Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

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Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

Postby lizzyt » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:46 pm

Hi all!!
My plan is to fly to Spokane and drive to GNP. Which route is best to get there? Looking at the map, it looks like 2 would be a better road but 200 is marked as the scenic route. Has anyone driven either of these roads and which would be a better choice? Thanks once again for any input.
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Re: Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

Postby Straight Arrow » Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:20 pm

Here is a route I like to take....
Take Highway 2 from Spokane to Newport, WA and continue on to Sandpoint, ID. Then take Highway 200 east, going around Lake Pend Oreille, through Hope and Clark Fork, ID. Once into the state of Montana a few miles turn north on Highway 56 (Bull Lake Road), which will take you into the heart of the Cabinet Mountains in western Montana. After 35 miles you will join up again with Highway 2. Turn right and go east on Highway 2 and travel along the Kootenai Fork River and into Libby, MT and then into Kalispell and up to the West Glacier/Apgar entrance to the Park. Stay on Highway 2 if you are traveling on to East Glacier and Two Medicine area. This route I outlined is very scenic and quite enjoyable, in my opinion.

This route will take a bit longer of drive time, but I prefer it over the I-90/St. Regis/Plains/Elmo/Kalispell route. It's only about an hour quicker to go I-90 and St. Regis, but not near as scenic, in my opinion. I understand if time is a concern and very tight then by all means take the quicker route. But if you can spare an extra hour then go down Bull Lake Road. You won't regret it. The entire way is all paved and you can travel normal highway speeds (i.e. no gravel roads) on all the highways between Kalispell, Libby, Bull Lake, Sandpoint, Newport, and Spokane.

Have fun, enjoy the views and be travel safely!!
The worst bankrupt is the person who has lost his enthusiasm.
.-.
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Re: Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

Postby brindledog » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:13 am

We did this trip in 2007. Took the Sandpoint route described above from Spokane to Kalispell, then another way back, based on the advice from someone in Kalispell. The way back was faster and (I thought) very beautiful. I think I still have the map that used - it has the route outlined that we were advised to take back. I'll look and share it if I have it.

Are you going both ways? If so, I'd take one route each way.
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Re: Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

Postby mattB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:40 pm

I've driven that trip a lot and I usually go through Sandpoint and Libby. But I like both routes and I like the scenery on both routes.
I think if I was coming from the Spokane airport I would stay on I-90 east bound to Post Falls Idaho and then take Highway 41 north to Rathdrum, then highway 53 or 54 east to Highway 95. This will let you avoid hassling with driving through downtown Spokane, and will also let you avoid the congestion in Cour' delain where you leave I-90 to head north on 95.
The drive along the north end of Lake Pend Oreille, and up along Bull Lake is very nice. But I also like the St Regis, Elmo, Kalispell drive. If you're flying in and out of Spokane I'd take one route each way.
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Re: Best Route from Spokane to Kalispell

Postby brindledog » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:24 pm

Found my map!

From Spokane to Kalispell, we took the Libby (Hwy 2) route.

From Kalispell to Spokane, we took 93-S to 28 to 200 to 135 to 90. (So reverse that if you're coming from Spokane to K'spell.)

My notes say that the Hwy 2 route took 4 1/2 hours and was "lots of stop and go." Notes say the way back (93/28/200/135/90) was "beautiful" and took under 4 hours.

SO, I say again, if you are going both ways, take both routes.
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