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  1. #1

    Default S. California to Glacier National Park

    We are going to Glacier National Park in a few weeks. My concern is how we are getting there. Its really far from California!
    We have drove from California to Salt Lake City before but not to West Glacier. How is the drive? Is it too grueling? We were going to fly to Spokane but I really don't like flying so I thought we could possibly make the drive. We are saying 3 nights Apgar Village, 1 night at the Going to the Sun Road and 1 night at St Mary lodge. I figured since our trip ends on the east side why not just drive back through Salt Lake or maybe catch a flight from Salt Lake instead of driving to Spokane. I really don't mind driving but i get concerned about the roads near Glacier National Park and all the construction on interstate 15 from SLC through Idaho. Google maps has it as a 20 hour drive but I was thinking of breaking it for a 2 or 3 day journey. Any advice??? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default First, Understand...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You need to be aware that the driving time 'estimates' produced by Gogle Maps, or any computer-based mapping program, are total fantasies, based on unrealistic assumptions such as that you will never need to stop for gas/food/bathrooms, never get behind one truck slowly passing another, never see a traffic light or a stop sign or even a yield sign, never get tired, etc., etc., etc. In the real world 500 to 550 miles is a solid day of driving using an all-interstate route. Since it's nearly 1400 miles from 'southern California' (I used Los Angeles) to Glacier National Park, you're looking at three days, minimum, to make the drive one way. Two days is simply impossible, and even three days would leave minimal time for any sight-seeing en route.

    I can't really make the decision for you on whether to fly or drive, or if you fly - where to, but I can point out realistic driving parameters, such as 550 miles per day or 50 mph as an overall average speed once you take into account real world driving conditions. This is a RoadTrip website, so not surprisingly, I'd think you might be better off driving your own car and taking the extra time needed to have a relaxed and restful drive up and back while seeing a few things along the way. That's especially true given your dislike of flying.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    AZBuck is correct -- this is a 3 day drive. Part of the drive will be on 2-lane highways, so you'll want to allow extra time. Never, ever believe the drive-times on Google Maps, Mapquest, or even on your phone's mapping programs. They assume you will be driving at the speed limit all the time, not slowing down for construction, an accident, or a slow tractor-trailer rig; not stopping for the bathroom, gas, food, or to stretch your legs.

    A few words of advice on Glacier: get an EARLY start on the day you decide to "do up" Going to the Sun Road. By early, I mean 7 or 8 in the morning. If you wait, you will not be able to get into scenic pull-outs, trailhead parking, or (the worst) Logan Pass Visitor Center.

    As far as construction on an interstate highway is concerned, it's a fact of life. There are two seasons on the highways: winter, and construction. Interstates, since they are so important to the American military and our economic system for transporting items across the country, have well-planned construction times. Perhaps you will be down to 1-lane in each direction, and maybe to 50 or 55 mph (instead of 65 to 75). Perhaps the DOT websites will tell you that there is a construction zone at mm (mile marker) XXX, and you won't find anything there. Or if you do find something, it's shoulder work, median work, or even work on a rest area. In short, we've never let construction on a highway keep us from going on vacation.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    The main point is, how much time do you have for the vacation ? You could turn this into an amazing road trip with time to do a little sight seeing in each direction.

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