Glacier National Park has become a tourist destination ever since it got connected to the Great Northern Railway in the late 19th century. Despite Montana's rugged terrain, the railway was constructed in the 1890s under the supervision of James Jerome Hill, a Canadian-American railroad executive who was nicknamed the "Empire Builder." And despite the recent loss of popularity of railroad transportation in the US, you can still experience the beauty of Glacier Country aboard a train. Amtrak's Empire Builder runs through the park all year round, making stops in East and West Glacier.
Empire Builder departs from Chicago and Seattle, making an epic journey with stops in Portland, Minneapolis, Browning, Cut Bank, Essex, Whitefish, and Libby. The whole route covers 2,206 miles (3,550 km). Amtrak Glacier experience includes dining and champagne. The train is equipped with a panoramic observation car with floor to ceiling windows. You can either book a round-trip or a one-way journey. Tour packages can also include lodge accommodations, guided excursions, and various activities. During any season, you can sit back in the comfort of your compartment and enjoy the stunning mountain views.
When does the Empire Builder train arrive at Glacier National Park, MT?
The Empire Builder train stops at East and West Glacier all year round. The timetable varies depending on the departure station, but schedules can be found on the Amtrak website. It takes about 30 hours to get from Chicago to East Glacier Park or West Glacier and around 10 hours from Seattle. The train runs daily, and booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak season. Show more
What is the duration of the round-trip journey on the Empire Builder train?
The length of a round-trip on the Empire Builder train depends on your itinerary. The route from Chicago to Seattle covers 2,206 miles (3,550 km) and stops at various cities. A journey from East Glacier or West Glacier to Chicago or Seattle takes at least three days. The Amtrak vacation package allows you to add other stops and excursions to suit your needs and interests. Show more
What are some popular activities included in the Amtrak Glacier tour packages?
The Amtrak Glacier tour packages offer various activities for all seasons. The summer package features hikes, guided tours, white water rafting, wildlife spotting, and horseback riding. Winter options range from ski trips to sleigh rides and Christmas activities. You can customize your itinerary from a selection of lodging accommodations and activities such as golfing or fly fishing. Show more
Where are the panoramic observation cars located on the Empire Builder train?
The Superliner Sightseer lounge cars on the Empire Builder train offer panoramic views of the mountains, forests, and rivers. These two-story observation cars are located on the upper deck, while the lower deck provides coach seats and dining cars. Wi-Fi and electronic charging outlets can be enjoyed from all seats. Show more
What is the history of the Great Northern Railway's connection to Glacier National Park?
Glacier National Park was part of the Northern Montana Division of the Great Northern Railway that helped expose wild terrain to tourism. James J. Hill, the railway's founder, spent nearly 20 years building the rail project from St. Paul, MN to Seattle, WA. The Empire Builder service began in 1929, named after Hill’s nickname, “The Empire Builder,” as his vision was to link Glacier National Park to his railway, which opened up the park to visitors from all over the world. This greatly contributed to the area's economic growth. Show more