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Glacier Park Car Rental


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#1 Naismith

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:43 AM

Which station is the best to rent a car for Glacier Park --Whitefish, West Glacier, or East Glacier?

#2 CHamilton

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:04 PM

I believe that rental cars are available at all of the locations you mention, and even at Essex, but you'll want to check prices, and make a decision depending on what you're planning to do and where you're planning to go. The park is a big place, and getting from one side to the other takes a while.

Also, the Park Service is encouraging people to get around the park without using private cars, so there is now a free shuttle along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are also the famous red buses that go to many locations. All of these operate only during the summer, but I've been to the park without having a car, and have enjoyed myself.

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#3 Naismith

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:00 PM

I believe that rental cars are available at all of the locations you mention, and even at Essex, but you'll want to check prices, and make a decision depending on what you're planning to do and where you're planning to go. The park is a big place, and getting from one side to the other takes a while.

Also, the Park Service is encouraging people to get around the park without using private cars, so there is now a free shuttle along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are also the famous red buses that go to many locations. All of these operate only during the summer, but I've been to the park without having a car, and have enjoyed myself.


The park shuttle is a great idea, but I plan on doing some photography at times when the shuttle doesn't run. I am interested in which station is the easiest to rent a car, since the prices seem comparable at all 3 stations. The Hertz location at Whitefish indicates its only open from 7-8AM for the eastbound EB, while the East Glacier stop has off depot rentals, with no taxi service available at the station. Perhaps someone has had experience renting at East Glacier, do they offer pick-up service at the depot?



Edited by Naismith, 05 September 2012 - 01:00 PM.


#4 tricia

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:33 PM

The Dollar franchise in East Glacier is run out of the Sears Motel nearby. When I rented from them a year ago, the nice lady in charge picked us up and dropped us off at the Amtrak station.




I believe that rental cars are available at all of the locations you mention, and even at Essex, but you'll want to check prices, and make a decision depending on what you're planning to do and where you're planning to go. The park is a big place, and getting from one side to the other takes a while.

Also, the Park Service is encouraging people to get around the park without using private cars, so there is now a free shuttle along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are also the famous red buses that go to many locations. All of these operate only during the summer, but I've been to the park without having a car, and have enjoyed myself.


The park shuttle is a great idea, but I plan on doing some photography at times when the shuttle doesn't run. I am interested in which station is the easiest to rent a car, since the prices seem comparable at all 3 stations. The Hertz location at Whitefish indicates its only open from 7-8AM for the eastbound EB, while the East Glacier stop has off depot rentals, with no taxi service available at the station. Perhaps someone has had experience renting at East Glacier, do they offer pick-up service at the depot?





#5 Naismith

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 03:29 PM

The Dollar franchise in East Glacier is run out of the Sears Motel nearby. When I rented from them a year ago, the nice lady in charge picked us up and dropped us off at the Amtrak station.





I believe that rental cars are available at all of the locations you mention, and even at Essex, but you'll want to check prices, and make a decision depending on what you're planning to do and where you're planning to go. The park is a big place, and getting from one side to the other takes a while.

Also, the Park Service is encouraging people to get around the park without using private cars, so there is now a free shuttle along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are also the famous red buses that go to many locations. All of these operate only during the summer, but I've been to the park without having a car, and have enjoyed myself.


The park shuttle is a great idea, but I plan on doing some photography at times when the shuttle doesn't run. I am interested in which station is the easiest to rent a car, since the prices seem comparable at all 3 stations. The Hertz location at Whitefish indicates its only open from 7-8AM for the eastbound EB, while the East Glacier stop has off depot rentals, with no taxi service available at the station. Perhaps someone has had experience renting at East Glacier, do they offer pick-up service at the depot?



Thanks for the info.



#6 Guest_the griz_*

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:07 PM

dollar rental in whitefish meets the train, no matter how late and also returns you to the station. they loaded our luggage into the trunk at the station.

#7 JayPea

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:40 PM

I too rented from Dollar at East Glacier this past June. They do pick you up and drop you off at the station as Tricia said. And if you're like me and have to have all the I's dotted and the T's crossed months in advance of your trip :lol: be aware the East Glacier Dollar location is seasonal. I made my reservations in February for both Amtrak and a rental for my June trip, and the East Glacier Dollar location doesn't open until May 1st. However I was able to make a reservation for a rental in East Glacier through the Dollar location in Kalispell. The service is very good, the woman in charge there very friendly, and I even got a thank-you card in the mail a few weeks later for choosing Dollar. I will most certainly use them again the next time I take an Amtrak trip to Glacier Park.

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#8 Guest_phk_*

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:00 PM

We stayed at the Essex House several years ago and they had a car brought to the hotel, where we eventually dropped it off - never had to visit the rental location.

I believe they are under new management now, so best to call ahead.

#9 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:05 PM

The Izaak Walton Inn in Essex has rental cars and meets every train that has passengers arriving in Essex. I think Essex is about half way between East Glacier and West Glacier.

#10 Guest_quadrock_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:14 AM

It's been a few years, but I've rented from the Avis location right across the street from the East Glacier Park Amtrak station. The 2 things I liked about them 1) They would meet you at the station with a car and drive you to the rental office (helpful if you have lots of luggage and 2) they would stay open until the last train arrived. The day I was there, the train was several hours late and we arrived way past their closing hours and they still had a person waiting for us there.

#11 dart330

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:54 PM

If you want to stock up on supplies with your rental car, I'd rent from Whitefish. Really nice staffed station, checked baggage and the town itself is great. Lots of shops and a full grocery store to fill your cabin, tent, etc. The drive over to Glacier is really not bad at all. I would say East Glacier is my least favorite out of the 4.
Nathan

#12 TraneMan

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:43 PM

I've rented from Budget and they had the car there for us at Whitefish.
 

Amtrak Train travel.

Empire Builder 16,369
Silver Meteor = 668
Capital Limited = 780
Hiawatha Service = 172

Cascade = 312
Lincoln Service= 640 
 
Total = 18,941

 

Routes completed

Empire Builder 7 and 8.

Capital Limited 29.

Hiawatha. 
 
First travel was 1990.

(updated 12/1/14)


#13 D.P. Roberts

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:55 PM

I know this thread is a little old, but I'm also looking into renting a car at Whitefish. I've noticed that the car rental agencies (as noted above) seem to be open twice a day for the EB arrivals. If the summer of 2013 is anything like the summer of 2012, it looks like the EB may miss the rental "window" quite often. Has anyone had any experience renting cars at Whitefish when this has happened?

#14 tomfuller

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:32 AM

It's been a few years but my wife and I got off the eastbound EB at Whitefish and were met by the van from the Meadow Lake Resort. We checked in and then had a car delivered from the Kalispell airport. That late in the season, there were no choices in Whitefish. We left that car at the Amtrak lot when we left eastbound again.
On May 31 2012, We got off the westbound EB at Cut Bank (6:10PM) and had a rental car waiting for us that was supplied by Bell Motors. They left the key in the gas flap and the rental agreement for me to sign on the sun visor. We drove up 17 miles from St. Mary on the GTTS on June 1. The road was blocked by snow a little ways above the gate where we had to turn around. We also drove past Two Medicine and as far west as Essex.

#15 montana mike

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:49 PM

I know this thread is a little old, but I'm also looking into renting a car at Whitefish. I've noticed that the car rental agencies (as noted above) seem to be open twice a day for the EB arrivals. If the summer of 2013 is anything like the summer of 2012, it looks like the EB may miss the rental "window" quite often. Has anyone had any experience renting cars at Whitefish when this has happened?

I live in Whitefish and several of the rental companies, including Hertz and Dollar will gladly work with you to be sure your car is available for pickup when you arrive. I would contact BOTH for quotes and arrangements. I completely agree, that Whitefish is the place to "stock up" (two major grocery stores and plenty of gas stations, et. al. as opposed to the other, very small places.

#16 TraneMan

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

I know this thread is a little old, but I'm also looking into renting a car at Whitefish. I've noticed that the car rental agencies (as noted above) seem to be open twice a day for the EB arrivals. If the summer of 2013 is anything like the summer of 2012, it looks like the EB may miss the rental "window" quite often. Has anyone had any experience renting cars at Whitefish when this has happened?



We were late coming in both '11 and '12. In '11 the agent from the local Budget called us and said they were well aware of the lateness, and the papers will be in the lock box for us to sign along with the keys for the car. This year, the agent was at the station since there were a lot of people renting a car from them.
 

Amtrak Train travel.

Empire Builder 16,369
Silver Meteor = 668
Capital Limited = 780
Hiawatha Service = 172

Cascade = 312
Lincoln Service= 640 
 
Total = 18,941

 

Routes completed

Empire Builder 7 and 8.

Capital Limited 29.

Hiawatha. 
 
First travel was 1990.

(updated 12/1/14)




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