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Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

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Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

We're Alaskans fairly new to Montana & are planning a sudden road trip to camp with Alaskan friends who are driving to meet us in Nelson, BC area.

We have 7 days total with Mr Cat in a kitty condo at the vet.

Right now I am thinking, since Mr Hubby has never seen Lamar valley & I'm newly obsessed with that area & the wolf sightings, of driving from Red Lodge, over Beartooth pass, into Yellowstone via NE entrance,through Lamar valley, to Mammoth Hot Springs, out the north entrance & spend the night camping somewhere.

My thought is should we go thru the Little Belt Mts. to Great Falls camping along the way? Any recommendations of campgrounds through there? We will have a hard-sided camper shell, if that is required.

We've been to Glacier several times, but never thru the Little Belt Mts.

At Glacier our second day, we want to go in the west entrance at St Mary, drive Going to the Sun to our reserved campsite at Fish Creek CG.

Any great hikes preferably near Fish Creek CG or if need be along the way to the campground?

From there we plan to drive out of the park to Whitefish & north from there with boarder crossing at Rooseville thru Cranville & Creston to Nelson BC where we will spend a few days camping.

We are looking for an alternate route back to Red Lodge, with a campground overnight or 2 along the way back. Any suggestions?

We actually could take 2 nights to get home from Nelson.

Any brilliant ideas or route suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Adirondack, New York
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1. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Hello again Denalicat,

I remember on the way to AK driving a couple years ago from Kalispell through Bonners Ferry, ID to Nelson, BC. It was a beautiful drive with many hiking opportunities.There are many provincial parks once you cross the border to BC. I got fantastic suggestions about my route from posters on the WA and ID forums. Did you try these forums?

When are you planning your trip? Your route from Red Lodge, over Beartooth Pass, into Yellowstone, through Lamar Valley, to Mammoth Hot Springs is ideal, IMHO.

Edited: 20 July 2012, 20:13
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2. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Hi Places!

Washington would be a bit out of our way wouldn't it, for a 1 week trip?

We have been interested in Bonner's Ferry due to an Outdoor magazine article we read years ago so will look into that.

Our trip is the first of August.

Yes- got to get Mr Hubby to Lamar valley since I have seen so many wolves in there my 3 June & July trips. I'll drive & he can scout LOL.

Maybe we should go straight from Kalispell to to Libby to Bonners Ferry to Crestone, instead of crossing at Rooseville,.

Thanks for the Bonners Ferry idea, Places.

Edited: 20 July 2012, 20:34
Adirondack, New York
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3. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Hi Denalicat,

This is the route we took. Kalispell got much busier since we visited a few years back with new streets, roads, traffic lights but Libby is still a little town. In Libby we stopped at the Ranger Station and asked about a trail with wildflowers. Flagstaff Mountain Trail in Kootenai National Forest is about 10-15 miles north of Libby. We did not meet another soul while hiking but plenty of wildflowers. There are many other hiking trails in this national forest but our time was limited. After all we were on the way to Alaska. In Bonners Ferry we hiked on Cliffty Mountain Trail. Views were beautiful. There were no other hikers but we met maybe 5-6 friendly bikers. They all waved and then they were gone. It seems that biking around Bonners Ferry is very popular. We saw later other bikers and we were there on weekdays. We stayed at Bonners Ferry Log Inn.

Denalicat, if you get tired of camping, want a comfortable bed, helpful innkeepers then Bonners Ferry Log Inn would be a place to consider. We paid something like $75.00 for our room and a breakfast was included. This place has no on-line reservation system but they are very good answering e-mails and returning phone calls. There is also the Ranger Station in Bonners Ferry.

On the way north from Bonners Ferry we stopped in a very cool Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. We drove through it but there are trails that would be interesting to take early in the morning or evening. Before we got to the wildlife refuge we started a hike on Pyramid Lake or Pyramid Mountain Lake but didn't get too far. We were crossing the border that afternoon and didn't want to get there too late.

I wish I could tell you about campgrounds in the area but unfortunately those days of camping are over for my husband.

I agree you do not have time for a visit to WA but maybe the next time. You do live now in a great area since you have hiking trails all around you.

Edited: 21 July 2012, 13:42
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4. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Thanks Places! Great info!

We do have hiking trails all around us. For my birthday last week, hubby & I hiked Sioux Charley Lake trail at yours & Deb's suggestion. The cascades! Wow! It was one of the most beautiful trails in the world actually. Thanks for the suggestion.

western WA
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5. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

I know you'll like the trip through the Little Belts to Columbus and Red Lodge. It is a beautiful route. You can either go south to Livingston, then east to Columbus or east to Harlotown (Harlo) and south to Big Timber and Columbus, then southeast to Absarokee and Red Lodge.

Your loop through the park from Red Lodge to the Lamar Valley is a good one.

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6. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Thanks, ainwa. The Little Belts it is.

Adirondack, New York
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7. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Denalicat, there are a few trails in the world which I wish could be kept unknown and Sioux Charley is one of them. The river, towering walls, geology are simply spectacular. You know, my husband and I like to start our hikes early in the morning. We arrived at the trailhead around 9 am so we thought it was already late but were surprised there were only two other cars in a parking lot. From that spot you cannot see the beginning of the trail but we almost concluded this is probably nothing special since almost nobody was there. Only a couple of so minutes after we began our hike we were mesmerized by the beauty of this spot and were surprised we were almost alone. Only two solo and faster hikers passed us. On the way back we met first group of people, then more with children, dogs and horses. Then more people, dogs, kids and horses. Some people of any possible age looked like real hikers and some didn't. We were so glad we came earlier than most of them. After our hike we had a lunch at the picnic area on the river, a short drive from the parking lot.

Enjoy your trip and please let us know what routes you took both ways and hikes you took. I'm still hoping to drive to AK this summer and maybe we would take one of those routes you're planning to take.

BTW, happy birthday and happy hiking

Edited: 23 July 2012, 00:12
western WA
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8. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

The first time I hiked to Sioux Charlie I was 6. That was a few years ago now! If I could post a picture here I would. We caught a lot of frogs there. I have also been chased by an inquisitive young moose. He almost put his head into our tent (while we were in it!). Many other great experiences there and in the surrounding area.

Red Lodge is southWEST of Columbus, not southeast as I mistakenly stated earlier.

I will be there myself soon and I can't wait.

Edited: 23 July 2012, 08:52
western WA
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9. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Also, you might want to post on the Montana forum for more info.

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10. Re: Red Lodge Mt- Lamar Valley Y'Stone-Glacier NP-Nelson, BC

Great trip! Hubby & I left Red Lodge over the Beartooth pass, entered Y'stone, saw goats on the Baroness peaks in the park, grizzly bear right by the road, black wolf in Lamar, bison in rut, pronghorn & elk. Walked the Mammoth basin.

Were enchanted by the Little Belt Mts & that unique, lush ecosystem. Spent night camping Many Pines USFS campground.

Beautiful drive thru Glacier NP Going to the Sun Rd. with goats & big horn sheep. Camped at Fish Creek campground in the park. Hiked Rocky Pt. trail.

Drove to Whitefish, Kalispell & then up thru Idaho ( walked Kootenay waterfall & swinging bridge) drove over awesome Kootenay pass to Nelson. Nelson was a delightful, vibrant town! Like a flashback to the '60s LOL. Wow! Met Alaskan friends, watch some of a triathlon, swam in lake, drove the lakeshore to Selmo, listened to a jazz festival on the beach.

Spent a couple nights at Nelson city campground. Walked up & down the hills of town looking at the historic homes.

Came back home thru Washington to Coeur d'alene & then to Butte to tour the historic districts, camping in a campground there.

Easy drive back to Red Lodge. Thanks for all the help. It was a marvelous trip.

Thanks for all the help.

Edited: 08 August 2012, 02:50