult pool and hot tub, family pool, dog park, soccer field, horseshoe pit and corn hole sets, volleyball court, hiking trails, on-site dining, laundry, gift shop, ice cream store, and nightly live entertainment.
But despite the seemingly endless list of breathtaking summertime activities and sightseeing options around Tucker Lodge, don’t discount the magic of a winter visit. Unlike the rest of the resort, which is open from early May to the end of September, Tucker Lodge itself is available year-round. Sometimes the place is “eyeball deep in snow,” warns Greg, but that’s also a big selling point. With the resort empty and buried in snow, Tucker Lodge offers a truly private and peaceful home base for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing around the lodge and within the park. On a cold winter day, after a four-to-five-mile ski to a backcountry lake, there’s nothing quite like donning a pair of skates and gliding across the ice under a crown of peaks. Welcome to winter in Big Sky country.
Greg’s parents live adjacent to the resort and can often be found nabbing a huckleberry cone at Scoops Ice Cream Parlor or straightening a sign as they pass by. Tucker Lodge feels like home because it is a home, built by Greg’s dad for his father, then passed down to Greg. Greg and Teresa’s own children grew up working at the resort. Four generations have laid their roots in this log home. Other families are now able to do the same—one day, one week, and one vacation at a time. i
For more information about staying at Tucker Lodge, go to koa.com/campgrounds/west-glacier/site-type/lodging.