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  1. #1

    Default Pittsburgh to ???

    My husband and I have been throwing around the idea of a road trip to hit up different state/national parks. We both enjoy hiking and instead of staying in hotels/motels all the time, figure we can stay places we can set up our tent-hammocks and stay over night. Ideally we would be able to make it to Glacier Nat'l Park, but I know that Montana is a bit of a reach. Realistically, starting in Pittsburgh on a Friday afternoon and returning on a Sunday 16 days later, where do you think we could visit? What would be the best route? We don't have any preferences really, just to see some gorgeous state and national parks, do some random hiking and camping, etc.


    ETA: Time of year is relatively flexible.

    ETA2: Also would possibly stop in the Twin Cities to visit family, but more of a stop on the way through for a hot shower and dinner, maybe a little hiking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,699

    Default Some thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With 16 days you really have the whole country as an option but obviously, not all of it ! You could make it to Glacier NP in 4 days, so 8 days out and back. That leaves you half your time to 'play with' so that's where a bit of planning and researching comes in. You can make your travel days shorter and see more on the road, finding places of interest on the way, or get out west quick and spend time exploring there. Yellowstone also comes to mind if you decide to get out there quick, as it takes 3 to 4 days to really see Yellowstone and the neighbouring Grand Tetons. I would start working on a day to day plan and then keep tweaking it as you go until you have found what works for you. Of course we will be here to answer any questions you have and offer suggestions once the basics are there. As for time of year, well camping and visiting Glacier it needs to be between late Spring and early Fall but I would try to avoid the peak periods of summer.

    If you feel that MT really is a bit far for you and the fact you are looking for parks, you could do a lot worse than looking at Colorado and Southern Utah where there are plenty and lots of great scenic drives.

  3. #3

    Default

    great, thanks!! He's never been West of the Mississippi, and I've only been to Minneapolis, so nearly ON the river, not really west of! Since hiking is a thing we enjoy together, and we want to get into camping, this seemed like a good way. Would the parks list if you are allowed to hammock camp or not do you know? We don't mind long distance driving and have discussed taking a long road trip like this in the past. We figure that instead of restaurants we will pack food, too. Easy stuff like sandwiches and hit up grocery stores some. Try to keep it low cost but enjoyable.

    We are open to any suggestions, really, but I know he is very interested in Montana/Glacier.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,699

    Default

    I do not know about Hammock camping but you do have to be in a designated campground or have a dispersed camping permit in the National parks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,328

    Default In Between

    While it's understandable that one would concentrate on the destination of a long RoadTrip, you'll actually be spending most of your time on such a trip 'in between' your home and your destination. So I'd encourage you to spend at least as much time planning what to do while on the road as you do planning what to see and do in the Twin Cities and the Twin Parks (Glacier in the US and Waterton Lakes in Canada.

    For example, between Minneapolis and Glacier you have two possible basic routes, I-90 and I-94. Plan on taking both of them, one westbound and the other eastbound. Highlights on I-90 are the many sites around Rapid City including Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Wind and Jewel Caves, etc. Highlights on I-94 include Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Fort Peck Lake, MT-200, and the occasional Lewis & Clark site. You could also consider including the UP of Michigan on the northern 'I-94' route, thus avoiding the hassles of driving through Chicago on at least one of your legs.

    As for camping, National Parks are the most protected national lands that we have and thus have the most restrictions on where/how you can camp. If you really want to be 'alone in the woods' then you want to be checking out national forests and each one's particular policies on distributed or dispersed camping. The rules are considerably looser, but there are still rules.

    If your final plans include visits to four or more national parks or monuments, then also plan on buying an annual parks pass at the first one you come to that charges admission. These passes cover all entrance fees (but not camping fees) to all national parks and monuments for the car, driver and occupants.

    Now is also the time to consider if you want to slip over into Canada at any point in your trip such as at Waterton Lakes or Sault Ste. Marie. You will need passports, and there is currently a backlog of applications.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,220

    Default

    You will need passports, and there is currently a backlog of applications.
    I don't know about new passports, but I just renewed mine back in July and had it in less than 3 weeks.

  7. #7

    Default

    So much information! Thank you so much. I found a site that mapped out all the parks between two points but can't remember what it was. I am looking again so I can see what parks we can hit on the way out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,220

    Default

    A good site for researching parks is the official National Park Service site, nps.gov.

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