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Sun Valley, Idaho to Jasper, AB, Canada route assistance

Sun Valley, Idaho to Jasper, AB, Canada route assistance

Old Feb 18th, 2019, 11:37 AM
  #1  
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Sun Valley, Idaho to Jasper, AB, Canada route assistance

We will be finishing up a business conference in Sun Valley, Idaho the first week of August. Five days later we need to be at a family event in Jasper, Alberta, Canada (roughly 950 miles). Instead of flying home from the conference and then flying to the family event, we have decided just to drive it as we anticipate the scenery is spectacular and we have the days available to us. And, we like road trips.

I am struggling with the best route and am hoping some of you who know this area can assist. We have not been north of Sun Valley before and I have never been to Montana. Realistically we need to arrive in Jasper between noon and 2:00 p.m. on our last day of driving so we'd like to keep that leg of it pretty light. Driving 950 miles in five days in that part of the U.S. is way more interesting to us than flying home to Dallas in the heat of the summer only to fly back so please don't chastise us for not spending more time.

Thank you in advance for what I know will be great advice!
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 01:30 PM
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OK, It is up to you whether you want to take Rt. 75 north out of Sun Valley to Stanley OR take the unnamed road NE to tie into US 93 near Chilly. Take US 93 north from Challis ID. Stay on US 93 all the way to Kalispell MT. You should be able to make it to Kalispell in a day from Sun Valley. From Kalispell take US 2 east to West Glacier and take the Going to the Sun Road over to St. Mary on the east side of Glacier NP.
My favorite place on the west side of Glacier NP is the Meadow Lake Resort just outside Columbia Falls MT.
When you arrive in St. Mary take US 89 north to the border where it turns into Alberta route 2. If you have an "extra" day, you could visit Waterton Lakes NP in Canada and then get back on Rt. 2 into Calgary.
Head west on the TransCanada and then north on the Icefield Highway (93) through Banff to get to Jasper.
Your short day could be from Banff to Jasper.
Don't try to turn in your US based rental car in Canada!. Research your options if you don't want to turn the car in where you rented to start. Some rental car companies don't want to let their cars into Canada at all.
If you use your own car insurance instead of the insurance through the car rental, be sure to get an insurance rider that covers you when driving in Canada. Check with your insurance agent.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 01:30 PM
  #3  
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Apparently I am mathematically challenged. We actually have NINE days to get from Sun Valley to Jasper. Still interested in recommendations for itineraries!
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 01:54 PM
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In that case, head south to get on US 20, 26, 93 as far as Arco. Take US 20 over to Idaho Falls. Take US 20 over the Targhee Pass into Montana and spend a night in West Yellowstone MT. Spend at least one day wandering around Yellowstone. Spend your last night in the Yellowstone area in either Mammoth or Gardiner MT.
Head north on US 89 from Gardiner to get on I-90 west to Missoula to get on US 93 to Kalispell.. You should be able to get to Kalispell or Columbia Falls in a day from Gardiner MT (or Mammoth Hot Springs).
The neat thing about Arco ID is that it was the site of the first commercial nuclear power generated in the world. It is rumored that a Mr. Farnsworth invented television in Rigby ID. There is a small museum there.
There is a cheap gas station in the west end of Idaho Falls on US 20 before you get to the Interstate area.
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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 07:13 PM
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I have not been up to Canada but I have been the route from Sun Valley to Yellowstone that Tom described. Arco was interesting. So was Crater of the Moon National Park. This can be a shorter stop (1 hour or less).

Regarding Arco, we also stopped to check out the reactor, but the tour was closed when we were there.

Regarding Yellowstone, if you know your dates, I would go online and look for the hotel at West Yellowstone as soon as possible.

We went in 2015. Look for something pretty close to the entrance gate to the park. I got one on Travelocity that was cancellable. For the morning (s) you enter Yellowstone from that location get up early and eat breakfast quickly or in the car. People really line up to get in the park.

Tom is wise to suggest you spend your final night in Mammoth or Gardiner for more reasons than one. Obviously it sets you up for your long drive the next day to be on your way out of the park heading north. But also that northern part of the park is known for having more wildlife like moose, that you don't see in the more crowded parts. We were able to see a bear up there--from the safety of our car. But no moose. We left well before sunset because we weren't keen on driving clear back to West Yellowstone in the dark. I think it would be cool to stay in Mammoth when it's quiet.
​​​​​​
Arco and Atomic City - Two very strange cities in Idaho

https://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm

​​​​​​

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Old Feb 19th, 2019, 07:42 AM
  #6  
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Thank you so much tomfuller and 5alive! You both have given me invaluable leads/ideas for our itinerary. So excited to spend some time in this part of our country. Again, appreciate all your thoughts and ideas!!
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Old Feb 19th, 2019, 12:21 PM
  #7  
mms
 
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I agree with 5alive and think Craters of the Moon and the reactor are very interesting.
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Old Feb 19th, 2019, 02:56 PM
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What's the plan with the rental car when you leave Jasper? Be sure that you are well insured while driving in Canada.
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 01:54 PM
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tomfuller, regarding the rental car, we are picking up in Spokane and returning it to Spokane. We ended up with additional days on both ends of the trip so are starting out in Couer d'Alene, taking five days to get to Sun Valley, attend the conference there, and then head to Banff/Jasper using your recommendations. Thanks for the heads up on the rental car issues. We have traveled extensively in Europe where drop offs in different countries (though expensive) are allowed. I am spending a rainy day in Dallas booking hotels, etc., now. Nothing better than travel planning, right!!??
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