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Western Explorer - Independent Rail Tour

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Overview

Spend 4 exciting days on the Empire Builder Train travelling through the spectacular Glacier National Park. Start your journey by seeing the sights of Chicago and when you return from Glacier National Park, spend the last couple of days exploring Seattle. Experience some beautiful scenery from parks, Lake Michigan, Puget Sound, and the pristine moutain wilderness of Emerald City.

Details

Day 1 Chicago

Welcome to the vibrant and bustling city of Chicago clinging to the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Home to skyscrapers, lakefront beaches, and restaurants reflecting its regional food specialties, magnificent shopping and unique architecture that epitomizes the spirit of the city.

Day 2 Chicago

A four hour tour of the city shows you the North and South Side business and residential districts for stunning architecture and fascinating history. During this tour you will visit all of the beautiful parks including Lincoln Park, Washington Park and Grant Park. See virtually the entire length of the scenic Outer Drive along Lake Michigan. Stops will be made at the fascinating Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Museum Campus, known for its breathtaking view.

Day 3 Depart Chicago on Empire Builder Train

Depart this afternoon on Amtrak’s “Empire Builder” heading westward for the Great Plains and Big Sky Country. Travelling daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail, the mighty Empire Builder takes you on an exciting adventure through dramatic wilderness, following the footsteps of early pioneers. This is one of the most majestic routes on the US rail system and today you’ll have magnificent views of the Mississippi and see the glowing night skyline of Minneapolis and St. Paul.   

Day 4 Arrive Glacier National Park

Awake this morning in the state of North Dakota as the train passes Rugby the geographical centre of the United States. Travelling through an area where Sitting Bull and the Sioux Nation lived we cross into Montana passing Wolf Point, home of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. At Cut Bank we get our first view of the Rockies, then passing Browning, headquarters of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, we finally arrive at Glacier National Park and the famous Glacier Park Lodge, home for the next two nights. The lodge, located in close proximity to the National Park, has a western theme and you’ll be amazed at the huge Douglas fir pillars that are over 40 feet high and 40 inches in diameter forming a support in the distinguished lobby.                                                                                                                   

Day 5 Glacier National Park

Included today is a full day tour of this magnificent park with the itinerary due to the seasonality of the tours either Old North Trail Tour or International Peace Park Tour.  Final tour will be confirmed at the time of the booking.

Old North Trail Tour: This morning drive over Marias Pass, with wildlife viewing at Goat Lick and a stop at the historic Izaak Walton Inn. 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 your hotel. 

International Peace Park Tour: Begin your morning on the Old North Trail, one of the oldest highways in the world. See unparalleled views as you wind along Montana plains and peaks. Visit the incredible Many Glacier Valley along the way to Waterton Lakes National Park and the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. Arrive just in time for the optional Afternoon Tea served in the lobby, overlooking the Waterton Valley with views looking back into Montana. Return along the base of Chief Mountain, the spiritual landmark of the Blackfeet Indians. A Passport is required for this tour.

Day 6 Depart Glacier National Park on Empire Builder Train

Most of the day to relax and enjoy the scenery and then this evening re-join the Empire Builder train and spend the night continuing westward.

Day 7 Arrive Seattle

Early this morning travel the Cascade Mountains via the 7.8 mile Cascade Tunnel bored under Stevens Pass and then approach the coast for approximately 30 miles beside Puget Sound. Then crossing the Salmon Bay Inlet come to Seattle named the “Emerald City” for its famed access to a pristine mountain wilderness.

Day 8 Seattle

With some of the World’s most stunning wilderness and waterways surrounding Seattle, it is amazing how much wildness survives within the city limits! This morning’s tour is fun, educational and informative as it leads you around the city following the “Emerald Necklace” of city parks, woodlands, neighborhoods, locks, college campuses and shorelines. You will have the opportunity to spot Pacific Northwest birds and wildlife, including expert interpretation of local and natural history, culture, geology, urban ecosystems. Take in the historical Pioneer Square area of old Seattle, learn of the Great Seattle Fire, the Klondike Gold Rush and hear the history of the Space Needle, Smith Tower, Pike Place Market, catch a glimpse of the Olympic Sculpture Park, a nine-acre open and vibrant green space for art! Enjoy morning tea while taking in the iconic views of the city at Kerry Park. Next drive along Magnolia bluff spying stunning homes and the majestic Pacific Madrones on the way to the 534-acre Discovery Park, the largest park in Seattle! The site is one of breathtaking majesty overlooking Puget Sound and offering spectacular views of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. Enjoy an optional nature walk at the park to view some of the local flora, fauna, wildlife, and birds. While in Fremont we make a sweet stop at the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the USA and sample confectionary.

Day 9 Seattle

Your tour ends today as you take your flight home.

Day 10 Arrive home

What's Included

  • Private Meet & Greet and Arrival Transfer in Chicago
  • All Amtrak Rail transportation, hotel accommodation and taxes. Note: Overnight comfortable reclining seats with pillows provided between Chicago & Glacier National Park and Glacier National Park & Seattle (Sleeping car accommodation with included meals can be provided subject to supplementary cost and availability)
  • Chicago  - Tour of the city
  • Seattle - Tour of the city
  • Glacier National Park - Full Day Tour

The weather information shown below refers to the first stop on the tour, call us and speak to one of our travel experts for the most up-to-date forecasts and weather details for your tour.

TODAY 19ºC
SUN 19ºC
MON 19ºC
TUE 23ºC
WED 26ºC
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)
1ºC
4ºC
10ºC
17ºC
22ºC
26ºC
29ºC
28ºC
25ºC
18ºC
10ºC
3ºC
1
1
2
2
4
3
4
4
2
3
2
1

Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)

Jan
1ºC
1
Feb
4ºC
1
Mar
10ºC
2
Apr
17ºC
2
May
22ºC
4
Jun
26ºC
3
Jul
29ºC
4
Aug
28ºC
4
Sep
25ºC
2
Oct
18ºC
3
Nov
10ºC
2
Dec
3ºC
1

Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday.

01342 3317989am - 9pm Mon - Sun

Business & First Class01342 310 587

Brendan White

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