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Edge up to Glacier National Park at Izaak Walton Inn

click to enlarge Izaak Walton Inn
  • Izaak Walton Inn

How often do you have the chance to sleep in an authentic railcar? The Izaak Walton Inn on the edge of Glacier National Park near Essex, Montana, is awash in railroad history, from its 1930s lodge to genuine cabooses and a locomotive outfitted for overnight guests.

Once considered "modern in every detail," the Izaak Walton Inn opened in 1939 as lodging for railroad workers. As a National Historic Landmark, very little of the interior and exterior have changed, caught in a time warp that means no cell service, televisions, telephones, elevators or air conditioning. You can connect to Wi-Fi in the Flagstop Bar.

On a rise overlooking the train tracks and the Inn, cabooses painted red, orange, green and blue sleep four and are outfitted with a kitchenette and bathroom. Three luxury cabooses have a bit more space, including a full kitchen and gas fireplace. The GN 441 locomotive is a sleek diesel, just like those that once rolled past the Izaak Walton Inn. Big enough for two couples or a small family, the locomotive boasts a reclaimed oak floor and antique furniture. Simple rooms are available in the Inn, and several log cabins offer full kitchens, separate bedrooms and lofts.

Winter is one of the best times to visit the Izaak Walton Inn. Summer crowds are gone and a snowy hush underscores the fact that you're on the edge of 1 million acres of pristine forest land. Thirty-three kilometers of cross country and hiking trails fan out from the hotel and equipment is available to rent. Cabins, cabooses and rooms at the inn range from $109 to $450; a two-night minimum usually is required., 406-888-5700

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