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  1. Default 3 weeks in Tetons/Yellowstone/Banff/Glacier

    We are planning an almost 3 week trip for this August and would like to go to Yellowstone/Tetons/Banff/Glacier coming from the Kansas City area. We will be camping with our little ones (4,2 and 1). They have all been camping since they were 2-3 months so that is not an issue. We just wanted to get some tips on how many nights we should stay in each National Park? Should we really try to squeeze in all 4 parks or is there one that you would skip to spend longer in another one? And overall any suggestions you have on things to do, best tent campsites (we prefer to stay away from lots of RV's)...we like to go on day hikes with the kids, fishing, see animals, get away and enjoy nature and anything preschool/toddler friendly?


    Here is our tenative schedule:

    August 6th - Travel to Tetons

    August 7th - 9th - Grand Tetons National Park (3 days)

    August 9th- 12th - Yellowstone National Park (4 days)

    August 12th - Travel to Hardy Creek, MT or another location halfway to Banff National Park

    August 12th - 17th - Banff National Park (6 days)

    August 17th - 20th - Glacier National Park (4 days)

    August 20th - 25th Glacier National Park to Home (5 days)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default solid start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a pretty awesome looking trip, and I love that you've been taking your kids camping from the very beginning.

    A couple little things that caught my attention. First, I'm hoping you're planning at least 2 days to get from KC to the Tetons, that's a 1000 mile drive and certainly shouldn't be done in day.

    The other, thing that struck me as at least interesting is the decision to go past Glacier into Canada, and then hit it on the way back from Banff. What's your reasoning for that?

    I would suggest that you also add in some parks for your return trip. You could head through Teddy Roosevelt in ND or the Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore/Badlands of SD.

    For specific Campgrounds, the Tetons does not take Reservations, so you are going to have to see what is available when you arrive. For Yellowstone, I would recommend making reservations. I really enjoyed Canyon, and I've heard good things about Madison - both being pretty centrally located. I would skip Bridge Bay if you an avoid it, as many of the sites are basically in a big field with very little privacy. I haven't been to Banff, and it's been just too long since I've been to Glacier to remember which Campgrounds to recommend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Let's Start With Day One

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sorry, but no, you are not going to be able to drive over a thousand miles in a single day to get from KC to the Tetons. That is a two day drive minimum, especially with three very little ones. You should plan to make several stops during the drive and to stay overnight somewhere in western Nebraska, say around Big Springs, before continuing on the next day to the Tetons. Otherwise, your itinerary and timing seems to be just fine. I might send a bit more time in Yellowstone and in Canada, and a bit less in the Tetons but that's me.

    A couple of other general recommendations. Your younger children are probably still a bit too small to get anything out of it, but you should sign up your oldest for the Junior Ranger Program at every national park and monument that you come to. Also you should look at a completely different route to get home. I'd suggest that you take the Trans-Canada Highway west from Banff to BC-93 south through Yoho and Kootenay National Parks to US-93 and then take US-2 eastbound through Glacier. At Great Falls MT, take US-87/MT-200/MT-500/US-12 to join I-94 (briefly) at Forsyth MT. At Miles City take MT-59/US-212 to head for the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Caves and Badlands National Park. From there, I-90/I-29 will take you home.


  4. Default

    Thanks for your suggestions! I meant to say August 5-7th for traveling to Tetons. :) First night in Tetons on the 7th. We have learned we can only spend about 5-6 hours a day in the car before we all go crazy! :)

    Thanks for your suggestions on campsites and things to do we will look into those. That is a huge help.

    We were thinking of going to Glacier NP in Canada. Do you think it would be better to hit the one in the US or CN? Probably can't do both.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Quote Originally Posted by campingfamily View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions! I meant to say August 5-7th for traveling to Tetons. :) First night in Tetons on the 7th. We have learned we can only spend about 5-6 hours a day in the car before we all go crazy! :)
    I'm glad you planned it that way, for your sake. Like you, we raised our kids camping, and driving in the car. But as crazy as we were, 1000 miles in a car for one day was not something we'd do on purpose with kids!

    We were thinking of going to Glacier NP in Canada. Do you think it would be better to hit the one in the US or CN? Probably can't do both.
    The Canadian sister park to the US's Glacier NP is actually Waterton Lakes NP. I've never been there, so I couldn't say, and it's been a long time since I've been in the US's Glacier Park. Canada's Glacier Park is up further north in British Columbia, west of Lake Louise by at least 75 miles. I haven't been there either. Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper (especially the Icefields Parkway) are gorgeous! We went to those on the way south during an all-summer trip up to Alaska. We drove over to Yoho NP, but did not go further west. BTW, at one time, Lake Louise area had a beautiful campground and trailer park. The trailer park was separate from the tent camping area. We were in a 5W, but we peeked into the tent campground and thought it pretty. The amenities were the same on both sides, with access to decent restrooms and showers.

    My husband and I have a philosophy that if it's labeled a national park (in either country), it's worth seeing sometime. Only you will be able to decide if it's worth going to see in a specific vacation.

    Make sure you have your passports handy!


  6. #6


    For the Tetons, there is an 800 number you can call the day you plan to arrive. It'll give you a recording telling you what time each campground filled the previous day. That saves the hassle of stopping at various campgrounds only to find they're full. I don't have the number off-hand, but I'm sure it's either on the Nat'l Parks website or Google-able. Jenny Lake is tents-only (but fills early). We tent-camped in Signal Mountain CG and loved it. There are RVS, but most of the sites are large enough to allow for some privacy.

    Sounds like a great trip to me! :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Good plan

    Sounds cool; be sure to post some tips about your trip as soon as you return, I can use them.

    My trip starts shortly after you get home:

    Grand Teton three nights
    Yellowstone three nights
    Banff three nights
    Jasper three nights
    Vancouver four nights

    with some stuff between home and Grand Teton and more stuff between Vancouver and home.

    I applaud you for devoting at least three days to each locale; too many people (myself included) try to hit too many places and end up only spending one or two nights... that would be a shame in these parks.

    Glacier is much larger than Waterton Lakes, and is probably the best place to squat for an extended period. You can, if you're staying on the East side of Glacier (Many Glacier?) hit Waterton as a day trip; from the western side it's a longer haul over Going-to-the-Sun highway (which you MUST do at some point).

    Your kids may be too young to enjoy this, but Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is an interesting look at pre-horse hunting techniques of Native Americans; on the way between Banff and Glacier.

    For State Capitols, Helena is one of my favorites. The downtown area (Last Chance Gulch) has some nice old buildings, and (I hope still) a few decent restaurants. The capital building is interesting, and has some huge murals and the odd Remington statue. The other town worth a look is Butte, which has an interesting mining museum and a huge hole in the ground (The Berkeley Pit, which despite it's name was NOT named after my apartment in college), an abandoned open pit copper mine. If you have the time and inclination for ghost towns, check out Bannock, west of Dillon.

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