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Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Philadelphia...
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Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Hi all - I'm in the process of finalizing plans for our big 2014 vacation to the above three parks. I know my draft itinerary is a bit ambitious, and I am trying to fine tune it to be sure we're not "over-planned," yet still see and do all the things we want to do in our two weeks. Looking for any advice, suggestions - anything you can offer! I'm also posting this on the Glacier and Tetons forums. Reservations already made at Many Glacier, lakeside room with balcony. Thanks in advance!

Day 1: (late August) - Fly to Kalispell, MT, rent car, drive to West Glacier. Overnight at Glacier Guides Lodge. Possibly do a helicopter tour of Glacier Park through Kruger Helicopters

Day 2: Visit the west side of Glacier, boat ride at Lake McDonald, overnight Glacier Guides Lodge

Day 3: Whitewater rafting through Glacier Guides Lodge, overnight there again

Day 4: Drive below the park, through East Glacier, stop at Glacier Park Lodge - arrive at Many Glacier Lodge in time for the afternoon boat ride and hike to Grinnell Lake. Overnight at Many Glacier Lodge

Day 5: Full day Red Bus Tour of Glacier Park (Going-to-the-Sun Road), overnight again at Many Glacier

Day 6: Drive to Jackson, explore town for dinner, overnight Lodge at Jackson Hole

Day 7: Full day Tetons Tour with Teton Science Expeditions, overnight at LJH again

Day 8: Snake River float trip, Teton Village Tram to top of mountain, last night at LJH

Day 9: Drive North to Yellowstone. Explore lake area, check-in at Lake Lodge Cabins. Do Yellow Bus Tour Lamar Valley Excursion (leaves Lake Hotel at 2:45pm), Overnight Lake Lodge Cabins

Day 10: Drive to Old Faithful, have lunch at Old Faithful Inn, spend day there and on western lower loop looking at geysers, etc. Drive across the center of the "figure 8" to Canyon. Check in at Canyon Lodge Cabins, overnight there.

Day 11: Up early for Yellow Bus Tour "Wake up to Wildlife" Tour (departs Canyon at 6:15am, returns at 11:30am). Spend afternoon exploring Hayden Valley (if not already covered on tour) and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Drive up to Roosevelt/Mammoth/Gardiner areas. Overnight in one of those areas, likely the Gardiner Guest House B&B since it gets great reviews on TA.

Day 12: Drive through Paradise Valley on way back to Montana - drive to Whitefish, MT. Overnight at Garden Wall Inn B&B

Day 13: Whitefish, Montana - overnight at Garden Wall Inn B&B

Day 14: Board Amtrak's Empire Builder in Whitefish, bound for Chicago

I realize this is a lot. Our main focus is scenery and wildlife. We like guided tours, neither of us wants to be stuck driving in the animal jams and having to watch the road. We'd rather have someone else do the driving in the parks and showing us the highlights, giving us some information on what we're seeing. Neither of us are big hikers, but the guided hike at Many Glacier seems like a great idea. Is there anything we're missing? Is it too ambitious? Do you like my choices of lodging? Is my time divided amongst the parks appropriately?

Thank you again in advance for any and all advice...

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Hi

I leave the questions for the NP to the experts but Many Glacier to Jackson is a very long daytrip. I also don't see places like Beartooth hw and Cody in your trip.

N. Idaho
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2. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Tet, we made suggestions on Christie's duplicate post in the Yellowstone forum regarding the length of that drive, so she may change it.

Pam

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Hi Tet...thanks for your thoughts. I did consider the the Beartooth Highway...I looked on the atlas and it looks like it might be a little scary at times. I guess it's worth the drive, right? I'm looking on maps google now and I think we might take Pam's advice and go from Glacier (Many Glacier) to Gardiner (2 nights), then Gardiner to Jackson Hole (3 nights), then back up to Lake Yellowstone for two nights before heading back up to Whitefish at the end of our trip. This way, we're not doing such long legs of travel all at once. It looks like we can take a longer route and take the Beartooth Highway from Many Glacier to Gardiner. And I assume you recommend Cody - given our short time in Yellowstone, do you think Cody is worth the trip? What is there to see and do there?

indiana
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4. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Cody is home to the Buffalo Bill Museum and you can easily spend a day there. You will be able to get a taste of the parks, but you are going to have a lot of driving and not much time in each park. Personally, I would want time to drive GTTSR at Glacier on my own, so I could make stops at areas that interested me.

USA
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5. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Yellowstone Lake to Whitefish can also be a long one-day drive, especially if there are wildlife jams on the way through the park. I personally would prefer your original Gardiner (Guest House B&B) to Whitefish.

Would you be willing to give up one of your 5 nights in Glacier (& I love Glacier!) to work in Glacier to Red Lodge, then Beartooth Highway? Or better yet, add a day or two :)

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

Beartooth hw is one of the most scenic drives in the USA and definitely don't miss it. Red Lodge is a lovely little town at the foot of Beartooth hw and Cody has the not to be missed Buffalo Bill Museums and a cute night rodeo in summer.

Whitefish, Montana
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7. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

While I am a very big fan of Glacier Boat Company the Lake McDonald ride is at the bottom of my list.

Driving from Whitefish to Gardner is my limit and makes for a less tiring day. Not sure what trails you are planning on hiking. If you are going to be in East Glacier go to Two Medicine if just to see the lake. This page has a sunrise photo of Two Medicine Lake. The Looking Glass Highway goes past the entrance road. Beware people either love or hate the Looking Glass Highway. I happen to love it!

www.glacierhikers.com/day-hikes-two-med.html

Swiftcurrent Lake Trail goes right in front of the Many Glacier Hotel

glacierhikers.com/swiftcurrent-lake-trail.ht…

The Many Glacier boat ride will be a good opportunity to see wildlife on the Lake Josephine leg of the journey. There was a loon nesting on the lake this summer. Lots of moose reports along Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine this summer, however this year I didn't see either a moose or a grizzly bear.

My preference is to do one park or another rather than spending two days on the road but lots of people combine them.

montana slow hiker

8. Re: Late Aug/Early Sep 2014 Glacier, Tetons and Yellowstone Trip

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