Glacier Shuttles**2017 Update in Glacier National Park Shuttle below for after Labor Day and in Glacier Park Inc East Side shuttles

Logistics in Glacier can be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully there are a few different shuttling options that make it easier. Unfortunately, they are operated by five different entities making it extremely confusing. Here, we try to sort it out a bit so you can figure out how to do what you came to do, and that is, get on the trail and enjoy the wild!


Name:
Glacier National Park Shuttle
Cost: Free
Location: Only on Going to the Sun Road
Glacier’s free shuttle will now have limited service after Labor Day. From the Park, “After September 5th, the limited service will include free shuttles operating on the west side only, from Apgar to Logan Pass. They will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last shuttle to Logan Pass from Apgar departs at 2:15pm. The last shuttle from Apgar to Avalanche Creek departs Apgar at 4:30pm.  The last bus leaves Logan Pass at 5:00 pm to return to Apgar.  The Buses will leave from Apgar approximately every 30 minutes throughout the day, and will stop at all of the shuttle stops between Apgar and Logan Pass.”
Name: Glacier National Park Lodges by Xanterra
Cost: $10 per person
Location: Shuttle from Many Glacier to St. Mary and back
Name: Glacier Park Collection (formerly Glacier Park Inc) East Side shuttle
Cost: Generally $15 per leg
Location: Operates from East Glacier Lodge to St. Mary. Formerly ran all the way to Chief Mountain, but has stopped as of 2017
Name: Waterton Outdoor Adventures
Cost: $20 CA per person
Location: Waterton to Chief Mountain Customs (must call in advance)
Name: Glacier Transportation
Cost: Variable depending upon passengers and distance
Location: Kalispell Airport (FCA) to Glacier from Polebridge to Waterton
Name: Mountain Chief Cab Company
Cost: Call for pricing
Location: East side shuttles including down to Walton Ranger station
Phone: (406) 450-3630

59 thoughts on “Glacier National Park Shuttles

  1. Soooooo, is there no where to park a vehicle at many glacier trailhead to run our own shuttle to the customs trailhead if we have two vehicles?

    1. You can absolutely run your own shuttle. Most people have the issue of only one car, so the shuttle is a great tool. If you have two cars, then you aren’t a slave to timing everything.

  2. We are flying into Kalispell from Minneapolis on August 18th.
    ENTER – CHIEF MOUNTAIN (TRAILHEAD)
    8-19-2016 – COS – COSLEY LAKE
    8-20-2016 – GLH – GLENNS HEAD
    8-21-2016 – STO – STONEY
    8-22-2016 – KOO – KOOTENAI LK
    8-23-2016 – FIF – FIFTY MOUNTAIN
    8-24-2016 – GRN – GRANITE
    EXIT – LOOP TRAIL (TRAILHEAD)
    We fly out of Kalispell at 4:50pm on August 26th.

    Trying to get some advice on how to get up to Chief Mountain from the airport and then back to the airport area from the Loop Trail traihead. Do you think we need to rent a car to get to the GPI or does it make more sense to taxi to the going to the sun road shuttle, and then with GPI to Chief Mountain?

    1. Hmmm, I think you’ll just have to check and see what the taxi charge would be vs. renting a car. If it’s close, rent the car. The convenience would be a dealmaker for me. 😀

  3. We are flying in to MT and backpacking Glacier in August, but didn’t get our permit requests back in March. We hope to be able to grab a permit there. With that said, they could send us anywhere in the park to backpack. We were going to take shuttles around, but now I’m curious if we should rent a car so we can easily go to whichever trail head they send us to. Do you have a recommendation on shuttle or rental car?

    1. I’m not sure how you were planning on getting to the park. I would rent a car. Make sure you look at my walk-in availability page and get your strategy down. Use the Park’s shuttle and GPI’s paid hiker shuttle to expand your options. I usually like to shuttle at the beginning of a trip to know that I’ve got a ride waiting for me if I get out later than I’d planned. Not sure if that answered your question or not. Let me know!

  4. The GTTSR shuttle page says “Dates of Operation: July 1-September 5, 2016. There will be limited service on the west side after September 5”. Do you know what “limited service” entails?

    https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/shuttlestops.htm

    1. Excellent question. I honestly have no idea! I’ll check with some of my contacts and see what I can figure out.

    2. I got this back from the Park Service! “After September 5th , the limited service will include free shuttles operating on the west side only, from Apgar to Logan Pass. They will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last shuttle to Logan Pass from Apgar departs at 2:15pm. The last shuttle from Apgar to Avalanche Creek departs Apgar at 4:30pm. The last bus leaves Logan Pass at 5:00 pm to return to Apgar. The Buses will leave from Apgar approximately every 30 minutes throughout the day, and will stop at all of the shuttle stops between Apgar and Logan Pass.”

      1. Thanks! Seems like they could just write that on their website…

        1. But then how would I be of any value?! 😉

  5. Hi Jake, just saw that Swiftcurrent Pass trail is closed due to bear frequenting, and we were planning to hike out that trail on day 5 of a northern loop backpacking trip. Since this will be after Sept 5, wondering if there are any taxi or uber options if we have to exit at the Loop or Logan Pass and get back to Many Glacier?

    1. It’s cleared now. It’s always a crapshoot and usually doesn’t last super long… with rare exceptions. The west side shuttles will be running which can get you to Logan Pass from the Loop… or you can take the Highline. From there, you’ll probably have to hitchhike to St. Mary Visitor Center where there are a couple of shuttle options from GPI and Xanterra to get back to Many Glacier.

  6. Hi, two of us are going from Ghost haunt to Bowman Lake next weekend. We will have a rental car that we can leave at Bowman Lake for when we finish, but we need to get from there to Apgar to take the series of shuttles (and it appears we need to get to Apgar by 9 am). Do you have any suggestions for getting from Bowman Lake to Apgar? Is the Flathead transportation service our only option (seems pricey at $110/person)? Thanks for your help!

    1. There aren’t any great options unless you have friends or know of someone doing the loop backwards. You may try seeing if anyone is going the opposite direction around that time at http://www.glacier.nationalparkschat.com/phpBB3/index.php or on a Glacier Facebook group page. Because the road is within the park and there are no shuttle services that operate there, you’re at the mercy of hitchhiking. I would recommend leaving the rental car in Polebridge and hitchhiking there when you’re done as people will be leaving in the afternoon and you won’t be able to hitchhike out in the morning reliably. (the taxi service can’t go into the park I believe) Sorry for the bad news.

  7. Hi
    Two questions. Can you take the GPI shuttle from Customs southbound – going only one way? I am assuming that this is all in U.S. and thus customs is not an issue. Looking to hike from U.S. into Canada, first placing cars and Customs and pick up cars again at Customs (using shuttle to get to starting point in U.S.). Also, is there ample parking at Customs?

    1. I hope to see a reply on this one too… I was planning on leaving our car at many glacier and taking the shuttle up to start our hike at chief mountain. Since you aren’t actually crossing the border I am confused about the round trip requirement.

      1. No need for a round trip Craig. Your plan is solid! You’ll park at Many, take the shuttle of one leg up to Chief, then hike back down to your car. 😀

    2. The short answers are: 1. You can absolutely take them only one way (which would be the only reason the shuttle makes sense). 2. There is plenty of parking at the Chief Mountain trailhead which is a couple hundred yards from the border and customs.

      I’m a bit confused about the order of what your saying, but it sounds like you’ll drive up to Chief Mountain, then hike to Waterton (or take the boat to Waterton, but either way, you’ll end up there). From there, you’ll take the shuttle from Waterton Outdoor Adventures to the border. From there, you’ll walk across the border, through customs, to your car.

  8. Excellent site. Do you have any listings of difficulty and elevation for various legs. Would be happy to purchase.

    1. Check out my day hike map as I broke the trails up into small segments and calculated the slope. If you see that the section is green, it’s level (0-5 degrees), if it’s yellow, it’s moderate (5-15 degrees), if it’s red, it’s steep (15+ degrees).

  9. Is there a shuttle that runs between St. Mary and Two Medicine?

    1. Yup! It’s a fee-based shuttle operated by Glacier Park Inc.

  10. Craig March 14, 2017 at 1:54 am #
    I hope to see a reply on this one too… I was planning on leaving our car at many glacier and taking the shuttle up to start our hike at chief mountain. Since you aren’t actually crossing the border I am confused about the round trip requirement.

    REPLY

    hike734 March 14, 2017 at 8:56 am #
    No need for a round trip Craig. Your plan is solid! You’ll park at Many, take the shuttle of one leg up to Chief, then hike back down to your car. ?

    We have this same plan for an overnight hike in September (10 to 11). So which service provides the transportation from Many to Chief, and how early does it come?

    1. Sooo it looks like GPI is no longer running the shuttle from Many Glacier to Chief Mountain. At this point, I think that you’ll have to call the Mountain Chief Cab company. I’ve talked with the park service and I think that Xanterra will consider it for next year, but not sure on any of that. Super bummer.

      1. Thanks for the update! I will contact Mountain Chief Cab. Your website is by far the most informative/navigable of any of the GNP websites I’ve come across so far. Very much appreciated! Plan on purchasing one of your hiking maps as well (again much more informative).

        Thanks!!

      2. So, did xanterra ever pick up the shuttle segment up to chief mountain? This is a big hole on the eastside.

        1. I’m not sure. I’ll have to look at it. Knowing Xanterra (and the park service), it probably didn’t happen. It hasn’t been updated on their website to anything other than what they’ve done. I think it’s going to be Chief Mountain Cab Company for the foreseeable future.

  11. Well, that really is a bummer. We are already booked overnight for Sept 9/10. Thanks a bunch for the heads up!

    1. Craig, I know we don’t know each other from atom, but we are also doing an overnight on 9/10. Maybe we can work out a transportation plan together…

      1. Sure, what the heck… shoot me an email at craigbagdonverizon@gmail.com

        1. This makes me happier than you guys could ever know. 😀

  12. Hi Jake! Your website has been the most helpful by far. The rangers take a week to give a call back and if you so happen to miss their call, you have to wait another week again when you make a call back.

    We were assigned an backpacking itinerary that starts at Packers Roost and ends up in Ghost Haunt (PRE -> FLA -> FIF -> GOA). We’re coming from out of town, so I’m panicking and frantically trying to look for possibilities for transportation back to West Glacier from Ghost Haunt.

    I called GPI and they don’t offer shuttles from Prince of Wales back into Glacier anymore. What are our options so far? If the only option is to establish a car shuttle we may have to cancel our trip because it unfortunately won’t be possible considering the number of extra hours that would take, due to the restrictions of our flights that are already booked.

    Let me know if you have any advice. Thanks so much!

    1. I think you can use Tamarack which does the shuttle from Waterton to the border, then call the Chief Mountain Cab Co and have them take you to St. Mary. Then take park shuttles back to the Loop. You can then hike down or hitchhike down to Packer’s Roost.

  13. We will be coming out of Two Medicine on 9/7, just missing the park run shuttle from St. Mary to Logan Pass. After looking around a whole bunch, I don’t actually see any shuttles that would still be running east to west.. either to Logan Pass or all the way back to West Glacier. Any advice or thoughts? Are we stuck finding a taxi service to do the drive on Hwy 2?

    1. Can you shuttle first so you hike out to your car at Two Medicine?

  14. Hiking from Logan Pass to Waterton lake campground, taking boat shuttle to marina then looking for a shuttle back to Glacier (Logan Pass).
    How do we logistially organize this?
    Thank you.

    1. In the past it was easier because GPI would take you from the border down, so now it’s a bit more cumbersome, but here goes. First thing, make sure that you get an early start up to Logan Pass to find a parking spot. You can also park at the Apgar Transit Center and take the shuttle up to Logan Pass. At the end of your hike, and subsequent boat ride, you can take the Tamarack shuttle down to the border where you’ll walk across. From there, you’ll need to get a taxi ride from Chief Mountain Taxi. I would arrange for that while you’re in Canada… if not before you go. Take the taxi down to St. Mary and then take the park’s free shuttle back to Logan Pass. If you want to, you could also park your car in St. Mary at the beginning of the trip and shuttle to Logan Pass. Logistically, this would probably be the easiest way. You’ll still need the shuttle down to the border and the taxi ride.

  15. Hi Jake – we are ending our backpacking trip at Many Glacier, just want to confirm the best way to get back to Chief Mountain Trailhead is via the Mountain Chief Cab Company? In reading your posts this looks like our best option, just wanted to confirm. Thanks!

  16. We have permits for the Quartz Lake Loop hike and camp Sept. 11- 13 of this year. Wanted to “trade” that for a 3 night trip to Hole in the Wall instead. That was not available for advance permit and wondering what is the chances for a walk in to go to the head of Bowman lake 1st night then to Hole in the wall and then back to Bowman Lake… 3 nights total. 1 night at each location. ???

    1. I replied to your email, but I think you’d be in good shape if you show up to the backcountry office early the day before.

  17. Hi, Jake. We wanted to hike Highline to Granite Park Chalet and down Swiftcurrent Pass to the Many Glacier area in September after it looks like the shuttles stop running. Any other options besides getting two rental cars? Thanks! Your blog on this topic was most helpful about the different transportation options.

    1. I’m not aware of any great options unfortunately. You could spend the night at the hotel or motor inn, then hike out Piegan Pass for a short hitchhike back up to Logan Pass! 😀

      1. You can use Mountiain Chief Cab Company, a small independent company that capitalizes on the shuttle shutdowns. I used it from Watertown to the Loop. Pricier but worth renting an extra car and the time to establish your own car shuttling.

  18. So glad to have found your site. Asking a potentially silly question. Where do you leave vehicles during back country hiking? Are there designated parking areas? Do you just park at whichever trailhead you are leaving from (or arriving at depending)? We’ll be there August 2018 and would like to try to do a couple 2-3 day trips into the back country mixed in with our “front” country time. I’m feeling clueless about what to do with the rental car while we’re out there. Thanks in advance.

    1. Yup, you park it at a trailhead usually. When you pick up the actual permit, they’ll ask you for your license plate and where you’ll be leaving your car… so it doesn’t get towed or anything. 😀

  19. DO you know if there is a way to transport luggage between hotels? We are staying at Lake McDonald, hiking to Granite, then hiking to Many Glacier. We were wondering if we can have someone (xanterra?) take our luggage form McDonald to Many Glacier while we are hiking. Thanks!

    1. I honestly don’t know. I’d contact Xanterra and see what options they have. Have fun hiking up to Granite and down through Swiftcurrent Pass!! That’s such a wonderful area. 😀

  20. Hello
    enjoyed your videos
    this summer will make 4 trip to Glacier (its the best) and want to do the Logan Floral Sperry Traverse.
    Do you have a gps track or a map with the preferred route.
    Don’t want to get dead ended on such a long day.
    also trying to find out when the earliest shuttle will be leaving MacDonald to get us to the start at Logan Pass.
    thanks so much
    Volbike

    1. Shoot me an email on my contact page and we’ll chat.

  21. Jake:

    Bought your maps last year – they are great. Would appreciate your input… trying to plan a 5-7 day trip for late July 7/21-28 but all those key campgrounds to complete big loops/traverses are not available to reserve until 8/1 (STO, FIF as well as BOU, HOL, SPE, ELL, COB). Would love to do Northern Circle. Coming form Ohio, so would like to at least make sure we have a backcountry reservation of some sort (though will likely follow your walk-in suggestions too. Questions for you:

    1. Snowfall this year – what is your gut… is that very likely to affect our options?
    2. Any itinerary ideas for us to submit for 3/15 reservation deadline?
    3. Have looked at CME/LRE –>MOL –>ELF–>MAN–>GRN –>Logan Pass (or reverse). What about shuttle transport (will only have 1 rental car)?
    4. Any other thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. 1. Lots. I wouldn’t plan on anything opening early.
      2. I’d try for mostly lower elevation stuff. Belly River is a good way to do it. Potentially going to Poia Lake and into Belly via Redgap Pass and exploring that area. Will need a shuttle most likely via Chief Mountain Cab if going one way. Can also come back out via Ptarmigan Tunnel.
      3. Not sure what the Highline will look like. Shuttle info can be found above in blog.
      4. Be flexible! Also consider hiking from East Glacier or Two Medicine to St. Mary or even all the way to Many Glacier. GPI East Side Shuttle can help you there.

  22. We’re planning a trip starting at either Cut Bank or Walton trailhead and ending at Two Medicine. How could we get from Two Medicine where we would leave our car to our starting trailhead? Is there any kind of shuttle option in that area?

    1. Basically, there is no shuttle to/from Walton. You’ll use the GPI East Side shuttles for Two Medicine and Cutbank. The shuttle only stops at the Cutbank Road, so you’ll need to walk the road.

  23. Hey Jake. We’ll just be using the shuttle between Many Glacier and St. Mary. Since it is first come first serve, how much of an issue is it to get a spot on the shuttle? We don’t mind “bumming” it in Many Glacier, but just want to know if we should expect a long wait to get back to the campsite. Thanks!

  24. We are hoping to backpack the Northern Traverse from Chief Mountain Customs to Kintla Lake. We will have a rental car, but I cannot figure out how to do the shuttle. This appears to be a popular trip. Is there a practical way to work the shuttle short of renting two cars?

    1. There are no easy options for shuttling this trip. Anything you do will require friends, long drives doing it with two cars, or a complicated web of multiple shuttles, taxis, and hitchhiking.

  25. Jake,

    We have your map of Glacier Hikes and plan to drive from Apgar to Logan pass (7AM as you suggested) and park the car. We’ll then take the shuttle back to the Loop and plan to hike from the Loop to Logan Pass.

    Looks like the shuttle runs every 15-30 minutes. Is that correct?

    How long will the shuttle take to go from Logan Pass to the Loop? It looks like it’s about 5 miles.

    Thanks,

    Jack

    1. I can’t remember how long it takes to be honest, but not that long. I would consider getting an early start and parking at the Loop, then you can just take the shuttle back down to your car, but either way works.

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