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Glacier National Park, and nearby towns(Whitefish, Essex, East Glacier


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#1 dogbert617

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 02:50 AM

So I was thinking eventually in a year or 2, I wouldn't mind doing an Amtrak trip to Whitefish, and of course from there go to Glacier National Park. Hadn't decided if I also should try to visit nearby Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta(and bring my passport), or not. I was thinking Whitefish over Essex, since it seems to have more local amenities(motels/hotels, car rental places, etc) vs. Essex(not sure if there's anything there, except the Isaac Walton Inn). I know I also could go from East Glacier Village into the national park, but am still leaning towards Whitefish.

 

Anyway, I have some dumb questions to ask(forgive me, lol!), based on early Googling and various message board threads I've read. Are there any free shuttles within this national park(i.e. Zion National Park), or is it better to rent a car and drive to the portions of Glacier National Park I was interested in? I was worried at first the best option would be to rent a car after arriving in Whitefish or East Glacier(though probably I'll do Whitefish), but I do wonder how extensive the shuttle system is within this park. And in the opinion of those who've gone here, what would be the best months to visit this park? It does seem like from road closures if you go in the winter, that probably the best time to visit would be sometime in the mid-late spring or early-mid fall. And perhaps, that you run into slightly less crowds vs. summer. But who knows? Back to the rental car question(I have a license, but just haven't actually rented a car before), do any of the rental car companies allow one to cross the border to Alberta(just for Waterton Lakes) and back? I assume they would, but won't be surprised if they charge an extra fee if you want to do that. Knowing how rental car companies(from what I've researched) can nickel and dime you, over certain minor things.

 

Also, any local things/points of interest worth stopping at in this immediate area surrounding Whitefish(and etc. with the towns nearby) besides Glacier National Park? And of course, any recommended nearby places to eat that are decent would be nice to hear about. I was still trying to do Tripadvisor/Yelp/Google research, to figure out what I can on this area. My bigger question mark I want to find out, is if the national park has any shuttles to get to various parts of this park. Or is it only that a few of the nearby motels/hotels, have shuttles that'll get you to various parts of this park? Thanks to someone, who can clarify my confusion on that.


Edited by dogbert617, 28 May 2017 - 04:26 AM.


#2 dogbert617

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 02:32 AM

I did look it up more, and found out there is a shuttle system within this national park. Still do hope to figure out later if there are any guided tours(say like via a private bus), that allow you to both see Glacier and also Waterton Lakes. Or if it'd be better to rent a car, to do that?

 

Hope someone else who has visited Glacier before(and/or Waterton, plus the surrounding area in the past), can respond to this topic. This writeup on Tripadvisor, does help a little bit with info on Glacier:

https://www.tripadvi....Read.This.html



#3 Pooh2

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:07 AM

We actually just booked this trip for fall. (First time to that area of the country). 

 

We are flying into Kalispell, Montana from the east coast, staying one night in Whitefish, two nights in or near the park (hoping to snag a cancellation at Many Glacier), then the last night in Whitefish before boarding the train to Chicago, then flying home. We are planning to rent a car so we can sight see at our own pace but also found the Red Bus Tours in the park look fun, as well as maybe a boat tour.

 

Looks like several hotels in Whitefish will do a morning shuttle to the train. 

 

Good luck with the trip!



#4 FrensicPic

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:27 AM

We are headed to East Glacier later this summer in the Empire Builder...staying at the Glacier Park Lodge and renting a car.

 

You might take a look at this recent thread...

http://discuss.amtra...-national-park/


John...

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More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

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#5 dogbert617

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 03:46 AM

We are headed to East Glacier later this summer in the Empire Builder...staying at the Glacier Park Lodge and renting a car.

 

You might take a look at this recent thread...

http://discuss.amtra...-national-park/

I later realized that had more discussion of this topic, vs. this one I started. Still, never hurts to have a thread on this board as well to talk about things to do in Glacier National Park, and nearby areas.

 

Too bad it seems this board is sometimes overlooked, as far as seeing a lot of posting activity on threads discussing places to travel in different regions of the US.

 

We actually just booked this trip for fall. (First time to that area of the country). 

 

We are flying into Kalispell, Montana from the east coast, staying one night in Whitefish, two nights in or near the park (hoping to snag a cancellation at Many Glacier), then the last night in Whitefish before boarding the train to Chicago, then flying home. We are planning to rent a car so we can sight see at our own pace but also found the Red Bus Tours in the park look fun, as well as maybe a boat tour.

 

Looks like several hotels in Whitefish will do a morning shuttle to the train. 

 

Good luck with the trip!

Thanks! I have no idea when I'll do such a trip, just considering ideas for the future to possibly do. The only thing I was wondering, is that the Red Bus Tour shuttle service easier to utilize if you stay near West Glacier Village, vs. East Glacier? In the other thread Frensic(John) linked to, someone in that thread said that they recommended renting a car if you stay in the East Glacier Village area.



#6 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:03 PM

I am planning a one night stay there in early January, but will not have access to a car. As of now, I am planning to stay in Whitefish. Is that the best option for a one-day stay without a car? We are taking the train, so the other options seem to be West Glacier or Essex.

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#7 CCC1007

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:47 PM

I am planning a one night stay there in early January, but will not have access to a car. As of now, I am planning to stay in Whitefish. Is that the best option for a one-day stay without a car? We are taking the train, so the other options seem to be West Glacier or Essex.

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Yes, and there is a ski resort just a few miles from town that all of the hotels will shuttle you to.

#8 FrensicPic

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:45 PM

We are headed to East Glacier later this summer in the Empire Builder...staying at the Glacier Park Lodge and renting a car.

 

You might take a look at this recent thread...

http://discuss.amtra...-national-park/

Our 4 day stay at East Glacier last month was really great. I can't comment on East Glacier vs West Glacier as we stayed East. We drove around and explored each day in our rental car including driving the Going to the Sun Road which was a really nice drive...traffic yes but no problems negotiating the road. The Red Bus Tours are available at the Glacier Park Lodge. Our drive on the G-T-T-S Road was the only time we were in Apgar/West Glacier. On the way back we stopped in Essex and the Izaak Walton Lodge and checked it out. Gonna have to stay there next time!

 

Our stay at Glacier NP was wrapped in travel on two new (to us) routes - the Empire Builder and California Zephyr. We traveled from Los Angeles to Seattle to Glacier to Chicago to Emeryville and back to LA! A very enjoyable 2 weeks for us.


John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/<p> 





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