Glacier NP/Yellowstone trip, 2009

Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:11 AM
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Glacier NP/Yellowstone trip, 2009

In the beginning of our planning, and I'm trying to get a more organized understanding of Glacier NP and the area around it. Yellowstone will be more complicated of a trip to plan for us, so until I have more specifics on the total # in our party, I will work on Glacier. (Yes, I am aware I will need to book Yellowstone ASAP).
We are a newly blended family of 8 and are 100% positive on at least 5 going on the trip, could be 6. Two adults and 4 boys (10, 12, 15 and 15). Also plan to travel with extended family, which we have done many times in the past. We always have more fun when we all are able to share a larger accommodation, so we look to stay just outside the park in a cabin/house, etc. Then venture into the parks during our stay. It's cost prohibited to scatter us all about in a bunch of hotel rooms. As well as feed us all in restaurants.
Looking at the map, and reading about Glacier, I'd like opinions about staying in a cabin/house on the West side. I've found some on VRBO that actually look like a bargain and are beautiful. Makes me wonder if it's too good to be true.
What is the area around West Glacier like?
Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 01:15 PM
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West Glacier has great, easy access to the Park. There isn't much to West Glacier itself. We usually rent a condo in Whitefish or Columbia Falls area. More driving, but more stuff in and around those communities, so you might want to look at VBRO for those areas. You just don't want to be too remote from the Park.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 06:23 PM
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Do a search for Glacier National Park Chat - it's a great forum with lots of knowledgeable people dedicated solely to GNP. I went to GNP for the first time earlier this year and they were a great resource. However, I did the trip solo and stayed in the park, so I can't give you much info regarding your lodging question.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 07:46 PM
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Thanks. I found the NGP chat web site, and took a look around. Of course, now I'm second guessing my choice of staying on the West side. Many seem partial to the East side. And many love Waterton. We've already been to the Canadian side (Jaspar, Baniff, Golden, Radium, Invermere), so I know how incredible the Canadian side is. I'm afraid that if we venture back into Canada, we will be drawn back into that incredible beauty, and not give Glacier the time of day it deserves. Remember, we only have 2 weeks, and we are coming up from Yellowstone.
We tend to look at various guide books for interesting places to visit/hike/explore, pack a lunch, and then head out. The kids are used to us heading out for day trips (adventures), so we don't need "in town" activities to keep them entertained. We tend to rely on our home base for relaxing after a days adventure out, and dinner. We don't need a busy or touristy town to keep our interest. We usually don't have much time for that. But a grocery store nearby is helpful to stock up for picnics and dinners.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 10:40 AM
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I only had a week at Glacier, and I split the week between the east and west side. I went the end of June, and some of the trails were still closed (and the Going to the Sun Road was closed), so there were a number of trails that I wanted to see that I couldn't

Also, I stayed in the Park so I can't really comment on outside park accomodations.

My impressions - I stayed at the Village Inn right on the lake - and loved the location because it was so pretty and peaceful. There were a few good hikes in the area, but some of the best hikes on the West side required a somewhat lengthy drive on a dirt road - and I didn't want to risk it in the rental car.

I found better, and more diverse hiking on the East Side. I stayed at the cabins in motel in the Many Glacier Area, and it was great being just a few steps from some great trails (and a moose walked right by my window!), but the room was beyond basic.

There are three separate parts to the Park on the East Side, and although the distance isn't too far, the roads can be windy and slow, so it can take longer to drive from section to section than you'd expect, but each section has unique scenery.

However, with the GTTS road open, you can get to the other side of the park more easily. I'm not sure when your trip is planned, but remember that if you go off-season (and the season is short!) certain roads and trails will be closed.

When I originally planned my trip, I posted a tentative itinerary at GNP Chat and they gave me some great, specific suggestions of ways to improve my trip. I'm definitely glad I listened to their advice!! And just looking at some of the pics posted there will get you very excited for your trip!
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 06:01 PM
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We were tentatively planning to go the last half of June, starting our trip in Yellowstone and then heading to Glacier. Hoping to avoid the crush of crowds.
I read on the NPS site that the GTTS road opened around mid June. Now I'm concerned about what you said about it not being opened at the end of June. Is that typical?
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