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Cellular Coverage In Glacier Natl Park

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by t6821hn, May 10, 2007.

  1. t6821hn

    t6821hn Junior Member
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    Does anyone have an updated report of cellular coverage in Glacier Natl Park and surrounding areas?

    I'll be travelling to the regions of Kalispell, West Glacier and Going-to-the-Sun road and was just curious about the extent of cell service.

    I'm guessing that there's no service inside the park but that's to be expected.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

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    When I was up there last September with a Sprint phone (showing native service but using the Alltel network), I had perfect service in Kalispell. The phone worked in West Glacier and got a bar or two of signal at Apgar Village. The signal was strong enough for me to use inside the cabin we were in, but probably just barely. A mile or two beyond Apgar, there wasn't any signal at all. As I recall, I couldn't even get a usable signal at the top of the Going to the Sun Road.
     
  3. mezzedup

    mezzedup New Member

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    I actually live in Kalispell and have both Verizon Wireless and Alltel service. You'll have good coverage in Kalispell with both.(In Kalispell you should get a decent GSM signal off of Chinook Wireless). West Glacier with both will be average call quality, depending on area. In the park, it is hit or miss, and you'll want a CDMA phone because I don't think there is any, or very little GSM service up that way. Depending on what part of the park your in, you may not have coverage for a very good stretch of the road. The only decent coverage is around Lake McDonald, and that area. For most of the Going to the Sun Road there is no service, or it will show no bars, and you can try and call out, but it will be fuzzy and disconnect. The phone model does help in these fringe areas I noticed, as my Motorola E815 got a much better signal than an Audiovox 8910, and a LG ax245 that I tried. Have a fun trip!
     
  4. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    I would also assume a Wilson Car Antenna to make a huge difference in this area. I just traveled to a rural area with two E815 phones, one connected to the wilson car antenna, one without and the phone connected to the Wilson Antenna had coverage for stretches of 20+miles where the other E815 showed No Service.
     
  5. t6821hn

    t6821hn Junior Member
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    Just an update on cellular coverage at Glacier National Park. Verizon coverage was better than I had expected. Nice coverage in Kalispell to West Glacier. I had coverage inside the park from the entrance to Avalanche Creek. Lost signal along the way but for the most part there was a usable signal. Made a cell call at Avanlanche Creek but had to use satellite at Avalanche Lake.

    There was no GSM signal anywhere so my Vertu phone became a clock. Surprising Verizon had a signal from the 49 split on the 89 to St. Mary. Many Glacier territory had no signal other than satellite.

    Verizon had no coverage for many parts of the Grand Tetons highway (189) leading to/from Yellowstone. Verizon was pretty good in Yellowstone. GSM is only available at Old Faithful.

    Next trip will be Denali National Park, a revisit from the climbing of McKinley in 1995. Planning to
    take it easy this time.

    A special thank you to all who posted on this thread.
     
  6. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Thanks for that update.
    Coverage in the Grand Tetons can be a challenge. All carriers(at least last time I was there) drop coverage outside of Jackson, Wyoming and then coverage does not come back until you hit Yellowstone where some areas have coverage.
    GSM only at Old Faithful? Wow. CDMA rocks in Yellowstone, especially ALLTEL.
     
  7. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

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    I live in Jackson. Cell coverage along some of the highways in Grand Teton National Park is good, although there are some areas (primarily north of Jackson Lake) where there is no service to be found. There is a cell tower on top of Signal Mountain that helps. I know Union and Sprint have towers on Signal Mountain, I'm not sure about Verizon and Edge, although I would assume they do. Generally, you will have decent service on most of the Inner Park Road from Moose up to Signal Mountain, and most of the outer park road between Moose and the Moran Junction. North of the Moran Junction clear up to Yellowstone, things get much sketchier, although there is some service around Jackson Lake. I've used GSM and CDMA phones since I moved here, and the above applies to both. There is service at Jackson Lake Lodge. Service can be sketchy at Jenny Lake. It's even sketchier at Colter Bay. Signal Mountain Lodge is in the shadow of Signal Mountain, so even though there are towers on top of the mountain, there is no service at the lodge.

    Inside Yellowstone, there are essentially five pockets of service: One from West Yellowstone, one in Grant Village, one in Old Faithful, one around Canyon Village from Mt. Washburn, and one in Mammoth Hot Springs / Gardiner. Service from these towers never connects; you won't have to worry about hand-offs.

    West Yellowstone: Service from this area gets you roughly 5 miles into the park along the highway. Verizon and Alltel both have service in West.

    Grant Village: Union (GSM) and Alltel (GSM and CDMA) have the towers here. CDMA roaming (native-looking Sprint from Alltel) is available. This tower gives you coverage on the majority of Lake Yellowstone, although not at Lake Village.

    Old Faithful: Same as Grant, Union (GSM) and Alltel (GSM and CDMA) have the towers here, with CDMA roaming. This tower doesn't seem to cover too much territory, although coverage is strong in the Old Faithful area. There is no native Verizon service.

    Mt. Washburn: Verizon and Alltel operate the tower here. Last time I was in the area (last weekend), no GSM roaming was available. This tower is on the top of a mountain so it gives spotty coverage over a fairly large portion of the park, including unspectacular coverage in Canyon Village.

    Mammoth Hot Springs / Gardiner: Alltel and Verizon have service here. Chinook probably will eventually, they might already. GSM and CDMA are both available. Coverage doesn't go much beyond Mammoth Hot Springs area and only goes a mile or two down the road toward Tower/Roosevelt.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    What an excellent report of coverage....wow!!! Thank YOu!
    As I am reading this, a lot of my own observations and memories of my two Yellowstone trips are coming back. :D
    I have had great luck connecting to the West Yellowstone VZW and ALLTEL towers, even a little further than 5 miles into the park. I was amazed at how far the signal traveled into the park.
    When I was at Yellowstone in 2004 or 2005(can't remember) the Verizon sites at Mammoth Hot Springs and Mt. Washburn were VERY powerful and I was amazed at how far the signal traveled- when I was at Yellowstone last October the Verizon signals from Mammoth and Mt. Washburn were very, very weak. At the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" and the Upper and Lower Falls, where on my earlier trip I had excellent VZW service, I now had next to nothing, calls would drop and my phone would jump over to full bars on ALLTEL. In Mammoth Hot Springs, the Verizon site there was really bad too- coverage was much, much worse whereas before I had full bars...do You use Verizon? Have you experienced similar issues?
    In Mammoth last October, I was not able to pick up a CDMA ALLTEL signal(I have an all digital phone). Has that changed?
    I believe EDGE Wireless does have a cell site on Signal Mountain; not sure about VZW.
    ~Andy
     
  9. t6821hn

    t6821hn Junior Member
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    I use Verizon service and on my recent trip (late May) I was able to place and receive calls with no problems at Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Upper Falls, and Lower Falls. Had a long conversation at Artist Point. All voice calls were digital.

    The coverage was spotty or nothing from Lake Village to West Thumb/Grant Village.

    I did notice that GSM was available on Signal Mountain although I didn't attempt a call. The only place that I used my GSM phone was at Old Faithful.

    The previous contributor is correct in stating that coverage north of Jackson lake is spotty or nonexistent. For example, I had to use satellite at Colter Bay Marina and beyond (north).

    Andy, do you have any experience at Denali National Park? How's the coverage there if any? Thanks.
     
  10. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Interesting about your findings at Yellowstone. Were those calls you made on the Verizon network or roaming on ALLTEL?

    I have no experiences at Denali NP, but if you get any information about Denali or any other places you visit, please post it as it is always useful for someone!!!!!

    Andy
     
  11. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    You know I am thinking about going to Denali
     
  12. t6821hn

    t6821hn Junior Member
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    Thinking back, I believe I was roaming on Alltel as my roaming indicator was flashing. It is hard to tell with my phone but I think a solid indicator means "outside of home area" and a flashing one indicates roaming.

    I will be visiting Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias in late August, early September. I plan to drive the Denali Highway and McCarthy Road. It will be an adventure to say the least. I believe I will roam on Cellular One or use satellite if no cellular exists.

    I'll report when I get back.
     
  13. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

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    I'm sorry I'm so late in responding to this ...

    My Yellowstone experience comes from a Sprint phone and an Edge Wireless phone. I'm almost positive that the Sprint phone picked up native-looking Sprint service from the Alltel tower in Gardiner / Mammoth, but I can't remember for sure. I know for sure that I've used Sprint Vision in Grant, Old Faithful, and Canyon Village.

    It is interesting that there is no GSM off the Mt. Washburn tower. GSM service is available from all of the other towers in the park. You have your choice of Alltel or Union GSM in Grant and Old Faithful.

    Regarding Colter Bay village, I used my Sprint phone there last summer, with no more than one bar of signal. I was not able to get any signal there with my Edge phone this summer, although I think that has more to do with the particular phone that I have (HP iPAQ 6945) than Edge. The iPAQ 6945 is packed with features but, either due to the phone itself or the GSM network, does not get coverage in places that my Treo 650 did. In one case, both phones were roaming on Alltel in Billings, Montana, in the basement of a building downtown ... the CDMA Treo had one bar (usable) and the GSM HP had none. Grrrrr.

    I have been curious why Verizon has coverage across all of Wyoming except in southern Yellowstone. Alltel / CellOne (WW) and Union had the old cellular licenses ... somehow Verizon / CommNet got shut out of that area a long time ago and hasn't recovered.
     
  14. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Great report- thanks for that. I can't wait till I visit Yellowstone again...hopefully next summer!

    Regarding Verizon not having any native service in some parts- well that is because Verizon does not have a license, at least no cellular license in some parts because ALLTEL and Union like you mentioned, own the Cellular licenses. No idea if Verizon got the license taken away because they did not built out a network or what.
     

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