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  1. Default May/early June trip... Yellowstone and where else? Is GNP open?

    We are currently in the process of planning a 3 week roadtrip kicking off around May 18 2020.

    We have a few different potential itineraries but locations that are common to all are Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I suppose what really determines the final itinerary are considerations such as:

    -whether Glacier National Park is even worthwhile visiting when the main road is closed
    -driving conditions through Canada, and
    -making sure that where we need to, we can spend a few days in each location.


    We aren’t hikers (to give you an idea, we did Yosemite in less than a day but thought it was the best place ever!) and although i would love to hike in Yellowstone and GTNP, i am just too afraid of the grizzly bears (yes, I am THAT tourist lol). So if there are locations below that just aren't worth the travel if we aren't going to hike I am happy for this feedback.


    Options are:

    -Fly into Canada from Australia, and road trip from Jasper down to Glacier NP and Yellowstone (possible options are to then head across to Rapid City or down to SLC)

    -Forget Canada, fly into SLC, then roadtrip up through Grand Tetons/Yellowstone, across to Rapid City then fly to Texas and then home from Dallas (I question whether this will really fill 3 weeks though, and Texas is so vast, there doesn't seem to be anywhere adjacent we could include)

    Or

    -option two, only heading from Rapid City to North Carolina and driving south down the coast (and then open to suggestions about whether a road trip to Texas is worthwhile).

    I know Canada, and the east coast/deep south of USA are so amazing i just don't want to do them an injustice if they are really trips of their own!


    Open to all suggestions as we are totally flexible! Previously we have done the west coast (twice), highway 1, Yosemite, Death Valley, Vegas (3 times), Tahoe (three times!), and the look from Phoenix up through Lake Powell and over to Zion... these trips were so magical we would do them again but feel like we should do something different!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    One comment - don't plan on renting a car in Canada and returning it in the US. Difficult to find availability and very expensive.

    Here is the Yellowstone road status, including proposed opening dates this spring:

    https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm

    Glacier road status:

    https://www.nps.gov/applications/gla...roadstatus.cfm

    Historical opening dates for the GTTSR:

    https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/...-6-26-2017.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default A Few Bits of Practicality

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Grand Teton National Park gets around 180" of snow over a typical winter. Very little of that falls in May and June, but you're right - it's a matter of when they open the road(s). The major roads, Teton Park and Moose-Wilsom, are usually plowed and open by mid-May when overnight temperatures hover around freezing or above and further snow is unlikely (but not impossible).

    Glacier National Park, being farther north, has later opening dates, but still there's a chance that even the road over Logan Pass could be open in early June, especially with continuing and accelerating Global Warming.

    My preference would be to take the chance on road openings because if it pays off, your trip will be spectacular! Some snow still on the mountain tops (at least), the larger mammals starting their spring migrations, and very few other tourists. Even if the roads at higher elevation in the parks are still closed, the scenery and vistas will be magnificent.

    glc is correct that renting a car in Canada or the U.S. and returning it in the other country presents a big problem. I even got stopped at the border once (at the unique Point Roberts crossing) because I was returning to Canada from the U.S. in a car rented in Canada. I was told that I should never have been allowed to drive it into the U.S. in the first place!

    So, as a basic outline for this trip, I'd forget Canada, not just because of the car problem but because it's still going to be quite cold during the evenings, nights, and mornings there. I like the idea of flying into Salt Lake City (or even Phoenix if that's a fair bit cheaper), then visiting the Grand Canyon (and a few other national parks and monuments in that area) before heading up into Utah to visit a few of the Mighty Five. That would let you get your feet on the ground and see some amazing places. As you're doing that, keep an eye on the weather farther north and particularly on the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. If the roads up north are open, head up that way. If not, head east into Colorado and enjoy some of its scenic outdoors. Either way, you'd take two to three days at the end of your trip to drive back to your gateway city for the flight home.

    You'll note that I didn't consider including the south or east in this trip at all. You've got a lot of flying in your plan already, and three weeks on the ground just isn't as long as you might think considering how large and spread out the American West is. Yes, I know you've 'done' Phoenix and Zion, bit that's just scratching the surface of what's available (and I haven't even mentioned Monument Valley, well now I have.)

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default From one Aussie to Another.

    Some years ago I visited Yellowstone NP in late May. Of the times I have been there - and you can't visit Yellowstone too often - it was the most wonderful visit. The animals were out with their new born. A vista to behold. We even saw a moose with her hours old calf, lovingly cleaning it while it suckled, not yet steady on its wobbly legs. Absolute magic!

    There are so many national parks, State parks and other natural attraction between Yellowstone and Phoenix (or Texas), that you will find those three weeks flying. Even some of the most scenic roads on the continent - UT-12 and I-70 are worth many stops along the way. There'as so much beauty without hiking. Heading down to Texas through Colorado at that time could be cold, but definitely beautiful.

    You have made many visits to the US, I wonder if you take your automonbile club membership with you. Through their reciprocal arrangement with AAA in the US they will give you access to free detailed maps of all States. These show much more detail than the digital maps do, and you will see just how much there is to see in Utah and Colorado, even New Mexico..... on your way to Texas (Dallas?) for your flight home. [They also have the Canadian CAA maps,. You could pick up some of Alberta and British Columbia, to help you plan a future trip to that region.]

    Lifey

  5. #5
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    Default

    I was told that I should never have been allowed to drive it into the U.S. in the first place!
    I have no idea why you were told that. As long as the rental agency has given you permission to cross the border with their car and it's properly insured with proof, that's a nonissue. The issue is there aren't many agencies that allow a return across the border, and the ones that do have a pretty stiff surcharge.

  6. #6
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    Default When is the U.S. not the U.S.?

    In all liklihood, it's because "the rental agency" (at Vancouver BC airport) had NOT "given...permission to cross the border with their car...properly insured with proof." As noted in my response, Point Roberts is a unique bit of the United States, accessible only from Canada. When I rented the car, I did not think to inform them that I'd be going to the U.S. as most of that trip was to Victoria and Vancouver Island. I was only going to Point Roberts (pop.: ~1,400, size: < 5 sq. mi.) and nowhere else in the U.S.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Phoenix, Arizona
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    383

    Default Don't be too quick to dismiss Canada

    Hello!

    If the trans-border car rental is the only major fly in the ointment for your original 1st option, there's a way to make that work. Most major rental agencies WILL allow you to take their vehicles into Canada, as long as you bring them back to the U.S., so you could, for example, fly into Seattle and rent a car there, then drive it to Jasper by way of Kamloops (about 600 miles, and a very pretty drive). Then proceed as before, south from Jasper, back into the US, ending in, for example, Salt Lake City. You'd still have the one-way drop off charge for dropping the car in a different city, but no crazy charges for dropping it in a different country.

    Mid-May might be early for the best possible weather, but I could guarantee spectacular views, and the crowds would be more manageable than during their peak season in July and August. There are no less than seven Canadian National Parks between Jasper and the US border. Throw in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton, and you would be duplicating one of my own favorite road trips, which you can read about in a Field Report here on this website (with lots of great pictures to inspire you).

    Mother of all Road Trips

    The Canadian section starts on "Day 45" at the bottom of the 4th page of the thread, and continues from there. Check it out, if you're curious!

    Rick

  8. Default SLC- Grand Teton-Yellowstone then 13 nights Canada

    We are flying into SLC on 21st May and have a return ticket home from Calgary on 11th June. We are looking for some guidance on itinerary for the Canada leg- (13 nights) specifically how long to spend in each location. We will pick up a car in Vancouver.

    We aren’t really hikers- less so given the wildlife factor! So looking for some pointers on the basis that we won’t need to allow hiking time. I’m open to any ideas as the only things fixed are the flight to Vancouver and home from Calgary.

    So far we have booked:

    -2 nights SLC (drive to Jackson)
    -2 nights in Jackson (Grand Teton)
    -3 nights in Yellowstone NP
    -1 night in Bozeman

    Flying Bozeman to Vancouver...

    I am thinking...

    -3 nights Vancouver (is a day trip to Vancouver Island doable and sufficient)

    -2 nights along the way from Vancouver to Banff (thinking Revelstoke?)

    -3 nights Banff
    -2 nights Jasper
    -1 night Banff
    -2 nights Calgary


    I’m very open to spending less time in Vancouver and Calgary if there is some luxury type accommodation somewhere off the beaten path to just relax.

    I also considered the Rocky Mountaineer back to Vancouver but I have a hubby with 2 past DVT events and so think it’s best we aren’t immobile for that long.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-17-2020 at 03:56 PM. Reason: We merged this new thread with your earlier thread, as this looks like the same trip to us

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Have I got a deal for you!

    Hello, and welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The Canadian Rockies are one of my favorite parts of the world, and I've just completed a post on my personal blog that goes into a fair bit of detail about planning a road trip in that area. The article is called Six off One (Half a Dozen Spectacular!); (a reference to the six Canadian National Parks that are accessible off Canada Highway One ;-). I think you'll find it a good resource. Dozens of photographs, and lots of links to additional information.

    Do check it out!

    Rick

  10. Default

    Your trip looks amazinG! Thanks for sharing! The photos are just stunning.

    What do you think of Vancouver - Banff - Jasper - Calgary itinerary? I have read that the Highway 1 trip from Vancouver to Banff can't be missed and a few itineraries i have seen online do the backtracking thing...

    Is 3 nights Banff 2-3 nights Jasper enough do you think? Thanks Rick :-)

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