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Old 12-17-2010, 04:50 AM   #1
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Northern Route in October

We're planning a trip from Michigan to Denver to Jasper, Alberta (catching Yellowstone and Glacier along the way)then down the West Coast. We'd like to leave in late Sept. and get to te Canadian Rockies around mid-October. Am I kidding myself about my chances of not running into a blizzard at that time of year ? We'll be in a 38' DP with a Toad.

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Old 12-17-2010, 05:14 AM   #2
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It is do-able BUT, I would not set a schedule for traveling that time of year. I would plan on spending extra days, even a week waiting out a storm in those areas. Another issue is locating CG's open after Sep 1.

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Old 12-17-2010, 05:18 AM   #3
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With fall/winter/spring northern travel, you find a good weather window to travel and go. But realize you may be stuck in one spot for a few days waiting for the weather to clear. We hit snowstorms in WY on April 25 this past spring.

Also take into consideration that many campground close for the winter around Columbus Day.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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Sounds like a great trip your planning. If you will be driving west on I-90 it will take you right past the Badlands NP, well worth a stop for a night or two. At a minimum you can go in the east end, drive the main park road and come back out the west end back onto I-90 in Wall, SD. Next comes the Black Hills, ditto for that area. Devils Tower is also a must along the way. Check your genset owners manual to see if it has an altitude adjustment, it might be needed in places.

We were in both Glacier NP and Yellowstone this past summer and still have the park newspaper for both. You will find CG's open at both of these NP's during your planned timeframe, but finding water may be a problem. We saw our first snow on Aug 31st at the 6,000' elevations while still in southern MT. Yellowstone had a couple of inches on the ground in the Canyon Area in early Sept. around the 8th or 9th but it melted pretty fast.

In Yellowstone, Mammoth CG is open year round, no hookups, but water in season. It will most likely be off by the time you get there and there is no dump station there. But you could base your Yellowstone visit from here with the toad. Most of the park roads are open until November 8th except for Dunraven Pass which will close on Oct 12th (2010 dates). So you should be able to see most of the park. We spent 6 nights in Mammoth CG at 6,200' and then 3 at Bridge Bay at 7,800'. That CG closed on Sept 12th which is when we left Yellowstone (water at dump station was frozen solid, we could dump but that was it). Madison CG is open until 10/24 and has a dump station and is run by Xanterra. Must sees in Yellowstone are the Mammoth Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (make sure to visit both rims) and Old Faithful. The Norris hot springs are worth a stop as well. Also a ride out towards Cooke City, MT is a good day trip. That was were we saw our only wolf, two grizzlies, coyotes and far too many bison. We had an elk herd hanging out in Mammoth while we were there, they just wandered thru town and the CG as well.

In Glacier you will also find open CG's. St Mary CG is your best bet for the east side of the park and is the closest to Logan Pass at the top of Going-to-the-Sun Road. It will say that the largest sites will hold a 35' rig, but several sites can and were handling longer rigs, ditto for Two Medicine with a 32' spec. Lots of 40' types came and went in our 5 nights there. But most of the pull thru sites are a tight loop, backing in the front end is the best bet. See RVParkReviews.com for more info on the CG's. With the Golden Age pass, sites varied from $7 up to $11.50. From St Mary a day trip up and over the GTTSR is a must, also consider Two Medicine (toad only from the north on MT 49, rig and toad ok from US-2 in East Glacier). Many Glacier to the north is another good day trip. Elevations are lower here than in Yellowstone, St Mary appx 4,500', Two Medicine 5,150', Many Glacier 4,900', Logan Pass 6,640' and Lake McDonald 3,150'. The last is on the west side and was the warmest while we were there in Aug., but a lot longer ride up to Logan Pass.

Then you still have the Canadian Rockies and west coast, that is a whole different story. Good luck and happy travels.

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Old 12-18-2010, 09:36 AM   #5
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Wow Bob I think you've just given me a trip plan!
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:53 AM   #6
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Thumbs up Great trip

Do not forget the huge Drugstore in Wall (is on our To-see-list). Like most wrote, you might have to wait a few hours / days, if you hit snow in the Rockies. I drove many years through the Rockies (Banff, Jasper etc.). On the first trip (February) I never checked the weather, just left the farm. Was with the first Motorhome. Wanted to go that weekend. Great trip. Hardly no snow.
October should be still great. Some campgrounds are closed, but enough are open.
Enjoy your trip.


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