census-designated place in Flathead County, Montana, United States

West Glacier is a town located at the western entrance to Glacier National Park in Northwestern Montana.



This small town teems with tourists during the summer. Winter is quieter and lodging is available, unlike other towns around Glacier. Guides can be found for just about any outdoor activity, but some are booked out months in advance.

Get in


By car


West Glacier is on U.S. Route 2. The nearest major airport is in Kalispell.

By train

See also: Rail travel in the United States
  • Amtrak, +1 215-856-7924, toll-free: +1-800-872-7245. Operates train service around the United States of America.     Route stopping in the area:
    • Empire Builder operating daily between Seattle/Portland and Chicago including stops at Spokane, Glacier National Park, Fargo, Saint Paul, and Milwaukee. The trains split into separate branches between Seattle and Spokane, and between Portland and Spokane, while operating as trains consisting of train cars from both branches between Spokane and Chicago. The train stops at the following stations in the area:
      • 1 West Glacier station, US Route 2, east of Going-to-the-Sun Rd. Station hours M-F 8AM-4:30PM. Located at the south end of West Glacier.    
      • 2 Essex Junction station, 290 Izaak Walton Inn Rd, Essex (30 miles southeast of West Glacier along US Route 2). No services at stop. Near the historic Izaak Walton Inn, which also has a restaurant and lounge. It is the only business in Essex. Vans from the hotel take passengers to the Inn.    

Get around

Map of West Glacier

The business area of town can be walked or biked. You will need a car to access most of the outdoor activities. Transportation is generally provided for guided packages.

Several guide services are available for whitewater rafting. Fly fishing, hiking and biking locations are abundant.

  • Glacier Guides, 11970 Hwy 2 East, +1 406 387-5555, . 7AM-7PM daily. Glacier National Park's rivers and trails guide service, offering rafting, fishing, guided day hiking, chalet treks and backpacking trips. Gear and raft rental also available. Also has lodging, with wi-fi and air conditioning, available from May-October.
  • 1 Glacier View Golf, 640 River Bend Dr, +1 406 888-5471, . Tee times M 11AM-5:30PM, Tu-Sa 9AM-5:30PM. 18 holes, 69 par. Rated #1 in Montana. Opportunities for younger golfers. Bar and grill. RV hook-ups available on-site. Senior rates M-Th.
  • 2 Golfing to the Sun, 200 Going-to-the-Sun Rd, +1 844 868-7474. 11AM-10PM daily. 18 hole mini-golf with Glacier themed obstacles and information on each hole. Ice-cream and coffee shop also. $14 adult, $12 child, free 5 and under.
  • Swan Mountain Outfitters, 12000 Highway 2 East, +1 406 387-4405. Sole provider of horseback tours in Glacier. Also offers horseback riding outside the park. Company provides several fly-fishing packages as well as clinics. Swan Mountain has access to thousands of acres for their hunting packages, which can be for rifle or archery. In the winter, they have snowmobiling excursions or rentals. Price varies by activity.
  • 1 Great Northern Railway Cafe, 12127 US Highway 2, +1 406 387-5340, . 7AM-3PM daily, Jun-Sep. Coffee, sandwiches and snacks. Patio seating.
  • 2 Jammer Joes Grill and Pizzaria, Going-to-the-Sun Rd (11 miles north). Noon-8PM daily. Menu has good variety including make-your-own pizza and lunch buffet.
  • 3 Sunflower Cafe & BBQ, 12070 US Highway 2, +1 406 233-9583. 8AM-1PM, 5:30PM-9PM. Closed M and Tu. Small selection but interesting options. Weekly vegan special. Menu on website. Serves cocktails, beer and wine.
  • 4 West Glacier Café, 190 Going-to-the-Sun Rd, +1 844 868-7474. 7:30AM-9PM daily. Full service menu with great dinners and excellent variety of selection and prices.


  • 1 Freda's Bar, 180 Going-to-the-Sun Rd, +1 406 888-5359. 7:30AM-9PM daily. Full service bar with restaurant


  • 1 Belton Chalet, 12575 Hwy 2 East (Across from the Amtrak station), +1 406 888-5000. The first of the great lodges and chalets built for Glacier National Park by Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway. A fully restored 1910 hotel and restaurant property offers lodging in a historic atmosphere. No TV or phone. Private cabins are available and fill up very fast. Continental breakfast and shuttle service to and from the train station are complimentary. The Grill Dining Room features fresh local foods, Montana brews, fine wines and a full selection of spirits, with live music and views of Glacier Park. Room rates vary by season ($240-$310 average in July, August and September, $170-$220 in June and October).
  • 2 Halfway Hotel, 14840 Highway 2 E, +1 406 888-5650. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Basic hotel halfway between West Glacier and Essex. Check in and check out is at the Izaak Walton Inn. Once your reservation is confirmed you will receive an email confirmation with check in instructions as well as a pre-arrival email.
  • 3 Izaak Walton Inn, 290 Izaak Walton Inn Rd, +1 406 888-5700, . In Essex, 30 miles southeast. Undergoing renovations and will reopen Spring 2024. Inn has 2 floors of rooms and the option of a converted railroad caboose. An exceptional dining room is available, with many local specialties prepared to order. The Bison Hash & Eggs at breakfast is a favorite. Rental vehicles are also available from the desk. The Izaak Walton has its own Amtrak stop, served by the Chicago-Seattle-Portland Empire Builder daily.    
  • 4 Motel Lake McDonald, 466 Lake McDonald Loop Rd, +1 406 892-2525. Basic motel. Located inside the park.
  • 5 West Glacier RV Park, 350 River Bend Dr, +1 406 888-5580. Sites available mid-May to mid-Oct. Full hook-ups, free wi-fi, coin laundry, shower facilities. Can accommodate up to 80 feet in length. Good Sam Park. Able to walk into town.



Go next

  • Apgar (3 miles north) is one of the main villages of Glacier National Park. It has the largest campground in the park, right at the lower end of Lake McDonald.
  • Big Sky Waterpark (17 miles south) is Montana's largest waterpark. Also has mini golf and bumper cars.
  • Goat Lick Overlook (30 miles southeast, exit sign on Hwy 2) is an exposed riverbank where mountain goats and other animals can be seen. April to August has the most animals.
  • Hungry Horse Dam (3 miles north) is a large steep dam with tours and a visitor center. The walking tour is 1.5 miles and takes about 1 hour. Open daily from 9AM-5PM. Free.
Routes through West Glacier
SpokaneWhitefish  W   E  East GlacierMinot
KalispellColumbia Falls  W   E  East GlacierShelby

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