Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

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Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby southerngirl » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:04 pm

My husband and I will be arriving in Glacier on Friday, June 24 (woop, woop! :arrow: ). This will be our 9th trip to the park, but our first time to fly into Spokane. What would be the best route to take? We would like the most direct route possible, since we will already have spent about 10 hours traveling (by car and air) upon our arrival in Spokane around noon. Being able to take in some nice scenery along the way would be nice, but we don't plan to take a sight-seeing tour at that point in time. Our main objective will be to get to the park as quickly and safely as possible. GPS will get me there, but there's no substitute for good human wisdom and experience.
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby PeteE » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:11 pm

The most direct way is I-90E to the US93N junction just west of Missoula.
Then north to Kalispell, etc.

If you feel more energetic, I go I-90E to St Regis.
MT135 to MT200 near Paradise
MT200 to Plains where you pick up MT28
MT28 to US93 at Elmo on Flathead Lake.
US93 on into Kalispell etc.

That route is not hard to follow. Most of the people I know go this way. The "towns" mentioned are "tiny".
You get lost, you probably shouldn't go hiking alone. 8)

DaveParker probably can tell you what's faster. I don't believe you lose that much time going the scenic route in this case.
I'm not a fast driver but I think the speed limit is 70 on a lot of that route.

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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby Pizza Bob » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:49 pm

The "best" way to travel from Spokane to West Glacier is in a sleeper on Amtrak. You get a good night's
sleep in a bed, a shower if you desire, and a hot cooked breakfast in the dining car. Board at midnight
in Spokane and arrive into West Glacier at 8:15 am.

But if you insist on driving, the route Pete outlined is probably the best. It is 4.5 hours driving. St. Regis
is about halfway which is good for a stop and cup of coffee. You then proceed along the Clark Fork river
through the aptly named Paradise valley (always beautiful). It is summertime and the authorities
enforce their lower speed limits so slow down through the small towns.
You can always earn more money, but you can't earn more time
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby southerngirl » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:49 am

Thanks, guys, for the info. I think we will take the St. Regis route. AmTrak sounds wonderful, but we are already committed to renting a car in Spokane and have room reservations for Friday night in West Glacier. That is definitely something to consider for next year, though. Happy trails to you :D
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby llholmes1948 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:56 pm

I will second Bob's suggestion about taking the train. the scenery in the morning at sunrise as you approach Whitefish is just wonderful. Unfortunately the train times at Spokane are not very convenient but you can't have everything.

If you happen to stay in Spokane for the night after your arrival or before your departure, the Airport Ramada is within walking distance of the airport. So if you are arriving late at night, you can walk to the hotel and walk back to the airport the next morning to rent your car and save a day's rental and you can turn in your car the night before your departing flight. The hotel also has a great breakfast buffet.

Hope you have a great trip and hope you post a report of your trip.

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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby PeteE » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:51 pm

You REALLY don't want to drive US 93 thru Kalispell on a Friday---trust me on that, especially after my experience today.
Took me 10minutes to go just from the community college to Reserve Ave(Home Depot).
That's NUTS!!
I would suggest you consider the following route around Kalispell-Whitefish.

After you pass through Somers on the north end of Flathead Lake, you will come down a hill to a traffic light and intersection with MT 82
Take a right on MT82(East)
Shortly after crossing the river you will intersect MT35. Go LEFT, North on MT35.
MT35 will take you to MT206 in Creston. Traffic light and big intersection at gas station/store.
Turn RIGHT on MT206. There will be signs for Glacier National Park. The road is 60mph and straight as a string most of the way. No traffic lights
MT206 will take you to US2 in Columbia Heights where you will be 15 minutes from West Glacier.
All good road, speed limit is 60-70mph. And nice scenery to boot.
It'll be hands down better than driving through Kalispell.
It's easy to follow. Check it out on Google Maps

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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby daveparker » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:06 pm

The one that is killing me these days is trying to go from 93 to Hwy 2 on Reserve, man, talk about bad traffic, it is like 3 miles from 93 to 2 and it takes almost an hour! These days!
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby dpratt » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:37 am

daveparker wrote:The one that is killing me these days is trying to go from 93 to Hwy 2 on Reserve, man, talk about bad traffic, it is like 3 miles from 93 to 2 and it takes almost an hour! These days!


A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to Replay Sports via Farm-to-Market and Reserve. I couldn't believe it when Reserve eastbound traffic was backed up at the Whitefish Stage intersection all the way past Applied Materials. I felt like I was back in Illinois traffic. Very glad that I don't to venture down there very often.
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby scott-atl » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:29 pm

Yikes. Crowded park, bad traffic in Kalispel. Glad we're not coming back till mid September.
First week June was great.
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby dpratt » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:01 am

scott-atl wrote:Glad we're not coming back till mid September.


Good call. September and October are arguably the best times of the year.

Luckily I live and commute outside of the Valley proper, so don't experience the traffic too often.
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Re: Best route from Spokane to West Glacier

Postby PeteE » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:57 am

dpratt wrote:
daveparker wrote:The one that is killing me these days is trying to go from 93 to Hwy 2 on Reserve, man, talk about bad traffic, it is like 3 miles from 93 to 2 and it takes almost an hour! These days!


A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to Replay Sports via Farm-to-Market and Reserve. I couldn't believe it when Reserve eastbound traffic was backed up at the Whitefish Stage intersection all the way past Applied Materials. I felt like I was back in Illinois traffic. Very glad that I don't to venture down there very often.


One day last week, I just turned right on Reserve at that light by the river behind Home Depot.
It was backed up almost down to the bridge!!!!!!! :shock:
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