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FIRST TRIP TO GRAND TETONS, YELLOWSTONE,GLACIER NATL PK

FIRST TRIP TO GRAND TETONS, YELLOWSTONE,GLACIER NATL PK

Old Sep 13th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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FIRST TRIP TO GRAND TETONS, YELLOWSTONE,GLACIER NATL PK

Family is beginning to plan a trip to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone & Glacier National Pk, if this is feasible. Three adults (2-early 40's, a peppy grandma and a 16 year old) flying from Florida the second half of June 2010. We are just starting to plan and were hoping for some advice.

We thought we would fly into Jackson Hole, rent a car, stay a few days, then travel up to Yellowstone, spend 3-4 nights, then drive up to Glacier National Park for another few nights, flying home from Kalispell. We were hoping to pack all this in as we may never be back to this area again. Is this too busy an itinerary? (10-11 days)

We are looking for lodging (2 rooms or 2 bedroom cabin/suite)and car rental advice. Would like to stay inside the parks and if this is not possible, just outside. Also, any car rental tips? Pretty pricy droping off in Kalispell? Tips on rafting, horsebackriding, hiking appreciated, too.

Thanks for your help.
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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I highly recommend Signal Lake Lodge (don't know your budget but it is moderate) for GTNP and the in park lodging for Yellowstone and Glacier. Check the forum for Glacier on TripAdvisor, it is very active and full of great information.

Have fun, it is an incredible itinerary you have planned.
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Would recommend one full day for Jackson, at least a couple days for Grand Teton, and a minimum of three days for Yellowstone. Haven't been to Glacier NP, but am thinking at least a couple days is wise. You'll need to factor in travel up to Glacier, too. Staying in the parks is highly recommended.

Jackson and these parks are well covered on this forum. A board search should yield excellent results. A good follow-up would be to post a specific detailed itinerary, which folks can then give advice on.
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Hi geordias
Yes you can cover the ground and have fun.We did this trip 5 years ago here is a report I did then. We thought Glacier was the best. I'll see if I can find parts 2 and 3

Have Fun
GP

This is part 1 a trip report on our 10 adventure to Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks Me (GP) 51 and my wife Amy (late forties) Left Northern California July 23rd 2004 I will be posting Part 2 Yellowstone and Part 3 Glacier in the upcoming days. If you have questions post here and I will respond.
Day 1
Flew in Idaho Falls via Horizon from Eureka/Arcata with connections in Portland and Seattle spent the night at the Red Lion on the Falls for $80.00 a night. The hotel itself is average. We requested a King but were given two doubles, we ask to be moved they said no. Restaurant at the red lion was a surprise. The restaurant looked like a Denny's however they had good food, low prices and was very clean. My Wife got the filet actually two filets for $15.00 I had a flat iron steak with a bottle of wine ( Mondavi California Cab) total bill with 15% tip was less than $60. We used the free airport shuttle to get there and return to the airport for
Day 2
Rented a SUV (Blazer) from Alamo for 9 days $465.00 and took off for Signal Mt. Lodge in Grand Teton National Park via the Teton Pass on highway 22. A nice scenic route into the park. The only bad thing about the rental was now my wife wants me to buy her a Blazer. Our 1st stop was in Moose to see the visitor center and to stop at Dornans. If any of you enjoy wine like we do, you must stop here, the wine shop is amazing! Prices are reasonable (I picked up a 1997 Sonoma Cab for $26.00) and the selection is huge. Oh yes back to the tetons... That afternoon we took a hike along a unmarked trail near Climbers Ranch. There were over 32 different species of wildflowers in bloom along with great views of the Teton range. Best thing about this hike is that is flat. Being in our late 40's, early 50's and living at sea level we need to ease into the elevation thing. It is over 6000 feet at the base of the Tetons. We only saw one other couple on this trail and no wildlife either. After the hile we headed north along the Teton Park road, enjoying the views of the Tetons. This road took us directly to our destination for the next 2 nights Signal Mountain Lodge.

I can not say enough good things about Signal Mountain Lodge. It was far and way the best accommodations we stayed at on the whole trip. We were in their "Deluxe Country Rooms" which they say are non-view rooms. I beg to differ with them on this point, although the lakefront rooms were across the street from us we had a great view of Mt Moran from our room and even a better view from the front porch. We were in room 148. With tax it was $185.00 per night. We splurged that night and ate at their dinning room called the Peaks. This is their fancy place, dinner for two with two bottles of wine (Hey we were not driving) and desert with tip was $100.00. I felt this was fair given we had great service better views and a wonderful dinner. We waddled back to our room to watch the sunset behind the Tetons. The bats put on a great show.

Day 3
I was up at 5:30, my mission was to find a moose, so off to oxbow bend. Took about 10 min. to get there. It was beautiful. Trout were rising, ospreys circling, diving and catching fish. River otters were swimming in the snake river but no moose! So I took off for willow flats and then Jackson Lake Lodge still no moose. It was about 7:30 and I told my wife I would be back around 8:00 so I headed back to Signal Mountain. On a whim I veered off to oxbow bend again. There were more people but no moose so back down the road. As I was driving back the bull moose came out of the willows just up stream from oxbow bend. I made a safe u turn and pulled over on a turn out. (I can not tell you how many times in the Tetons and Yellowstone, people would just stop in the middle of the road, usually for nothing and create a safety hazard. You really have to pay attention) Anyway the moose stood there for a while then he swam across the snake river and disappeared into the forest. I was a happy non camper! Back to Signal Mt. for breakfast it was just over $20.

Jenny lake was way too crowded for us so we took the string lake loop hike. This is a nice walk with just a bit of a uphill climb. Once again nice collection of wild flowers on the mountain side of the hike. We had what I consider the best wildlife sighting in the Tetons at Leigh lake on this hike. We had hiked off the main trail (I know, I know) and stopped for a break and a picture or two. As I was returning my wife motioned at me to shut up and look in the underbrush. There were 3 baby small tailed weasels playing with each other. We sat there and watched these playful little creatures for about 20 minutes. After the hike we returned to the lodge to get ready for our float trip down the snake river.

We were booked on the 5:30 trip run by Signal Mt. ($90.00 for two.) For a while with the looming thunderstorms I was wondering if the trip would be cancelled, but no so off we went. You are picked up and dropped off at the lodge. Which made it perfect for us. It was about a 1/2 hour drive to the raft put in site and another 1/2 hour back to the lodge so you spend about 2.5 hours on the river. We saw deer, beaver, bald eagles (2) lots of birds (sorry I am not a birder). Nice views of the Tetons. We both enjoyed this float trip as we like spending time on rivers and would go again. The guide was knowledgeable and handled the raft expertly. The way they have it set up you do not get wet even getting in and out of the boat. In late July it is not a whitewater trip. The had us back to the lodge around 9pm. At this time of the year dinner is served to 10pm. We had a short wait for a table so we hit the Deadmans Bar which is well stocked and tended. There was even a TV. Tonight we ate in the Trapper grill which is Signal Mt. family style restaurant it was around $47.00 for two with wine.

All in all Signal Mt. Lodge exceeded all of our expectations for the Teton part of our trip. The whole staff was friendly and helpful. It should also be noted and commended that Signal Mt. Lodge has an extensive environmental program to reduce reuse and recycle. If we ever get back to the Tetons we will stay here. They get my recommendation.
End Part 1
Part 2 Yellowstone soon
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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Our family has been to Grand Tetons N.P. and Yellowstone three times and to Glacier once, Here are a few tips on lodging. I would try to book inside the park lodging as soon as possible, because the best choices fill up quickly. In GTNP, we have stayed at Colter Bay cabins. They are very basic, but a cabin has two bedrooms, making it a less expensive option. They are at the northern part of the park, making them a little less central,
On our last trip to GTNP, we stayed at Jackson Lake Lodge in a room with a view, which we loved. There is a ranger on the terrace at JLL in the evenings to point out wildlife.

Our favorite places to stay in Yellowstone are Old Faithful Lodge, Yellowstone Lake Lodge, and Roosevelt Lodge, the first two because of their character and the last because of its location. OFL rooms in the historic section are very basic and most have shared baths, but the hotel has so much character, and it is wonderful to sit outside on the second story balcony to watch Old Faithful erupt. Roosevelt Lodge has very basic cabins in a wonderful, quiet section of the park, which is filled with the most wildlife. It is my favorite area.

In Glacier, Many Glacier Lodge is in the most central area. We also loved staying at the Prince of Wales Hotel in the Canadian section of the park. The hotel had the most spectacular setting of any hotel I have ever visited. With your limited time, however, you might not be able to get that far north.

Have a great trip!!
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. That's what I love about the Fodor site, you get to interact with people who have been there and done that !!! I posted early today and got replies by afternoon. This is terrific. Keep the info coming !!
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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Lots of good suggestions.

Just a couple of thoughts. You're visiting 3 exceptional parks and would maximize my time there. I wouldn't spend "a few days" in Jackson. It's nice but we usually find it's sufficient to make it a day trip from GTNP.

Definitely stay in the parks and I agree that you want to make reservations now!

I haven't checked but think you'll find some steep drop off charges in Kalispell. (And I have don't know if it's more expensive flying from there or not) Rental in Jackson is easy. All cars are on site and the airport is north of Jackson so it's very easy access to GTNP. Just check the different companies and just pick the one with the best rate.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Check the drop fees for a one-way car rental (dropping in Kalispell) and then compare to airfares flying into someplace central in Montana and doing a figure-8 trip from there so you rent and return the car at the same place.

For Glacier, you have some good lodging choices right in the park.

The Many Glacier area (on the east side of the park) is most everyone's favorite for scenery, wildlife viewing, hiking, boat rides, and horseback riding. some of the hikes start with a boat ride, and you can hike with the rangers if you are at all nervous about bears (we do this ourselves). The horseback ride up to Cracker lake is supposed to be very scenic as well. We love watching the horses go out in the morning and return late in the afternoon.

Many Glacier Hotel is the historic lodge there. It is a large, sprawling "faux Swiss" place right on the lake with gorgeous views. It is quirky, the walls are thin, and wind can whistle through the cracks under the doors. But if you get a lakeview room you have one of the most beautiful views I know right from your window or balcony. I love this place. (The hotel has lots of public area with the same view, so you don't necessarily have to pay extra for a lakeview room---but we always do).

They have 4-person family rooms, or for a bit more you can get a 2-room suite. We had one of these last August---it is basically 2 complete double rooms, each with its own bath, and each with lakefront view AND a balcony. They connect through the closet (I told you it is quirky). One room, which was very large, had a double bed and sofa, small bath with shower, and a huge shared balcony; the other had a king bed, a huge bathroom with clawfoot tub, and a smaller private balcony. You can put a rollaway in either room to complete your bedding for the 4 of you.

This is the only way I know to guarantee getting a balcony with your room. The regular lakefront rooms may or may not have one--you cannot specify with your reservations so it's just the luck of the draw. Note too that the 2-room suite is less expensive than 2 separate lakefront rooms.

http://www.glacierparkinc.com/Lodgin...sp?id=3&prop=M

The family rooms may face the lake as well---I've never seen them. I believe this is one of those questions that the Tripadvisor people can answer---the Glacier Park forum is very active there. (And if you go there, find my profile under the same name (enzian) and check out my photos---there is one of the view at sunrise from our Many Glacier balcony).

On the far west side of the park there are two more possibilities for cabins or larger rooms for a family. These would be at the west end of Lake McDonald, with lovely views up the lake into the heart of the park. This area is not as convenient to good hiking areas, but makes a nice last night in the park before flying out of Kalispell airport (which is only about 30 minutes away).

Apgar Village Inn is a motel-style building that offers a lakefront view from every room. They have 2-bedroom units with a living room in between, so that would easily accommodate the 4 of you with reasonable privacy for all. This is operated by Glacier Park Inc., so look at the same website I posted for many Glacier above.

The other possibility would be apgar Village Lodge:

http://www.westglacier.com/apgar_village_lodge.php

This is right next to and around behind the Village Inn. They have cabins scattered along the creek and around some lawn areas. click on the rate sheet to see the cabin types. Cabin #5 looks great---it has 3 bedrooms, so again everyone has their own space. I wandered around there last August and made some notes on which cabins looked well situated---if you are interested I'll dig those up and report back.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 05:19 PM
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If you want to stay in the parks, go to www.nps.gov and click on the parks you wish to stay in to see the locations, sizes, and prices of lodging, and make the reservations now. These can be cancelled if you change your plans but they do fill up in the summer and it is really nice to be able to stay in the park. That site also gives other good tips about planning your trip.
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Old Sep 26th, 2009, 06:27 AM
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hi:
well lets start by saying your in for one great trip.
my wife and i spent three months camping in this area back in 2007. we spent one week camping in the tetons, 27 days in yellowstone and one week in glacier ntl. park.
so far i see a lot of people have sent you a lot of great ideals--and i would have to agree that there is not much in jackson hole to spend more than a day there. if your into hiking stay at the grand teton lodge drive into jackson hole one day look around.when in the tetons and your into hiking take the 2 1/2 mile
hike to hiden falls at jenny lake--mostly and easy walk but gets a little up hill near the falls. and if you dont want to hike back take the fairy boat back across.
yellowstone park is fanstatic so much to see and do--like i said we spent 27 days there and try to let people know what to do with only 3 days is kinda hard--but for sure old faithful=and old faithful lodge ( try and stay there if you can, you will love it) just down the road from there are lots of hot springs,mud pots and a few miles down from there is fire hole creek a great place for a swim ( lots of people there swimming) you will see lots of elk and bison
bears sitings are more toward mammoth hots prings and the lamar valley area. also give yourself aleast a days drive to glaceir ntl park. and once there make the first thing you do is to take the road to the sun drive. whoa
again lots of photo spots. pack a picnic lunch and drinks.
not place on the road to get anything, atleast the first half
of it, we did not get to the second half because road was close because of a land slide from winter snow.
any questions you have i will do my best to answer.
please anyone email me with quesion [email protected]
refence yellowstone
this is a trip you'll never forget.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Here's a link to a trip report from our visit in 2006. We started in Yellowstone and headed to Glacier from there. The very end of the trip report will take you to the Glacier part if you're interested. Many pictures from both trips.

http://www.alandsuejohnson.com/yellowstone_np.htm

If you click the Yellowstone or Grand Teton links on the left, you can see all the information and pictures. I linked to this one since it included both parks.

If you're big hikers, you're a little early for Glacier. You never know for certain but they will possibly still have snow on the higher trails. It wouldn't surprise me if Grinnell Glacier is still closed when you're there, for instance.

At Glacier, I'd recommend Swiftcurrent Motor Inn as its a beautiful area. Many Glacier Hotel is in that area too and would be my second choice.

In Yellowstone, Canyon and Lake are the areas that offer good central access to the park. You can look for wildlife in the mornings and geysers in the afternoon.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 07:11 AM
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Bookmarking for a possible 2010 trip.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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This will be an unforgetable trip for your family. We entered Glacier National Park from the east entrance after driving up from Yellowstone through Montana via Great Falls and a small community called Choteau (small dinosuar dig). This approach really is dramatic because you are driving along the vast plains of eastern Montana and suddenly there are the enormous mountains erupting into view- I have never forgotten that moment ! Have fun !
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