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The Best of the West

Departing June 26 - July 9,
July 24 - August 6
August 21 - September 3 &
September 10 - 23, 2011



A Place Touched by Magic wrote the Great Northern Railroad about Glacier National Park in 1937. Truer words were never written. Consistently Glacier National Park is among the highlights of the entire holiday with our guests, year after year. With towering peaks, rushing rivers, emerald forests and the epic Going to the Sun Highway, Glacier Park ranks among the most stunning of all National Parks. Our guests enjoy a traditional visit, arriving by train at the great Glacier Park Lodge on the Eastern end of the Park for an overnight stay before a glorious day of travel, across the Continental Divide by red open-air 'jammer' bus. We make a loop through the park traveling down the west slope to alpine Lake McDonald. There is no finer start to 'The Best of the West' than a full day in Glacier National Park.

The evening of July 19,1805, was a hot one in the wilderness that would later become Montana. On the Missouri River, not far from present day Helena, the hardy members of the Lewis and Clark expedition toiled to move upstream. Rock embankments made towing from shore impossible, and the deep channel forced the men to row rather than pole their boats forward.

Suddenly, there loomed before them towering rock formations unlike any they had ever seen. From both sides of the river, limestone cliffs rose to a spectacular height of 1200 feet. "In many places," wrote Meriwether Lewis, "the rocks seem ready to tumble on us." At each bend in the waterway, great stone walls seemed to block passage, only to open like gentle giant gates as the expedition drew near. In his journal, Meriwether wrote: "I shall call this place: "GATES OF THE MOUNTAINS".

The name stuck, and for nearly two centuries travelers have ventured down this stretch of the Missouri to marvel at its natural wonders. Today, most visitors enjoy the beauty of the Gates of the Mountains from aboard tour boats.

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