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Old 08-28-2016, 07:27 PM   #1
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North Georgia to Glacier National Park August 2017

We are in the beginning stages of planning our first long trip. We would like suggestions on a route from N GA to Glacier National Park. Considering going to the Canadian side of the park also. Plan to head south after Glacier to Yellowstone NP and tetons. Any route tips, campgrounds, special things to see and do would be appreciated. Traveling in a 36' Fleetwood Southwind with '11 CRV toad. Plan to leave early to mid August 2017 and make this a no longer than a 2 month trip. Thanks in advance for your suggestions and help.

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Old 08-28-2016, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome to the forum fellow Georgian!

We've done the trip several times from west Georgia- and from Glacier on up to Banff and Anchorage. In fact we're headed to Montana again on Tuesday.

For the most part you can plan your trip as you normally would. Many on here (and I do to) use GPS and other trip planners - some of which are designed for RV travel.

My own preferences are to "get west fast" avoiding all the big cities east of Kansas City- and west of the Mississippi at the earliest possible convenience to slow down and enjoy the different scenery a bit. I shoot west across Birmingham and around memphis avoiding Atlanta, Nashville, St Louis, and Kansas City.

Depending when you decide to go you may want to check on campsite availability at Glacier. 2 years ago we cut that a little close and almost didn't get a site anywhere in Glacier (late July). Last year we made reservations a month in advance at the KOA in east Glacier (St Mary)--- and it was full as I recall around early August.

If Glacier is a high point destination for you then you may want to time it so you will be able to travel through the park on Going to The Sun road. Its an awesome drive but there are vehicle size restrictions. Due to snow pack on the road sometimes they are not able to open the full length of the road until well into the summer. Check the Glacier NPS site regularly for anticipated opening dates for that road. You'll need the toad to run Going to the Sun.

We also found it appropriate and downright smart to gas up at Browning, Montana before we went into the park .

No problem going into Canada. Make sure you check the regs (passports, what you can and can't take etc) before crossing. If you're going that far its worth the run up to Banff and Icefields Parkway to Jasper for a few days. Some awesome country up there!

I'm sure lots of folks will add a lot more and there are more threads here to gather valuable info on.

Glad your on the forum!

Joe a/k/a "Americanrascal"
2016 Winnebago Adventurer 38Q +tow dolly
8th RV to sit in our driveway in 35 years
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:33 AM   #3
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Here is my perspective from our trip this summer, which has been inclusive these parks / areas.

If you go up to 80, you get the opportunity to hit many national parks and monuments. Badlands (2-3 days) Rushmore/Black Hills (3-5 days) Devils Tower (2 nights, so you get a full day there). You need to find out when the Sturgis Bike Week is, and ensure you are not there for it (and the week before and after) just because the entire area is jammed.

From there, you can decide if you want to hit Yellowstone from the north side for a few days (highly recommended).

Decide east (and Canadian) and / or west side of Glacier (we did West, will do East at some point in the not too distant future; note the KOA in west Glacier is very nice, not cheap, but proably the nicest KOA we have ever stayed at and worth the money IMHO)

Glaicer seemed a bit unusual to us, access wise as there is really not much road access within the park. Yes, you have the Going to the Sun road which you need to do on a tour bus (the Red buses for the west are modern versions of the old busses they used to have in the park, and appeared to have very professional and knowegeable drivers; we didn't realize that and ended up with another tour bus company that actually turned out ok), but they only take you up Logan Pass and back down from the west side.

On the west side plan for a day to drive up to Pole Bridge and Bowman Lake. Also some good rafting tours / trips, but again, they are not all the same.

There is also Poulson on Flathead Lake (80 miles below West Glacier) which we'll hit next time too (choice of the big bucks, bring your Prevost Poulson RV resort, or what I also understand is a nice KOA on the same hill).

Missoula is a neat college town if you want a few days in civilization, and they do have a big RV dealer there if you need anything.

Then down to West Yellowstone. Again, Grizzly is a very nice, if not cheap RV park.

Yellowstone is huge, and takes a lot of driving (very slow at times) to see. We did 2 days from the north, and a week at West Yellowstone. We paced ourselves, so maybe 5 or 6 hours at most per day in the park.

At some point, you'll have seen so many Bison and Elk, unless it is a heard or they are right up next to the road, you'll just go "oh well, people get moving, please, it's just one Elk/Bison for Pete's sake, come on, go", in other words, they become just like a cow in Montana......

I'd say 2 months is about right, if you high tail it out and back, and spend good quality time at each desination. Add days, because each of the parks have more to do if you really want to spend time exploring them, past the park and gawk at just the major points of interest.

And spend $80 to get your annual National Parks pass, order it ahead of time so you have it in hand when you hit the road. Note, you'll still have to pay to get into Mt. Rushmore......

You transit stops will be the normal, what we have started to call, "Children of the Corn" Campgrounds...... We don't do Walmarts..........

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Old 08-30-2016, 11:15 AM   #4
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North Georgia to Glacier Nat. Park Aug 2017

Thanks for the responses and great information. We do like the idea of "getting west" as fast as possible. Would you mind sharing the best route(s) you have taken to get to the eastern side of Glacier as well as routes into Canada side and to Banff? Thanks again!! This is our biggest trip planning so far!
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:30 PM   #5
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For us we chose to get to St. Mary up I-15 out of Helena to US 287, then US 89 to Browning. (Fuel up at Browning) At Browning we do NOT take US 89 into St Mary, we take Duck Lake Rd (464) and back down into St. Mary - 89 north from Browning to St Mary was entirely too hilly and curvy for us. I did US 89 from Browning to St Mary once in a truck camper about 3 years ago and will not do it again.

We did the Duck Lake Rd approach last year in our Class A towing a toad and it was relaxing and enjoyable as well as good looking approach to the mountains. St Mary is a good base of operation for visiting the east side of the park and has 3 or 4 campgrounds to select from.

When departing for the north and border we went up US89 through Babb to the Caraway border crossing from St Mary. That section is all easy and great road!. From there we went up Canada (AB) Highway 2 to Calgary then took Canadian Highway 1 into Banff- from there Icefield Parkway to Jasper and back down through Lethbridge to the Sweetwater crossing and down I-15 into Montana and the states.

The Canadian roads are excellent in that part of the country as are most pf the roads in Montana.

Hopefully others will join in here and add some ideas and experience on how they approach and depart from Glacier.
Joe a/k/a "Americanrascal"
2016 Winnebago Adventurer 38Q +tow dolly
8th RV to sit in our driveway in 35 years
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:50 AM   #6
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I am in Glacier St. Mary Koa now, planning to leave for Waterton Thursday, has any one taken 89 to 17 , in a 40ft MH towing.

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