spokane to glacier park. yea or nay.

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yarrow

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i know whether to travel at this time is discussed in the main covid-19 thread but the wife and i were looking at going from spokane to east glacier park in coach in very early july. an 8 hour trip. we are both seniors. we would stay a night at glacier park lodge and return by train the next evening. i am not particularly concerned if amtrak is doing the cleaning procedures they advertise. my wife a bit more so. for those who have traveled, is the onboard staff doing more frequent cleanings? are passengers abiding by the masking restrictions? any insights will be appreciated
 

Siegmund

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Nov 19, 2018
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If you are worried about mask compliance, you can be glad you are headed for East Glacier rather than West, and you can be assured the people on the train will take it more seriously than the rest of western Montana does.

The Blackfeet Reservation (East Glacier) is taking the virus seriously with much mask-wearing and travel restrictions still in place --- be aware that the east side of Glacier Park is not open yet, because the Reservation has refused to allow tourist traffic until at least June 30th, and there is no guarantee that will change on June 30th. (You don't say if you are planning on a tour into the park.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere in western MT... there are people wearing masks in generally-blue Whitefish... but in Libby and Columbia Falls, very few people wear masks, and trying to wear one results in verbal abuse from passersby, who think the virus is a hoax and only evil communists wear masks.

(For non-locals who wander into the thread: Montana had relatively few cases of the virus even in April, and Flathead County hasn't had a new case in 60 days - so there is a very widespread belief here that it is not a big deal. The reservation, and the town of Shelby just to the east where there was a bad outbreak in an assisted living home, are among the few places in the state where a majority of people are paying attention to the possibility of the virus coming back.)
 

dlagrua

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We are planning an August trip to East Glacier and we have heard that the Blackfeet Tribal leaders are not allowing park access at East Glacier at the present time. My guess is that East Glacier park access will not be opened until late July. The good news is that you can enter the park at the West entrance and that the across the park Going to the Sun Road will be accessible at least part of the way.
 

20th Century Rider

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i know whether to travel at this time is discussed in the main covid-19 thread but the wife and i were looking at going from spokane to east glacier park in coach in very early july. an 8 hour trip. we are both seniors. we would stay a night at glacier park lodge and return by train the next evening. i am not particularly concerned if amtrak is doing the cleaning procedures they advertise. my wife a bit more so. for those who have traveled, is the onboard staff doing more frequent cleanings? are passengers abiding by the masking restrictions? any insights will be appreciated
Consider staying at the Izaak Walton Inn which is between West Glacier and East Glacier. It is the place where dreams are made; especially if you love rail travel. Prices seem reasonable now but could change any time up or down. They have announced their opening and here's their website:
Historic, beautiful, and will make a memories for you. Do check it out! 🤠 🌈;)
 

gregoryla

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Jun 4, 2009
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Consider staying at the Izaak Walton Inn which is between West Glacier and East Glacier. It is the place where dreams are made; especially if you love rail travel. Prices seem reasonable now but could change any time up or down. They have announced their opening and here's their website:
Historic, beautiful, and will make a memories for you. Do check it out! 🤠 🌈;)
A few years ago we took the Empire Builder from Portland via Spokane to the Izaak Walton Inn. Note that the stop is Essex MT, essentially in the front of the Inn. The Inn was very very nice in a rustic way, and the food was excellent. We spent 2 nights, using our day there to walk into Glacier NP.
 

Rasputin

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Jan 17, 2019
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If East Glacier is not open during the time you intend to visit, I would suggest staying at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex as has been mentioned or staying at West Glacier or at Whitefish. As you may know, Belton Chalet and the Glacier Highland are lodging places in West Glacier right across the highway from the Amtrak station in West Glacier although some do not like the train noise. Belton Chalet is a bit more upscale and probably more expensive than the Glacier Highland. Be aware that there is no checked baggage to or from West Glacier.

At Whitefish, I believe there are some lodging places which will provide transportation to and from the Amtrak station. Hope you have a great trip.

Having a great breakfast at the Buffalo Café on Third Street in Whitefish after detraining from the eastbound Empire Builder makes for a wonderful morning.
 
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Skyline

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A few years ago we took the Empire Builder from Portland via Spokane to the Izaak Walton Inn. Note that the stop is Essex MT, essentially in the front of the Inn. The Inn was very very nice in a rustic way, and the food was excellent. We spent 2 nights, using our day there to walk into Glacier NP.
I stayed at Izaak Walton Inn in 2017 for multiple days as a stopover on my way east from Seattle. Rented a car right there (reserve in advance, vehicles are limited) and explored early season hiking and backpacking options in Glacier National Park. It's also a railfan's dream come true historically and visually. On-premises restaurant serves three meals a day in case you opt not to rent a car, food and service above par.
 

saxman

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I've stayed at both the Glacier Park Lodge and the Izaak Walton Inn, and both are pretty spectacular. The IZI is more for a railfan and slightly smaller in scale. The GPL, is big and its big timber columns are quite impressive. If you go with GPL, you'll get to experience riding the train through the entirety of the border of Glacier National Park. The IZI, you would only see half of it from the train.
 

Palmetto

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Don't expect TV in either place. I don't miss it, but some people would, I think. Don't know about Wi-Fi.
 

Big Green Chauvanist

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Izaak Walton Inn is great for a rail fan--homey, good food and right on the Highline. Only be careful when booking. I was put in a room directly over the kitchen. Loud noises emanating therefrom kept me up until the wee hours. If you stay at the inn, insist on not getting that room.
 

mitako

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May 21, 2018
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I have an upcoming trip in September, I booked it last year. Originally, it included Coast Starlight with a couple days each spent in Portland and Seattle, and then the Cascades up to Vancouver in Canada for several days. I recently decided to drop the Canada portion, as there's too much uncertainty with the border reopening, and instead, switched my ticket to the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park. We'll take the EB from Portland to the park, and then the EB to Seattle.

We are going to stay at the Izaac Walton Inn for two nights, which gives us around 2.5 days to spend in the park. I've already reserved a car at the inn. I figure we'll see as much of the park as we can. Even with closures and restrictions, it should be beautiful. Of course, it's still possible I'll end up canceling the entire trip, depending on how things look by August.
 
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Consider staying at the Izaak Walton Inn which is between West Glacier and East Glacier. It is the place where dreams are made; especially if you love rail travel. Prices seem reasonable now but could change any time up or down. They have announced their opening and here's their website:
Historic, beautiful, and will make a memories for you. Do check it out! 🤠 🌈;)
What is there to do when you get there? I love trains but my wife would like to see the area and do other things besides foam at trains.
 

Rasputin

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What is there to do when you get there? I love trains but my wife would like to see the area and do other things besides foam at trains.
In my opinion and in my experience, the Izaak Walton in Essex is a great place to stay if you are a railfan. It is not the best place to stay if you want to see Glacier National Park and probably not the best place if you are not a railfan. It is pretty much the only business in a town of about 100 people (I don't know if the other business, a bar, got rebuilt after it burned down a few years back but maybe someone can tell us.)

If you want to visit the Park you should stay at West Glacier, East Glacier or in the Park itself.

There has been some earlier discussion about this:

 

20th Century Rider

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What is there to do when you get there? I love trains but my wife would like to see the area and do other things besides foam at trains.
Folks arriving by train don't have their own transportation... the lodge understands this and has a vast program of activities to cater to all interests, and of course, excellent transportation. Due to the remote location activities are a bit pricey because everything needs to be transported in. But the quality of the experience speaks for itself as can be seen by the many who visit each year. Here is a connection to their program of activities.
 

Skyline

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Izaak Walton Inn is great for a rail fan--homey, good food and right on the Highline. Only be careful when booking. I was put in a room directly over the kitchen. Loud noises emanating therefrom kept me up until the wee hours. If you stay at the inn, insist on not getting that room.

If the Walton Inn had an acceptable alternative available, I'm 98% sure staff would have been willing to move you to another accommodation. I found them to be extremely accommodating, though I never had any serious complaints -- just minor requests.
 

Skyline

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What is there to do when you get there? I love trains but my wife would like to see the area and do other things besides foam at trains.
The Walton Inn rents vehicles (sedans, vans, SUVs) in conjunction with a national brand. Supplies are limited, so be sure to reserve a vehicle when making your lodging reservation.
 

20th Century Rider

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Izaak Walton Inn is great for a rail fan--homey, good food and right on the Highline. Only be careful when booking. I was put in a room directly over the kitchen. Loud noises emanating therefrom kept me up until the wee hours. If you stay at the inn, insist on not getting that room.
I agree with your frustration. I ALWAYS ask for a quiet room, then call a few days before arriving. Sometimes I still get a noisy room; and by the kitchen or dining room is not good. I would assume they were fully booked when you arrived or they would have moved you. REPEATING: You have every right to be frustrated!
 

Siegmund

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Nov 19, 2018
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Given how fast cases have increased in MT in the past two weeks I would not bet the farm on the Blackfeet Reservation opening in July.

So far the rest of the state hasn't shown any willingness to re-close, though there has been a modest uptick in people willing to wear mask.
 

Rasputin

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Jan 17, 2019
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Here is an update from the Flathead Beacon:

If the Blackfeet Reservation is still closed, it looks like Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier and Many Glacier Hotel located in the Park would not be able to open since they require access through the Reservation. (Although you could reach Many Glacier Hotel if you hiked in over the continental divide which would not involve going through the Reservation,) Staying on the west side at West Glacier or Apgar would likely be the safest option.

 

Rasputin

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I understand that Lake McDonald Lodge, a historic hotel in the Park on the west side, is "open" if you want to call it that. However access to the Lobby is now restricted only to hotel guests. The hotel dining room offers some take out for non-guests. Not sure if hotel guests can eat in the dining room or if they have to take meals back to their room. The Many Glacier Hotel is operated by the same concession company so I assume if and when it "opens" the same policies may be in effect there.
 

yarrow

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thanks. that is the piece i have been waiting for. does it mean glacier park lodge won't open this year also?
 
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