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West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

California
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West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

I am planning a Glacier NP trip in August without a car (not used to driving in mountain terrain and really wish to avoid it). I plan to fly to Kalispell, get a shuttle to West Glacier, stay there a couple of nights, and then head to Many Glacier hotel where I have a reservation for the next 3-4 days, before heading back to West Glacier and then catching a return flight from Kalispell. This seems mostly doable to me given that I mainly want to go day hiking around Logan Pass and Many Glacier, except for the issue of moving between hotels.

I have been looking into options for getting from West Glacier to Many Glacier and back. I had considered the train to East Glacier + East Side Shuttle (with the advantage of being able to enjoy the train ride), but Amtrak timeliness concerns + lack of reservations on the East Side shuttle (I checked with GPI) make me wary.

The other option I see is to take the NPS shuttle from West Glacier to St. Mary's and then transfer to the GPI shuttle that goes to Many Glacier. I am wondering if using the NPS shuttle for this purpose seems a feasible option given that I would have one moderately sized piece of luggage with me (likely a 20-24 inch wheeled bag) in addition to a daypack. On this point, I have been unable to find information (the NPS website does say that it would be difficult for people with many pieces of luggage but that does not apply here). Any insight on whether some visitors successfully attempt this means of moving between hotels with limited luggage would be most appreciated.

I am also planning to check with GPI to see if I can take a bag with me on a Red Bus Tour and leave it midway, since that might be a convenient way to get between hotels.

indiana
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1. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

I don't think you can take your luggage on the shuttle. Limited space and usually the shuttles are full of hikers. I have seen vans at Many Glacier dropping off guests. I would call the hotel or the reservations office and ask about transportation.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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2. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

FYI.Four of us used the shuttles to get from Apgar Transit center to Jackson Glacier overlook to begin a four day hike. We had huge back packs.

I also have taken the train from Whitefish to East Glacier. It arrives about 10ish. The shuttle leaves at IIam. that is tight but this may be your only option. Why not reserve a night in East and explore the Two med area via GPI shuttle? Then head off to Many Glacier the next day on the am shuttle? I would not worry about that shuttle being full either. it's a shame GPI will not take reservations from visitors that are staying at their properties.

I have seen Jammers dropping off luggage for guests at the various lodges.

Good luck. I would rent a car and travel Hwy 2.Then use the shuttles for GTTSR. The drive from east to Many is easy if you go to Browning and then Duck Lake Road.

Edited: 06 April 2013, 22:39
California
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3. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

Thanks for all the replies.

gnp4me: Thanks for letting me know about your experience taking large backpacks on the shuttle as well as the excellent suggestion to stay a night in East and use the opportunity to explore Two Med. I had really not realized there was an afternoon tour of the area available. I have decided to do this and thereby experience the train ride as well as visit Two Med which I was earlier skipping.

In case the info is useful for any future readers of this thread: I checked with GPI about being able to take luggage on Red Bus Tours and they said no.

indiana
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4. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

I don't want to disagree with gnp4me since I have not used the shuttle, but someone told me they could not take their luggage on the shuttle. They were told it was for hikers and their packs and there was not room for regular luggage. I hope you can find a number to call the park or send an email and check this out before you get there and plan on using the shuttle.

Edited: 10 April 2013, 11:40
indiana
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5. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

Found this on the Glacier website, seems if the shuttle is full, you could have trouble bringing a pack and luggage

Is there enough room on the shuttles for backpacks?

Backpackers and day hikers are most welcome on the shuttles. There will be limited storage capacity on the buses especially when every seat is full. Visitors with packs should be considerate of other riders by lifting packs out of the aisles at stops and not using two seats when a person is waiting to sit down.

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Is there enough room on the shuttles for luggage?

There is very limited space on the shuttles for luggage. Visitors traveling with multiple pieces of luggage will find it difficult to board with luggage.

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California
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6. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

hikes: Thanks for suggesting I double-check on taking luggage on the shuttle, but as I mentioned, I am not planning to go that route anyway :) I will be taking the train from West to East, staying there a night while taking the GPI tour to Two Med (gnp4me's suggestion), and then the GPI Eastside shuttle. Staying a night will make me more certain of catching the next morning Eastside shuttle, as compared to the same day (that concern, coupled with lack of reservations on the Eastside shuttle, had spurred me to consider the NPS shuttle route).

I am aware of the info on the NPS website, which I actually did not find fully illuminating since I did not expect to carry 'multiple pieces of luggage'. Further, it is possible for someone to carry a large backpack as regular luggage, and so the distinction is not as clear. I do get your point though...with anything more than a daypack, the outcome of attempting the shuttle is probably uncertain and thus this means is inadvisable.

Thanks again to hikes and gnp4me for the advice/info.

PS: I do wish GPI would consider providing some means of transportation for visitors (with luggage) between West and Many/East with prior reservation and for an appropriate charge, but I suppose there aren't that many that attempt a visit without a car :)

Whitefish, Montana
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7. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

I have seen tons of day packs & backpacks on the Park Shuttles but no luggage.

Since I carry a day pack every time I use the parks shuttle. If one doesn't have room wait for the next. This is regarding GNP shuttle's not GPI shuttles. Those shuttles are vans and have space in the rear behind the seats.

Toddnik discovered last year that they will send shuttles till everyone is picked up, something which I was unaware of and truthfully would not rely on.

GNP suggestion for the train to East Glacier is a great one, be sure to take the boat ride at Two Medicine.

The Jammer takes you right to the dock. I have seen moose swimming across the lake plus bears along the shore from that boat ride.

montana slow hiker

8. Re: West Glacier to Many Glacier via NPS/GPI shuttles?

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