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  1. Default LA to Glacier National Park to Yellowstone to LA

    Planning a road trip from LA, with two kids - a 16 yo boy and 11 yo girl. We already have reservations at Glacier and at Yellowstone for mid June. The plan is:
    Sat June 20 - Leave LA (we could, if necessary, leave Friday night and go a few hours)
    6/20 - 6/22 - not sure?
    Monday 6/22 - Arrive at Holland Lake (Glacier National Park) .
    6/22 until Thursday 6/25 - Glacier Park
    Thursday 6/25 - Leave Glacier and drive to West Yellowstone.
    6/25 - 7/2 - Yellowstone
    7/2 - leave Yellowstone
    ?? Not sure where to stop on the way home or which route to take after leaving on 7/2.

    My questions are:

    1. What is the best route from LA to Glacier? We were thinking of going through Salt Lake City. We also would like to stop at an interesting sight between SLC and Glacier, if anyone can recommend a place. We were told that the Golden Spike/Railroad museum is great, but not sure if that is on the way.

    2. Can we get to West Yellowstone from Glacier, reasonably in one day?

    3. When we leave Yellowstone what is the best route back to LA, that might have an interesting stop along the way? We leave Thursday morning and need to be in LA no later than Sunday. We wouldn't mind getting back on Saturday, but Sunday would work as well. Especially if we can find a great place to celebrate the 4th of July on the way home.

    4. Any advise or recommendations? Are we planning it all wrong? We already have our reservations so we can't change much with that but we are open to ideas.

    This is our first family road trip so any advise or tips is much appreciated. Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Fun family trip.

    Sounds like a lovely family road trip. Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There is no single 'best' route just lots of options which you can base on your time and interests. On the way up I would be tempted to take US93 from Vegas up to Glacier. Although it would be full days on the road, it will allow you time from the car to take in a few sites and enjoy the scenery, but of course will take longer than Interstate. A few options along the way could include Cathedral Gorge State park, Great Basin, Snake river canyon [Twin Falls], Shoshone Falls, Craters of the Moon and the National Bison Range. You won't have much time but you could possibly pick from one or two.

    Yes you could travel to West Yellowstone from Glacier same day.

    From Yellowstone you could exit to the south and spend some time in the Grand Tetons. From there you could head south on 191 to Flaming Gorge and down into Southern Utah, perhaps visiting Bryce canyon and/or Zion NP.

    Your planning seems fine, it's just a case of doing a little research and see what grabs your attention on the way up and than again on the way down. There is no shortage of options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you were in a big hurry, you could conceivably make it from LA to Holland Lake in 2 long days via I-15 all the way to I-90. So, if you have 3 days you have some (but not a LOT of) time to get off the beaten path and see some things.

    You do know that it's a 2+ hour drive from Holland Lake to the West Glacier park entrance?

    From the West Glacier entrance to West Yellowstone is about a 7.5 hour drive via US-93, I-90, and US-191.

    Yellowstone to LA is a 2 day drive via I-15 if you were in a hurry to get home. So, with up to 4 days available you can plan on some significant sightseeing.

  4. #4

    Default Going-To-The-Sun Road (GTTSR)

    Be aware your arrival at GNP may precede the seasonal opening of GTTSR. Montana is on track to have a well above average snowpack this year and April/May often sees their largest accumulations. I think, on average, GTTSR is open by around mid-June, but it can be later than that, right up to mid-July as was the case in 2011 (maybe July 10 or 11 that year?).

    If you were to choose to include it in your routing, US 93 is a very nice drive all the way from Wells, NV up through Idaho and to Missoula, MT.


  5. Default

    Thank you for the recommendations! A lot to think about. If there are any "must see" sights please share. Vegas is a three hour drive for us and I am now thinking maybe we should head out Friday afternoon and get that far. It will give us a little more time on the way to Glacier. I like the idea of seeing Bryce or Zion on the way home too.
    Thank you so much!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    LA to Las Vegas is three hours? Wow, never for us! Usually we take about 4-5 from the intersection of I-10 and I-15, into Las Vegas. You could, feasibly, go from LA to LV on a Friday evening if you haven't had a hard day at work that day and you were already packed and ready to go. Personally, I'd get away and try to get as far as Barstow, or maybe Baker.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A good start.

    If it's workable for you then I think making a start Friday afternoon would be a real bonus for the trip to Glacier, more so if you decide to take US93 and some of the sights along the way I mentioned previously.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I would agree that getting out the road Friday has some nice advantages, but I'm also puzzled as to where you are starting from that you can make it to Vegas in just 3 hours.

    Even from well out into the Inland Empire, you'd have to be averaging nearly 80 mph - so frequently traveling at speeds of 90-100 - to cover the 250 miles in that time. Those speeds are especially unlikely on a Friday Afternoon/Evening, when the traffic on I-15 to Vegas is often quite heavy with people getting away to Vegas for the weekend.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Speed limits would be stretched

    Quote Originally Posted by sandrafzane View Post
    Vegas is a three hour drive for us
    Sandy, where are you starting from? I drive between LA and Las Vegas dozens of times each year. If you never hit a traffic slow down and you never exceed the posted speed limit (but travel at the highest legal speed) it requires every moment of a four-hour drive between Pasadena and Las Vegas. (I have been known to do this 3.5 hours -- but see above -- this required driving beyond the posted speed limit -- and a traffic stop for speeding will put a dent in your travel plans).

    And, of course, you are blowing past some of my favorite scenic views on any Interstate Highway in America...

    As far as lodging goes -- Victorville has the most choices for overnight motels -- there are a couple I'd recommend in Barstow -- not so much any in Baker.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    No matter where in "LA" you would be starting from, I don't see the point in only going as far as Victorville and spending the money for a hotel room. I'd leave home bright and early the next morning unless you can go at least as far as Barstow on Friday. Friday afternoon/evening traffic on the way to LV is going to be pretty nasty, it should be a lot more peaceful in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

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