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Old 01-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #1
kellymac530 OP
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Glacier NP and Canada?

Sorry if this is bad to do, but I am planning a cage trip with the wife and kid. We are going to blitz up the I-15 from So Cal to Montana then the 90 up to Glacier NP.

That is where my quest for info starts.
For all of you Northerners, what are the must see spots from there on?

Where is the best border crossing spots in the NP or are there any?

The trip will include a cut across to BC and Vancouver, then down through Seattle, Portland and a few day stops towards San Fran, like Redwoods NF....

We have 2 weeks open for the trip. Taking a full day to run up to the beginning of Glacier, a day {or a good part of one} to get home from San Fran, that leaves us 11-12 useable days to explore and hike in our stops. We know we want maybe 2 days in Vancouver and a 3rd in Seattle, at least a full day in Portland, a day to drive down to SF with maybe a full day mixed in for some site seeing in Nor Cal, and 2 days in SF...that eats about 7 of our 11 days. 4 days to spend in Glacier and driving over from GNP to Vancouver.

Keeps getting shorter. But where should we see in GNP? Is it worth the time to drive over to Banff?

Thanks for any input. We may need to cut down on the Vancouver, Seatle, SF time...but that will be a family discussion.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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So-Cal to Glacier up I-15 is 1300+ miles and seems alittle aggressive and out of the way from most of the other destinations your looking to see.
I would save Glacier for next trip and go thru Zion, Brice, Yellowstone, Glacier and Baniff another trip.

You did not state time of year but assuming summer.

I would head north thru Sequoia and Yosemite, over Tioga Pass, north on 395 (stop and see Bodie Ghost Town), then over Monitor Pass to Hwy 89 to Lake Tahoe. Keep on 89 north to Mt Lassen, Burney Falls and continue on to Mt Shasta and Crater Lake, (check out the High Desert Museum just before Bend).
From Bend continue Hwy 97 north to Dalles on the Columbia Gorge, go east out the Gorge to Portland, then north to Vancouver.

Retun south thru Olympia Park and down the coast to San Francisco.
Make sure to turn off hwy 1 to Ferndale, Ca and drive the Lost Coast Hwy which comes out thru Humbolt Park at the begining of the Avenue of the Giants.

Lots of hiking and tons of other stuff to see along the way, still an aggressive 2 week trip IMO.

Travel Safe whatever route you choose.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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Fast moving

I have done glacier several times and there is never enough time just in that park... If you are determined then go and do it anyway. It is a gorgeous place.

Inside Glacier/Waterton: there are all kinds of hikes just off going to the sun road. (what time of year are you going? careful of snow till July.)

As for Seattle... Inside Seattle? Standard... Pikes Place, Needle, Pioneer Square (Underground Tour is a good time)

And Yes the Redwoods are very good.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:21 PM   #4
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Sorry I forgot the "when".
We are going in mid July.
We just did Zion, Bryce, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone last year.
I have a 19 year old daughter who like the city attractions. I prefer the great outdoors. On our family trips we try to mix them up so all have a great time.
I do realize that GNP is 1300+ miles. We have 4 people going and will share the driving up. Google maps says it is 19 1/2 hours travel time and I usually beat that on road trips, then add fuel/pee/food stops and we can do that drive up in one day. No biggie there.

I am sure that GNP could easily take all 2 weeks, but that is not possible for us. We are hoping to make a big loop. Up the 15, thru GNP, across BC to VBC, the down toward home hitting spots along that way. I do not need help with what to do in the cities too much, my daughter is a genius researcher for things like that and buys books on every city we go to usually.

I am looking for about 4 days worth of cool stuff to see in GNP and maybe Banff and the best drive across from there to Vancouver BC basically.

We have done Yosemite, Redwoods....Once we get to about Portland it will be a straight shot home with a possible day or so in San Fran which we know very well.

We do trips like this often, I know e miss many things, but that gives me a reason to ride there on my own later and finish the journey. We only spent 3 days in Yellowstone and 2 in Zion and part of 1 in Bryce and they are still great memories.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:28 PM   #5
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As far as So Cal to GNP in a cage, a one night two day drive-Easy Peazy!

I've done it twice since July. My m.i.l. lives in Bigfork, MT, so i've been there quite often in the last six years. Geez, she moved 1300mi away from us, to an absolutely beautiful place.

Do yourself a favor and stay in Bigfork and stay at

These folks are fantastic and run a unbelievable property. I have no association to these folks at the cottages other than i've been a long term customer.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:00 PM   #6
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In the summer time any place near big fork, kalispell, or whitefish is just total hoonyak mania, and if you go there you get what you get. That said Whitefish has trendy downtown scenes. Eureka is very old school, and the old lodge at East Glacier is very cool. Be sure to go to Waterton park.

Other near stuff near there is Lake Koocanusa, and the drive around south of Glacier from West Glacier to East Glacier and then Hwy 49 up to St Marys is spectacular.. very nice..

Have Fun!
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:56 AM   #7
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one thing I can recommend for Glacier, stay in the park at one of the lodges or campgrounds, and take a nice evening ride to the top of logan pass, later in the evening you'll have it pretty much to yourself. I spent a great evening watching the sunset and laughing at the antics of the mt goats, no one around, then I enjoyed a nice ride back to the campground in the twilight. just watch for critters on the road!
you can cross into canada on either side of the park. on the east side, you can hit waterton, the northern canadian partner to glacier, have a drink at the hotel and walk around the lobby, really neat old lodge.
in canada, the icefields parkway is loaded with jaw-dropping scenery. the athabasca glacier is cool to check out. hard to take a wrong turn in that part of the country, mountains and awesome scenery everywhere.
banff is just another tourist town, I'd avoid it unless your into that kinda thing.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:25 AM   #8
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Awesome info, Thanks folks.

I saw some pics of Banff somewhere and thought it was a great spot. Banff out. Looks like Whitefish is in for my daughter, Waterton, and the old lodge.

On google maps satelite views, it looks like there is a road that runs up the center of what looks like a beatiful green valley with white peaks on both sides, anyone familiar with that drive?

Thanks again, keep it coming please, this is what I needed.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:30 AM   #9
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Glacier Park thoughts

I have a summer house in Somers on the Flathead Lake about 30 miles from the West entrance to GNP. I have been up and over Going to the Sun, ridden a Harley around the southern border ( Hwy2) and up thru East Glacier and on up to Waterton. As others have mentioned the park is massive but unless you are really into hiking with the grizzlies much of the great scenery is visible from the roads thru and around the Park. ( btw I have seen 3 grizzlies in the park in the 7 or so times I have been there so they are there.) The trip up and over Going to the Sun can take a half a day to a full day depending on traffic and construction issues. Check ahead. The good news is it stays light until 10 pm at the peak of summer. I think there is more to see and more access from the east side of the park. St. Mary, Many Glacier etc. Waterton is ok but I think the U.S side of the park is more spectacular. I think it is the most awe inspiring of all the N.P's but I am a bit biased since I live so close.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:23 PM   #10
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Summer house?
Do you rent it out at all?
I would rather rent something from an inmate rather just rent some hotel. This was not my intent on posting this thread, but...if you do rent it out, maybe through an agency, I would rather a mate get my money than some schmo.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:39 PM   #11
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So I have cemented some plans and thought I would check in and see what ideas you folks can add.
Now remember, this is not a bike trip, not a bike "adventure", but rather a long distance CAR trip with the wife and kids.

We are leaving So Cal on Sunday July 14, 2013 at about 4am and running straight up the I-15N to Butte MT. People have reccommended not to do this, but we have 4 different drivers and the trip at speed limit is 15 hrs 30 mins. I know that is alot to start with, but I have done that much by myself before. I usually run 5-10 mph over posted speed limit on interstates and my wife and kid are very used to making long hauls between stops. We plan on being in Butte before dark even with fuel, food and pee breaks. We have done that drive leasurely and seeing the sites before so this day is just a travel day, not a site seeing day.

Then from Butte we will depart 7/15 after breakfast by about 7 am. and head to Kalispell MT. which is about a 3-1/2 hr drive. This is where we consider the "vacation" to start. We would like to hike and site see in that area for that afternoon and maybe the next morning.

Then on 7/16 we will head to Invermere BC by way of 93 and cross the border there at Roosville. Again a shorter drive day of about 4 hours so lots of time for site seeing and activities.

From there we head to Banff on 7/17 which is only a 2 hour or so drive, so again we have plenty of time to enjoy the area. We stay in Banff for 2 nights and Lake Louise is mandatory for my daughter and her best friend. Again, 2 full days to see the area, hike, climb, shop, be a tourist.

Then on 7/19 we head to a place called Revelstoke BC. It supposed to be beatiful and a great Rock Climbing area. My daughter is a big climber and is crazy excited to see this legendary climbing spot.

From there on 7/20 we heads to Vancouver BC for 2 nights. Shopping, dining, tourism is the agenda there. I plan on drinking while the wife and kids are spending my money.

Then on 7/22 we head to Victoria BC for a day so the wife can see the Gardens.

7/23 we head from Victoria to Seattle for 2 nights, again, like Vancouver, me drinking, them oogling and spending.

7/25 we leave Seattle and head towards home with maybe a day, or part of one in Portland, a night in Redding or Yreka Ca. and then home on 7/27 or so.

Busy schedule, pretty quick pace I know. But we usually look at trips like this as time together and some cool sights. We have usually done these trips and then returned to our favorite spots later for longer trips. Consider it a long and costly "scouting" trip.

Any ideas for must see spots along the way there are welcome....
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:43 PM   #12
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Forgot to mention, we have hotel reservations through AAA at all of the listed spots except Butte MT. I am leaving that long drive open to the possibility of cutting it short in Idaho Falls or something if we are just beat.

From Kalispell to Seattle we have Best Western or BW + hotels reserved. The last 2 days are open to stopping where we feel like. Home byu the 28th.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
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As far as I'm concerned, you're missing the best part of of the Rockies - the Icefields Parkway from the turn-off you'll be taking to go to Golden/Revelstoke and Jasper. The scenery is breathtaking.

I'd recommend skimming a day off your Banff/Lake Louise stay and devote it to travelling up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper and the back down to Revelstoke the next day. I feel Banff is too commercialized (meaning overrun by Japanese tourists where Jasper is more rustic and relaxing. Hiking trails around Jasper are every bit as good as around Banff.

The drive between the Highway 1 turn-off into Yoho National Park, through Goldwn, Glacier National Park, and into Revelstoke is absolutely breathtaking. Don't miss it, even if a bear naws off one of your limbs in an earlier hike.

The drive from Revelstoke to Vancouver is also very scenic and breathtaking. You start in the mountains and descend into a semi-arid desert around Kelowna that us renown for its wines (try to catch a tour or two). From there you cruise through another mountain range on your way to VANCOUVER. BC is one on the best place to ride a motorcycle as it is has terrain for every type of rider.

Enjoy your trip!
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