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  1. Default Idaho, Montana, Canada-ish

    I would like to plan a road trip for June or July 2016 in the interior states of the northwest. We have 10 days, give or take a few days. we would like to see the national parks in this area. Grand Tetons, Glacier, Banff, possibly Yellowstone. I am very open to any parks or suggestions. I just need help getting started!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a lot of things we don't know about your plans right now. First, where are you starting from? Will this be a fly and drive trip? Do you plan to camp? RV? hotels?

    Perhaps most importantly, what kinds of suggestions or help are you looking for to get started. A few specific details will go along way towards letting people know what would be helpful.

    I will say that if your starting time is flexible, I'd lean towards July over June, as you're talking about mountain areas that can have a very late start to summer. For example, I visited Glacier NP a number of years ago in late June, and Going to the Sun road had not yet opened for the season.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Getting started

    Quote Originally Posted by spederse View Post
    I just need help getting started!
    Here's a suggestion which will help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    Good maps are available from AAA (free to members), or a road atlas such as a Rand McNally may suit you. Maps are invaluable when planning a roadtrip, and essential when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a lot of things we don't know about your plans right now. First, where are you starting from? Will this be a fly and drive trip? Do you plan to camp? RV? hotels?

    Perhaps most importantly, what kinds of suggestions or help are you looking for to get started. A few specific details will go along way towards letting people know what would be helpful.

    I will say that if your starting time is flexible, I'd lean towards July over June, as you're talking about mountain areas that can have a very late start to summer. For example, I visited Glacier NP a number of years ago in late June, and Going to the Sun road had not yet opened for the season.
    First, thanks for the tips. We will be flying in from NC. We are flexible although I envision flying in/out of different cities to keep from having to back track. We will rent a car and drive while staying at hotels although we would be open to camping for some of the nights if I can think of a way to get our camping gear there.
    I would love to know people's opinion on specific routes to follow. Since we may not be back this way, what are to not to be missed destinations? My family is active so we would like to include some activities to burn off some energy. A few top hiking locations would be great. Ideally we would like to be smart about avoiding the largest crowded locations.,

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

    Default No need to backtrack.

    I'd agree with Michael, that July would be a better time if you would like to drive the GTTS road. In 2007 I was at GNP in early July and the GTTS road was not yet open. The following time I was at GNP it was not open either. I'm hoping for better luck next time.

    The area you are looking to cover is well suited to a loop trip without backtracking. You have Glacier NP and Waterton PP. Then up to Banff and Lake Louise. If you take highway 6 and 22 up to Calgary, rather than the main highway 2, you will find it is much more scenic.

    From Lake Louise head to Golden and then scenic 93 all the way back to the border, or head to Cranbrook and follow 95 into ID No doubt you have already seen these scenic routes on your maps. Sticking to scenic routes is a bit slower but ever so much more pleasant to drive over, stop for photos, see wildlife, etc. The border crossing at Creston is one of the quieter ones.

    At Moise MT is the National Bison Range - also marked on your map - and a couple of miles north of West Yellowstone, on US287 is the Earthquake Geological Area, with a very informative self drive tour. Add The Tetons and Yellowstone, you could fly into any city along that route, and plan your trip.

    If GNP and GTTS road are high on your list I would plan it so it is in the second half of your trip.

    However, your desire to avoid the crowds may not be possible in July, the height of the tourist season, especially up north. Yellowstone in particular will be packed with very slow moving traffic and animals - which get right of way. Parking at the major attractions, will also be at a premium.

    You could choose any place to fly into and out of on a loop such as that, saving in both airfares and car rental. Pick and choose what you want to see most, cause 10 days will go very quickly.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    This is very helpful, thank you!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Grand Tetons, Glacier, Banff, possibly Yellowstone.
    If you are going to the Tetons then it would be the ideal time to visit Yellowstone, but to enjoy Yellowstone and the Tetons you really need a minimum of 3-4 days, add a couple of days in for Glacier NP plus another day or two of travelling and time can run out quickly. Also keep in mind that flying into one city and out of another is an option, but it might be more difficult to return your car rental to a different country [Canada to US or vice versa] and if possible could be very expensive so check that out before booking flights.

  8. #8

    Default Northern Rockies from NC

    For a fly-and-drive intended to include GNP and YNP I'd suggest planning a loop using Delta connections to Bozeman, MT. Both Delta and Southwest serve Salt Lake City, and SLC is only about a half-day's drive from the Tetons, so a loop out of SLC is functional, too.

    Agreed that there is no way to avoid crowds in GNP or YNP in July.

    Must-sees include the Beartooth Highway (US 212 entering the Northeast Entrance to YNP from Red Lodge, MT, and the GTTS Road crossing Logan Pass in GNP. The former is normally opened by Memorial Day and the latter by mid-June, but as Donna noted, it's sometimes late June or even early July before Logan Pass along GTTS Road is opened.

    Foy

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