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  1. #1

    Default Summer road trip from the Canadian Rockies through Yellowstone, Yosemite

    Hi Everybody,
    I'd like to reach out and introduce myself: Amir, a husband of Anat, father of three (18, 17 and 14), wine maker / gardener / carpenter from Israel.
    We're planning our August, 3 weeks, American road trip from the Canadian Rockies through Yellowstone, a hop to San Francisco, Yosemite and finish off in few days in NYC on our way back. We plan on flying and driving, camping and hotels, sightseeing and moderate hiking (~5 miles).

    We're thinking to fly in to Calgary, Canada and spend 4 days camping in Banff and Jasper National Parks – Do the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, visit Upper hot springs, Lake Luis, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, Colombia Ice Field, Edith Cavell Mount' Etc. (4 days, Camping)
    From there we plan on heading to Glacier National Park, MT and Going-To-The-Sun Rd (3 days, camping).

    1. Are there special immigration border crossing points to the US for foreign citizens that we'll need to use?
    2. Any recommendations for car renting? Pickup in Calgary drop off in Salt Lake City?
    3. Should we take bus / train instead of car across the border?
    4. Please recommend a 3 days visit to Glacier Park.

    From Glacier we plan on driving 365 miles to Yellowstone and spending 3 days camping in the park. (3 days, camping)

    5. Any special road trip attraction along the way from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone?
    6. What are the "must do" in Yellowstone? – Please recommend a 3 days plan for the park.

    After 3 days we'll head to Salt Lake City, where we'll return the car and check a flight to San Francisco where we'll spend two days visiting the city. (2 days, Hotel)
    From there we'll head south to Big Sur through Half Moon Bay, Carmel and Monterey (1 day, TBD)

    7. We're considering camping one night at Big Basin Redwoods State Park or staying at Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel – any

    From there we'll head east to Yosemite National Park and spend three days in the park camping. (3 days, camping)

    8. What are the "must do" in Yosemite? – Please recommend a 3 days plan for the park.

    After Yosemite we'll drive to SFO and take a flight to NYC and spend 3.5 days and head back home (3.5 days, Hotel)

    We're open to any suggestions, remarks, advice or any type of input from you, everything is still open…:-)

    Thanks, Amir

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    As long as your visa is in order, it won't matter where you cross the border. There is actually a crossing right within Glacier National Park - which is Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side of the border.

    The problem you will likely have is renting a car in Canada and returning it in the US. One way trips are quite expensive anyway, but most companies don't allow 1 way rentals across the border. Of the few that do, they typically charge a huge fee for it. It will probably be cheaper/easier to fly in and out of Calgary, driving back there after Yellowstone, rather than going onto Salt Lake City.

    Rather than try to guess what might be a "must see" for you in each of the national parks you plan to visit, I would just encourage you to visit the National Parks service website, which is filled with information about each park, and also take advantage of suggestions from rangers when you are on the road.

    One thing I will say is that is Yellowstone an especially large park, and probably deserves more time, relatively speaking. 3 days is close to the minimum to visit Yellowstone just to see the highlights, and in your post, you didn't specifically mention Grand Teton, which is another National Park that's adjacent to Yellowstone, that you should certainly consider spending a day or two.

    Just visiting Glacier, Yellowstone/Tetons, and Yosemite would be enough to make purchasing a National Parks pass worthwhile. Canada's National Parks have their own annual pass, although I don't know if that would be worthwhile based on the number of parks you'll be visiting there. Looking at their websites should let you know those costs.

  3. #3


    Thanks, Michael
    Not sure I understood what you meant, you suggest we'll take a flight from Calgary to salt lake city?
    If we do so, we'll miss glacier park... And drive twice SLC - Yellowstone.
    Is there public transportation that can get us accross to the US?
    Does it make a difference if we rent a car in Calgary or Glacier and return it on SLC?
    Can we do the US immigration in Calgary?
    Thanks, Amir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Is SLC a place you really want to visit? I was under the impression you were only going there because of the airport.

    What I was saying was fly into Calgary, see all the things you want to see including Glacier and Yellowstone, drive back to Calgary, and then fly to San Francisco.

    As I said, renting a car in Canada and returning it in the US is close to impossible, so, yes, there is a huge difference between renting a car in Calgary and renting one in Glacier (although your car rental options around Glacier would be limited, because there isn't a major city nearby).

    I'm not aware of any Public transit that will take you across the border in this part of the country. This is a very low population area, so is very little public transit at all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Border crossings.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahasidim View Post
    Can we do the US immigration in Calgary?
    On your arrival in Calgary, the only immigration check you will go through is the Canadian border control.

    Wherever you arrive for the first time in the US, is where you will have the US border/immigration checks. I'd choose one of the busier border crossings, rather than the remote posts, many of which are open for limited hours.


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