The Glacier National Park in Montana is Huge Sky Nation with spectacular surroundings and superb experiences to supply hikers, skiers, Snowboarders, and nature lovers from the West Coast, however with the drive being lengthy and windy, it’s simple to disregard it as a vacation spot for every week away. In any case, to soak up all that surroundings, you’d should make frequent stops or danger lacking all of it. Happily, there’s a greater possibility than driving that’s extra environmentally pleasant, permits you views you’d by no means get behind the wheel, and even provides you a good night’s sleep on the way in which to the nationwide park.
Seattle skyline with the House Needle lit up on a transparent evening.
Journey the Nice Northern Railroad From Seattle
Trains on the Nice Northern Railroad has been carrying passengers on holidays within the Rockies since earlier than your great-grandparents had been born! As of late you’ll be able to catch the Amtrak to one of three stations close to or in Glacier Nationwide Park on this historic line.
Amtrak’s Empire Builder service from Seattle to Chicago is just an overnight trip to Whitefish, West Glacier Gate, East Glacier Gate, and Essex in Montana. It travels throughout the Cascades to the Rocky Mountains.
All Aboard The Empire Builder
The Empire Builder service leaves the historic King Street Station in Seattle within the late afternoon. Have your digital camera prepared since you’ll quickly discover Puget Sound rolling by with the practice nearly on the water! View the sandy seashores and spot some wildlife and marine site visitors. If the climate’s agreeable, you’ll get to see a spectacular sundown over the sound or within the approaching countryside.
Subsequent to seize your consideration is the method to the Cascades vary by means of the fertile countryside and quaint farms, verdant in summer season with the regal mountains presiding over all. You’ll trip over river tributaries with spectacular views of their mountain sources.
The Statement or Sightseeing Lounge
Huge home windows wrap round a part of the roof within the statement or sightseeing automotive the place most seats face the image home windows, so you’ll be able to see the evening sky and Aurora Borealis when it appears. It’s additionally nice for getting the massive image of the summits of mountains which might be that shut! In summer season, seize your seat early, as it may get fairly crowded. Guides could roam the deck, declaring landmarks and informing you concerning the historical past of the area. The statement lounge is located above the café space, so you’ll be able to seize some snacks and low when it’s not too busy.
Because the practice climbs up the Cascades, you’ll get drone-type scenes of the countryside unfolding beneath you. Spy distant cabins and catch a glimpse of a special sort of life that appears straight out of the UK!
The observe snakes up the vary. Thrill on the bridges crossing over deep ravines and gorges. Round some curves, you’ll be capable of glimpse the highly effective engines pulling you up the gradients.
Scenic Meals On Wheels
You gained’t miss the views within the eating automotive, the place inclusive meals for passengers from sleeper rooms and roomettes are served. The big home windows and seating guarantee you’ve got a magical backdrop to your dinner, apart from one eight-mile stretch. The practice goes by means of the Cascades Tunnel, which is without doubt one of the longest on the road.
You’re positive to really feel a jolt in Spokane, Washington when the Portland Empire Builder hyperlinks up with the Seattle vehicles—normally in the course of the evening! The merged practice then carries you in the direction of the east and the Rocky Mountains.
The subsequent morning you’ll be rolling through the Rockies alongside forests mirrored on lovely lakes. For a lot of the route, the practice runs alongside wholesome rivers, islands, and mountains that develop bigger. The subsequent tunnel the practice threads by means of is the seven-mile Flathead tunnel not removed from Glacier Nationwide Park.
The Three Nationwide Park Stops
Whitefish is the primary park cease with entry to Huge Mountain Ski Resort. With a picturesque station constructing, it’s price taking the quick picture op if it’s not your cease. Throughout your trip, you would possibly be capable of catch a meals or arts competition right here, including Oktoberfest!
West Glacier Station (Belton), with its small constructing, is the principle gateway to the nationwide park and homes its headquarters. You’ll want to ebook a shuttle beforehand in case you’re making your individual preparations.
The subsequent cease is Essex, a service cease serving the Izaak Walton Inn. The constructing seems to be nearly medieval on its exterior and provides refitted railcars as cabins! Guide early in case you’d prefer to expertise this distinctive lodging!
Again on the observe, the road curves up Marias Go and over the continental divide to the final cease for the Glacier Nationwide Park—East Glacier Station (summer service only) and Browning (winter service). It’s the principle cease for St Marys Resort and Grouse Mountain Lodge in the summertime.
The station constructing is a uncommon log one. You’ll want to go to the little museum inside for extra on the Nice Northern Railroad you’ve traveled on!
Know Earlier than You Go
- Most journeys expertise delays of no less than an hour. Preserve a lightweight schedule on the day of your arrival within the park.
- East Glacier Station doesn’t function in winter. The subsequent cease after West Glacier Station (Belton) is Browning till late spring.
- Be sure that the practice driver is conscious of the service cease at Izaak Walton Station if that’s your vacation spot. A shuttle is offered to the inn.
- Make your individual plans and bookings far prematurely, or take into account one of many Amtrak Trip Packages that embrace transfers and a few excursions and meals.
- Though the park is open in winter, the Going-to-the-Solar street is closed till late spring, and most facilities usually are not accessible. Most winter exercise is round Lake MacDonald and outdoors the park.