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Old 01-08-2011, 12:32 PM   #1
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Route from SoCal to East Glacier

We will be heading for East Glacier NP in July and staying at the KOA in St Marys. I will be heading up the I15 and trying to get the most direct route possible. We will have schedule as we still work.

I15 will be most of the route but as we get into Montana we can take different routes leading up to GNP.

So I am looking for the best and quickest route in Montana to get me there. I don't have a problem with two lanes highways.

TIA
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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Hi Not a Clue,
I'll be at that CG in June 30 through July 6, when will you be there?

As to the route, I'll be leaving the same way you are arriving. My plan is to take, from the CG, Route 89 South to Route 287 to I15. I'm not sure it is the best route, but this is the plan. If you do the same, you'll pick up Route 287 at the I15 228 exit.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:22 PM   #3
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We came in the GNP West entrance at Lake McDonald in June 05 however we were not able to run the GTTSH. We came up on RT93 from Missoula. You can run RT2. It seemed like a nice road at the time and I expect you can get around the park and pick up RT89 in Browning.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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Hi Not a Clue,
I'll be at that CG in June 30 through July 6, when will you be there?

As to the route, I'll be leaving the same way you are arriving. My plan is to take, from the CG, Route 89 South to Route 287 to I15. I'm not sure it is the best route, but this is the plan. If you do the same, you'll pick up Route 287 at the I15 228 exit.
We will be there July 12th leaving July 16th. Looks like we will probably just miss you.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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If you have family that likes to hike, the East side of Glacier NP is the best place to the trail head for the Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg lake hikes. The Iceberg lake hike is of medium difficulty. It is about 2 miles one way. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can actually touch icebergs! The Grinnell Glacier is a high difficulty hike. Sometimes park rangers will lead this hike. It is about 5 miles one way and an elevation climb of about 800 feet. Take water and a lunch. Both hikes are spectacular.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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My mapping program suggests I -15 from Southern CA then just north of Butte take 287 and then US 89. I believe that's that route I took a couple of years ago and it was not to bad. Mostly two lane and we did end up following a large steer (or bull) that was walking down the middle of the road. We did stay at KOA at east Glacier and it was pretty much like other KOA's. I suspect you know there are size restrictions and you cannot take a motorhome up into the national park.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:11 PM   #7
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My mapping program suggests I -15 from Southern CA then just north of Butte take 287 and then US 89. I believe that's that route I took a couple of years ago and it was not to bad. Mostly two lane and we did end up following a large steer (or bull) that was walking down the middle of the road. We did stay at KOA at east Glacier and it was pretty much like other KOA's. I suspect you know there are size restrictions and you cannot take a motorhome up into the national park.
Thanks, now to find a campground to overnight in the area.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:31 AM   #8
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Thanks, now to find a campground to overnight in the area.
Last year we stopped in Conrad just off of I-15 and spent a couple of nights at Pondera RV Park. Nice little town with friendly folks. We then picked up 44 over to 89 and up to St Mary's. We stayed in the NP at St Mary's CG. When you get past Browning on 89 pay attention. People headed in the other direction tend to let their speed get away from them. Had a few come around curves half in our lane. That happened a few times to us.

St Mary is a great base for seeing most of the park. It is the best bet for getting up to Logan Pass via the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Make sure you hike up to Hidden Lake overlook when you get there, lots of Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats up there. You can take a day trips to the Many Glacier area and another to the Two Medicine area from St Mary. Note MT 49 and GTTSR both have 21' vehicle length restrictions. You can get into the park ok at both the east and west ends of GTTSR with no problem. MT 49 can also be driven from the south up as far as Two Medicine, the restrictions starts after that, so you cannot take it from the north.

For those considering staying in the park, Two Medicine says 32', but we had no problems and had 2 40' DP's in the sites ahead of us. There are 10 - 12 sites that will handle rigs up to 40', one site had two class A's in it end to end. St. Mary had tight pull throughs, best bet is to back into them. Apgar had a good selection of larger sites in the A loop.

Anyone heading in from the east on I-90 can take US-287 to I-15. Just off 287 north of Townsend is the Canyon Ferry Lake rec area. There are a few no hookup CG's for $5 a night with the Golden Age pass. The best bet is the one about 8 miles north of Townsend and down past the KOA, it is right on the lake.

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:14 PM   #9
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Thanks Bob, lots of good info.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:01 AM   #10
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Heading north to St Mary from Browning looks to be a no-brainer on US-89. However, 89 is aroller coaster and you'll be going up and down over tight curves that will be nerve wracking and hard on the coach as it leans back and forth on the tight curves. It's actually much faster to take 464 north from Browning and then over past Duck Lake to Babb. From Babb it's a short hop south to St. Mary. It's a few extra miles but it will get you there faster and be much easier on both you and the RV. 464 is straight and you can keep the speed up and US-89 between St Mary and Babb is also a good road. The only tight spots on 89 are between St Mary and Browning.

If you need to shuttle the RV between St Mary and West Glacier you can't use Going to the Sun road because of it's length restriction (25'?). You also cannot take 49 between Kiowa and East Glacier Park so you'll need to get to Browning and then head over on US-2, which is also a good road. 49 makes a good day trip to East Glacier Park, Two Medicene, and Cut Bank from Browning with the toad.

In addition to GTS road, be sure to head into Many Glacier, which is west of Babb. That's one of the nicest areas to see and the hike to Fishercap Lake from the parking lot at the end of the road generally results in moose viewing in the evening.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #11
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Heading north to St Mary from Browning looks to be a no-brainer on US-89. However, 89 is aroller coaster and you'll be going up and down over tight curves that will be nerve wracking and hard on the coach as it leans back and forth on the tight curves. It's actually much faster to take 464 north from Browning and then over past Duck Lake to Babb. From Babb it's a short hop south to St. Mary. It's a few extra miles but it will get you there faster and be much easier on both you and the RV. 464 is straight and you can keep the speed up and US-89 between St Mary and Babb is also a good road. The only tight spots on 89 are between St Mary and Browning.

If you need to shuttle the RV between St Mary and West Glacier you can't use Going to the Sun road because of it's length restriction (25'?). You also cannot take 49 between Kiowa and East Glacier Park so you'll need to get to Browning and then head over on US-2, which is also a good road. 49 makes a good day trip to East Glacier Park, Two Medicene, and Cut Bank from Browning with the toad.

In addition to GTS road, be sure to head into Many Glacier, which is west of Babb. That's one of the nicest areas to see and the hike to Fishercap Lake from the parking lot at the end of the road generally results in moose viewing in the evening.
Thanks for the heads up. We will be towing and setting up headquarters in the KOA in St Marys so the length will not be and issue.
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