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How do I get from Calgary to Glacier National Park or near by?

How do I get from Calgary to Glacier National Park or near by?

Apr 24th, 2015, 03:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 258
How do I get from Calgary to Glacier National Park or near by?

Need some advise, we were able to book frequent flier tickets into Calgary and out of Kalispell Montana. Not exactly what we wanted but were fortunate to find any free flights. Thought we would spend a few days in the Calgary area and a few days in Glacier NP. Discovered a rental car is going to cost us over $1,000 for one week taking it from Calgary and dropping it off in Kalispell. Does anyone know if we could take a bus or a train from the Calgary area to get us to the Glacie NP area
mbw220 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 11:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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check with greyhound
ltt is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 05:43 AM
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I hate to change your plans and then continue as if it's done. But . . .

I love Calgary airport. It's a real airport with very few problems if any. There's a Delta hotel not only in the airport but across the street from the terminal. You get up in the morning and walk across the street.

Calgary airport is 1 1/2 hours from Banff National Park.

It's also less than 3 1/2 hours from the Many Glacier area (the most desirable area for spectacular scenery and wildlife).

The drive down is very smooth, no winding mountain roads and level. Two lanes each way until very close to the border.

I've been to Glacier (MT) twice and Banff three times. Two of those trips included both Glacier and Banff.

Yes, renting a car in Calgary and dropping it off in Kalispell will cost. In fact dropping a car in almost any place other than where you rented it will cost.

I would consider switching from Kalispell to Calgary for the return.

By the Calgary area I would assume Banff & Jasper. As a tease after a week in Glacier I spent two hectic but well-planned days in Banff & Jasper. That resulted in a trip to Banff & Jasper the following year.

If you want some incentive you can see my photos of these trips at:
Myer is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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The way that my DW and I did it YMMV: We took the ViaRail Canadian (3 days/week) to Jasper. We rented a car in Jasper and saw all we wanted to see in Jasper without going to Banff.
For Banff and Jasper you may want to use Brewster Tours (buses).
We returned the car and took the Canadian back to Vancouver and spent a night in Vancouver and then took the Amtrak bus to Seattle.
That afternoon we got on the Empire Builder and the next morning we got off in Whitefish Montana. We rented a car from Kalispell to go see Glacier. We were allowed to leave the rental car in the lot at the Whitefish Amtrak station since we were headed east to Chicago on the Empire Builder.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 582
A simple answer.

There are no trains in that area. The only passenger trains, other than one luxury summer tour train, that come through Alberta go via Edmonton and Jasper into BC. There are no passenger trains in northern Montana.

The only options for your trip are to see if Greyhound offers a feasible route/connections or to drive. A quick search suggests that the bus from Calgary to Kalispell requires 3 changes and takes 2 days - you actually have to go to Vancouver, then back across to Kalispell.

Either way I think you'll find that what you save in FF tickets to Kalispell is going to be offset by costs of bus or rental car, plus lost time taking the bus.

I would suggest either flying in & out of the same location, or perhaps flying to Calgary, doing a few days in the national parks. Then return your car, fly to Montana and rent a car down there for Glacier National Park.
kgsneds is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 06:43 PM
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Obviously kgsneds has never ridden the Amtrak Empire Builder.
Whitefish is one of my favorite stops but the train also stops at West Glacier, Essex (Isaac Walton Lodge) and East Glacier.
The train tracks skirt the southern side of Glacier National Park.
The train leaves the newly remodeled Seattle station at 4:40PM everyday. It joins with the section that came from Portland in Spokane at 1AM PT and is in Whitefish at 7:30AM MT.
The Empire Builder has been getting a bad rap for being late most of the time coming into Chicago. The fault lies with the freight railroad company running too many oil trains in North Dakota and eastern Montana.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 28th, 2015, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for your help.....we were able to change our air reservation and now we are arriving in Missoula. Seems so much more doable!
mbw220 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2015, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I stand corrected, but there are still no trains that cross the Montana/Alberta border or that would make sense for this itinerary.

You either have to rent a car & pay a one way fee, or travel via Seattle/Vancouver. There are no direct train or bus links between Calgary and Glacier NP (US) (other than tour buses).
kgsneds is offline  
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