*Updated for summer 2016*
Truth time: July and August are the busiest times of year in Montana’s Glacier National Park. In fact, these two months welcome a majority of our visitors to the Crown of the Continent. To which I say, awesome.
With that said, the fact of the matter is that parking can get a bit tricky inside the park, especially at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. And while it’s my own personal opinion that everyone should be allowed to drive in Glacier National Park if they so choose (and as long as they pay their entry fee $$), there are a few other options for transportation to, in and around the park.
The free park shuttle service. From July 1 – September 18, 2016 Glacier National Park offers a free shuttle that provides services along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. On the west side of the park, shuttles start at 9 a.m. at the Apgar Visitor Center and depart every 15 – 30 minutes until 7 p.m. (when the last shuttle leaves Logan Pass).
And if you’re an early bird, check out these options:
-Express trips from Apgar Visitor Center to Logan Pass (with no stops) depart at 7 a.m., 7:18 a.m. and 7:36 a.m.
-At around 7:56 a.m., shuttles start departing from Apgar Visitor Center every 15 – 30 minutes and make stops at Avalanche Creek, The Loop and Logan Pass.
On the east side of the park, the St. Mary Visitor Center is the hub for shuttle service, with east side shuttles starting at 7 a.m. from the visitor center and departing every 40 – 60 minutes. For more information, visit the NPS website.
Bus service between Whitefish and Glacier National Park. Take the Glacier Park Express from Whitefish to Glacier National Park. This services is offered from July 1 – September 5, 2016 and departs from four locations in Whitefish four times per day (including Whitefish Mountain Resort Base Lodge, Whitefish Mountain Resort Village, Whitefish Library in downtown and Mountain Mall), dropping its riders at the Apgar Visitor Center. Round-trip tickets are $10/adults and $5/children 12 and under. Check out the complete schedule or purchase tickets here.
Sidenote: Tickets can also be purchased in person at Montana Coffee Traders in downtown Whitefish, Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, Whitefish Mountain Resort Base Lodge and Glacier Conservancy Bookstore in the April Visitor Center in Glacier National Park.
Many Glacier Hiker’s Shuttle. Operated by Glacier National Park Lodges, the Many Glacier Hiker’s Shuttle runs between the St. Mary Visitor Center and Many Glacier Hotel/Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, July 1 – September 5, 2016. The shuttle departs Many Glacier Hotel three times per day and is $10/adult and $5/child. Learn exact times here.
Red bus tours. Hands down, taking a red bus tour with Glacier National Park Lodges is one of the most scenic ways to see the park. The reds have roll-back tops that allow their passengers expansive views of the surrounding terrain. Red bus tours depart from both the west and east sides of the park, with partial day tours and full-day tours. For complete tours and pricing options, visit Glacier National Park Lodges.
Sidenote: a red bus tour is one of my favorite activities in Glacier National Park.
Take a Sun Tour. Departing regularly from the east side of the park, Sun Tours offers guided tours inside Glacier National Park from the perspective of the Blackfeet Tribe. If you’re looking for a new way to see the park, this is the best tour to take as you’ll glean insight from Blackfeet guides that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.