Need help with National Parks trip in 2017

Old Aug 5th, 2016, 02:50 PM
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Thank you to everyone who replied especially to monpetit for your lengthy response. We used to do a lot of backpacking & hiking when we were younger but not any more. So we are looking for easy hikes. I assume we won't be doing all-day hikes. I'd like to do some ranger led hikes, and easy walks through beautiful scenery, if there are any.
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Old Aug 5th, 2016, 07:12 PM
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Hi Karen,
It looks like we may be doing similar trips at the same time, except you have more time (We are not yet retired). These responses have also been helpful to see. I have not been in the Rockies since 1971, when a friend of mine and I spent a summer driving me from Michigan to Berkeley, California for graduate school.
We did a series of short backpacking trips on the way. Although my memories of them have dimmed (like all too many memories), I have wanted to go back for many years. I found Glacier Park especially beautiful; I remember waking up in a meadow of flowers one day and thinking, "well, this is really it. This is what they meant by "oh purple mountains majesty" in "America, the beautiful". I alway remember even in my 20s needing time to get used to the altitude.

Your last planned itinerary sounds wonderful (Glacier, Tetons/Yellowstone, Idaho, Colorado), especially with beginning north and finishing in Colorado hoping to arrive in time for the change of color in the aspen trees.

While I don't know the details of your health situation, I wanted to put in a good word for hiking. As one of the other people who posted said, hiking even 1/2 mile or mile away from the trailhead changes everything in terms of the view, the feeling of being "inside" the experience instead of outside of a postcard and the crowds. I know Yosemite well (we go once a year) and there are easily 5-6 days of trails you could take not walking more than 1-3 hours a day. I had serious foot problems for three years a decade ago and there were phases where I could only walk 15 minutes up and 15 minutes down, with a longish rest in-between. Nonetheless, that 30 minutes of walking made all the difference.

I am 68 (my husband about 10 years young). Over this decade I have gotten stronger and stronger, slowly getting back in shape. Last year over Labor Day, we hiked probably 14 of the 16 miles of Half Dome, up to the subdomes and in November we did a 5 day trek in Bhutan (with the help of a great staff). My pace is VERY slow, but being able to hike again has been life changing. And as I said before, even 30 minutes of walking a trail makes a huge difference.

At any rate, I wish you a wonderful trip, and who knows, we may cross paths along the way.
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Old Aug 5th, 2016, 07:55 PM
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p.s. Would you consider excluding Idaho and dividing out the other week between Glacier, GT-Yellowstone, RMNP, giving Montana, Wyoming and Colorado more padding?
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Old Oct 17th, 2016, 03:36 PM
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I have been to over half of the National Parks and will be going back to the SW parks in the Grand Circle area in fall 2017 adding one I did not do. I, like you do the easy and moderate hikes usually staying to 3 miles RT in morning and same in early evening.

I have found some of the following very helpful. I ordered a book of day hikes and a wonderful video of Rocky Mountain NP that I found in the paper you get when entering the park. I also found books in the paper from Glacier and other parks so I'm sure if you do a search you will find links for them. I checked RM but did not see the ad for the books but here is the link to the paper of RM. They have wonderful information that is great to have before going. They list all the hikes, difficulty, and times plus a lot more of helpful info. I did find the video listed on Amazon, it is a great video and I highly recommend it.

I also get the OH Ranger books that are around the parks and use to order them free on line but see they now charge but the whole set of 29 is less than $1 each and since you plan on seeing all the parks it would be a good investment.

Have a wonderful trip,
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 10:13 PM
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Busy, busy, busy.

You time for some research.

Try this book that is available on Amazon:

Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West (Full-color Travel Guide) Paperback – May 10, 2016

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Old Oct 20th, 2016, 07:45 AM
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Have you considered going to the Smoky Mountain National park? It's the most visited park of America. It receives 12 million visitors per year.

About lodging I would recommend staying off the main strip for lodging because otherwise you wont feel that wow factor. I would strongly recommend lodging at SKY Harbor its a rustic, natural area surrounded by trees, streams just like going into the SMOKY MOUNTAINS. They even have a boundary marker of the national park up there and that is why so many bears visit that area.

What I most like about Sky Harbor is that its going up the mountain and its not a man made resort with pools, tennis, club and all those things that kill the spirit of going rustic. Another great feature it's only 5-10 minute drive to either Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.

. If interested just log into vrbo there are like 5000 listings in the area for cabins and chose SKY HARBOR and it will scroll down to 170 rentals and from there you can chose.
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