Another Yellowstone Camping Question and also GTN, Glacier, Banff and Jasper

Safaribabe

Member
Apr 25, 2019
37
Hi again,

Thank you for all the help on site size at Grant Campground. We have hauled our trailer into Yosemite and down to the East side and back, but this will be our furthest trip into mountains.

We are going to hopefully pick up daughter from a horse camp in Dubois (if she gets in), and I thought we would make a trip out of it.

At first, it was to just visit Yellowstone, but the trip has grown into possibly going all the way up to Glacier, Banff and Jasper and then home.
We would possibly do it over three weeks.

A question though. Could we use Grant as base camp to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton? Is that doable rather than setting up camp in GTN and then again in Yellowstone?

Also if you have done such a trip ( GTN, Yellow, Glacier, Banff, Jasper), what driving time did you plan between each park? We don't like to drive like crazy and love to take our time and drive on back roads.

I am thinking of leaving Yellow via Red Lodge and getting a room somewhere near there before continuing on if we can make it to Glacier in one day.

I think we will want to take our time in Beartooth Hwy. Out of Yellowstone, is that highway more down hill than uphill? (We do have trailer brakes on our PUP). Or should we go out of Gardiner to save a bit of time?

I am really excited to do this trip. And want to plan about 3 days in each park, at least. Maybe GTN 2 days, but Yellow at least 4-5.

Is this a doable trip in 18 days , starting at Moran? Or should we skip Jasper? Alternative would be to veere left at Glacier and head down through Idaho/ Washington before coming back down to California. What are spectacular parks in those two states?


I would love your input! I am really excited!
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,348
Southeastern PA
As I posted in your other post, YES, Grant would make a great base camp for seeing YSNP & GTNP. Plan on at least 3 days, one for GTNP, one for the West side of YSNP, and one for the East side of YSNP. But the more time the better.

Getting up to the Beartooth from YSNP is an easy climb. Going down to Red Lodge on the other side may cause your heart to stop but it really is not a problem. Read my posts of my 2017 trip: https://popupportal.com/threads/this-time-last-year.120667/

Doing all that and Glacier in 18 days is really pushing it. You're going to be 2 or 3 days just getting to Grant (again, read my post). And coming from the Beartooth and up to Glacier was about a day and 1/2 for me on my trip this past Sept (will post detail over the Winter).
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
14,033
Albuquerque, NM
You’d be amazed at how far Glacier is from Yellowstone. Save it for another trip. What ranch in Dubois ?
The first time we visited Glacier was sometime during the Clinton administration. We were basing in Grand Teton to do both it and Yellowstone, and learned the president was arriving in a couple of days. The traffic was crazy enough without a presidential visit, we didn't find a good campsite in the northern part of Yellowstone, so we decided to scope out Glacier for future trip. We were younger so long travel days weren't so tiring, and tent camping, and could actually find sites without reservations. I would not do it now, especially adding towing into the mix, it did OK back then.
That was when we still would take the full 3 weeks of my husband's vacation at one time, and we had learned the benefit of choosing a basecamp for an area rather than moving every day or two.
 

Lei Zhao

Member
Oct 8, 2020
67
Spokane, WA
A question though. Could we use Grant as base camp to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton? Is that doable rather than setting up camp in GTN and then again in Yellowstone?
Doable, but depends on your plan, where to visit and what to play.

Personally, I like Madison more than grant.
1. I have little kids. They love to play in the river nearby. Grant closes to the lake, but kids love the river more, and safer.
2. Grant CG and Canyon CG are too crowd for me.
3. Madison is closer to old faithful and hot springs.

Still, depends on where and what you play. Check the travel time.
 

MNTCamper

Super Active Member
Jun 14, 2014
1,359
MN
I have done a good chunk of what you propose, so hopefully my comments will be useful. I think 2 days in the Tetons will give you a good feel for things and a few hikes... 4-5 in Yellowstone should allow for both south and north loop exploring and all of the thermal areas. In Yellowstone, if you want to see things, it is critical that you get up and start early, by 7 am, do as much as you can by ~1 and then eat lunch, take a break / hike and then you can see a few more things in the evening if you want. It gets so crazy there with traffic during the middle of the day that you don't really want to be driving around then if possible.

It is a one day drive from YS to Glacier - if you really want to do the Beartooth, then you need to budget for 1.5 to 2 days between parks. The Beartooth is nice and all, but with all of the other scenery that you will be seeing, I would save a day and skip it. Camp on the East side of Glacier and in 2 full days you can see a lot, 3 if you want to spend a day up at Many Glacier area. It is an easy drive from Glacier up to the Banff area. Stop in Canmore to stock up, it is a normal town (unlike Banff). Personally, I would not stay in Banff, I would drive on to Yoho and stay in Kicking horse campground, by Field. It is much calmer and you can easily drive back to Lake Louise and other place from there and there is tons to do from there. If you like hiking, then you could put in for a chance at Lake O'Hara, it is probably one of the best alpine hikes in North America, but highly restricted. In that area (Yoho) is one of the highest waterfalls in Canada and all sorts of other fantastic things. I would stay 2-3 days there.

The drive from there to Jasper is easy, some nice places to stop along the way. Jasper is very nice, hikes, Maligne lake... Maybe 2-3 days in Jasper. Then heading back, you would come out via Mt. Robson, it is quite an incredible sight. If you like waterfalls, get down and stay in the Clearwater area and there are some beauties just up the road in Wells Gray park. From there, down 5 and cross back into the US at Abbottsford and you head home.

If you want to save days, you can come out of Yoho via Revelstoke and Kamloops and then head back, skipping Jasper

To plan a longer trip like this, you need to sit down with google maps and a spreadsheet and plan out your days and miles and how long you want to stay and so on. I know that this takes the fun out for some people, but you simply need to plan ahead for how things will work and for reservations and so on. It is actually kind of a relief once you get it all down in the spreadsheet, then you just execute it. Only you can know your tolerance for length of driving days, stops, how long you want to spend where and so on. You just add up you visiting days and travel days and so on and it all falls into place. I have done something like 8 multiweek trips like this with my family and with proper planning, it all works out great.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,348
Southeastern PA
Don't forget to take into account the flooding of this past year. It's difficult to determine the road closures this time of year because many roads are just closed for the season. I was told that route 212 (the Beartooth Highway) was reopened in November. This is the Northeast entrance/exit for the park. I don't know the status of the North entrance/exit. They are currently using the old stagecoach road to get to/from Gardiner for commercial traffic only. That may change next season but my guess would be that the North entrance/exit will be close for at least another year, if not more. So your options to get to Glacier will be limited to going through the Beartooth Mountains or going out through West Yellowstone and up route 191 to Bozeman.

Every year they fix sections of roads in the park which cause delays. The coming years will be even worse as they make permanent repairs to the flood damaged roads. So plan accordingly and to put a lot of trust in the travel times that map apps supply.

 

Safaribabe

Member
Apr 25, 2019
37
I was counting starting our trip from us already being in the area but yes, it will take us about 2 days to get from Central California to YSNP. Although, with the PUP, yes, it migth be closer to 3 days. I appreciate the information that we can use YSNP as basecamp. I have been putting reminders in my calendar to try to get a site in GTNP, but it sounds like we should be fine camping out of YSNP and visiting the area outside of the park.
 

Safaribabe

Member
Apr 25, 2019
37
You’d be amazed at how far Glacier is from Yellowstone. Save it for another trip. What ranch in Dubois ?

You’d be amazed at how far Glacier is from Yellowstone. Save it for another trip. What ranch in Dubois ?
Triangle C? It's a 2 week teen leadership riding camp. I hope she gets in! And I hope it's worth it all as she is really excited and it isn't cheap, but it will be the experience of a life time if she does.
 

Safaribabe

Member
Apr 25, 2019
37
Doable, but depends on your plan, where to visit and what to play.

Personally, I like Madison more than grant.
1. I have little kids. They love to play in the river nearby. Grant closes to the lake, but kids love the river more, and safer.
2. Grant CG and Canyon CG are too crowd for me.
3. Madison is closer to old faithful and hot springs.

Still, depends on where and what you play. Check the travel time.
I also liked the idea of the river and less people, but the benefit of a shower won out over having to drive to a shower. lol
 

Safaribabe

Member
Apr 25, 2019
37
I have done a good chunk of what you propose, so hopefully my comments will be useful. I think 2 days in the Tetons will give you a good feel for things and a few hikes... 4-5 in Yellowstone should allow for both south and north loop exploring and all of the thermal areas. In Yellowstone, if you want to see things, it is critical that you get up and start early, by 7 am, do as much as you can by ~1 and then eat lunch, take a break / hike and then you can see a few more things in the evening if you want. It gets so crazy there with traffic during the middle of the day that you don't really want to be driving around then if possible.

It is a one day drive from YS to Glacier - if you really want to do the Beartooth, then you need to budget for 1.5 to 2 days between parks. The Beartooth is nice and all, but with all of the other scenery that you will be seeing, I would save a day and skip it. Camp on the East side of Glacier and in 2 full days you can see a lot, 3 if you want to spend a day up at Many Glacier area. It is an easy drive from Glacier up to the Banff area. Stop in Canmore to stock up, it is a normal town (unlike Banff). Personally, I would not stay in Banff, I would drive on to Yoho and stay in Kicking horse campground, by Field. It is much calmer and you can easily drive back to Lake Louise and other place from there and there is tons to do from there. If you like hiking, then you could put in for a chance at Lake O'Hara, it is probably one of the best alpine hikes in North America, but highly restricted. In that area (Yoho) is one of the highest waterfalls in Canada and all sorts of other fantastic things. I would stay 2-3 days there.

The drive from there to Jasper is easy, some nice places to stop along the way. Jasper is very nice, hikes, Maligne lake... Maybe 2-3 days in Jasper. Then heading back, you would come out via Mt. Robson, it is quite an incredible sight. If you like waterfalls, get down and stay in the Clearwater area and there are some beauties just up the road in Wells Gray park. From there, down 5 and cross back into the US at Abbottsford and you head home.

If you want to save days, you can come out of Yoho via Revelstoke and Kamloops and then head back, skipping Jasper

To plan a longer trip like this, you need to sit down with google maps and a spreadsheet and plan out your days and miles and how long you want to stay and so on. I know that this takes the fun out for some people, but you simply need to plan ahead for how things will work and for reservations and so on. It is actually kind of a relief once you get it all down in the spreadsheet, then you just execute it. Only you can know your tolerance for length of driving days, stops, how long you want to spend where and so on. You just add up you visiting days and travel days and so on and it all falls into place. I have done something like 8 multiweek trips like this with my family and with proper planning, it all works out great.
This is a huge help. I really appreciate the information. I am going to sit down later with a map to follow what you have shared to understand the route better. I went on to Canada's rental systems and was instantly confused. It seems really different than the US with many options. But it might just have been my first impression and a bit more study will help to make sense. I would love to do 8 weeks! My husband's 94 year old veteran father lives on our property, fully functional, but it limits how long we can be gone as we depend on his brother to come stay to take over. I will probably come back with more questions once I can follow on a map what your wrote. :)
 




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