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Itineerary needed for 2 weeks Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Itineerary needed for 2 weeks Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Old Oct 12th, 2003, 09:20 AM
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Itineerary needed for 2 weeks Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

We are planning a trip to the northwest for no more than 2 weeks. Is it possible to do Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier in one trip and if so, what route would you sugges? We are flying from Maryland.
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Old Oct 12th, 2003, 02:17 PM
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Hey Jude,

Yes, it wil be easy to include those 3 parks in a two week trip. That will give you plenty of time to see a great deal of those parks.

I don't know where you are flying to but if you start in Jackson, WY ( just south of the Grand Tetons ) you only have a 95 mile drive to the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone. I would recommend you stay at Old Faithful Inn, we just did this past May and it was a great central location for seeing Yellowstone.

For the Grand Tetons we stayed in Jackson ( which is located in the valley known as Jackson Hole ) and drove into the Grand Tetons from there. Just a few miles away.

From Yellowstone to Glacier, depending on how you go, is roughly 450 miles. We left Yellowstone and drove the Beartooth Highway on the first day it opened this past May. It was a spectacular drive.

We drove to Great Falls, MT and spent the night and then drove up to Lake Louise in Canada. We came back down to Glacier and stayed at St. Mary's Lodge at the east entrance to Glacier.

I used Microsoft's Streets and Trips 2003 to plan my itinerary and purchased a $99 GPS receiver from DeLuo which connected via a USB port to my laptop. It gave us very accurate data while on the road.

Our total trip was 7000 miles, we started in Louisiana, went across Texas to Santa Fe, then to Jackson, Yellowstone, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper - via the Icefields Parkway, back to Lake Louise, then Glacier, Mount Rushmore, Little Bighorn, Omaha, St. Louis, over to Kentucky to visit family and then down through Memphis and finally back home to the land of humidity and tobasco.

The new version of MS Streets and Trips(2004) now includes real time data support which is even nicer. The 2003 version had a 15 second delay and sometimes in a city, when you are really zoomed in on the map, you could get ahead of the data...no longer.

If you have a laptop and purchase a DC power adapter, you can run your laptop non-stop off your car battery. Either that or lease a vehicle which has GPS. However you go, having GPS on a long driving trip, in an area of the country you are not familiar with, is a great way to get around.

You will love driving through this area of the country. My wife and I consider this trip one of the best we have ever done. All of the parks were magnificent, you will see an incredible amount and variety of wildlife and the natural beauty is just amazing.

Have fun........
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Old Oct 12th, 2003, 04:05 PM
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Thanks so much for your suggestion of the GPS. I had never thought of that. We use one when boating but not trabelling by car. Great safety idea! Since we will have 2 weeks in that area I was hoping someone would suggest how many days to spend in each park. Also if we fly into Jackson we will have to return there for our flight home because we plan to use frequent flyer miles. So Jackson to Yellowstone, up to Glacier and then back to Jackson to do the Tetons. How does that sound? Thanks for your help.
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Old Oct 12th, 2003, 05:02 PM
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Hey Jude,

You can fly into one of several locations and drive to Jackson or fly into Jackson itself. You can arrange your flights to fly into Jackson and return home from another location, ie, Great Falls, MT. You don't have to come back to Jackson in order to fly home.

The amount of time in each park depends on what you like to do.

Yellowstone is massive and should get most of your time. Glacier is also quite large and should probably get the second largest amount of time. Grand Teton Park is smaller.

You can raft, fish, hike, etc. for days on end in any of these parks, if you like.

If you start in Jackson you should do the Grand Tetons first and then go up to Yellowstone. From Yellowstone you can drive up to Glacier and then fly home from a location closer to Glacier.

You should definitely drive the Beartooth Highway, if it's open when you go. This will take you out of the way to Glacier but it is well worth the detour. This year it opened on May 23.

Go to Fodor's main page and look on the left hand side at National Parks. You will get a lot of information about the parks, things to do, places to stay and from this information should be able to decide your itinerary.....including number of days.

The more you read about the parks the more enjoyable your experience will be as you will go with a broad knowledge of what to see and do.

Enjoy your trip.....
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Old Oct 13th, 2003, 08:47 AM
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You can definitely fly into one airport and out another using FF miles.
As for how to split up the trip, you'll have about 11 full days out of the 14 for your activities (figuring one day each going and coming and one day driving from Yellowstone to Glacier). With that total and as a general guideline, I'd do 3 in the Teton and 4 each in Yellowstone and Glacier. (Having said that, I would add that you should definitely research each park to decide which you think you'd want to spend the most time in. Our favorite happens to be the Teton, where we just spent a week!)
I'll disagree with a previous poster and recommend staying right in the Teton rather than Jackson.
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Old Oct 13th, 2003, 05:33 PM
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heyjude,
I'm going to voice another opinion and say that three parks might be too much. It all depends on whether you are planning on staying in your vehicle and don't plan to do much in the way of hikes and how fast paced you want a vacation to be. The time of year will also effect your travel times within the parks. It is very crowded from July 4 on in the summers.

We visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone early this past July. Two week stay. I can't imagine adding Glacier. We did, however, take a day and drive the Beartooth Hwy and stay one night in Red Lodge, Montana. We were very happy that we did not miss the Beartooth. I really want to visit Glacier, but it will be on another visit.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2003, 09:20 PM
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I was so glad to hear from you. I thnk we will try to go west the last week of June, but am worried that the Going to the Sun road won't be open yet. So we will definately do Yellowstone first and then Glacier if we do all three. Flying into Jackson and out somewhere else sounds like a good idea. But what about the car rental. Do you know if the cost for a one way rental for 2 weeks would be much more than returning it to Jackson? Also we want to do some hikes and maybe a float somewhere if it is warm enough. Was it still cold in Yellowstone in June and early July? And my last question..I read somewhere where we should stay at different locations in Yellowstone instead of staying the whole time at say Old Faithful. Moving lodging is a real pain if one spot would work just as well. Any thoughts. Thanks to all. Judy
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Old Oct 23rd, 2003, 09:15 AM
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How does flying into Jackson and ourt of Mesoula, Montana sound? I can use frequent flyer miles is I book it soon? How is the drive from Glacier to Mesoula?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2003, 10:16 AM
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One suggested change in your order: If you fly into Jackson, it would make more sense to do the Grand Teton first, before Yellowstone. Otherwise, you'd be backtracking.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Hello from Northwest Montana.
The drive from Glacier to Missoula will take approx. 2 1/2 hours on highway 93 which is the ONLY road from West Glacier/Kalispell. It's a two lane road with lots of tourist traffic and impatient locals so drive carefully!!!
Come on out!!!

Depending on your ff miles, you can also fly out of Kalispell. Delta Northwest and Horizon service Kalispell as does Sky West.
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Old Oct 25th, 2003, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for the help. We will definitely do the Grand Tetons first before Yellowstone and also take route 93 from West Glacier to Missoula because United does not do Kalispell. Wish it did Next: arriving Jackson at 3:30. Would it be worthwhile to stay in Jackson one night or head right on into the park hopefully with a reservation at Signal Lodge since others have recommended it? Or is there any other suggestions? Thanks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2003, 06:18 PM
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The airport is between Jackson and the Teton, so it would mean backtracking if you stayed in Jackson. On the other hand, however, perhaps this would be the easiest way to see Jackson without a longer backtrack once you're in the Teton.
Signal Mountain is about 15-20 miles from Jackson.
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Old Nov 20th, 2003, 03:02 AM
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Since you're going to be out there for 2 weeks, I'd probably spend the first night in Jackson. It's a great little town to walk around. Good restaurants and shopping. There is a place there were the elk come to spend the winter. Then you can start your trip through the Tetons in the morning and take your time seeing them as you go to Signal Mountain. We've been to Yellowstone twice (so far) but the last time was in 1998. Both times were in September--I don't know how crowded it is there at the time you are going. The first time we spent 5 days in Yellowstone flying in and out of Jackson (with a night in Jackson on either end). The next year we flew into Kalispell (and stayed there for 4 nights) and drove to Glacier each day. I loved Kalispell (could live there), but when we go to Glacier again I would definitely stay in the park. You do a lot of driving while in these parks and it gets tedious driving back and forth after hiking all day. Drove down to Gardiner (north entrance to Yellowstone). It was a very nice drive and scenery, but took all day (we stopped along the way to sightsee). Spent the night there and drove to West Yellowstone the next day (stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls and Norris Basin on the way). We stayed at West Yellowstone for 3 nights (I would stay in Yellowstone longer if it is your first visit). We didn't mind driving into the park from there at that time of year, because there was no traffic and usually on the way in or out, there were always stops for animal sightings. Again, if you are there at a busy time of year, I would probably stay in the park--although you have to drive a ways to each of the five different areas (and I wouldn't miss any of them--they are all unique and different). We then went to the Tetons and Jackson for a night (by way of Old Faithful area) and then back the other way (by Yellowstone Lake) to exit the East Entrance (good scenery, but not a must) and on to Mt. Rushmore (we flew out of there).(I know you're not going there--and I wouldn't advise it on this trip--glad we did, but we had already seen Yellowstone) We did this in 2 weeks. And saw a lot of all the parks. (I think it is good to spend a day more than you think you want to in each area (if you can) in case you have bad weather. The first day we were in Glacier it was rainy and misty (we tried to go on the Going to the Sun Road and you couldn't see anything). The rest of the trip was sunny. You can never count on the weather, but then you have a little leeway--it's too far to go not to be able to see anything. And also--there is a drop off charge for the rented car, but it is worth it--you will be doing a lot of driving while out there without backtracking. Loved our trips out there. Plan on going back next fall to Yellowstone and Tetons with side trip to Idaho, so would appreciate it if you would post a trip report after you return.
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Old Nov 21st, 2003, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for telling us about your trips. We're really looking forward to ours. I have booked 2 nights at Old Faithful Inn so far. I have been looking for accomodations in Jackson Hole but haven't found anything reasonably priced yet. And also want to book in Mammoth Hot Springs. It's really hard to book places to stay not knowing for sure how long you will want to stay at each location. But i will continue figuring it all out. I will definitely post my trip report next July. Thanks again. PS if you have a good cheap hotel recommendation please respond again.
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