How’d they build a shop around those old-growth trees? It’s the largest gift shop in Glacier National Park. It’s got tasty ice cream and steaming cappuccinos. There’s a Press-a-Penny. The selection of locally-made artisan gifts is impressive. But the most amazing thing about the Cedar Tree Gift Shop has to be the cedar trees growing in the middle of it!
The shop was built around two old-growth trees in the heart of quaint Apgar Village nestled on Lake McDonald on the west side of Glacier. This area marks the eastern limits of Western red cedars in the United States. The trees standing inside the gift shop survived the great fires of 1910, also known as the “Big Burn”, and are hundreds of years old.
The Cedar Tree Gift Shop began as two smaller buildings, the original check-in desk for Apgar Village Lodge and “camp store” and the original Cabin #14 from Apgar Village. They were merged in 1974 into a pier-and-beam construction that held the stately trees at its core. Several of the exterior walls were designed to ‘jog’ around other trees outside.
It’s become a must-see for visitors to Glacier, with repeat customers coming year after year. It’s somewhat of an icon, you could say.
“It’s really a destination in itself,” says Jessica Sturm, Retails Operations Manager for Glacier Park Collection.
Each year, Jessica and the team responsible for stocking the shelves of the Cedar Tree scour Montana for unique products. Their goal is to highlight Montana artisans and showcase high-quality gifts visitors can take home as mementos from Glacier.
Here are some of their favorite finds:
After you’ve picked up supplies for camping and souvenirs for your friends at home, take some time to relax on the front porch of the Cedar Tree. Grab a cappuccino or an ice cream from the Cedar Tree’s walk-up window and take a seat. With Lake McDonald just steps away it’s a relaxing place to watch the world go by. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous you can rent a paddleboard from the Cedar Tree, paddle out onto the lake and take in the immense beauty of Glacier from a different vantage point.
Whether you’re grabbing an Ice cream cone, playing on the lake or taking in the views from the front porch, just an afternoon spent in Apgar and you’ll see why It’s the kind of place people come back to year after year, a must-see. And not just for the trees!