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  1. Default Northwest Roadtrip 2008!!!

    Hello all. My friend and I have been talking about a roadtrip out west for the past few years, and this summer we are finally going to do it. Here's the plan: we want to see the best places in the Northwest in all its glory. We hope to spend at least 30 days backpacking, and we are planning on 2 months total (June 1st - August 1st). We could potentially go longer, as we don't go back to college till the beginning of September. The major states we want to hit are Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and Colorado. We have been doing early planning for the past two months, and here's the first draft of our trip.

    I'm starting this forum to get some early ideas, and will ask more detailed questions as the months pass to find the best hikes, best stops, etc. I've been a lurker here awhile and I know all of you are full of insight and have many more years of experience than we do (will be turning 21 on the road), so anything you can contribute will be appreciated.

    As you can see, some key places we want to go are Bob Marshall Wilderness, Glacier, North Cascades, Mt. Rainer Natl Park, Yellowstone, Wind River Range, Grand Tetons, and Rocky Mountain National Park. However, our goal is to find very solitary places. Any early suggestions to our planned route will be great (such as is early June too early for Glacier? How much snow will there be? etc.) Any links would be great, and I have Delorme Topo Software and my friend has Garmin Topo software which we hope will come in handy. So let me know what you think, if there are any must-sees along the way, or just share some past experiences about a similar trip.

    Thanks so much.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-03-2007 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Solitude

    Welcome! Glad you decided to join us!

    I'm one of the 'resident experts' of Washington, so don't let my location of Tempe, AZ fool you... I spent 13 of the greatest years of my life in the North Cascades and it is still home to me.

    With that, I have one recommendation for solitude: Stehekin, Chelan County, Washington. You'd have to dip south a bit from Washington Highway 20 to Chelan, but that's not even the half of it. Stehekin is the definition of solitude... 50 miles or so up Lake Chelan from the City of Chelan (2nd largest city in Chelan County) and it is ONLY accessible by Ferry, High-Speed Catamaran, Airplane, or hiking. Let's just say the just recently got local phone service, and it's still being installed to homes. However, I can say that it is a real treat. Either a day or a weekend, it's a great place to see and well worth the ferry ride.

    I'll have more suggestions later!

  3. Default

    that sounds like a really cool place, i feel like even with 2 months we wont see everything we want to. thanks


  4. Default

    Sounds like a great trip you have planned and I have spent the last couple months traveling in this area. While in Montana I would recommend going to the Cirque of the Towers area a little south of Pinedale. I just left there yesterday and took a great 12 mile roundtrip hike from the Big Sandy campground to the Big Sandy Lake. The only downside for you here might be the amount of people that frequent this area in the summer as it is a pretty popular destination for climbers. My brother and I had the whole place to ourselves which was great, but we were also sleeping in about 15 degree temps at night as the elevation of the campground is above 9100'. After being in almost every national park in the west, Yellowstone was the unanimous favorite. If you have never been there it is like being on another planet and the diversity of the experience is unmatched. We took an 11 mile roundtrip hike to Shoshone lake which is the largest backcountry lake in Yellowstone and there is a backcountry campsite about 5 miles in on the dogshead trail. If you have any other questions just let me know. If you appreciate a little solitude, considering the timing of your trip in what is probably the peak traveling time I would suggest hitting any big name areas in the middle of the week to try and avoid the crowds. Yosemite's incredible beauty was kind of ruined for me trying to fight through the crowds on an August weekend. Good luck!

  5. #5


    Sounds like a great trip! As to June being too early for Glacier - although the full length of the "Going to the Sun Road" usually opens between late May & early June, some years it is later. Quoting from the Glacier National park website "The latest opening of the entire Sun Road, on record, was July 10, 1943, when the road was allowed to melt out. In recent years, the latest opening of Logan Pass occurred on June 28, 2002, after a record eight feet of snow fell between May 22 and June 10. The earliest Logan Pass opening to motorized traffic occurred on May 16, 1987."

    You can check the current status at Road Status. They also usually post photos of the process of opening the road on their website during May & June. The archives from the last couple of years are at Glacier Photo Archives.

    You are visiting some of the most beautiful parts of the country - make sure you leave plenty of time to discover off the track locations. By the way, if you have a Garmin handheld GPS you might want to pick up their National Parks West 24K Topo Map. You can check what it covers at their website - it includes many trails throughout the West.

  6. Default

    hey thanks alot, all great information, i know we still have a long way to go before we get a good route down, what we have is just our first of many drafts. i think that soon we will be making another one. although we are making a route its not like were going to do everything that is on it we just want to have alot of options and i want to keep it that way because really who knows what we are going to want to do once we get their. i think thats the best part. keeping things open.


  7. Default

    alright everyone me and my buddy have a little problem see we know that on out trip we want to do alot of camping and hikeing in montana and colorado and we probably wont have enough time to do everything we want to do we had an idea to skip washington, i suggested that maybe we could just go to seattle for 2 days or so just to see the city. i personally think that reaching the west coast coming from the east coast would be the ultimate. let me know what you think...


  8. #8


    My wife & I have made many cross country trips on the US "Red" roads (non-interstates) , and we have found new & unforgetable places to visit each time. There are so many wonderful places to see that it is impossible to hit all of them. We preferred to spend more time at each stop rather than short "look & run" stops that gave you a great headcount without really seeing anything. I do remember the feeling of going from coast to coast the first time - kinda neat!

    Seattle is a great city to visit - be sure to tour the old underground part of the city & if you have the time check out the San Juan Islands.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default North WA Coast

    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find another place that is as isolated. So, no, you can't skip Washington!

    All these hikes are great and, for the most part, quite a bit of privacy/seclusion. Especially Central Wilderness Beach, North Wilderness Beach, and Shi Shi Beach. Access roads are very limited and it's not unusual for hikers to go quite a few miles without seeing others. Some precautions are needed. You must have good maps, tide-tables, and bear cans. The tide-tables is key as you can drown if you are caught in certain places with incoming tides. These places are well-marked on any good hiking map. Impassable stretches of beach are well-marked as well with overland trails available.

    I really can't imagine too many places left in this country that provide such a pristine, remote, wild, and remote experience.

  10. Default

    Hello all. About a month back I posted this thread regarding my roadtrip out West. Well we've solidified our route a bit, as you can see here.

    Ignore the numbers on the route, those were for road planning only. We have 2 months on the road, and our goal is to take 2-4 day backpacking trips and daytrips in some of the most beautiful, isolated places in the west. Here is a big list of all the places that will be accessible on our trip. We need input on what should be on the list (including specific hikes in the best areas), and what should be taken off. Isolation and scenery are key here, except in the super crowded National Parks. Also, if there are any areas that aren't on the list, please add them.

    We will not rush any part of the trip, and don't mind going out of the way for good pay offs. If we don't make it all the way to Denver, then so be it. Anyways, here's the list (not in order of route):


    Glacier National Park
    Whitefish range (Whitefish Lake SP)
    Bob Marshall Wilderness (Flathead National Forest – Lewis and Clark National Forest – Lolo National Forest – Swan Range)
    Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest
    Clearwater State Forest
    Mission Range (Placid Lake SP - Flathead SP - Salmon Lake SP)
    Pioneer Mountains
    Anaconda Range
    Sapphire Mountains
    Tobacco Root Mountains
    Cabinet Mountains (Logan State park)
    Absaroka Range
    Gallatin Range – Gallatin National Forest


    Yellowstone National
    Absaroka Range
    Shoshone National Forest
    Grand Teton National Park
    Wind Rriver Range
    Bridger-Teton National Forest
    Gros Ventre Range
    Wyoming Range
    Commisary Ridge
    Salt River Range


    Medicine Bow Mountains
    Elkhead Mountains
    Rocky Mountain National Park
    Park Range
    Routt National Forest
    Arapaho National Forest
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-19-2007 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Preferred link format

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