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Old 11-02-2020, 02:49 PM   #1
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Glacier NP 2021 need suggestions

Planning our 2021 trip to Glacier NP. Coming from NC, I'm guessing that the East side will work best for us (but I can be convinced otherwise).
We are finishing our Utah Mighty Five trip. Stayed at 7 campgrounds doing the loop and do NOT want to move around that much again. We have absolutely no idea what else can be easily visited while there...or on the way.

Want to arrive in Wyoming around Sept 1 and need to start heading home by the second week in October, so 5-6 weeks in a 34' 5th wheel. Would love to use no more than 2 or 3 different locations as basecamps. Both of use love the outdoors and enjoy hiking/running all most every day. We will greatly appreciate all suggestions!

NOTE: we planned most of our Mighty 5 trip following suggestions here on iRV2. It's been a fantastic trip and we greatly appreciate all the knowledge that was shared with us!!
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Old 11-02-2020, 02:54 PM   #2
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We stayed at Mountain Meadows in Hungry Horse, which is on the west side. It's easy access to the west entrance of the park and far enough away it's not super expensive like the RV parks near Glacier. It's a very nice park
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Old 11-02-2020, 03:06 PM   #3
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I know you stated you didn't necessarily want to move around a lot while there, but I think you'd really appreciate spending at least a few days on both sides of Glacier. It's a massive, beautiful NP, and the East look and feel is very different from the West. And I think trying to cover all the beauty of this park from just the one side will cause you to waste a lot valuable time just getting to where you want to explore on the side you are not camping on. We were there in 2019 and spent three nights on both the East and West sides. Should have done another day on both. If you don't think you'll be heading that way again anytime soon, then I'd spend as much time there as I could on this one trip. We stayed at the KOA on the East side near St. Mary, and on the West side we stayed at Moose Creek. Both served our needs very well.

Just one other note, make sure you are paying close attention to the park's status before you go. Because of COVID, nothing is certain for the time being. Safe travels.
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Old 11-02-2020, 03:10 PM   #4
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I know you stated you didn't necessarily want to move around a lot while there, but I think you'd really appreciate spending at least a few days on both sides of Glacier. It's a massive, beautiful NP, and the East look and feel is very different from the West. And I think trying to cover all the beauty of this park from just the one side will cause you to waste a lot valuable time just getting to where you want to explore on the side you are not camping on. We were there in 2019 and spent three nights on both the East and West sides. Should have done another day on both. If you don't think you'll be heading that way again anytime soon, then I'd spend as much time there as I could on this one trip.

Just one other note, make sure you are paying close attention to the park's status before you go. Because of COVID, nothing is certain for the time being. Safe travels.
Excellent suggestion. We would have no issues with splitting 10-12 days between the East and the West side.
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:04 PM   #5
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We spent several days at Two Medicine CG on the east side, and then several more at Many Glacier CG. (No hookups at either one.) If you like to hike, there are so many routes to choose from.

This is a blog post about the Two Med area:

https://lookmomwerecamping.blogspot....i-glacier.html

And this is about Many Glacier:

https://lookmomwerecamping.blogspot....i-glacier.html

It's been forty years since we went to the West Side, but it was quite spectacular, too. You can't go wrong.
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:14 PM   #6
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Hopefully COVID will have died down by then. This summer the east side was closed. It's Indian Reservation country & they closed it.

There's a lot more to do on the west side other than Glacier if you want to see different things. We always stay in the park itself... at Apgar campground.

You can get to the east side by taking your car across Going to the Sun Hwy. That's shorter than taking the highway outside the park.

The Red Bus Tour is very good for making a long day doing the circular route of east/west.

If you're a hiker you can take the park shuttle which will stop at the hiking trailheads along Going to the Sun Rd.

Explore the web site for good information:

https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:38 PM   #7
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Are reservations/pre-purchase of ticket required in advance for the shuttle as they are in Zion?
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:05 PM   #8
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Planning our 2021 trip to Glacier NP.

Want to arrive in Wyoming around Sept 1 and need to start heading home by the second week in October, so 5-6 weeks in a 34' 5th wheel.
Be aware that some of the in park concessions, in a normal year, start closing in mid-September and many are closed on, or about, 1 October.

Also, it's not unusual to see the first snow fall in early September. It's not enough of a risk that I'd ever consider canceling a planned September to mid-October visit to GNP, just be aware that it does happen and be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly.

Here's a link to the 2020 GNP Visiting in Fall brochure: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/fall.htm that contains this statement: "Fall can still be a wonderful time to visit, however, visitors at this time of year have to be more self-sufficient when they are in the park. Generally, the park is a lot quieter, wildlife is more active, and the trees are turning colors. On the west side of the park, the trees begin changing color mid-September. The last color change is when the larch trees (a deciduous conifer that loses its needles), mainly on the west side of the park, turns a gold color in mid October. Sometimes the best road for viewing the larches is on Hwy 2 around the southern boundary of the park."

Take care,
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:21 PM   #9
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Are reservations/pre-purchase of ticket required in advance for the shuttle as they are in Zion?
Reservations weren't previously required for the Zion shuttle... this summer definitely because of COVID. They kept passenger count down.

Many parks had to change requirements this year and it may or may not be the case next year. You'll just have to wait and see. Previous years Glacier didn't require reservations. I don't know about this past summer or what will happen next year.

Even driving through Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park this summer required a reservation. That was never the case.
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:33 PM   #10
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Are reservations/pre-purchase of ticket required in advance for the shuttle as they are in Zion?
When we were there, reservations were not required for the shuttles; however, you should certainly check going forward. Reservations are definitely required for the Red Bus Tours, and I highly recommend you take at least one. There's a very good website for the tours that provides excellent descriptions of the various tours that you need to check out. You need to make reservations well in advance.
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:59 PM   #11
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Reservations are definitely required for the Red Bus Tours, and I highly recommend you take at least one. There's a very good website for the tours that provides excellent descriptions of the various tours that you need to check out. You need to make reservations well in advance.
Here's a link to that website: https://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/red-bus-tours

Very much well worth the reservation challenge and expense!

Take care,
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Old 11-03-2020, 08:12 AM   #12
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I highly recommend staying at Apgar on the west side. Lots of sites big enough for a motorhome, and it is within walking or easy biking distance to lots of fun activities. There are hiking trails from the campground. The generator hours are stringent, but not hard to deal with if you have an AGS. Apgar is a no-reservation campground, but if you arrive early you shouldn’t have trouble finding a site that time of year. Note that Glacier is way north and way high, so winter comes early. It may or may not have arrived by early October, but it will be letting you know it is coming. Warm clothing will be needed, as will patience if an early snowfall happens. That time of year it should melt in a day, but you don’t want to be driving in it.
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Old 11-03-2020, 12:19 PM   #13
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Initial thoughts that will definitely be tweaked.
- Leave NC 8/25
- Theodore Roosevelt NP 9/1 - 9/3 (It's on our route)
- Glacier NP East side 9/3 - 9/11 (maybe Heart of Glacier RV Park in St Mary)
- Glacier NP West side 9/11 - 9/19 (maybe Glacier Peak RV in Columbia Falls)
- Sun Valley ID 9/19 - 9/24 includes one overnight to get there
- Yellowstone NP 9/24 - 9/28
- Cody, WY 9/28 - 10/1
- Badlands NP 10/1 - 10/4 includes on overnight to get there
- 10/10 arrive back home in the NC mountains for fall colors

We can add a few more days to take in any "must see" stops along the route.

All suggestions will be greatly appreciated....all of you have been extremely helpful.
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:58 PM   #14
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Looks like a really good trip. If you have the time, don't forget some of the other POI's that could be day or more stops along your route. Lewis and Clark sites as example, Devil's Tower, Little Big Horn, Craters of the Moon NM, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park to name a few if you can find your way to be near them. Regardless, it will be a great trip. Have fun.
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