Need help choosing a national park...

Oct 17th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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Need help choosing a national park...

I am narrowing down the list for a trip next summer (probably around July 4) with my parents and in-laws. Glacier National Park is at the top of the list, but my dad thinks it will be too much like Yellowstone which they visited two years ago. Is it?

I have added Rocky Mtn National Park to the list as an alternative. How do the two compare?

We all like the outdoors, hiking, beautiful scenery, and general relaxation. Good food is always a plus, too.

I welcome your thoughts on the two parks mentioned and also welcome other recommendations for a July national park destination..preferrably out West (I have already been to Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Mt. Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Acadia so want to see something new).

sessa is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Hi sessa, I spent a week in Glacier NP with friends at the end of August, my first visit there since childhood. I am an avid hiker and usually go to the Alps or Yosemite. I was amazed at the beautiful scenery in Glacier, and we're planning to return next summer.

As for how it compares with Yellowstone, it has been a long time since I visited that park. But as I recall, it is much more open and less mountainous than Glacier.

At Glacier, you can stay in one of the historic NP inns right on a lake (Lake McDonald on the west side, Swiftcurrent Lake on the east side) and look right at the mountains. And the hiking is terrific. We hiked with the rangers to avoid bear-related stress.
enzian is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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Glacier is VERY different from Yellowstone. We love both and enjoy going to them on the same trip since they are so different.

You don't get the high mountain peak vistas at Yellowstone. At Glacier you are up IN the peaks!

Both are good for hiking but Glacier is a mecca for hiking. We visit lots of national parks and I hear FAR more people talk about where they hiked that day at Glacier than any other park.

You will absolutely not be disappointed in Glacier. Go online and look for pictures to show your Dad the difference.
Connie is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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I agree. In fact, I don't think it is like anything you have seen unless you have been to the Canadian Rockies.

It always surprises me when people say they think they are the same. You might want to combine it with a trip to Waterton in Canada. As far as food, I don't think most National Parks are known for really good food. (as I'm sure you have found)
maj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Just a word of caution. We were in Glacier this year, arrived July 4rd, and the road across the park Going-to-the-Sun Road, only opened like a day before. They had a bad winter, but still, if you're thinking of going before July 4th, there could still be a lot of snow. At Logan Pass, this year on July 6th, there was still lots of snow, so some trails (like the Highline Trail and Grinnell Glacier, two of the most popular, will still closed).

Nevertheless, Glacier was amazing and recommended, definitely something different than anything else you've seen in the US(its more like Banff and Jasper in Canada),but early in the season, you could be limited.
dockruins is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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Not to mention the difference in the wildlife and fauna between the two. There really is very little that's very similar IMO.
dfr4848 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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We saw a lot more wildlife at Yellowstone in February than we saw at GNP in June...but the scenery at GNP is dramatically different.
Bobmrg is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 01:55 PM
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Look at Sequoia/Kings Canyon, interesting places to visit.

And where is Mt Zion? you meant Zion NP, right?
FainaAgain is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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I'll throw out an alternative: Olympic National Park.

Really impressive variety - rugged rocky beaches, amazing rain forests, alpine wilderness, hot springs, lakes and rivers...

The park actually has minimal development within the boundaries, but on the periphery there are marvelous historic towns, opportunities for great excursions, and plenty of places to explore. Plus unlike the Rocky Mountain parks, you're agreeably close to urban diversions like Seattle, Victoria or Vancouver BC, or Portland. If you want to do a multiple national park itinerary, you can include Mt. Rainier and North Cascades NPs, as well as the Columbia Gorge or various Canadian destinations quite easily in the same time frame.
Gardyloo is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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I really enjoyed Mount Rainer. It was beautiful even in the rain, lots of wildflowers, waterfalls. I think a loop combining Rainer, Olympic NP, Victoria would be great.
Anya is offline  
Oct 17th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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Another vote here for Olympic NP...really a diverse and spectacular area.

However, I've just returned from the Canadian don't say how long you have for this trip, but a week in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks would be wonderful, and two weeks even better. If you've never seen that part of the world, it should be high on your list. The scenery is awe-inspiring, hiking is great, and there are good restaurants in Banff and Jasper.
azzure is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 05:09 AM
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If Glacier is at the top of your list, you should definitely go. It has all the things you like: beautiful and varied scenery and great hiking, and is wonderfully relaxing. Boat rides are available on St. Mary's Lake. And tho' great food is not plentiful in the park, St. Mary's Lake Lodge has an excellent restaurant.

And I agree that Glacier is very different from Yellowstone.

You can drive from Glacier right to Canada into Waterton, which is also beautiful. This can be a day trip (which I did) or longer.

Another recommendation is Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone. I was just there last week and found it to be spectacularly beautiful. I caught fall colors as well as unexpected snow. You are just surrounded by beauty there everywhere you look, and of course, there are many great hiking trails.
panecott is offline  
Oct 18th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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I'll just throw in another option for you to consider... Banff National Park in Canada. The Canadian Rockies are absolutely incredible, and a nice variation from the parks you have already seen. Lots of great hiking and dining opportunities. A drive up the Icefields Parkway is a must. You might want to pair it with a trip to Jasper National Park.

If you want more info about Canadian National Parks, you can pop over to the Canada board and get some ideas.
msteacher is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Thanks to all of you for the great feedback! It sounds like Glacier Nat'l Park would be a great choice. I can't believe there can still be snow there in July!

I will have to check out the other suggestions, too. We are looking at going for probably 4 or 5 days.

Faina - Not sure why I called it Mt. Zion, but yes I meant Zion NP.

Will let you all know what we decide. Thanks again!
sessa is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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If you do decide to go to Glacier, check out the Prince of Wales hotel on the Canadian side of the park. It has the most spectacular setting of any hotel I've ever stayed in.
Digbydog is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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sessa - Glacier is my favorite national park for hiking and scenery. I think it's different than Yellowstone, and prettier, too.

I love the western national parks.

karens is offline  
Oct 19th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Glacier is not like Yellowstone.

Whether you go to Glacier or Rocky Mountain, you can't go wrong.

Glacier can be combined with Waterton and Banff in Canada; Rocky Mountain can be the centerpiece of a great trip to Colorado.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 05:26 AM
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I would love to visit Glacier--we have not been there but it's on our list.
We visited the Canadian Rockies for the third time this Sept. I could return there every year--and we prefer to choose a new destination when we travel. Spectacular scenery. It might be really crowded in July however.
Click on my name to find our trip report
LindainOhio is offline  
Dec 1st, 2008, 11:29 AM
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I just wanted to report back that we booked our plane tickets last week. We are headed to Glacier National Park next year in early July. Looks like we are staying in a rental in East Glacier (since there are 8 of us) so that we can be centrally located to both sides of the park as well as somewhat convenient to Waterton Lakes in Canada. We have 6 nights so hopefully this will be enought time to explore.

Thanks so much for all of the helpful input!!
sessa is offline  
Dec 1st, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Since you are staying at East Glacier, do something unusual. Drive in the Two Medicine entrance. It can be kind of lonesome in there. While in there, take the short hike to Running Eagle Falls.
rm_mn is offline  

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