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Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

London
Level Contributor
49 posts
44 reviews
Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Hello Forum

Is it feasible to plan a trip that would include Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, possibly Grand Tetons also, then to travel to Vancouver with a view to an Arctic cruise? Myself and wife from the UK, both getting on a bit but still fit and experienced in driving in the US/Canada. We enjoy walking and moderately demanding hiking alongside city exploration. Not into camping- by our age we need comfort after a long day.

I can allow up to 4 weeks. I particular wonder how best to get to Vancouver from say Glacier. Budget can be generous on the basis that this is really 2 holidays rolled into one (and fully expect someone to say do it as 2 separate trips).

Very early planning so all comments would be helpful especially best time of year and travel times and booking hints.

Thank you

L

16 replies to this topic
USA
Level Contributor
3,489 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Do you mean an Alaskan cruise, or something else? How much time out of your 4 weeks total would that take?

I think allocating 2 weeks to Yellowstone/Grand Teton and Glacier would be fine. It will take a full day to drive between Yellowstone and Glacier. In terms of getting from Glacier to Vancouver, the easiest way would be to fly there if the cost isn't a concern. You could certainly take a day or two to drive, but you would have to deal with the issue of dropping off a rental car in Canada when it originated in the US (there are various reports of this being allowed or not) - assuming you plan to fly into an airport near the national parks.

For Glacier, the season runs from late June through September. If you want to stay inside the park, you'll want to start looking for lodging as soon as possible, as rooms book up far in advance.

Rawai, Thailand
Level Contributor
2,043 posts
31 reviews
2. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

I did Custer Memorial, Yellowstone, Teton and Glacier in just under 3 weeks last year by car. It's a full-on trip (so much to see and do!) but very doable.

Consider dropping your car off at East Glacier, then getting the Empire Builder overnight train to Seattle. Couple of days there, then the train up to Vancouver.

Four weeks should be perfect for you to tick everything off.

Rawai, Thailand
Level Contributor
2,043 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

I did Custer Memorial, Yellowstone, Teton and Glacier in just under 3 weeks last year by car. It's a full-on trip (so much to see and do!) but very doable.

Consider dropping your car off at East Glacier, then getting the Empire Builder overnight train to Seattle. Couple of days there, then the train up to Vancouver.

Four weeks should be perfect for you to tick everything off.

Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
955 posts
12 reviews
4. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Vancouver to Anchorage (via Seward or Whittier) will be the furthest north you can go which is nowhere near Artic circle. Cruise range b/w 7-14 days, some cruise company may (Princess, Holland comes to mind) offer overland tour to get you to Artic circle (most opt for the shorter trip to Denali NP), but I am guessing you need at least 14 days for that.

You can do the YS, Teton, Glacier, Vancouver with a hired car, but crossing international border one way car drop maybe problematic. Besides the railway option mentioned above, you likely need an airport to drop off the car and fly to YVR.

Edited: 28 September 2017, 22:32
London
Level Contributor
49 posts
44 reviews
5. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Oops I did mean an Alaskan cruise. Thanks for useful responses so far.

L

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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32,795 posts
6,431 reviews
6. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

We did a Yellowstone through British Columbia trip to our Alaska cruise. We did include Vancouver, but our cruise was from Seattle

For some ideas on routing

1) Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

2) Drive to Banff National Park. Stay in Banff. Lots of lodging, etc. We liked the boat ride on Moraine Lake.

There is lots of hiking. See Lake Louise, etc. The park is nice for 2 or more nights.

3) We then drove through Kootenay National Park. There is nice hikes here as well as a very nice place for thermal hot springs- Radium Hot Springs.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

We stayed overnight at Radium Hot Springs.

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay

4) We then drove to Yoho National Park to see Emerald Lake and Natural Bridges there (you could also consider spending some time at Jasper).

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ

There is also a circular train rails (if you time it right you can watch the train as it does this route)

5) From Yoho, we continued to Glacier National Park (Canada), There is a series of tunnels and Glacier Views.

http://pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/glacier/index

6) Then comes Mount Revelstoke National Park - there is a very scenic park and the boardwalk walks through the tree areas is amazing.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/revelstoke

We in particularly liked the Giant Cedar Boardwalk

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

In Revelstoke, we like the Canadian Railroad Museum. It was well done and described not only the trains, but life in this area of Canada as well.

7) From here, we headed towards the winery region of Okanagan Lake and stayed in West Kelowna. We in particular liked the winery tour at Mission Hills Winery

http://www.missionhillwinery.com/

8 From there you can drive to Vancouver. Traffic will get sluggish as you get closer to Vancouver.

We loved Stanley Park, the suspension bridge in North Vancouver, the botanical park, and Canada Place in Vancouver. Since we were there several days, the Destination Experts on the Vancouver forum let us know of a nice place to stay called Times Square Suites.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g15…

Given that you have generous amount of time to see these parks, I would also suggest the scenic drive to Whistler. On the way there we very much liked the mining museum tour

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

So just some thoughts of what we did and enjoyed on our drive to Vancouver

We continued on to Seattle for our Alaska cruise. We did this in about 9 days time so 4 weeks - you will have lots more time for hikes, relaxing times, etc.

There is lodging to stay at for your drive.....

Its beautiful country and the British Columbia is on the transcontinental Canadian highway for much of it, so very well maintained, lots of gas stations, places to stay, cafes, etc.

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,038 posts
773 reviews
7. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

This is basically the order of what I would do for a trip like yours. I will assume you will fly in, drive the main routes from Tetons to Vancouver. It would be a fabulous trip for 4 weeks. Cruise included in the 4 Weeks? I will assume yes. I will also assume you don't want to spend all day driving when you could be taking it more leisurely and enjoying things along the way...including meals and stops for coffee etc.

Days 1 & 2 Fly into Jackson, Wyo airport to start. Stay upscale and fun Jackson, a famous and fabulous resort area. Lots to see and do there. Great galleries, restaurants, hotels and attractions right near town. The Wildlife Art Museum there is wonderful.

Days 3 & 4...Drive to Tetons, Stay Jenny Lake enjoy the sights and hikes.

Days 5 & 6...Stay southern loop of Yellowstone, Old Faithful area. Explore and hike the lower loop.

Days 7, 8 & 9 Stay northern loop of Yellowstone, Canyon Village. Explore the loop, including Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Madison basin, Mammoth, Hayden Valley and Tower.

Day 10 & 11...Drive the famous Beartooth Highway (America's Road), enjoy the scenery and hiking and stay in Red Lodge. beartoothhighway.com

Second day make a day trip to Cody Wyoming for the attractions there. Lots of western history and flavor...Uptown shops, Great Buffalo Bill Museum complex. Check local events for when you plan to travel...there is the night rodeo and one of the better Professional rodeos and the Native American Pow Wow. Things to Do in Cody www.yellowstonecountry.org/what-to-do

*Cody could be optional...you choose.

Day 12...Begin your drive toward Glacier. Stay the night in Missoula...a very scenic 350 mile drive. Yes, even the freeway is scenic! Lunch in Bozeman a really vibrant college town or in Butte, a historic mining area with a scenic loop drive for the old area of town. Best hotels are on the Reserve Street Exit.

Days 13...Drive to Whitefish . The drive from Missoula to Whitefish is beautiful. The #93 takes you up along the Mission Mountain Valley and along the huge Flathead Lake. You could visit the National Bison Range along the way. Then drive from there along the west side of the Flathead, the views across the lake to the mountains of Glacier is gorgeous. Stop at Lakeside for a snack at the Tamarack Brewery and grill. Whitefish then is a great little resort. Lots of unique galleries and things to do. A wonderful place to stay is the upscale Lodge on Whitefish Lake. Park hotels everywhere are more rustic even if they are expensive.

Day 14...Breakfast at the Lodge or Loula's in Whitefish. Stay West Glacier/Apgar at the Village Inn which has the best views. Spend the day exploring the west side...hike the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake hike.

Days 15 & 16...Stay Many Glacier valley. Many Glacier Lodge, balcony lakeside if possible. Drive the Going to the Sun Road to Many Glacier. Hike the Hidden Lake and the top part of the Highline in-and-out both from Logan Pass summit. Coffee or snacks/the best Glacier gift shop at the St Mary Lodge. Day 15 used up by GTTSR day. Next day for famous two lake boat tour/ranger led or independent hike to Grinnell Glacier.

Day 17...Stay Waterton Lakes, Glacier's sister park. Nice hotels, village, hiking and another boat tour. Prince of Wales Hotel is famous. Northland Lodge a nice B&B choice...or others in the village area.

Days 18 & 19...Stay Banff Township. Banff Springs Hotel, Bow River side. http://www.fairmont.com/banff-springs/ Or lots of other hotels there. Take the scenic and very famous **Cowboy Route from Waterton to Banff. The #6 to Pincher Creek > #3 west > #22 north to Longview > 541 > #40 which is the Kananaskis Valley...very famous and like Banff used to be, lots of movies and TV filmed up there. Stop at the Kananaskis Village for lunch or coffee. Then finally continue on the #49 > Canada #1 into Banff...day used up.

Day 19 spend in and around Banff. Great shopping, galleries, scenic local drives. Sunset along Vermillion Lakes drive for the classic views of Mt Rundle.

Days 20 & 2l...Stay Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. Both the Chateau and the ML Lodge are nice...the latter our favorite because its more secluded and less crowded. Hike and enjoy Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and possibly drive down to Yoho or even stay at the fabulous Emerald Lake Lodge. https://morainelake.com https://crmr.com/emerald/

Day 22 & 23...Stay Jasper Township. Jasper Park Lodge http://www.fairmont.com/jasper/ or the Alpine Village or Becker cabins.

Drive and enjoy the world famous Icefields Parkway...a visit to Banff/Jasper is NOTHING if that is not included...the most stunning scenery is between Lake Louise and Jasper...very near glaciers. You can even take Snow Track Tour out onto one at Icefields Center. Take your time that day...it could be the highlight of your trip. https://icefieldsparkway.com

Day 23 hike and see the attractions and scenery around Jasper. Maligne Lake and the boat cruise to Spirit Island the logo of Jasper Park. Pick up maps and ideas at the wonderful Visitor's center...including info if trails are closed due to Moose calfs or bear. Its all free and wardens are friendly and enthusiastic. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

Day 24...head toward Vancouver via the 93 and 5 and stay in Kamloops. 275 scenic miles. Stop at Mt Robson if its clear...wow. https://www.hellobc.com/mount-robson.aspx Lunch in Valemont. Stay Kamloops.

Day 25 + ??...Stay Vancouver. Route #5 & #1. All freeway, stop in Hope for lunch and stretch legs.

Or the #1 and 99

Alaska Cruise.

...........................

If you decide on this or other suggestions, we can flesh out what you can do more thoroughly. Tell us your interests. Post your itinerary here on this thread...we can look at it and see if you have made any errors...like too long drives. And then you can finalize your plans. You do need to decide quite soon because some of the Park areas you have chosen book up a year ahead.

......................

Just a hint...People jam the reservation lines first thing when it opens...if you do get connected, even then, the reservations can come up as totally booked for your dates.

Not to worry. When people get on the line first thing, they grab what ever comes up and sometimes double and triple book reservations in multiple places and then calm down and cancel later what actually does not fit their schedule. They may do that for trip plans in two different months even until they decide on when they can actually get their vacation leave settled.

Its not right and unfair really...but it happens all the time.

As time passes after the first rush, cancellations tend to show up consistently and quite often. That is when you need to grab what shows up at least as your own plan B until what you really want for each day opens up. If it happens, relax a bit...you have an entire year to get lodging in place. Cancellation policies are very lenient up here...which actually causes the over booking in the first place but its nice if you do legitimately need to cancel your own plans later.

Its easier to book one day at a time rather than trying to wait for a block of days to open up. *Good luck....don't panic.

London
Level Contributor
49 posts
44 reviews
8. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Thanks to all for your detailed and knowledgeable comments. We'll now study maps and work out out priorities. With so many appealing suggestions in and around Yellowstone, Southern BC and Vancouver we may have to rethink adding on an Alaskan trip even in a 4 week holiday. We love being busy on holidays but know the importance of allowing time for simply gazing and experiencing.

L

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,038 posts
773 reviews
9. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

More questions? Don't hesitate to ask. Eliminating Alaska does give you more time to really enjoy the route to Vancouver.

One more hint...don't plan this trip too early in the year or Yellowstone and Glacier will not be fully open. To thoroughly enjoy Glacier you must come when the Going to the Sun road is open...Usually sometime near the end of June. That road is an Alpine drive and gets you from the west side to the east side of the park. Too early and you have to take the long #2 route outside the park along the south border. Yellowstone is at very high altitude and sometimes the road from the Tetons to YNP opens late.

.....

Banff/Jasper is a little different because the Canada #1 runs through it and both Banff and Jasper townships are year-around service towns and both have famous ski areas so they keep the roads open all year.

.....

Also for Glacier, the park hotels and concessions begin to close down gradually around the end of the second full weekend of September in preparation for Winter. But Fall is also a beautiful time to visit both YNP and GNP and B/J.

.....

July is good but also busy in all the parks....so set dates and work on reservations. You can do that now for 2018. But not 2019.

.....

For some fun helping plan for the Tetons, YNP and GNP use the following link and look at the ad-free, narrated videos of all the trails in all three of them. It will help you decide on what hikes to take. We ended up binge watching when they first came out! They also sell wonderful waterproof/rip proof maps of the trails and the Going to the Sun Road! They will send them to you even to the UK. And Jake Bromante, the hiker/videographer/map maker will also answer questions via e-mail from the site.

https://www.hike734.com Your Guide to Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP and Zion NP.

...

https:/…maps.shtml Order a free Montana Road Map...order 2 or 3...the first will wear out from all your planning of routes...they tear easily.

...

https://www.travelwyoming.com/map

...

http://www.canadianrockies.net/maps/ ***A fabulous resource...best I have found for Canadian maps and info.

London
Level Contributor
49 posts
44 reviews
10. Re: Yellowstone, Glacier ?? Grand Tetons then Vancouver

Hello again

Comments welcome on this rough itinerary starting mid July 2018. We've dropped going to Canada or Vancouver on this trip. At all destinations we'd like time for one or two 2-4 hour walks as well as to drive to the main sights. Flying into Jackson for 3 nights/ 2 full days in Teton Mountain lodge for Grand Teton np. Then to Yellowstone. Our agent is offering 4 nights in the park near Old faithful; we wonder if better to follow Maryellenm27 and spend 5 nights in the park in 2 different places. . But we can't decide where!

Good as it sounds we are not inclined to drive the Beartooth highway towards Cody and Boseman.

Instead to Glacier np, stopping at Helena overnight before driving on to Glacier for 3 nights. Our agent is offering accomodation in Whitefish. Is that a good location for the hiking/ touring we'd like or should we follow Maryellenm27 again and stay in Many Glacier Valley?. Finally return flight from Kalispel via Chicago.

We can add on 2-3 days if advisable and would reconsider side trips if people think they are must sees.

Thank you

L

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