Rocky, Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier

Nov 5th, 2016, 02:23 PM
  #1  
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Rocky, Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier

Hi everyone! I am in the process of planning a trip out to the mentioned parks in the title (Rocky, Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier). We will be driving from the East Coast and I am wondering if there are any recommendations for trip itinerary? We really do not to hike in the Rockies, just essentially drive through and see the scenery. Driving time is already accounted for in the 9--10 days so we have this time to spend IN the parks. What does everyone suggest for lodging? How long should we spend in each park?

Itinerary thoughts
1 day in Rockies/Este Park
1.5 days in Grand Teton
2.5 days in Yellowstone
4 days in Glacier/


I am mainly concerned with finding a place to stay while at Glacier. All of the in park lodging places are full. Budget for us is negotiable and willing to pay to stay within a reasonable distance. We would love to stay at Many Glacier, but right now doesn't look like that is going to happen. Any recommendations would be appreciated!!

Is this itinerary ok?
Which trails are the best? (does not have to be main tourist trails, we are both in 20s/early30s)
When it comes to Glacier, which trails would warrant seeing the most glaciers?
jchurgai is offline  
Nov 5th, 2016, 05:27 PM
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I think that you should spend more time in Yellowstone instead of Glacier. Do the days include the time to drive between the parks? The drive from the border of Yellowstone to the border of Glacier is at least 6 hours according to Google, without counting stops for lunch and leg stretching.
Michael is online now  
Nov 5th, 2016, 09:07 PM
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I agree with Michael. More time in Yellowstone and less in Glacier. If it is just 2 of you, consider flying to Denver and renting a car from there.
The best place I found that's not too far from Glacier is the Meadow Lake resort in Columbia Falls.
tomfuller is online now  
Nov 6th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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What time of year are you planning on doing this? Also, didn't understand if you DO or DO NOT want to hike.
John is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 08:35 PM
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ThanKatie for the responses so far!

To clarify a few things,

yes the days are time IN the parks, time is already accounted for driving and whatnot.

Unfortunately flying isn't an option and it is just the 2 of us. And sorry for the misunderstanding but hiking is definitely something that wants to be done!
jchurgai is offline  
Nov 7th, 2016, 03:56 AM
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I don't really think you know about distances.
I'd let Glacier go for another time and actually "see" and enjoy the others.
It would be interesting to see your driving times.
Gretchen is offline  
Nov 8th, 2016, 07:26 AM
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Driving from the east coast is a very long distance. Second why only one day in Estes Park/Rockies? That makes very little sense. And there are some better sites in Rockies than Estes Park.

Second, what is your time frame - might make some differences in recommendations.

Third, if you plan to stay in Yellowstone you to start calling today for cancellations. Yellowstone will book out a year in advance. So if it is next summer, you need to starting calling now looking for random cancellations.
fmpden is online now  
Nov 8th, 2016, 01:46 PM
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It's often better to think in terms of how many nights you have, not how many days or half days. Your itinerary totals 9 days for 4 national parks.

This could be 8,9,or 10 nights depending on how you are counting.

In any case I also think you've underestimated the distances and will need to drop either Glacier or Rocky depending on your route from the east, unless all you are looking for is the drive-through experience.

Finally as noted above, exactly when you are going can make a big difference in the northern Rockies.
Nelson is online now  
Nov 12th, 2016, 10:48 AM
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I'm kind of appalled at everyone saying they would be interested in seeing the driving times and that I "do not know" about distances. Since I feel I have to justify these times to you here we go.

Day 1: PGH - Iowa City
Day 2: Iowa City - Cheyenne, WY

Day 3: Cheyenne, WY - RMNP (2.5hrs) *sunrise and day in park & scenic drive, heading back to spend night in Cheyenne, WY* <1/2 - 1 day in park>

Day 4: Cheyenne, WY - GTNP (7hrs) & afternoon hike *Night 1 in area*
Day 5: GTNP *Night 2 in area* <1.5 days in park>

Day 6: GTNP - Yellowstone (3 hrs) & hiking/sunset *Night 1 in area*
Day 7: Yellowstone *Night 2 in area*
Day 8: Yellowstone *Night 3 in area* <2.5 days in park>

Day 9: Yellowstone - Glacier (6-7 hrs) *Night 1 in area*
Day 10: Glacier *Night 2 in area*
Day 11: Glacier *Night 3 in area*
Day 12: Glacier *Night 4 in area*
Day 13: Glacier *Night 5 in area* <4 days in park>

Day 14: Glacier - Minneaspolis
Day 15: Minneapolis - PGH


We are aware of the lack of sleep, and have been to the Rockies once before. Glacier and Yellowstone can be interchanged. Now that I have the itinerary LAID out, can we please get past that and actually give some advice instead of telling me the distances aren't taken into account? Thanks.
jchurgai is offline  
Nov 12th, 2016, 01:54 PM
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With that attitude, you don't need any advice. Good luck with your travels.
fmpden is online now  
Nov 12th, 2016, 03:05 PM
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> How long should we spend in each park?

More time in Yellowstone, less at Glacier. And it pains me to say that, because Glacier is absolutely spectacular. But the simple fact is that Yellowstone is MORE spectacular. Indeed, if you put a gun to my head and demanded that I say which of the 60 national parks I've visited is my favorite, it'd be Yellowstone.

> Which trails are the best?
I can only speak for Rocky Mtn NP, and for that I recommend getting to Bear Lake and start walking towards Alberta Falls. Sadly, one day won't allow you a lot of time for both driving Trail Ridge and doing any hiking.

> When it comes to Glacier,
> which trails would warrant seeing the most glaciers?

The only trail that would allow you to get a view of a glacier is the Grinnell Glacier Trail in the Many Glacier section of the park, unless you want to backpack and spend a night at Sperry Chalet.
PaulRabe is offline  
Nov 12th, 2016, 05:18 PM
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Have fun. It's a wonderful world.
Gretchen is offline  
Nov 12th, 2016, 05:56 PM
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Man ... 16 hours per day driving to & fro ... that's pushing it but if you're in your 20's or 30's you can do that ... I did it a few times, changing off driving/sleeping with a buddy or 2. We'd take sleeping bags along and when too tired would roll them out in the country along the road ... just don't do it in sagebrush or, from experience, you'll smell like sagebrush for the rest of the trip.

It's really hard to winnow trips to focus, but I recommend doing that. Personally, I'd omit Rocky Mtn Park and add it into Grand Teton, Yellowstone, or Glacier.

Pick up a good hiking book for one or both of the three and start looking at the hikes ... both YS and GP will have lots of choices, pick your favorites and let that dictate what park you go to.

You'll find the plethora of great hikes so intriguing (and most of em take a whole day or a backpacking trip) that should help you to winnow and allocate your time.

I have friends who've gone to the Many Glacier area of Glacier for 2 weeks every summer for a number of years and would still go back for more ... it (and the hikes from there) are their favorite place.
elbegewa is offline  
Nov 12th, 2016, 09:58 PM
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What fmpden said!! !
John is offline  
Nov 13th, 2016, 03:52 PM
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How about not going back to Cheyenne and staying in Estes Park or Grand Lake and go from there to Grand Teton.

When are you going?
bigtyke is offline  
Nov 13th, 2016, 05:15 PM
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Another vote for more time in Yellowstone. The park's roads form a 180-mile figure-eight and the going is slow, plus there are so many wonderful stops along the way.
jayne1973 is offline  
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