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Old 11-19-2017, 07:55 AM   #1
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Best route from Glacier NP to Yellowstone?

We are planning a cross country trip next summer and will be coming home by way of Glacier National Park and Yellowstone in late-September, early-October. Any suggestions for the best route either from the west entrance or St. Mary at Glacier to Yellowstone? Any MUST sees along the route? Neither of us have been in this area before so all suggestions or other feedback are welcome. Thx.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:34 AM   #2
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Glacier to YNP via Helena

Full disclosure, I live in Montana’s Capital Helena so am biased. I would go out the West and drive to BigFork. It is a very fun artsy little town in beautiful Flathead Lake. Then go down 83 down the Swan Valley. Gorgeous views of the Bob Marshall wilderness on the left. When you get to US 12 at Avon turn left and go over McDonald Pass. A bit of a climb but 4 lanes and breathtaking views. Stop in Helena for a bite. Then head South on I 15 to Boulder. Turn off onto 69 and head down a very nice valley to Caldwell. Take a left at the dead end and go under I-90 and follow road signs to Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park. This is a great stop but will take a couple hours. Next turn South on 287 to Ennis and follow it all the way past Quake Lake (very interesting stop) and then just past Hebgen Lake turn right to West Yellowstone. This is mostly 2 lane but by far the best we have to offer. Good luck.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:52 AM   #3
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Gscott423 is suggesting a great, scenic route. Keep a good watch for wildlife-lots!
Whether you use this one, thru Lincoln, or thru Missoula you’ll see beautiful country. All are slower going than most roads so leave plenty of time and enjoy the trip.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GScott423 View Post
Full disclosure, I live in Montana’s Capital Helena so am biased. I would go out the West and drive to BigFork. It is a very fun artsy little town in beautiful Flathead Lake. Then go down 83 down the Swan Valley. Gorgeous views of the Bob Marshall wilderness on the left. When you get to US 12 at Avon turn left and go over McDonald Pass. A bit of a climb but 4 lanes and breathtaking views. Stop in Helena for a bite. Then head South on I 15 to Boulder. Turn off onto 69 and head down a very nice valley to Caldwell. Take a left at the dead end and go under I-90 and follow road signs to Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park. This is a great stop but will take a couple hours. Next turn South on 287 to Ennis and follow it all the way past Quake Lake (very interesting stop) and then just past Hebgen Lake turn right to West Yellowstone. This is mostly 2 lane but by far the best we have to offer. Good luck.

^^^^^^^^^^^^

Who's to argue with the Local Info - this might just be impossible to beat - to drive all this way and then not see the rest of the state is just Not Right.

Most People who get to Flathead Lake just seem to get waylaid from the trip schedule - just Beautiful

X-3

Graet advice!
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:56 PM   #5
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Just to mention October is at the very end of Yellowstone's season. You might be better off going from there to Glacier. It's 3000 ft lower.
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:13 PM   #6
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Just to mention October is at the very end of Yellowstone's season. You might be better off going from there to Glacier. It's 3000 ft lower.
Save the best for last! For me and many I've talked to seeing Glacier first makes Yellowstone less. Yellowstone=Very good coffee Glacier=Espresso. Yellowstone isn't going to taste as good after Glacier.
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GScott423 View Post
Full disclosure, I live in Montana’s Capital Helena so am biased. I would go out the West and drive to BigFork. It is a very fun artsy little town in beautiful Flathead Lake. Then go down 83 down the Swan Valley. Gorgeous views of the Bob Marshall wilderness on the left. When you get to US 12 at Avon turn left and go over McDonald Pass. A bit of a climb but 4 lanes and breathtaking views. Stop in Helena for a bite. Then head South on I 15 to Boulder. Turn off onto 69 and head down a very nice valley to Caldwell. Take a left at the dead end and go under I-90 and follow road signs to Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park. This is a great stop but will take a couple hours. Next turn South on 287 to Ennis and follow it all the way past Quake Lake (very interesting stop) and then just past Hebgen Lake turn right to West Yellowstone. This is mostly 2 lane but by far the best we have to offer. Good luck.
Is this route driveable with 40ft MH pulling a TOAD?

Thanks

Bill
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:40 PM   #8
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The route that GScott gave you is a favorite drive of ours. We did it multiple times with our 40' motorhome. It's an easy route.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:21 AM   #9
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Late season

Cousin Ed has a good point. Sept is a great time to visit both parks but winter can come early! We had 3 snows before Oct this year in Helena. YNP is much higher and gets pretty chilly. Also with a big rig like yours you not only won’t be staying inside the park but some roads (like Going to the Sun Road) will only accommodate your toad.

If roads are bad you may change to Glacier to Missoula and I-90 to Bozeman then South on 191 past Big Sky to West Yellowstone.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:20 AM   #10
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I did this a few years ago in my 45' coach but first I went north on MT-141 and US-83 from Avon. On the return trip from Evergreen (near Kalispell) I went south on Mt-35 to US-93. Both 141 and 35 were easy, pretty drives. I ran 93 to take I-90 E, then south on either MT-2 or MT-359 (Can't remember for sure) to US-287 into West Yellowstone. Had no problems with any of these roads and the MT roads were all scenic.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:33 AM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions from OP

Hi, everyone, and thanks for the suggestions. We are traveling from Whidbey Island WA on our way home to VA, hence the route going from Glacier to Yellowstone. The route sounds beautiful and I am delighted that other people are benefitting from my post.

WE are traveling in a Winnebago View with no TOAD so the route sounds like a good one for us.

The Djangofest Northwest is what is taking us to WA in the first place. That music festival is over on September 23rd so that explains the late attempt to visit Glacier and YNP. It sounds as if we will need to roll with the punches. Thankfully, we are used to that, having been sailboaters for most of 60 years before we got into RVing.

Thanks again, esp. GScott423, for the detailed reply. I look forward to mapping this out over the winter.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Used2sail View Post
Hi, everyone, and thanks for the suggestions. We are traveling from Whidbey Island WA on our way home to VA, hence the route going from Glacier to Yellowstone. The route sounds beautiful and I am delighted that other people are benefitting from my post.

WE are traveling in a Winnebago View with no TOAD so the route sounds like a good one for us.

The Djangofest Northwest is what is taking us to WA in the first place. That music festival is over on September 23rd so that explains the late attempt to visit Glacier and YNP. It sounds as if we will need to roll with the punches. Thankfully, we are used to that, having been sailboaters for most of 60 years before we got into RVing.

Thanks again, esp. GScott423, for the detailed reply. I look forward to mapping this out over the winter.
You will also find that the last week/10 days of September tend to be Aspen Season in the Rockies.

Depending on elevation and location you might just get Lucky as see sights like this - https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Colo...pens/i-tsVRkXg

IMHO this may be as good as it gets in the Rockies.

Best of Luck,
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:43 AM   #13
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Must see in Glacier NP

Have lunch at a window table in the dining room at Many Glacier Lodge.
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