Glacier National Park’s In-Park Transportation

The scenery and wildlife in Glacier National Park provides constant amazement and inspiration, for young and old alike. A fun way to reveal the deeper significance and meanings of the park is to spend time on an interpretive tour.

The famous Red Buses serve as an ideal way to see and learn more about Glacier National Park. In fact, the vintage 1930’s buses are part of the human history and heritage of the park. As much of the park’s scenery is vertically oriented, the roll-back tops are perfect for providing full views of the stunning mountains, and the area’s signature Big Sky. The guides are seasoned park veterans, who are here because they love the park and enjoy sharing the park with visitors.

The 2014 Red Bus tour schedule is listed in the tabs below.

Terms & Conditions

Rates: All rates are quoted in U.S. funds and approved by the National Park Service. Rates listed on the website are subject to change at any time without notice. Our rates are subject to approval by the National Park Service and the new rates are not always established at the time of booking, however your deposit will guarantee your reservation at the rate reserved. Any modifications to your reservation(s) will result in the tour(s) or shuttle(s) being subject to the current applicable rate.

Deposits and Cancellations: Each tour reservation requires full payment at the time of reservation. If you need to cancel your reservation, you must contact us and obtain a cancellation number by 6:00 PM Mountain time at least three days prior to the tour departure date to receive a refund. Reservations cancelled within three days of the tour departure date will result in a forfeiture of your payment.

General Policies: Park entry fees, taxes, surcharge, and gratuity are not included. Prices for all tours include transportation and guide service only. In accordance with D.O.T. regulations, every passenger must be booked a seat. Adults are considered 12 years of age and older. Children are ages 2-11 and infants are under the age of 2. A seat is required for all infants. Due to the historic nature of the buses, car seats are not permitted.

Special Notes: Each bus can accommodate a maximum of 17 passengers plus one driver. We cannot guarantee that all guests in a large group will be on the same bus. Construction delays may occur. **Full tour dependent upon access to Logan Pass Visitor Center. Tours will go rain or shine and if the full tour is not available due to the Going-to-the-Sun Road closures, alternate routes will be provided. Beginning and ending dates are subject to change based on the seasonal opening and closing of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. For current road status updates, we recommend visiting http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.

If you do not have internet access, you may also contact Glacier National Park at 406-888-7800.

Reservations: Red Bus tour reservations can be made through our call center. Please contact us at:

Toll-free within the U.S. 855-SEEGLACIER (855-733-4522)

Outside the U.S. 303.29.PARKS (303.297.2757)

Reservations Hours of Operation

Open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time, Daily. We are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Groups: Private Red Bus tours are available but must be booked in advance through our Sales Department at sales-glacier@xanterra.com.

Private tours are for those wanting a specific route or specific tour time. Private tours are a wonderful option for larger parties because individual tour bookings cannot guarantee that all guests in a large group will be on the same bus.

The below tours originate from various pickup locations on the east side of Glacier National Park. Be sure to bring your Park Pass or park entrance receipt on the tour. There are no physical tickets for the tour, so please check in at the Front Desk or Concierge Desk at the property at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled tour time to ensure on-time departure. Tour duration and return times are approximate and may vary slightly.

Big Sky Circle Tour

The most inclusive tour of Glacier National Park starts with a morning drive over Marias Pass, with wildlife viewing at Goat Lick. After an optional lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge, tour the grand cedar and hemlock forests that lie within the Lake McDonald Valley. Ascend to the high alpine region of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass and down into the St. Mary Valley. Stop at the Wild Goose Island overlook for another incredible photo opportunity. The tour finishes with grand vistas of grassland, prairie and mountains as you arrive back at the Glacier Park Lodge.

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 20, 2014

Duration: 8 Hours

Pickup Locations

Glacier Park Lodge, E. Glacier — Adults: $80; Children: $40
Departs: 9 a.m.
Returns: 5 p.m.


Eastern Alpine Tour

Start the tour on the unique and rugged eastern side of Glacier. Along the way, visit the stunning St. Mary Lake area and historic Rising Sun Motor Inn. Then, travel up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to the Continental Divide and Logan Pass. Take in the infinite splendors and majestic scenery before returning to the flowering valleys and open prairies along the eastern slopes of Glacier National Park.

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 21, 2014

Duration: 2.5-4.5 Hours

Pickup Locations

Many Glacier Hotel — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9:30 a.m.
Returns: 2 p.m.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn – Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9:30 a.m.
Returns: 2 p.m.

St. Mary KOA – Adults: $35; Children: $17.50
Departs: 10:15 a.m.
Returns: 1:30 p.m.

St. Mary Lodge – Adults: $35; Children: $17.50
Departs: 10:30 a.m.
Returns: 1:30 p.m.

Rising Sun Motor Inn – Adults: $30; Children: $15
Departs: 10:45 a.m.
Returns: 1:15 p.m.


Evening Glacier Tour

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 3, 2014

Duration: 2.5-4.5 Hours

An evening spent atop the Continental Divide is one seldom forgotten and always cherished. Enjoy the peace and serenity of Logan Pass, summit of the world renowned Going-to-the-Sun Road, as our Jammers narrate you through the history, geology, flora and fauna which make Glacier National Park one of the last great places to visit.

Pickup Locations

Many Glacier Hotel – Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 3 p.m.
Returns: 7:30 p.m.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn – Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 3:05 p.m.
Returns: 7:30 p.m.

St. Mary KOA – Adults: $35; Children: $17.50
Departs: 3:45 p.m.
Returns: 6:45 p.m.

St. Mary Lodge – Adults: $35; Children: $17.50
Departs: 4 p.m.
Returns: 7 p.m.

Rising Sun Motor Inn – Adults: $30; Children: $15
Departs: 4:15 p.m.
Returns: 6:45 p.m.


East Side Crown of the Continent

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 21, 2014

Duration: 6-8 Hours

The journey starts on the rugged eastern slopes and follows the glacially carved valleys in the St. Mary region. Proceed into the heart of Glacier National Park on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and to the top of the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Continue down the west side of the park and enjoy lunch at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge*, before heading back.

Pickup Locations

Many Glacier Hotel – Adults: $80; Children: $40
Departs: 9 a.m.
Returns: 5 p.m.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn – Adults: $80; Children: $40
Departs: 9:05 a.m.
Returns: 4:55 p.m.

St. Mary KOA – Adults: $65; Children: $32.50
Departs: 9:45 a.m.
Returns: 4:30 p.m.

St. Mary Lodge – Adults: $65; Children: $32.50
Departs: 10 a.m.
Returns: 4:30 p.m.

Rising Sun Motor Inn – Adults: $55; Children: $27.50
Departs: 10:15 a.m.
Returns: 4:15 p.m.

*Please note that lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge is not included in the price of the tour, but there will be time for a break and lunch may be purchased at the property.


Old North Trail Tour

Begins: June 12, 2014; Ends: June 19, 2014

Duration: 6-8 Hours

Your journey begins in the glacially clad Swiftcurrent Valley and continues on through St. Mary and over the Hudson Bay Divide on the 10,000 year old, Old North Trail. Traverse through pristine mountain and prairie vistas on your way to an optional lunch at the historic Glacier Park Lodge Great Northern Dining Room.

After lunch*, experience Glacier’s “secret” Two Medicine Valley with a short optional stroll to Running Eagle Falls and a stop at the historic Two Medicine Camp Store. Return to Many Glacier Valley after a short stop at the picturesque Wild Goose Island overlook on Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Pickup Locations

Many Glacier Hotel — Adults: $60; Children: $30
Departs: 9 a.m.
Returns: 5 p.m.

KOA St. Mary — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9:45 a.m.
Returns: 4:15 p.m.

St. Mary Lodge — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 10 a.m.
Returns: 4 p.m.

*Please note that lunch at Glacier Park Lodge is not included in the price of the tour, but there will be time for a break and lunch may be purchased at the property.

The below tours originate from various pickup locations on the west side of Glacier National Park. Be sure to bring your Park Pass or park entrance receipt on the tour. There are no physical tickets for the tour so please check in at the Front Desk or Concierge Desk at the property at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled tour time to ensure on-time departure. Tour duration and return times are approximate and may vary slightly.

Huckleberry Mountain Tour

Begins: May 25, 2014; Ends: June 19, 2014

Duration: 3.5 Hours

Delve into the great cedar and hemlock forests that lie within the Lake McDonald Valley on your way to Sacred Dancing Cascade. Return past Lake McDonald Lodge for amazing scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities on the tour up Camas Creek Road to the little explored North Fork region of Glacier National Park. Enjoy an easy and optional walk on the Huckleberry Mountain Nature Trail before your return trip through the spectacular burn areas from the fires of 2003.

Pickup Locations

Lake McDonald Lodge — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Returns: 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Village Inn (Guests Only) — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Returns: 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Apgar Transit Center — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Returns: 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

West Glacier KOA — Adults: $40; Children: $20
Departs: 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Returns: 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Please note: Optional walks available on the Trail of the Cedars or Huckleberry Nature Trail.


West Side Crown of the Continent Tour

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 21, 2014

Duration: 8-9.5 Hours

The journey starts in the cedar and hemlock forests of the Lake McDonald Valley. Travel up the Going-to-the-Sun Road along a glacially formed arête to the top of the Crown of the Continent at Logan Pass. Head down through the St. Mary Valley and out to the prairies of Big Sky Country. Continue into the magnificent Swiftcurrent Valley.

Enjoy views of the valley during an optional lunch* at Many Glacier Hotel or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins. Experience an encore vista on your return trip to the west side.

Pickup Locations

West Glacier KOA — Adults: $86; Children: $43
Departs: 8 a.m.
Returns: 5:30 p.m.

Apgar Transit Center — Adults: $83; Children: $41.50
Departs: 8:30 a.m.
Returns: 5:15 p.m.

Village Inn (Guests Only) — Adults: $83; Children: $41.50
Departs: 8:35 a.m.
Returns: 5:15 p.m.

Lake McDonald Lodge — Adults: $80; Children: $40
Departs: 9 a.m.
Returns: 5 p.m.

*Please note that lunch at Many Glacier Hotel or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is not included in the price of the tour, but there will be time for a break and lunch may be purchased at the property.


Western Alpine Tour

Begins: June 20, 2014; Ends: September 27, 2014

Duration: 3-4 Hours

Start the tour in the great cedar and hemlock forests that lie within the Lake McDonald Valley. Traverse the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road to the high alpine region of the park and stand on top of the Continental Divide. Discover incredible mountain ranges, glaciers, waterfalls, and wildflowers along the way as your Red Bus glides along the glacially carved Garden Wall.

Pickup Locations

Apgar Transit Center — Adults: $55; Children: $27.50
Departs: 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.-, 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Returns: 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Village Inn (Guests Only) — Adults: $60; Children: $27.50
Departs: 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Returns: 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Lake McDonald Lodge — Adults: $50; Children: $25
Departs: 10 a.m., 11 a.m.-*, 12 p.m.-*, 3 p.m., 4 p.m.-*
Returns: 1 p.m., 2 p.m.-*, 3 p.m.-*, 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.-*

*Please note: These departures are only available July 1 through  September 3. Also: 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October 19, 2014.


Evening Discovery Tour

Begins: July 1, 2014; Ends: September 3, 2014

Duration: 4-5 Hours

This leisurely tour is for those who want to experience a beautiful and romantic mountain afternoon atop the Going-to-the-Sun Road. As the sun begins its slow descent behind Glacier National Park’s famous Rocky Mountains, it is the optimal time to view some of Glacier’s most reclusive wildlife, a truly unforgettable experience in one of Montana’s historic Red Buses.

Pickup Locations

Apgar Transit Center — Adults: $55; Children: $27.50
Departs: 4 p.m.
Returns: 9 p.m.

Village Inn (Guests Only) — Adults: $55; Children: $27.50
Departs: 4 p.m.
Returns: 9 p.m.

Lake McDonald Lodge — Adults: $50; Children: $25
Departs: 4:30 p.m.
Returns: 8:30 p.m.


Mountain Majesty Tour

Begins: July 1, 2014; Ends: September 21, 2014

Duration: 6-7.5 Hours

Start the tour in the Lake McDonald Valley, one of the few Montana rain forests. Then traverse along side the glacially carved valley while touring on the Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass. After a stop at the Continental Divide, head down into the cirques of the St. Mary Valley with an optional lunch or dinner* at Rising Sun’s Two Dog Flats Grill.

Pickup Locations

West Glacier KOA — Adults: $63; Children: $31.50
Departs: 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-*
Returns: 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Apgar Transit Center — Adults: $60; Children: $30
Departs: 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.-*
Returns: 3:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Village Inn (Guests Only) — Adults: $55; Children: $27.50
Departs: 9:05 a.m. and 1:35 p.m.-*
Returns: 3:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Lake McDonald Lodge — Adults: $60; Children: $30
Departs: 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.-*
Returns: 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

*Please note: Afternoon departures for the 2014 season are not available after September 3.

**Please note that lunch or dinner at Two Dog Flats Grill at Rising Sun Motor Inn is not included in the price of the tour, but there will be time and meals may be purchased at the property.

If you choose to be without a car or traveling by train, the following shuttle options will help in your planning. These are not interpretive tours or red buses.

Many Glacier Hiker’s Shuttle operated by Xanterra

Xanterra operates a fee-based hiker’s shuttle between the St. Mary Visitor Center and Many Glacier Hotel/Swiftcurrent Motor Inn July 1 through Labor Day. This hiker’s shuttle connects visitors to the National Park Service (NPS) free Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle system. For more information on the NPS shuttle system, please visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm.

Xanterra’s hiker’s shuttle service must be booked in advance as there are a limited number of seats available; see below for shuttle schedule and rates. Please contact us at 855-SEEGLACIER (855-733-4522).

Shuttle operates: July 1 through Labor Day, 2014

DEPARTS FROM
DESTINATION
DEPARTURE TIME
PRICE
Many Glacier HotelSwiftcurrent Motor Inn
St. Mary Visitor Center
7:30 a.m.
9 a.m.
4:45 p.m.
Adult $10Child $5
St. Mary Visitor Center
Many Glacier HotelSwiftcurrent Motor Inn
8:15 a.m.10 a.m.5:30 p.m.
Adult $10Child $5

Approximately 45-50 minute drive from Many Glacier/SwiftCurrent Motor Inn and Cabins to St. Mary Visitor Center.

Times may vary depending on the free National Park Service Hiker Shuttle.

***Shuttle times are tentative. Shuttle prices are subject to change.***

WEST SIDE Shuttle operated by Xanterra

This shuttle provides passenger and luggage transportation between the West Glacier Train Station and both the Lake McDonald Lodge and the Village Inn in Apgar. This shuttle does not stop at any campgrounds. Shuttle service must be booked in advance as there are a limited number of seats available. See below for shuttle schedule and rates. Please contact us at 855-SEEGLACIER (855-733-4522).

Shuttle operates: May 24 to Sept. 28, 2014

DEPARTS FROM
DESTINATION
DEPARTURE TIME
PRICE
Lake McDonald Lodge
West Glacier Train Station
7:30 a.m.7:30 p.m.
Adult $10Child $5
Village Inn
West Glacier Train Station
7:50 a.m.7:50 p.m.
Adult $6Child $3
West Glacier Train Station
Lake McDonald Lodge
8:20 a.m.8:30 p.m.
Adult $10Child $5

 

West Glacier Train Station
Village Inn
8:20 a.m.8:30 p.m.
Adult $6Child $3

Approximately 30 minute drive to the train station.
Prices are per person one way.

Shuttle must be booked in advance.

Times may vary depending on the Amtrak Empire Builder train status.

Guests can call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL. Train shuttle is from West Glacier Train Station only.

***Shuttle times are tentative. Shuttle prices are subject to change.***

100 years of service

Roe Emery (1875-1953) was one of two principles behind the creation of Glacier’s iconic Red Buses. Emery and Walter White, a vice president of the Cleveland-based White Motor Company, which built the Red Buses, introduced transportation to the park in 1914.

Many in the current fleet of Red Buses have been in service since the mid-1930s. The Red Buses were the first authorized motor transportation utility in any National Park.

In 1936, with park reservations up more than 70 percent above 1935 levels, 18 new buses joined the fleet. The purchase was made from the White Motor Company for a price of $90,000.00.

The new motor coaches were made to seat 14 passengers. The buses featued outside doors opposite each row of seats. A special feature included with this model was a roll-back top providing unobstructed sightseeing. This design was made by Count Alexis de Sakhoffsky, an industrial stylist in cooperation with officials of the White Motor Company and the Bender Body Company. The Red Buses have an oak, not metal, frame which support their bodies.

Here are some fast facts about the iconic Red Buses:

  • The color of the Red Buses comes from the Ripe Mountain Ash Berry in Glacier N.P.
  • The Red Buses run on gasoline and propane, which is 93% cleaner.
  • The first transportation in Glacier was by means of four horse coaches of 11 passenger capacity.
  • The Red Buses of Glacier were made by the White Motor Company and are Model 706.
  • The Going-to-the-Sun road was first opened on July 15th, 1933
  • Most of the roads on the East side of Glacier N.P. were built by the Great Northern Railroad.
  • There were over 500 White Model 706’s made for different national parks in the US
  • During the early years of touring, women were discouraged from riding in front because they distracted the male drivers.
  • The drivers are called “Jammers” because they could be heard “Jamming” the gears of the red buses going up Going-to-the-Sun Road when the buses had standard transmissions.
  • The Red Buses originally cost $5000 each back in 1936.
  • The first official “Jammer Manual” was put together by George Ruhle, a Naturalist at Glacier N.P.
  • No tours were offered in Glacier between 1943 and 1946 due to fuel rationing caused by the second World War.
  • The first female Red Bus driver in Glacier was in the early 1980’s.
  • The Red Buses received their first automatic transmissions in 1989.
  • The Red Buses of Glacier are nicknamed “The Rubies of the Rockies”
  • From 1914 through the 1970’s all Red Bus drivers were college-aged men, mostly in Pre-Law or Pre-Med
  • On the bottom of the grill of the Red Buses, you can still see the area were the crank start used to be.
  • Of the 33 buses on the road today, 17 are from 1936, 11 are from 1937, 4 are from 1938 and 1 is from 1939.
  • The bus numbers represent the order in which they arrived in the park. For example, bus number 97 was the 97th vehicle to be put into service in Glacier.
  • In 2006, a Red Bus from Glacier National Park, was featured in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.
  • In 2008, a Red Bus was shipped out to Washington, D.C., to transport the Secretary of the Interior to the kick-off of the National Park Service’s 2016 100th Anniversary Celebration.
  • The Red Buses, on average, transport 60,000 tourist each summer through Glacier N.P.
  • The first Transportation Manager in Glacier was A.K. Holmes in 1914.
  • In addition to touring guests around Glacier, the buses have also served as evacuation vehicles in times of fire or flooding.
  • Ford Motor Company donated over $6 Million to restore 33 buses to keep them in operation.
  • 2011 marked the 75th anniversary of the 1936 buses giving tours in Glacier National Park.
  • The Model 706 White Buses are the third generation of touring buses in Glacier National Park.
  • The fleet of 33 buses in Glacier are widely considered to be the oldest touring fleet of vehicles anywhere in the world.
  • Each red bus is estimated to be worth $250,000.