Getting Around in Glacier National Park

Aug 12, 2016

Getting to Glacier

Flying

Glacier Park International Airport-Kalispell/Whitefish: This is the preferred airport to use. It’s the closest and most convenient for transportation to all major destinations in the Park.

Great Falls International Airport: This isn’t a bad choice, but it’s a bit farther away from the Park and it is not as preferable over Kalispell and Whitefish for tourists (you’d prefer Whitefish, trust me).

Calgary International Airport: This might be your cheapest ticket initially, but it is farthest from most destinations in the Park so you’ll spend some more in time and fuel to reach the Montana mountains.

Transport from the airport

At Glacier International

  • Rent a car 
  • Hop on the complimentary airport shuttle if you are staying at Grouse Mountain Lodge
  • Take a taxi to your lodging destination, we recommend Glacier Charters or Glacier Taxi

If flying into Great Falls or Calgary, you must rent a car to reach the Park.

Train

The Amtrak is a great option if you have a bit more time and experiencing the country in a historical way appeals to you. The famous Empire Builder line travels daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest with stops in the Glacier region.

Stops in the Glacier Region

  • Whitefish
  • West Glacier
  • Essex
  • East Glacier

Transport from the train station

  • Whitefish: rent a car, take the complimentary shuttle to Grouse, taxi
  • West Glacier: walk if staying in West Glacier, use Xanterra’s shuttle to reach lodging destinations in Apgar or Lake McDonald
  • Essex: you would probably only use this stop if you are staying in Essex
  • East Glacier: rent a car, take the complimentary shuttle to Glacier Park Lodge, walk to lodge
 

Getting Around in the Park

Car

This is by far the easiest and most recommended way to see the Park. Using the shuttles tend to be busy, tedious and don’t allow for as much freedom. I highly reccomend you bring your own or rent a car while here.

Car rentals

We use Dollar Rent-a-Car because they cater to the Park traveler. Dollar has multiple convenient pick-up locations and in most cases, they bring your car to you.

Pick-up Locations

  • Glacier Park International Airport
  • Whitefish Train Depot
  • Grouse Mountain Lodge
  • East Glacier-town or at Glacier Park Lodge
  • West Glacier Train Depot

Shuttles

If you aren’t interested in renting a car on your trip, there are privately operated shuttles and the Park Service shuttles. With a little advance planning and some patience, this is a doable option.

Whitefish Shuttles

The Glacier Express operates daily from July 1-September 5. It picks up in Whitefish and drops off at the Apgar Visitor Center for $10/adult, $5/child roundtrip. The Glacier Express will also get you from downtown Whitefish to Whitefish Mountain Resort free of charge. Check out their website for more info.

National Park Service Shuttles

The Park Service has a great shuttle system available that runs the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This is a great option if you only have interest in seeing Going-to-the-Sun Road and you aren’t under time constraints.
During the high season, the shuttles can get pretty busy and you might have to wait a bit longer than expected at shuttle stop locations. You will also need transportation to the shuttle stops which is easy if you are staying at Apgar, Motel Lake McDonald or St. Mary Lodge because they all have shuttle stops within walking distance, but if you are staying elsewhere, it can be a bit tougher to get to the stops without a car. See the Park’s shuttle page for more information.

GPI Hiker Shuttles

We operate two shuttle routes, the East Side Shuttle and the Two Medicine Shuttle. There are a number of different route segments for our guests and hiker’s convenience.  Border constraints don’t allow one-way trips from Canada, but we partner with Tamarack Shuttles.  Tamarack will drop you at Chief Mountain Customs on the Canadian side and we can pick you up on the US side. This chart is also found here.

NORTHBOUND   Depature Times   One-Way Fares
Glacier Park Lodge - Two Medicine 8:15 AM 12:15 PM 5:15 PM $15.00
Glacier Park Lodge - St. Mary Lodge 8:15 AM 11:00 AM 12:15 PM $30.00
Glacier Park Lodge - Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent 8:15 AM** 11:00 AM 12:15 PM** $45.00
Glacier Park Lodge - Chief Mountain Customs 11:00 AM     $60.00
Glacier Park Lodge - Prince of Wales Hotel 11:00 AM     $75.00
Two Medicine - St. Mary Lodge 8:45 AM 12:45 PM   $15.00
St. Mary Lodge - Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent 12:00 PM     $15.00
St. Mary Lodge - Chief Mountain Customs 12:00 PM     $30.00
St. Mary Lodge - Prince of Wales Hotel 12:00 PM     $45.00
Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent - Chief Mountain Customs 1:00 PM     $15.00
Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent - Prince of Wales 1:00 PM     $30.00
Chief Mountain Customs - Prince of Wales 1:45 PM     $15.00

** Requires transfer to Glacier National Park Lodges (Xanterra) Shuttle at St. Mary
 
SOUTHBOUND   Depature Times   One-Way Fares
Two Medicine  - Glacier Park Lodge 11:15 AM 3:15 PM 5:45 PM $15.00
St. Mary Lodge - Two Medicine 10:10 AM  2:00 PM   $15.00
St. Mary Lodge - Glacier Park Lodge 10:10 AM  2:00 PM 5:30 PM $30.00
Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent - St. Mary Lodge 4:45 PM     $15.00
Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent - Glacier Park Lodge 4:45 PM     $45.00
Chief Mountain Customs - Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent 3:45 PM     $15.00
Chief Mountain Customs - St. Mary Lodge 3:45 PM     $30.00
Chief Mountain Customs - Glacier Park Lodge 3:45 PM     $60.00
Prince of Wales Hotel - Chief Mountain Customs 3:00 PM     $15.00
Prince of Wales Hotel - Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent 3:00 PM     $30.00
Prince of Wales Hotel - St. Mary Lodge 3:00 PM     $45.00
Prince of Wales Hotel - Glacier Park Lodge 3:00 PM     $75.00
 

Taxi

When in a pinch, there is limited taxi service on both the east and west sides of Glacier. On the East side, try Mountain Chief Cab Company serving Browning, East Glacier, St. Mary and the surrounding area. Call 406-450-3630 for more information. On the west side, taxi services operate out of Kalispell and Whitefish. Try Glacier Taxi or Glacier Charters.

Hope this information helps to make transportation around Glacier National Park a breeze while you're here! Have a great time!
 

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