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  1. Default Seattle - Glacier - Yellowstone

    Yayyy! Finally I found this site - so perfect for someone like me who loves roadtrips in the USA!

    Im about to start planning my next roadtrip, this time my boyfriend and I want to fly to Seattle and then drive to Glacier and Yellowstone. Im not sure what time we should go, but we will use 2 - 2 1/5 weeks on this trip.

    Any tips for when to go, what to see, where to stay etc will be much appreciated!
    Thanks from Norway :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some First Thoughts and Tips

    Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Both Glacier and Yellowstone have surprisingly short seasons with Glacier typically opening up its full array of sites in late May or early June (and starting to close by early September), and Yellowstone being 'open' roughly early April to November. Timing is critical, as if you wait too long into the summer, the parks, especially Yellowstone, become very crowded and some of their charm and beauty gets lost in the traffic jams and packed full campsites and other accommodations. If you can stand some chilly nights, and I suspect you can, I'd suggest you aim for late May to Early June and hit Yellowstone first.

    Now, there are also a number of other spots that you can easily include in this trip by making a loop out of Seattle to Yellowstone, then Glacier and back to Seattle, so let me give you just one possibility for such a loop. Start by heading down to Portland, Oregon visiting Mount Ranier and Mount St. Helens on the way, then work your way up the Columbia River Gorge to round Hermiston. Take I-84 to the Snake River Valley, the Thousand Springs, Bruneau Canyon, etc. and I-86 to Pocatello. Cut across into Wyoming on US-26/US-189/US-191 up through Grand Tetons National Park and then Yellowstone. Take US-287 north from Yellowstone to I-90 and I-15 north to US-267 or US-89 up to the east entrance to Glacier near Browning. Cross through the park on US-2, the aptly named Going to the Sun Road, and stay on that through northwestern Montana and northern Idaho. Visit Coeur d'Alene and the Palouse area of western Washington before completing the drive back to Seattle.

    If you come early enough, reservations should not be a problem, but the longer you wait the more necessary they become and by mid-June you will have to be in possession of hard reservations that you should already be looking into for the main parks.


  3. Default

    Thank you so much for feedback AZBuck. I dont want to make a loop however, I think I will have more time in the parks if I dont.

    Ive done some more planning and figured mid-August probably is a nice time to visit the parks too?!

    This is my schedule for the time being. I found out that 3 weeks probably is needed...
    Any thoughts will be very appreciated!

    Day 1: Leaving Norway
    Day 2: Arriving Seattle. Drive a little north of the city.
    Day 3: Highway 2 (Boeing-tour at Everett - Leavenworth) heading east
    Day 4: Continue on Hghw 2 to Whitefish. Trying out their zip-lanes. spending night here?
    Day 5: Entering Glacier NP. spending night in the western part of park.
    Day 6: Glacier NP. spending night in western part of park.
    Day 7: Glacier NP. spending night in eastern part of park.
    Day 8: Glacier NP. spending night in eastern part of park.
    Day 9: Glacier - Bison Range. spending night in Polson?
    Day 10: Arriving Yellowstone. spending night in northern part of park.
    Day 11: Yellowstone. spending night in northern part of park.
    Day 12: Yellowstone. spending night in southern part of park.
    Day 13: Yellowstone. spending night in southern part of park.
    Day 14: Yellowstone to Grand Teton. spending night in Teton.
    Day 15: Grand Teton. spending night in Teton.
    Day 16: Grand Tetton - Devils Tower (north of Sundance). night ?
    Day 17: Deadwood - Mt. Rushmoore - Crazy Horse. night ?
    Day 18: Bear country. night ?
    Day 19: Leaving Rapid City
    Day 20: Arriving Norway

    Any thoughts on my route, timing, stops I have missed or something I should leave out?
    Especially small towns or other stops we should see/visit - I would love feedback on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Relaxed pace, busy time.

    It is refreshing to see a trip where you are prepared to spend a lot of time in fewer places to enable you to explore them in more depth rather than the normal of rushing on to the next place. [Of which I am also guilty of doing.]

    Now that you have set down the foundation of your trip you should continue to research and see what else appeals to you. The forums and other RTA pages [such as the 'Map centre' and 'Routes'] in the tool bars above hold a wealth of info on other possibilities.

    Two things I would consider are, what time your flight is due to land [rush hour ?] and whether it would be better to stay your first night in an airport Hotel and let your body clocks adjust and rest after the long flight. It could work in your favor and give you an early start next morning. More importantly, August is going to have the parks heaving with people as Buck noted earlier and by waiting until the end of August into September should see less visitors. The later in September you travel the less crowds and could possibly mean better rates on flights and lodging costs which could be a factor, but of course the later you travel the higher risk of seeing colder weather and even snow.

    Me, I prefer to face the elements than I do the crowds, but it is for you to decide what works for you.

  5. Default

    Thanks Southwest Dave. Ive done both myself as well - taken the time needed to explore certain parts, but also rushed through sights way to fast due to our schedule. But usually I think Ipretty good in finding the perfect mix :))

    Yes, I would like to avoid the heaviest summerrush of visitors, but at the same time Im worried that early snow possible could shut down going to the sun road etc. Im thinking leaving mid to late august, depending on what time were able to get airlinetickets and my spouse free from work.

    Im most unsure of where to stop and what to see between Seattle and Glacier and the most convinient route from Grand Teton to see Deadwood - Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse and Bear Country before heading home.

    Also, am I doing a huge mistake by not including Seattle at all...??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you want the experience of a drive through animal park, rather than going with the uber-touristy Bear Country theme park (and I don't think that would be worth a full day regardless), I'd focus on Custer State park. That's basically a real drive through animal park, where you'll see countless wild animals - including Bison, wild mules, and more - actually in their natural habitat.

    I'd also say if you're going to head out to SD, then I'd try to work in some time at the Badlands.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the input Midwest Michael!
    Driving to SD was an impulse last night, but I figured I wont come around that area for a while so it would be nice to include Black Hills. Maybe we could drop Bear Country and do Custer state park instead. Do you think Deadwood is worth a couple of hours visit or no?

  8. Default

    Theres been a few changes in the trip since I last wrote, the most important is that were flying home from Denver. But were also arriving SEA (around 8 pm) and I wonder if we should try to beat our jetlag and drive north of the city at this time instead of waiting until next morning which I suspect will be crowded during rush-hours?! Any tips?

    What not to miss along hgw 2 is also highly appreciated, as well as highlights between Yellowstone and Glacier + between Grand Teton and Denver. I love taking photos (totally happily amatour though) so any photogenic stops are right up my alley... :)

    Our trip looks like this:
    (nights in national parks prebooked, the rest I thought we decide when we get there as we yet dont know where were gonna stay for the nights)

    day 1. Arriving Seattle 8 pm
    day 2. Touring Boeing/Everett. Hgw 2
    day 3 Hgw 2
    day 4 Hgw 2 - Glacier.
    day 5. Glacier
    day 6. Glacier
    day 7. Glacier
    day 8. Leaving Glacier heading south towards Yellowstone
    day 9. Arriving Yellowstone
    day 10. Yellowstone
    day 11. Yellowstone
    day 12. Yellowstone
    day 13. Yellowstone
    day 14. Yellowstone
    day 15. Yellowstone - Grand Teton
    day 16. Grand Teton
    day 17. Grand Teton heading towards Denver
    day 18. Arriving Denver in the evening. Spending night at airport hotel
    day 19. Departure early in the morning

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default time management

    I'd say the last thing you'd want to do after about 20 hours of traveling (including flighs plus security and connection times), and having 9 hours of time change is to try to do more on top of that. Frankly, I can't see how you'd be in any condition at all to be driving at that point. Remember, your body is going to be thinking that it is 5am at the point you touch down.

    By the time you get through customs and get your car it is going to be pushing 10pm. I'd strongly recommend staying right near the airport, and I'd make your day 2 plans very easy. You might even choose to spend most of the day exploring Seattle just so you can ease into things.

    I'll also say, I actually think you're going at too slow of a pace for much of the rest of your trip. You're spending 10 days at Yellowstone and Tetons, which is more than half of your trip. They're great places, and you'll be able to fill up your time, but if I was going to be flying in from Norway, personally, I'd like to see more than 3 places! I think you could easily still fit in the badlands like you'd mentioned before, or you could certainly spend a few days in Utah and Colorado, checking out places like Arches, Rocky Mountain NP, and more.

  10. Default

    Thank you for your input Michael.
    yes, Ive been thinking a lot about that first night and I guess were going to decide on the spot. Sometimes were tired and sometimes not. If were feeling up for it were driving just north of town, otherwise well find a place to stay near the airport. But it sure would be nice to avoid the morning-rush :)

    I also agree its kind of a low pace on this trip, but I figure were not likely to go back to those part of the country in the nearest future - so I would like to take my time in this beautiful area and make the most of it this roadtrip. Im into taking photos and I think there will be plenty of things to shoot at this trip and my hubby probably will do some hiking.

    If this was our first trip to the US I probably would like to cover as much of the country as possible - but because we love doing this Im pretty sure we will return for new adventures on the road not too long after this trip :))

    Another thing - I havent booked a car yet, but will tomorrow. I guess a midsize is okay? Not too small so its uncomfortable, yet not too big to drive going-to-the-sun etc...?

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