Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default Idaho>Montana>Canada National Parks - 12 Days

    Hi All, I am starting to plan my summer 2015 National Park road trip to help me continue on my quest to see all of the US National Parks. We will be going most likely last week of July and first week of August. I am debating either renting a travel trailer or alternating camping/hotel stays on the trip. I believe that each would offer benefits but any thoughts let me know.

    Generally prefer off the beaten path types of activities and hiking but open to suggestions. We will not be stopping at Yellowstone since we spent a week there last summer.

    Route: Boise to Grand Tetons NP, Grand Tetons to Glacier NP, Glacier to Banff NP, Banff to Nez Perce Historical Park, Nez Perce to Stanley, ID (Open to McCall area mostly want to relax and enjoy the lake in the summer)

    Help Needed:
    1. Recommendations on time spent in each park?
    2. Places to stay?
    3. Top things to do within each park?
    4. Key side trips/road side attractions? Hells Canyon?
    5. Any other awesome ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    There is a lot to say about both RV and motel/car ways to travel. Usually, RV is a choice of a lifestyle rather than a way to save money. By the time you rent the rig, pay for the other fees involved and then the actual fuel that you will use (more than a car), the motel is usually cheaper. Here is a thread debating the two travel means. I am curious, though, about two things. It is difficult to find a place that rents a travel trailer, so where are you planning to rent from? Also, do you already own a suitable tow vehicle?

    Now, on to your other questions:

    1. Recommendations on time spent in each park?
    Grand Tetons - a day is fine unless you plan to do some hiking, boating, or other sports. Add time accordingly.

    Glacier - at least a day, adding time once again for any sporting activity you might want to do.

    No Yellowstone?????

    Banff - at least a couple of days, particularly if you want to drive up Icefields Parkway towards Jasper (highly recommended).

    I can't answer about Nez Perce -- never been there.

    2. Places to stay?
    It will depend on what you finally decide to do about your overnights. Grand Tetons, Glacier, and Banff all have campgrounds without hookups. Lake Louise (north of Banff) has an RV section with electric hookups, but no water or sewer. (They have a place to load your tanks with water, and a dump station.) All three have hotel facilities within the parks and just outside of the park. (Warning: Jackson, WY is EXPENSIVE. The Motel 6 in Jackson is $189/night in the summer! Commercial RV parks are also high, for RV parks.)

    3. Top things to do within each park?
    Each of the parks has a website that will detail what there is to do once there. All of them, of course, include sightseeing drives, photography, and hiking.

    Grand Tetons

    Glacier

    Banff, Canada (I'm assuming you have your passports in order, and if renting a vehicle, permission to cross the border with it -- in writing.)

    Nez Perce


    Donna

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Donna for the link about the difference between the two. I do have a vehicle that would be able to tow the travel trailer and not looking to get anything over 20ft and found a place in Boise that rents them. The idea was that if have the travel trailer can stay within the parks much more comfortably (My girlfriend is new to camping so trying to find balance...) Ultimately want to find the balance of comfort and reduce time spent commuting. Thinking it is leaning towards camping and hotels. Dumping and water hook ups seems like a big pain.

    Time in the Parks: Any thoughts on the time frames listed?
    Leave Friday 24th and stay in Idaho Falls
    Spend 1/2 Saturday and Sunday in Grand Tetons
    Monday Travel to Glacier NP, stay until Thursday at Glacier NP
    Thursday travel to Banff NP and stay through Saturday
    Sunday drive to Lake and stay through Wednesday
    Thursday drive back to Boise

    Places to Stay: Hotel or campsites what are the recommendations for best locations?

    Things to do: Best things to do or places with minimal ppl that are less popular but worth it?
    Banff -drive up Ice Fields Pkwy towards Jasper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default They're all choices.

    I guess you know that the Going to the Sun road in Glacier does not open till late June early July. If you want to see both sides of the park, you will need to take US-2 from one side to the other. Fortunately that is a very scenic route, as is the route north through Kallispell.

    The drive up to Jasper is only 250 kms, and can be driven there and back in a day - easily. But there are many side roads which take you to scenic views, waterfalls, short hikes, campgrounds and glaciers. It is easy to spend a week between Banff and Jasper, and not see it all.

    Stanley is a lovely little place in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Check out Red Lake Lodge, camping and hotel accommodation in a beautiful setting, also Stanley Lake along the Ponderosa Scenic Byway. On your way back to Boise, look at the route via Lowman, Garden City and Banks to 55 and south into Boise. A beautiful drive. The route through Idaho City is not fun at all, especially with a trailer.

    The problem with asking how long to spend in each place is that we are all different. I could spend all the time you have available in either the Sawtooth NRA or along the Icefield Parkway.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 01-23-2015 at 07:28 PM. Reason: factual correction.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default My other thoughts.... for what they are worth.

    I've been thinking about your trip and plans, and wonder if you have considered an alternative. Have you thought of visiting the Tetons on your way to or home from picking up/dropping off the trailer in Boise? It just strikes me as a bit out of the way with your other plans.

    Look at going from Boise to Stanley frist, then Missoula, via Salmon. Take 200 across to 89 and 89 into St Mary's and East Glacier. If the GTTS road is open you can then go out the west entrance and cross the border on 93, north of Eureka, to Banff, followed by the Icefields Parkway onto Jasper. (1250 miles) These are all very scenic routes with parks, forests and recreation areas nearby.

    They would fit in with your criteria -- prefer off the beaten path types of activities and hiking -- you are also more likely to find -- places with minimal ppl -- when travelling off the major highways and at the activities on the spur roads off the Icefield Parkway.

    Head back down the Parkway to Lake Louise (not to be missed) and then, depending on your time line choose an all interstate route back to Boise or enjoy some of the other more scenic routes through Alberta and Montana back to Boise.

    I am assuming you already have good quality maps or a good road atlas as you are planning. The scenic routes are marked on them, as are all parks, forests and other natural attractions. Most also have (non commercial) camping areas marked with a small tent or triangle.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    The idea was that if have the travel trailer can stay within the parks much more comfortably (My girlfriend is new to camping so trying to find balance...) Ultimately want to find the balance of comfort and reduce time spent commuting. Thinking it is leaning towards camping and hotels. Dumping and water hook ups seems like a big pain.
    Everything is a trade off. With a travel trailer, yes, you can stay inside the parks. You can do that in a hotel too, if you get your reservations early enough, or in a tent. With any of the three, in the popular parks, you have to make reservations.

    Dumping and water hookups. Well, when you pull into a hotel, you'll have to unload your vehicle and carry everything you need inside your room. You will have to go out to eat, most likely, unless you are in an extended stay suite type thing with a small kitchenette, or if you don't mind cooking on an electric appliance that you brought with you. So there's time. Dumping is, yes, dirty. Bring rubber gloves!!! Water hookups, just attach your hose to the trailer and the other end (after spraying with bleach) to the campground's water hookup, and turn on the water. Not so hard. We always carried a filter, though, as every water hookup is different, and a water pressure regulator as well. So there's a trade off. If you haven't learned to back the trailer, you may have some trials, but it's a lot easier with a shorter vehicle.

    If you decide to go with renting the TT, be sure of a few things: A) that you have a vehicle that can SAFELY tow it. Even a small trailer can be weightier than you expect and that your vehicle can tow. B) Who is responsible in the event of a breakdown. Yes, TT's can break along the highway or in the campsite even if not equipped with an engine. C) That your emergency road service will include an RV, or deal with your TT in the event that your car breaks down. (Not all of them will -- have seen too many TT's and 5W's left at the side of the highway while the tow vehicle is taken in for repair.)



    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-29-2014, 04:09 AM
  2. 82 days, 19 national parks, 7,000 mile epic trip
    By TerryTreks in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-28-2014, 07:29 PM
  3. 14 days planned from SD to the National parks and back to SF and confused
    By driving miss daisy in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-02-2013, 04:24 PM
  4. Montana to Calgary AB Canada through Glacier National Park....
    By zo's ma in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-27-2010, 11:47 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES