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Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

by mckinney3 Online Now Nov 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

As background, we spent 2 weeks in Yellowstone and Tetons in September of 2010. We didn't get enough of Northern Yellowstone so we are planning a trip back (2-3 weeks) in September of 2012.

Mary and I like being outdoors and moderate hiking but also like "town" if it has the right vibe and creature comforts. (example would be Park City Utah or Telluride, Colorado.) So we like a sampler of each and prefer the "blue highways" over inter-states. Only like to drive about 2 hours between stops as we like to take day-hikes and picnics along the way.

We have part of this trip figured out but need a critique and some advise:
Fly into Billings and spend a coupla' days in Red Cloud to get acclimated and gear.

Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone and we spend 3 days in Roosevelt Cabins (have reservations already)

Out thru Gardnier and basically taking 89 N.

Stop for 1-2 days in White Sulphur Springs

Need another stop-over from White Sulphur Springs to Babb( actually Many Glacier Lodge)

3 days at Many Glacier Lodge (have rooms lakeside reserved)

Back to Going to the Sun road for east-west traverse thru Glacier Park
Need a stop as a "base camp" in the center of the Park for 3-4 days.

Need suggestions for the right towns and right lodging to access the whitefish, kalispell, etc "side" of Glacier.

Finish up in Missoula to fly home.

Thanks in advance for advice and suggestions!

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8 Answers
  • SONG's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by SONG Online Now Nov 3, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Hi and welcome.....I JUST saw this a few posts below yours. You might want to email the VTer with more questions. She says Yellowstone is closed.

    VT Forum temporarily unavailable

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  • mckinney3's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by mckinney3 Online Now Nov 4, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Thank you SONG. My Yellowstone part of the trip is end of August 2012.

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  • Dymphna1's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by Dymphna1 Online Now Nov 4, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    In September you are chancing the Beartooth Highway being already closed. This is actually a high likelihood. Did you mean Red Lodge? I have never heard of Red Cloud. Going to the Sun will probably be closed also. It is harder to keep open than Beartooth, the snow was so bad it was almost July before they could get it open this past summer.

    Both parks will be getting quite cold, especially at night by that time. You are looking at temperatures down around freezing or lower at night.

    If you did mean Red Lodge, I suggest the Pollard for lodging. Very nice old west type lodging. Or you might want to try a night at the Soda Butte in Cooke City at the top of the pass before going into the park.

    I don't know the lodging up north very well, so can't help you there.

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  • mckinney3's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by mckinney3 Online Now Nov 5, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Thank you...

    My Yellowstone reservation is actually last week in August. I could turn this trip around and "do" Glacier in Mid August and work my way to Yellowstone. I would be hitting the Beartooth Hwy on September 1st.

    What do you think?

    dan

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  • Dymphna1's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by Dymphna1 Online Now Nov 5, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    It might work better, but I always recommend seeing Yellowstone before Glacier. If you do it the other way around you will be disappointed with Yellowstone. Yellowstone is beautiful in a different way from Glacier.

    I did the Beartooth the very first weekend of September this past year. We were able to get over it on Saturday, but could not come back that way by Monday.

    When you are going over the pass you will see some strange poles with color on the top. The reason for the pole is to help them find the road when they are plowing the passes in the spring. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world to open these passes in the spring. They start with dynamite to get closer to the road and work their way down. As you are driving down them, imagine doing it in a big machine where you can't see the road or know for sure where the drop-off starts.

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  • mckinney3's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by mckinney3 Online Now Nov 6, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    Your dialog and advice is VERY helpful!

    I went to some more sites and reviewed road closures, etc. As a result, here is my current thinking:

    I am going ahead with an August 29, 2012 landing date in Billing , Montana with the idea that the Beartooth will be open so I can arrive at Roosevelt Cabins for my 3 day stay starting on August 31.

    If the Beartooth is closed, I have the backup plan to drive to the Gardnier Entrance via I-90.

    I plan to take the 89 route to Many Glacier Lodge starting out on September 3rd with a two day passage so maybe arriving at Many Glacier on September 5th-6th. I would stay 3 days and then be heading to the west side of GNP via Going to the Sun on September 9th.

    If Going To The Sun is closed, then I have the back-up plan of getting back on track via hwy 89 and hwy 2. I will make my west side of the park lodging reservations at a place that has road access much later than the Logan Pass closures.

    Anxiously awaiting your read on this plan. I realize some risk in late august and early September but seems to be worth the gamble as there seems to be an escape rout that is not too lengthy.

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  • Dymphna1's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by Dymphna1 Online Now Nov 6, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    That is reasonable. The entrances and highways listed are going to be open and you will miss the passes.

    On your way up to Glacier, you might want to pass through Virginia City & Nevada City (best if you leave through W. Yellowstone to do this). In Nevada City on the 3rd they to a re-enactment of the hanging that happened there many years before. There is also the Lewis & Clark Caverns north of there on the way to the interstate. It is a huge cave system and they have a great tour through it. Lots of walking.

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  • EllenH's Profile Photo

    Re: Need Critique of my route and stops from Yellowstone to Glacier

    by EllenH Online Now Nov 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    White sulpher springs is a small town, one night at the hot springs hotel would be plenty. Helena is a nice place to see, nice walking area and it is the capital. It also has a beautiful Cathedral.

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