Glacier NP/Yellowstone: Gurus needed!

Old May 15th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 15
Glacier NP/Yellowstone: Gurus needed!

We haven't gotten there yet, but I'm so excited about heading into Glacier and Yellowstone Parks that I may not be able to wait until August! Needing some advice from those of you out there who have had the fortune to explore Mother Nature's finest. This site has been exceptionally helpful, and most of us traveling to these areas understand there is too much acreage to cover in a single two-week trip. Must make the most of this time, spending one week in each park.

I'd like some opinions about venturing into the back-country on horseback with three children (ages 9, 13, 15). Just looking to find a ranger and go out for a day, maybe. Does anyone have a suggestion for where this is possible/available?

Also, my father used to work in Glacier at a lookout tower at Heavens Peak. I would so like to return to his old haunt, but know this may not be accessible. Anyone been there or know if a lookout tower is still there?

As for whitewater rafting, would someone make a suggestion for where it might be best to try this---Glacier or Yellowstone?

If anyone has personal experience biking with children in some areas of either park, I'd be interested to find out where and also learn if bikes are readily available to rent.

One last crucial question for the moment: In Yellowstone, are there tents and camping equipment available to rent if we should decide to tent one or two nights? I would dearly love to hear the wolves wake me in the middle of the night at Slough Creek Campgrounds, but it is not worth hauling so much gear for a night or two.

A very big thank you for your help!
AngelaSue is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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sorry i can't answer your questions but i can make some suggestions on Glacier (one of my favorite places on the planet)

as you may know glacier is a park for hikers or trail ridge road cruisers... given the ages of the family, you may enjoy some of the hiking around logan pass, not too difficult (you are already at the pass after all) the rangers often have spotting scopes out looking for grizzlies.

the lake macdonald area also has some easier hikes to many different lakes.

my favorite place though is many glacier, really neat trails and you have a good chance of seeing bears. a great day hike that isn't too bad at all is iceberg lake hike.

you can drive by the salt lick on route 2 (near east glacier) and see mountain goats. and you might see these at certain lookouts on trail ridge road.

I am headed to yellowstone myself this summer, haven't been there in about 12 years. i recall watching moose in the firehole river.

canyon area had easy hikes and i also loved the indian paint pots (i don't recall where these were)

my sister and her family were at yellowstone /grand teeton np recently and they did white water on the snake river and loved it.
justme22 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Note to Justme: Trail Ridge Road is in Rocky Mt NP. The road in Glacier that you describe is Going to the Sun!
laurieb_nyny is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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AngelaSue, I can't offer current advice about activities for you and your children, but I can say they will love this trip. You are a great mom, and I hope you will post a trip report because there are many people who would be interested in hearing about such activties with kids.

There were many horsebacking opportunities around Cody that looked interesting last Sept. Good luck with your planning! Sounds like you're going to have a wonderful trip!
BayouGal is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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The above links are to the Outfitters that are allowed to operate in the parks, They maybe able to help with camping equipment rental as well as back country horseback trips..

If you are not able to get into Slough Creek CG, it sometimes fills early, there is Pebble Creek just up the road. If we cannot get into one of these two we use the Soda Butte CG (National Forest) just to the east of Cooke City. It has recently undergone some improvements. Several other CG's in the area are also being revamped. Happy Camping.
RedRock is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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We were in yellowstone last summer. The only horseback rides I remember were just an hour or two trail ride. You should check out Cody or Red Lodge for longer rides. I would also highly suggest you do the Beartooth Hwy and Chief Joseph Hwy you could do this going out the northeast entrance of the park. It is a spectacular ride. Also in Yellowstone the Lamar Valley area is great for animal sightings best time to be there is two hours before dusk. If you can invest in a spotting scope it's a great way to see animals up close. I have never seen bike rentals in the park. Another suggestion with your children would be to look into a day trip with the yellowstone institute. They offer guided tour with a ranger.
mmouse52 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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sorry on the road name and i really do love glacier!!!
justme22 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 05:36 PM
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I love Glacier, too. I think it is the most beautiful national park.

We rafted the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near West Glacier - this was a scenic and not wild trip. I know there are float trips in Grand Teton, but it was my understanding that they were almost 3 hours long, and I thought that was too long for my kids at the time (they were about 8 and 10).

My favorite easy hikes in Glacier are to Avalanche Lake, the shoreline of St. Mary's and part of the Grinnell Glacier Trail.
karens is offline  
Old May 16th, 2007, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Looks like the lookout is still on Heaven's Peak but it would be a long and strenuous hike especially for children. However, I think you can see it from the Going to the Sun Road with a good pair of binoculars.
ternstail is offline  
Old May 18th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Thank you, karens and ternstail, for your input. My heart just raced when I saw the picture of the lookout tower! That is wonderful---I'm going to give my dad a copy of it. He turns 80 this summer, and I know this will bring back memories. I'm thinking of finding a potential way to get to the tower by horseback and with a guide. However, I don't know the topography in that area. If we can only see it with a spotting scope, so be it. Thanks again for your post. Also, I appreciate the suggestions on the raft ride and hiking in Glacier. We are game for hikes that are at least in the "moderate" category part of the time, but I'm sure we'll take some easy ones as well. Our son, who was 8 at the time, did a 5-hour hike through Muir Woods to see the Redwoods and did great, so I think he'll be okay for whatever we old folks can manage. Thanks again.

Anyone out there have a particularly good experience staying in West Yellowstone? I'd be happy for a suggestion on lodging.
AngelaSue is offline  
Old May 18th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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In West Yellowstone we stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort. Not quite sure why this is a "sunspree resort", as it seemed like any ole Holiday Inn to me. But it was a fine place to stay.
karens is offline  
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