By Lori Derauf
Ever hear the phrase “It’s not the destination but the journey”?
In this case it’s both.
Our family vacation a few summers ago involved taking the train from the Wisconsin Dells to West Glacier in Montana. Although you can book sleeper compartments, we thought it would be good family bonding to book standard seats for the 27+ hour ride (each way). The seats were similar in size to First Class seats on aircraft, had plenty of leg room, a footrest and charging ports. We packed a cooler and ate most of our meals from it but occasionally went to the dining car and found the food to be decent and at a reasonable price. We brought along a deck of cards and most times were able to snag a table in the observation car.
The train stops at East and West Glacier before crossing over into Washington. I had arranged for a rental car to be dropped off at the station in West Glacier. In just a few minutes of arriving we were on our way.
We stayed at the Village Inn at Apgar, an old national park motel with no AC and very uncomfortable beds. You cannot beat this location, though, as its on the edge of Lake Macdonald. The little village of Apgar is adjacent to the inn where you’ll find a few shops, a couple of restaurants and a place to rent kayaks and paddle boards. Book accommodations a year in advance if you plan to stay at a national park hotel, especially true for this motel as its very small.
During our week we hiked several trails, went horseback riding, whitewater rafting, took the Going to the Sun road to East Glacier, drove into Whitefish to shop and got our fill of Huckleberry everything!
All in all, it was a good experience but if I were to take this journey again, I would consider booking a sleeper compartment on the train, which also includes meals.