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Old 02-01-2019, 08:10 AM   #1
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Huge Mountain Trip Possible or Not??

Being the biggest expense is the miles of getting to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and North from South Alabama I am thinking about doing it all in a huge trip instead if this is possible. I have been working on planning the following locations in two trips, but I am thinking why not take a huge one instead. I would like to avoid the hot summer plus the crowds if possible. I also would like to avoid any chance of snow and freezing temperatures. My initial thought was to leave in April and start at the Southern end and the Dakotas last before heading back home.

1) Tucson area to see wife's kinfolk
2) Grand Canyon - both North and South
3) Utah National Parks (Zion, Bryce, etc.)
4) Grand Teton National Park
5) Yellowstone National Park
6) Glacier National Park
7) North and South Dakota (Devils Mountain, Mt. Rushmore, etc.)
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:31 AM   #2
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Hi reubenray,
Glacier is best in late July through early September. This is if you want to hike the high elevation trails. Consider staying on the east side of Glacier at the KOA in St. Mary. Coming from the south you will go through Browning. Consider taking RT 464 north and connect with RT 89 north of St. Mary (7 miles). Turn left and drive south to St. Mary. Rt. 89 from Browning to St. Mary is up down and around. The quality of road has been poor. Rt 464 is gently rolling, quality of road is good.

The KOA is very near to St. Mary, the park entrance and visitor center. Many of the trail heads are on the east side of Glacier (like Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg lake).
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:58 AM   #3
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I would think Yellowstone would be the most crowded from June to August. If I could be there at the end of May or early June I could avoid the crowds. But would the NP's in Utah and the Grand Canyon be open in late April or Early May?

We would not be doing much if any high elevation hiking especially if they are around any drop offs at Glacier NP. My wife is very scared of heights. We prefer trails that are only a few miles long.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:08 AM   #4
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We did the Alaska trip in 2009 and took in the Teton's, Yellowstone, and Glacier on the way there. We got to the Tetons in early June and entered into Canada in early July. The weather was still pretty cool and the crowds were reasonable. We did not make reservations that far in advance.

I have read that Yellowstone is renovating some of the campgrounds so it may be difficult to get reservations.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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How many months do you plan for this trip? I would want 6 months or more if you have the time. There is so much to see and do in all of the places. We have not done all of your plans in one trip but have done all several times. WE visit Rocky Mountain National Park on the way to Yellowstone. We take about 10 days from New Orleans To Cody, Wy. You will have a great time. Rest before you leave home, you will need all the rest you can get. Lots of great trails to hike. We go from dawn to dark every day. Travel days are only rest days. Have a great trip.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
We did the Alaska trip in 2009 and took in the Teton's, Yellowstone, and Glacier on the way there. We got to the Tetons in early June and entered into Canada in early July. The weather was still pretty cool and the crowds were reasonable. We did not make reservations that far in advance.

I have read that Yellowstone is renovating some of the campgrounds so it may be difficult to get reservations.
This trip will be for 2020, so I have plenty of time to plan and make reservations.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:00 AM   #7
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How many months do you plan for this trip? I would want 6 months or more if you have the time. There is so much to see and do in all of the places. We have not done all of your plans in one trip but have done all several times. WE visit Rocky Mountain National Park on the way to Yellowstone. We take about 10 days from New Orleans To Cody, Wy. You will have a great time. Rest before you leave home, you will need all the rest you can get. Lots of great trails to hike. We go from dawn to dark every day. Travel days are only rest days. Have a great trip.
There is no time limit set. I was estimating 7 to 14 days to reach the first stop of the Grand Canyon if I head there first. I usually plan extra nights on the stops to mainly sit around the campground and chill.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:12 PM   #8
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Hi reubenray,
There are no drop off on any of the trails. There are plenty of trails so you have choices. Best to stop at the Visitors Center and ask the rangers. They have books about trails in Glacier NP, with details of each trail. The KOA is about 1 to 2 miles from the visitors center.

FYI off topic: In north central Wyoming on RT 14 there is the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark. It is only a mile from the ranger station to the Landmark. I mention this because of what you said about your wife. Do not go here. Most of the trail has a steep drop off on 1 side. The drop off is about 500'. The landmark is at 10K' above sea level. This means the trail is above the tree line and clearly visible all the way down.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:41 PM   #9
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I'd recommend starting your trip from Alabama in March. March and April, May are perfect for Tucson, Grand Canyon and the southern Utah parks. June for the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier toward the end of June or first part of July when the Going to the Sun Rd. is likely to be open.

Sounds like it'll be a nice trip!
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:12 AM   #10
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I don't know if you are tied to this schedule, but if I were to try this it would be the other way around, starting in Glacier in August, and chasing the cooler weather south, so as to not have to worry about chasing the snow melt going north. Predicting when the snow melt and plowing will happen out west is hard to do with any accuracy, we were in southern Wyoming a few years ago in June drying the Snowy range pass on hwy 130, the snow plows had just opened the road for the season on June 1st (photos online of the plowing showed snow several feet deep on the road), yet by the time we were there 3 weeks later there was no snow on the roadway and the snow on the ground near the road was down to only a couple of feet deep, and complete bare in others. At that rate I suspect the snow would have been complete melted in another week.


Ike


p.s. I know what you mean about travel / fuel expense, we are looking at doing the Grand Canyon from western Louisiana, it is that 1,300 miles each way with a lot of nothing in there that is the problem.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:16 AM   #11
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I don't know if you are tied to this schedule, but if I were to try this it would be the other way around, starting in Glacier in August, and chasing the cooler weather south, so as to not have to worry about chasing the snow melt going north. Predicting when the snow melt and plowing will happen out west is hard to do with any accuracy, we were in southern Wyoming a few years ago in June drying the Snowy range pass on hwy 130, the snow plows had just opened the road for the season on June 1st (photos online of the plowing showed snow several feet deep on the road), yet by the time we were there 3 weeks later there was no snow on the roadway and the snow on the ground near the road was down to only a couple of feet deep, and complete bare in others. At that rate I suspect the snow would have been complete melted in another week.


Ike


p.s. I know what you mean about travel / fuel expense, we are looking at doing the Grand Canyon from western Louisiana, it is that 1,300 miles each way with a lot of nothing in there that is the problem.
Nothing is locked in as to which way I go first. You have the wastelands of Texas to cross either way. My wife wants to see San Antonio, but the other stops will be overnight only. Going through Iowa and Missouri will most likely be only overnight stops. I will do two different routes using RVTW to see how they play out.

To be at Glacier in August would make me being in the Dakota's in July which may be hot and crowded. We want to see Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower plus a few more stops.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:16 AM   #12
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Being the biggest expense is the miles of getting to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and North from South Alabama I am thinking about doing it all in a huge trip instead if this is possible.

Huge trip - are we saying April till October? Lots to See and Do, your list has not even scratched the surface of the almost endless possibilities out there.

I have been working on planning the following locations in two trips, but I am thinking why not take a huge one instead.

Great IDEA! Just don't cut it Short - Huge is HUGE! - Don't make the mistake of Cutting it Short, not even a little bit, Make the commitment and stick to it.

I would like to avoid the hot summer plus the crowds if possible.

Location and Elevation is the way to Avoid the Summer Heat and Crowds out West - Heat and Crowds are part of the Package - Just know how to Wrap it into the Way you will enjoy it.

I also would like to avoid any chance of snow and freezing temperatures.

See above - Location and Elevation - are Key - we love to travel in the Winter as the Snow just adds an Amazing Contrast to the Beauty.

My initial thought was to leave in April and start at the Southern end and the Dakotas last before heading back home.

Leave in April and Return in November???????????? - while it may seem to be a long time it is still not enough.

1) Tucson area to see wife's kinfolk

2) Grand Canyon - both North and South
Keep in mind north does not open till May 15.
3) Utah National Parks (Zion, Bryce, etc.)
Page, Antelope Canyon, Monument, Lake Powell, Goosenecks, Canyon de Chelly are all Great days in the area......Might be able to Fill the time needed to see North Rim
4) Grand Teton National Park
Would this be in June? - Utah Has a lot to see - Don't forget the State Parks and SLC - we usually try to Catch Moab area and RT 128 along with Dino NM and Flaming Gorge on the way North.
5) Yellowstone National Park
This is likely the end of June? Maybe two to three weeks here? Hikes to die for - Cody - Chief Joseph Hwy - Beartooth - Wind River Canyon - Fishing - Just sitting in a chair with a Glass of.... and enjoying the Sky - Yellowstone Lodge.............
6) Glacier National Park
For planning this should be after the 4th of July - Going to the Sun Road - Canada - Lakes Waterton - Swan - Flathead...... - take time to just enjoy the Sky.....
7) North and South Dakota (Devils Mountain, Mt. Rushmore, etc.)
Devils Tower - Black Hills - Custer State Park - Caves - Lakes - Great drives - Needles...............easily another three weeks to a month here.
IMHO you did not even Mention one of the Best areas in the West - COLORADO! - Great area to hang out when it turns to summer - just use the elevation to keep the A/C off - More than you can see and do in a lifetime

Couple of Random thoughts - Think about Boondocking as you travel from one area to another - Usually you should be able to handle 3-5 days without sacrificing much. (then a day or two to recharge and dump/fill before doing it again. You will find this is a Big $$ Savings also and if you keep the plan within a 100-200 mile range fuel cost will be lower on a Per Day basis.... just a thought.

That should cover this Post? - will follow and reply if I can contribute.

Read and Learn as much as you can about the area you are in - there is so much more than the Big Parks - SO MUCH MORE!

Seriously look at adding Colorado - Maybe in the Peak season of the Summer - Elevation will keep you Cool - Leadville is at 10,000 feet and rarely get above 80 degrees. Lake City and Ouray - Buena Vista and Salida - Gunnison and Crested Butte - Marble and Redstone - SteamBoat and Stagecoach SP - Grand Lake and RMNP - just to name a few areas that you might just LOVE in Colorado.

Will follow and add as your trip develops.

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:16 AM   #13
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Right now it is about 3 months long with the longest stop (5 nights) at Yellowstone. I roughly have 3 nights at most of the other scenic stops with an occasional overnight stop between them. I would expect these stops would need more than 3 nights. I will need to have some days/nights to just chill at the campground. Our longest trip so far has been about 5 weeks and I have a 6 week trip planned for this fall. When we got home from the 5 week trip we were whipped. Most of our trips have been about 4 weeks with another one scheduled to start in April.

The Utah NP's I have in my schedule right now is Zion and Bryce. I know there are others, but they will be way out of my way.


Below are some more questions.

Which would you prefer the North Rim of the GC or Lake Powell?

Is the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole driveable in a car to sightseer from the Idaho Falls area?
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:00 AM   #14
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Right now it is about 3 months long with the longest stop (5 nights) at Yellowstone. I roughly have 3 nights at most of the other scenic stops with an occasional overnight stop between them. I would expect these stops would need more than 3 nights. I will need to have some days/nights to just chill at the campground. Our longest trip so far has been about 5 weeks and I have a 6 week trip planned for this fall. When we got home from the 5 week trip we were whipped. Most of our trips have been about 4 weeks with another one scheduled to start in April.

If you are returning from a trip and are whipped then DO LESS and Enjoy MORE - that can mean just sitting in the CG and meeting new Friends - Relax - Rest - Enjoy - ........ IMHO if you have a schedule for 4 weeks add 4 more weeks so you can RELAX - thinking you are retired - so Slow Down and Smell the Roses, see the Sunsets - Sleep in once and awhile. Where you have scheduled 3 nights add 4 more - Meet new friends and Enjoy the trip.

The Utah NP's I have in my schedule right now is Zion and Bryce. I know there are others, but they will be way out of my way.

IMHO to Drive By some of the most beautiful parts of the Southwest and not at least go through these highlights is _______(fill in the Blank) State parks - Kodachrome - Escalante - Goblins - are all close so even if you do not do a complete Tour at least Drive Through - not to mention Capitol Reef and Moab - who knows - you may just Love It

Below are some more questions.

Which would you prefer the North Rim of the GC or Lake Powell?

North and South are Just Different - we have always enjoyed the North Rim as fewer people and the Memories we have over the Years have all been GREAT - First trip was with My parents - as a young Kid - another trip was as a parent with my son when he was in College - And last trip was just the DW and I - we LOVE the North Rim and having Breakfast in the lodge looking out as the sun rises and shines into the Canyon - Once in June it snowed 6" Best time ever!

Now you ask about Lake Powell - Think of the Desert Grand Canyon Filled with Water - Just Spectacular - was even better when it was Full of Water, but still Great. Get a Boat and enjoy it.


Is the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole driveable in a car to sightseer from the Idaho Falls area?

Map - https://binged.it/2D4ZNVW

Only if you are into spending long days in a car - do not suggest RT 22 as it is not for the faint of heart.

Just a few sites that might help - or confuse

Stan Parker's Photo Galleries at pbase.com

https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Colo...pens/i-tsVRkXg

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...d/29448394.cfm

https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Trav...ca/i-MTk4SPm/A

https://www.flickr.com/photos/michae...n/photostream/

https://www.ventusky.com/?p=39.61;-1...temperature-2m

Road Conditions, Speeds, Travel Times, Traffic Cameras, Live Streaming Traffic Cameras, Road Closures and Road Work Information provided by Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) a branch of Colorado Department of Transportation

https://2fanrgs.blogspot.com/

The secret to this Being FUN is to Make it Fun - Slow Down and enjoy the travel time, do what YOU enjoy make it Your Trip.
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