Izaak Walton Inn

Stay at the Izaak Walton Inn and go cross-country skiing in Glacier National Park, MT. Dates Available into March.

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Historical Railroad Chalet in Glacier National Park

In 1939, the Great Northern Railway built a chalet to lodge snow-removal crews working along the railroad in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Now called the Izaak Walton Inn, the property draws visitors from around the world for its location in the park as well as abundant hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing opportunities. But the inn hasn’t neglected its past; railroad-themed décor, vintage train schedules, and restored railcars pay homage to the historical Great Northern Railway. Amtrak and Burlington Northern Railroad trains chug past Izaak Walton Inn each day, sometimes pausing at the nearby Essex stop before journeying into the snow-capped wilderness.

Frommer’s notes that “The inn [is] also a great spot to stay in winter for cross-country skiers,” and that’s because 33 kilometers of cross-country ski trails surround the chalet, with ski instructors on hand to give lessons or guide fledgling skiers along custom routes. Half-day snowshoe tours trek past centuries-old larch trees and over suspension bridges. In warmer months, the meticulously groomed trails thaw and wildflowers bloom for picturesque hiking. Nearby, Flathead River rushes with rapids for whitewater rafting.

With no telephones, televisions, or coffeemakers, guest rooms maintain a peaceful rusticity. Inside Empire Builder rooms, duvets are trimmed in locomotive engineer stripes and emblazoned with the Burlington Northern Railroad’s logo. At the onsite Dining Car restaurant, entrees range from bacon-wrapped buffalo meatloaf to pistachio-crusted sea bass. A heated patio provides a scenic setting in which to sample the inn’s signature huckleberry cobbler.

Essex, Montana: Historical Railroad Town in the “Crown of the Continent”

Nearly equidistant from northwestern Glacier National Park’s eastern and western entrances, Essex began as a tiny town along the Great Northern Railway and has changed little since its humble beginnings. Snow-capped pine trees still surround the remote village, now the only flag stop on Amtrak’s Empire Builder route.

Called the “Crown of the Continent” by naturalist George Bird Grinnell, the surrounding Glacier National Park spans more than a million acres with blue-tinged glacial mountains and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. Weather permitting, the park’s signature red Jammer buses cruise from the inn and into the western entrance via the picturesque Going-to-the-Sun Road, famous for its tight turns tucked along the mountainside. Sights include Lake McDonald and Wild Goose Island, where migratory geese vacation for spring break.

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What You Get

  • Stay for two in an Empire Builder Room; one kid 11 or younger stays free
  • Access to Glacier National Park and over 20 miles of groomed cross country skiing
  • Dates into March 2015

Policies and Fees

  • Reservations: Dates cannot be changed once booked; valid only for night(s) purchased.
  • Cancellation policy: 31-day cancellation notice required prior to check-in or reservation is nonrefundable; reservations made within cancellation window are non-refundable.
  • Rates may vary by date and are subject to availability.

No-shows will be charged total Groupon rate; no refunds, rescheduling, or rebooking allowed. Read the Fine Print for important info on offer details and other restrictions.


  • 20 miles of groomed ski trails
  • Guided ski and snowshoe tours (extra fees may apply)
  • Onsite restaurant and pub
  • Gift shop with railroad memorabilia
  • Hot tub and sauna

The Fine Print

  • Date cannot be changed once booked; valid only for night(s) purchased
  • 31-day cancellation notice required prior to check-in or reservation is non-refundable; reservations made within cancellation window are non-refundable
  • No-shows will be charged total Groupon rate
  • Traveler name must match ID at time of check-in
  • No refunds will be processed by Groupon after check-in
  • Must be 18 or older to check in
  • Credit card required at check-in
  • Not valid with reward points.

Other Details

Room Details

Empire Builder Room

  • One queen bed
  • Standard occupancy: 2
  • Maximum occupancy: 3
  • Adding occupants above standard: $15 per night for a guest 12 or older; kids 11 or younger stay free

Hotel Policies

  • Check in: 3 p.m.
  • Check out: 11 a.m.
  • Parking: free
  • Rollaways: available for no additional charge, call ahead to request
  • Smoking policy: no smoking inside the property
  • Pet policy: pets are not allowed inside the property
  • Accessibility: handicap-accessible rooms are not available.
  • Room upgrades: not available

Getting There

  • Nearest airports: Glacier Park International Airport (FCA; 51 mi) and Missoula International Airport (MSO; 158 mi)
  • Distance from Columbia Falls: about 44 miles
  • By train: Essex flag stop via Amtrak Empire Builder route
  • Shuttle service: available to and from Essex railway stop; call inn to request

Customer Reviews

175 Ratings

Daniel M. · April 20, 2017
Very friendly and helpful staff, nice accommodations, great hot soaking pool, beautiful setting
G S. · January 23, 2017
Very quiet quaint couple get away. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The dining choices are limited, but very good quality. We will go back
Carla B. · December 15, 2016
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