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  1. Default Planning a trip from San Francisco to Yellowstone and Glacier Park in March 2014

    My husband and I are planning to fly to LA from Australia in the last week of Feb, stay in LA for 3 days, drive up Big Sur to San Francisco in 1 day, spend 3 days in San Francisco and then drive to Elko for one night, then drive to Yellowstone National Park and stay there for 3 days. We then plan to drive to Glacier National Park and stay there for 3 days before flying back to LAX and then home to Australia. We will be visiting Yellowstone and Glacier in the first week of March 2014 and was wondering if anyone can give us tips re: road conditions and any other tips that might be helpful. Is it even worth visiting these National Parks at this time of year given that it is right out of winter? Any suggestions would be much appreciated as it is our first trip to the US and we are super-excited! Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default March will be too early.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    You have obviously put some thought into the places you want to visit and where you wish to go. But in reality, most of your trip is simply not possible in March.

    For starters, to take the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur from LA to SF is a two day trip. To do this is one day you would need to start before dawn, probably arrive after dark and not stop to see any of the magnificent sights there are along the way.

    Yellowstone will still be in winter mode in March, and closed to most vehicular traffic. It is at very high elevation with a short tourist season... typically May to September. Some of the roads in Glacier NP will be open, but the GTTS road will definitely still be closed. It does not open till June. In 2007 I was there at the end of June, and it was still closed. Check out the National Parks website to see when these parks are due to open, though even those dates are subject to change depending on the weather.

    If you possibly can, it would be best to defer this trip till later in the year.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to agree with Lifey, March is just not a good time of year to plan to head to Yellowstone and Glacier.

    Keep in mind, for much of the US, early March is still very much winter in a large part of the US, and that's something that is even more true as you get into high elevation areas. Spring doesn't really come to place like Yellowstone and Glacier until May or June. As Lifey mentioned, from time to time, Glacier doesn't even fully open up until early July. There are other parks, like Yosemite, for example, that also deal with winter closures, but you can still access most of the park, but Yellowstone and Glacier are two places where it really is better to wait until summer.

    Also for your planning purposes, I would keep in mind that driving one way to Glacier and flying back to LA is likely going to be very expensive. First, the area around Glacier is pretty remote, and only serviced by some pretty small airports, which tend to be expensive. One way car rental and one way plane tickets also tend to be significantly more expensive than doing a round trip. When you add those two things together, driving to Glacier and flying back to LA could easily add more than a thousand dollars to your costs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default If you can't change when, change where. [?]

    As above really, March is too early to visit the northern parks without such limited access. However there are plenty more parks to visit in the southwest while covering less miles, plus you could create a loop that would mean no internal flights or one way drop off fees on your car hire. The Grand canyon NP in Arizona and Zion and Bryce canyon NP's in Utah are all wonderful and within range, then you could visit Death valley, Yosemite and possibly Sequoia NP in California. The latter two would have limited access due to snow on the high ground but you could still enjoy the giant Sequoia trees and Yosemite valley as the waterfalls start to flow.

  5. #5


    I hate to rain on your parade but I totally agree with those who have indicated March is to early in the year for Yellowstone and Glacier. If you can't make your trip later in the year, you might consider the National Parks of southern Utah. I don't believe there is any other place in the country where you can see so much in a relatively small area as you can in the area south of I-70.

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