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  1. Default RV trip from NY to Glacier Nat'l Park, Yellowstone and Colorado Rockies

    This is our first road trip in a 40' RV. Starting with the northern route through the Dakotas to Glacier and down to Yellowstone and coming south through Utah national parks into Colorado, I'm looking for input from members as to any potential problems driving an RV of this size across the Rockies with a driver that has some significant fear of heights. We'd like to visit Rocky Mountian Nat'l Park, Colorado Springs, Pike's Peak and take a ride on the Durango - Silverton Narrow Guage RR and fit Mesa Verde Nat'l Park into the mix. I'm struggling with planning a safe through route and wonder if staying put in one spot, say Colorado Springs, and taking daytrips would be more practical. Focusing mainly on the Colorado segment but if anyone thinks there might be a problem with the rest of the route, I'd welcome your thoughts.

  2. Default

    you will have some trouble with a 40' rig, a lot of the national park roads have sharp curves and limits on size. You will be fine on the Interstates but both Glacier and Yellowstone and roads to these places will not be enjoyable for you. Likewise RMNP has several hairpin curves, check out the maps on google satellite, you can see the sharp bends.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You will need to check it out.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Hmm, first trip in a 40ft RV over mountains with a fear of heights. That's quite a challenge ! It's always tough to give advice on fear of heights as there are so many different levels of 'fear'. I would suggest going to where you will find detailed info on each park, including lenght restrictions and advisories. There will certainly be roads that are off-limits or you just don't fancy travelling, but it shouldn't stop you having a great time.

    For example, you might not want to tackle the Trail Ridge Road through RMNP, but around the Bear Lake area [Morraine campground] you should be fine and have plenty of hikes and lake/mountain views to enjoy. You'll need to take the Pikes Peak railway to the top, but even that might not suit your fear of heights !

    Is the rig yours or are you renting ? Will you have a tow vehicle ? If you are renting could you not opt for a smaller class 'C' RV ? With a 40 ft unit you might find that some of the NP campgrounds might not have sites suitable. If they do they are likely to be limited in number and book out very early, especially in the peak season.

    I usually travel in a 30ft RV but actually enjoy the more 'challenging' roads. Scroll down the page in this link. The beginning of the video in this thread gives a glimpse of the Trail ridge road'.

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    Thanks for the wonderful video. It really puts things into perspective. Husband's comment: "Oh God, no guardrails." We own the rv used for wintering down south and will tow a Jeep Rangler. Only reservations to date is at Yellowstone - Fishing Bridge. Any recommendations as to best approach into Yellowstone coming from Glacier? At least I think that's the route to date. Hope to set out late July or early August. I assume staying outside of the parks and doing day trips would be best for us. And we really have to be concerned about tunnel since we are 12'8" tall.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Easier with the Jeep 'following'.

    Yes we felt like 'ducking' as we entered the tunnels and hogged the middle of it as much as possible. These were at the Colorado National Monument rim drive though, and not on main routes. The good thing is that as you are towing the Jeep so you can set up a base and explore at will. As I mentioned, Morraine park in RMNP is fine and then you can take the Jeep to explore. Bear Lake road has great Trails and is a very easy drive, especially in the Jeep. There are Lot's of RV parks just off the main highways either in, or close by to the parks, but they will be busy in Peak season and you might want to consider booking in advance. [?]

    Mesa Verde has a campground that is easily accessable and that could be a base to drive out to Durango from. You could drive the San Juan Skyway in the Jeep from there, headin up to Telluride and Ridgway and back down US550 through Ouray and Silverton where the section of road is known as the 'Million Dollar Highway'.

    Near Colorado Springs [Manitou Springs] there is the Garden of the Gods RV park that we found pleasant and nearby is 'Garden of the Gods,' [Surprise surprise !] 'Cave of the Winds', Pikes Peak, Cliff dwellings museum and much more to visit !

    So personally I would look at setting down in an area for a couple of days or so to explore nearby attractions and move on to the next area.

    Sorry, I can't help with Yellowstone roads but I'm sure someone will 'chime' in.

    If you have any further questions as your plans unfold, don't hesitate to ask !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Oak Park, Illinois, United States


    I don't remember Yellowstone having any winding roads or narrow ones with blind curves like you see in Rocky Mountain National Park. I don't recall any steep climbs either. I do know the NPS gave back some areas to nature and the old road was removed and is now a hiking trail. There was some bad erosion that was the reason for the changes.

    The tour I took in 2007 stopped at a waterfall below the new road way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I think your best bet from Glacier to Yellowstone, assuming you will be on the west side, is US-2 to Kalispell, US-93 to Missoula, then I-90 to MT-85 to US-191 to West Yellowstone. Ask the ranger at the entrance station for the recommended large RV route from there.

    If you are on the east side of Glacier, I don't know what would be best with that rig to get you down to I-90.

    I would definitely try to "stay put" as much as possible with the RV and make maximum use of your "toad". What you may really like to do in RMNP is camp on the east side, take the Jeep up the Old Fall River Road (single lane, gravel, one way) up to the visitor's center up top, explore the west side of the park, then return to camp on Trail Ridge Road.

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    Yes, I think we'll try to stay put as much as possible and explore by Jeep.

    We are coming into Glacier from the East from North Dakota. Good Sam has rounted us via US 2 to US 89, US 287, I-15, US 12, to I-90 then US 89 to enter Yellowstone in the north. I could easily change to your recommended route MT-85 and US191 to enter on the west. Staying at Fishing Bridge in the park near Yellowstone Lake which is kind of the middle of the park. Not sure which approach would be better.

    I'm finding lots of Mountain Directory Advisory notations throughout the Rockies. Do you think your route might be better? Do you recommend getting a copy of the Directory? Seen some scary videos on the internet - scary to me and I'm not the one with fear of heights. Thanks for your input.

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