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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default 3 weeks Vancouver - Seattle - Yellowstone - Banff - Jasper - Glacier

    Hi all.

    We're about 2 months away from flying into Vancouver and roadtripping the great Northwest region of US and Canada.

    It will be just my wife & I and a hire car (Pontiac G6) from Vancouver Airport.

    We've got 3 weeks 2 days starting 24th May. I understand this will be just before the peak holiday season. We're trying to keep our itinerary as 'open' as possible but with summer holidays this may not be possible.

    My main concern will be the Seattle to Yellowstone leg. There's a whole open stretch over 2 days of driving that we're a bit unsure about.

    If it helps the rough circuit is here:

    Our plans are looking a little like this so far:

    D1 Vancouver
    D2 Vancouver Island
    D3 La Push
    D4 Seattle
    D5 ?? (drive towards Yellowstone)
    D6 Yellowstone
    D7 Yellowstone
    D8 Yellowstone
    D9 ?? (drive towards Banff)
    D10 Banff
    D11 Banff
    D12 Banff
    D13 Lake Louise
    D14 Lake Moraine
    D15 Icefields Parkway / Jasper
    D16 Jasper
    D17 Jasper
    D18 Glacier NP (Canada)
    D19 Glacier NP
    D20 - 23 ?? (make our way back towards Vancouver / extra time spent in some of the places above)


    Our hope is that if we want to stay a day longer in a few places, then we will have 3 days up our sleeve to spread out across the trip.

    I will continue to peruse other posts with similar locations to make sure we don't miss anything we shouldn't between Seattle to Yellowstone NP.

    If there's any 'must dos' on the way I would happy to hear.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Matt
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-16-2011 at 05:35 AM. Reason: Added Map, Clarified "Glacier" NP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a pretty good plan, but if there is one addition that would make perfect sense, it would be to add the US Glacier National Park (in Northern Montana).

    If you ask most people in the US about Glacier National Park, they probably won't know that there is also a completely different park with the same name in Canada. Adding to the confusion is that Glacier NP in the US actually does extend across the Canadian Border (as an International Peace Park), where it is named Waterton Lakes NP.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks Michael, I'm so glad you were able to clarify our route in regard to Glacier NP. We were getting the two confused and have now changed our route to go through Glacier NP (MT). After Yellowstone (incl visiting Bozeman, maybe Great Falls) we're now going to double back to Missoula and head north through Kalispell and spend a few days in this amazing national park, before rejoining our original route at Browning (MT).

    I just hope we're not missing too much by making a bee line from Seattle to Yellowstone in 2 days! If we have an extra day it would be nice to see more of Idaho (or Oregon) on the way to Yellowstone.

    Thanks again for clarifying.

    Matt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Can anyone recommend a route from Seattle to Yellowstone NP?

    I thought we could do it in 2 days (with an o'night stop at Spokane) but then realised the drive from Spokane to Yellowstone is going to be 8-10 hours.... This sounds a killer drive to me!

    So my question is should we do it in 2 days, or spread it over 2.5 days and stay a 2nd night on route between Seattle - Yellowstone somewhere (Missoula maybe?).

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    2 days is no problem - it's 800 miles via I-90 and US-191 or US-89. Missoula is a good overnight - you can make that from Seattle in about 8 hours. Easy drive - Interstate all the way. The second day is going to be real easy - less than 6 hours. That will give you time to see a little and get settled.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Nice one glc - thanks for the tip there. We were going to spend a bit of time at Snoqualmie (Twin Peaks) along the way, also at Roslyn as my wife was a big Northern Exposure fan!

    It could still be pushing it to get out of Seattle and make the 8 hour drive when we're stopping a few times but at least you've given me a route & time frame to consider.

    Much appreciated.

    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Well, if you get past Spokane there are a few options between there and Missoula. Coeur d'Alene is about 30 minutes out of Spokane and has a good selection of hotels. Then, there's Kellogg, Wallace, St. Regis, Superior, and Alberton - with very limited selections. Coeur d'Alene to West Yellowstone can be done in 8 hours, that may be your best bet. It's also a very picturesque city.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    OK so it's more looking like this now (with some amendments thanks to the posters above):



    D1 Vancouver
    D2 Vancouver Island
    D3 Vancouver Island
    D4 Forks / La Push
    D5 Seattle (Spare Day)
    D6 Seattle / Snoqualmie
    D7 Post Falls
    D8 Yellowstone
    D9 Yellowstone
    D10 Yellowstone
    D11 Missoula
    D12 Columbia Falls (Glacier NP)
    D13 Columbia Falls (Glacier NP)
    D14 Banff
    D15 Banff
    D16 Lake Louise
    D17 Jasper
    D18 Jasper
    D19 Jasper
    D20 Jasper (Spare Day)
    D21 Kelowna
    D22 Osoyoos
    D23 Vancouver
    D24 Depart Vancouver

    There's a few spare days thrown in just in case there is a delay or break down that causes the whole itinerary to get out of whack.

    We're starting to book some stuff now as we're finding that places are booking out already! Unfortunately as soon as you start confirming bookings, you create yourself an 'anchor point' in your road trip that is not flexible so it makes it hard to say "lets spend another night here".

    The way I see it you have a choice of not being locked in by a strict itinerary, but risking availability finding a bed for the night. Or playing it safe & booking as much accom. as you you can to prevent a potential nightmare of driving for 8 hours to get somewhere then trying to find a hotel after dark (and avoiding the scenario ' the only room left is the presidential suite sir....that will be $450 thank you!'

    Do most of you guys plan every night by pre-booking hotels?

    Thanks

    Matt
    Last edited by mattyd; 03-24-2011 at 10:49 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Have never not been able to find a bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyd View Post
    Do most of you guys plan every night by pre-booking hotels?
    No way!!

    Agreed you will need to book at Yellowstone, and maybe Banff and Jasper, but for the rest, where you are travelling, you should be able to find a clean bed without booking way ahead. Perhaps you'd like to call up a day or so in advance, when you know where you are going to be. But I would not 'anchor' myself on such a trip.... you never know where the mood will take you.

    Lifey in Melbourne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks to a lot of useful advice and experience from Lifey, we've now amended our route to go south of Seattle and see a lot more of southern Washington & Idaho on the way to Yellowstone.

    Rather than looking at it as an express trip from Seattle to Yellowstone, this is going to open up a whole new series of spectacular locations that will get us off a straight highway from A-B.

    Based on the experience of others, we're now a lot more relaxed about not booking every step of the way. Rather take the path that takes your fancy on the day. Don't lock yourself in each night and don't plan your route too strictly.

    This will make for a lot more enjoyable experience.

    Thanks again for your input everyone.

    Matt


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