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  1. #1

    Default WA to NV via BC, AB, MT, WY, UT in September and October

    I have to ask first if it's OK to include Canada on RTA?

    The plan was to do this trip over 6 weeks in July and August, but due to a house move and other stuff I don't think I can start this before September 7th. Leaving Whidbey Island on that date to Victoria, Vancouver, trans Canada highway to Calgary, Yellowstone, and then head down for a fast drive to Las Vegas to use as a hub home to UK, being a useful starting point for a January trip to AZ and locations East.

    Vehicle 19 foot class B camper van patiently waiting for me in the wonderfully name "outtaspace storage". All advice appreciated.

    The main issues are driving conditions, weather in general, and campground availability, what's open and what's not. After that of course your favourite not to be missed things to see.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A nice time to travel. (Mostly)

    I have to ask first if it's OK to include Canada on RTA?
    It sure is.

    The main issues are driving conditions, weather in general, and campground availability.
    September and October are my favourite times of the year to travel. We usually find the weather to be pleasant although the nights can get cold and you do have the risk of some ice and snow, more so at high elevations. Winter comes early to places like Yellowstone and the later in the year you arrive , the bigger the risk of disruption. You can get an idea of what is to be expected by looking on National park websites and for weather history on sites like 'Wunderground' but it really doesn't mean much for the time you travel. That only becomes clear a few days before you arrive at each destination. Waterton lakes (Canada) and Glacier NP (USA) are both wonderful places to visit and of course no visit to Yellowstone is complete without a visit to the Grand Tetons. You will need at least one overnight stop for a 'fast' drive back to Vegas so you could do something with that. You could take Interstate to Cedar city and quickly visit Zion NP on the way to Vegas, or you could head across to Twin Falls and down through the Great basin on US93. With more time you would have more options.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    With more time you would have more options.
    Thanks for all that Dave, most helpful. By a fast drive I only intended to mean my main purpose. Lets assume that by the time I've spent a week catching up with friends, buying new tyres and an engine service I could leave WA on September 7th and have three weeks easy to finish with Yellowstone, final 5th week getting to Las Vegas and putting the van to bed. Would this be enough time not be be absolutely rushed?

    And in weather terms that would mean Yellowstone around the end of September and Las Vegas around October 2nd or 3rd.

    I will chase down your website suggestions, thanks.

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

    Default Sounds great !

    This sounds like a wonderful, relaxing adventure. You could head north to Jasper NP and drive the Icefields parkway to Lake Louise and Banff NP and include a side trip to Yoho NP on the way. I already mentioned Waterton lakes and Glacier NP and I would recommend you allow for at least 3 nights in Yellowstone and the Tetons. I would still book campgrounds in Yellowstone asap for peace of mind. With a week form Yellowstone you have many options. Head through Jackson and in the general direction of Moab in Utah via Flaming Gorge Res and Rock Springs. You could visit Arches and Canyonlands and then, after heading back to I-70, take UT24 and scenic byway 12 to Bryce canyon. An amazingly beautiful drive that also goes through Capitol Reef NP. Then you could drive the Mt Carmel highway into Zion NP and on to Vegas. If that sounded too much for your travel style you could take a more direct approach to Bryce and Zion NP's. Alternatively you could head in the 'other' direction to Craters of the Moon and Twin Falls to US93 as I mentioned, but add side trips to Bonneville salt flats and Great basin NP. Then there is Cathedral Gorge State park and the nearby town of Pioche. Time to do some research and find your personal preferences and start mapping it out. We welcome any new questions that come up in your planning. To see part of these options
    This thread includes one trip from Las Vegas to Yellowstone (reverse it) and from Yellowstone back to Las Vegas at the end of the report. It also has some Yellowstone info in the middle.

  5. #5


    Hey Dave, been reading that log, made me feel very tired! Great photos. I guess all travellers are different and being a couple different from travelling single, but I like to wander the little towns and see if I can get into conversation with Americans. Thrift stores tend to be interesting. In Port Townsend got chatting to two ladies in a hot tub and got adopted for an evening of live music and conversation by the waters edge; in Pismo Beach I was visited by new friends I had met in Arizona who lived near there, invited for dinner and they told me about the Monarch Butterfly Grove which was wonderful and only 300 yards from where I was camping. I would never have known about it. Also in AZ met a wonderful couple who have become good friends and who are casting an occasional glance at my camper van in storage near them in WA. Of course it doesn't always work, at a Motel 6 met a man with a couple of great dogs, we got talking, he said, "you should visit Westport (some miles west of Aberdeen in WA), full of great retired surfer ladies", I can only tell you it wasn't obviously so!! Also a dump!

    I had no idea you were from the UK too! Going to map the detail of your route as a basis for travel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Be aware, as you visit Yellowstone as one of your last things, that a few roads will be closed as of October 15. An occasional early snowstorm could close Dunraven Pass before that date, too. Here's the 2019 planned road closure dates (the colors refer to a map on the YNP official website):

    October 15 (Purple): Tower Fall to Canyon (Dunraven Pass), Beartooth Highway (US 212 to Red Lodge, Montana).

    November 4 (Blue, Yellow, and Orange): All roads close at 8 am except the road between the North Entrance and the Northeast Entrance.

    You should also note that many of the services in Yellowstone are closed for the season between mid-September and mid-October. Fishing Bridge RV is closed down for the entire 2019 season, as it needs a lot of improvements. Madison CG is open until Oct 20, the only reservable campground open past Sept. 22nd. There are a number of first-come, first-served sites open. Mammoth (north end) is open all year. Slough Creek and Lewis Lake are the ones open later in the year; Slough Creek closes October 15th, Lewis Lake in the beginning of November. All will take a camper van of 19'.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    I have to ask first if it's OK to include Canada on RTA?
    As Dave says, it sure is! Many of my trips have included much of Canada, such a beautiful country.

    And don't forget, America is a continent - not a country! The country is the United States of America.


  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    America is a continent - not a country! The country is the United States of America.

    Hmm, I didn't know that! In my defence there's not a lot of forum action around Bogota or Buenas Aires either, so it was a reasnable ask, especially having been reprimanded on here before, better to tread lightly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default You might be surprised!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    Hmm, I didn't know that! In my defence there's not a lot of forum action around Bogota or Buenas Aires either.
    I actually spent couple of years road tripping all over Colombia, and, once upon a time, I lived in Bogota. You might be surprised at the depth and breadth of the expertise that's available here!

    Monument marking the equator on the old Panamerican Highway north of Quito, Ecuador.

    The truck in the photo is a '69 Dodge Powerwagon that I bought in Ohio and shipped from the Port of Houston to Cartagena, Colombia on a rusty banana freighter. That was the start of one heck of a fine road trip--but it took place almost 50 years ago. I'm not so sure I'd do it today!


  10. #10


    Just wondering, Why are you moving from Widby Island?

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