Have you ever wanted to just jump on an Amtrak train and ride off westward exploring the great unknown. Well we did that. For a day at least.
While exploring Glacier National Park we hitched a ride on The Great Northern Route with an Amtrak train in East Glacier to Whitefish, Montana and then back the next day.
Taking time to explore the Observation Cars and enjoy the trains’ smooth ride through the prettiest backdrop I have seen.
Our original Glacier National Park plan did not include a trip to West Glacier. We were concerned about how long it would take us to move the RV and make it to the “other side” from the East. In the end, we were able to easily navigate our way over there, but in the meantime we had devised a plan that would let us see the sites of West Glacier National Park. AN EPIC TRAIN TRIP through the Park.
Well, maybe Epic is a bit of an overstatement but lovely and convenient is not an overstatement.
Amtrak Station at Glacier Lodge
We began our adventure at Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier Park, Montana. The Train depot sits adjacent and it picturesque in the shadows of the mountains. Inside the depot is nostalgic. And it is impossible to not be invigorated as you feel the trains pass and absorb the knowledge of how many passengers this tiny station has seen throughout history.
One interesting thing I did not expect, was the sheer number of people in the Northern States that use the train as their go-to mass travel option. Being from the south, I didn’t expect train travel to be so popular. But with these views and the comfortable ride I was quickly shown the light. Train travel rocks.
The wait was comfortable and not too bad even though the train was late arriving. Boarding the train was easy compared to getting on a plane. Because of their capacity that evening we weren’t able to all sit together. No worries there. We found our way to the Observation car and grabbed a set of seats to watch this beautiful park to pass right in front of our eyes.
The best part of the observation car (beside the view) is the National park rangers who work with the Trails & Rails program sharing the history and significance of what you are seeing just out the windows.
The second best thing in the observation car was the snack bar. Now the food was not 5 star but it had all the necessities and hit the spot. We wanted to eat in the dining car but with the train being late it just wasn’t an option.
The views, the National Park tour guide, and the quiet serene ride coasting down the track made for a lovely evening.
At our stop we collected our overnight bags and headed toward the front of the Whitefish Montana train station to catch a ride with our hotel shuttle. It was late and we went straight to bed.
The next morning we jumped up to catch the train who arrived, coincidentally, 20 minutes earlier than her expected route time. Giving us all a squeeze of anxiety as we hurried to get there with minutes to spare.
The Amtrak train ride back was equally beautiful and informative.
I am definitely looking forward to a longer train trip in the future.