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Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Indianapolis...
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Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Hi,

We would be visiting glacier NP probably from August 10-15, thanks to free flight tickets. We would be flying into either Great Falls or Missoula, reaching glacier on 10th evening and would be leaving by 15th noon. Could someone help us by pointing us to a good itinerary? We love to hike, photograph etc. Also could you tell us cheap accommodation within and outside the park (as required by the itinerary? We are nature lovers travelling on a very limited budget. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

indiana
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for Glacier National Park
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1. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

If you fly to Missoula it will take about three hours to reach the park's west side. I would plan one or two nights there, depending on arrival time, possibly at a small motel at the park entrance. I think Apgar Village Lodge or Glacier Highland Resort outside the park will be cheaper than in park lodging, but having never stayed at either can't say for sure. In park is Village Inn right on the shore of Lake McDonald. A day to explore the west side should be good. Then spend the next day stopping along the GTTSR and heading to Many Glacier area. I think the cheapest accomodations in that area will be Swiftcurrent. It is a great location for hiking. Any place in Glacier is a great place for scenery and photos but the valley at Many Glacier is my favorite.

Spokane, Washington
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2. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

This is high season,. so accomodations at a decent price are going to be your biggest challenge.Start looking hard, now.

Logan pass is a great place to start your photography and hiking options. Wildflowers should be in bloom on the hidden lake trail and mntn goats and sheep are in the vicinicty. Then into the Many Glacier side for the best scenery. This is a good time to hit Iceberg Lake as there will still be some icebergs and should be wildflowers along the upper stretches of the trail.

Woodbine
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3. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

KOA has a 1 room cabin available for these dates besides camping its probally the cheepest you will find.

montana
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4. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

You need to first figure out where your will be landing and departing. This will affect your route and where to start your search for accomodations. For example, if you arrive in the evening in Missoula, it makes sense to drive the 2 1/2 hours north to Kalispell, and spend the night there, where it will be fairly easy to find decent accommodations without the high price tag associated with being inside or very near the park.

If you arrive in Great Falls, that's a different route, as you would likely be coming into the East side. Don't plan on finding anything in Browning, and also be aware that if flights are late, which they often are at the end of each day, that you don't want to be out driving in the dark. It gets dark around 9 or 9:30 in August. Driving in the dark increases the hazards of hitting a deer on the highways, plus simply finding your way in a strange place. There is not consistent cell phone service in MT, so I don't advise starting a trip with nighttime driving.

Also look into car rentals.....if you arrive in one airport and depart in another, will there be huge drop fees for your car?

Once you've got these two things sorted out, get going on those accommodations, and you can rest assured that everything else about visiting GNP is going to fit together beautifully!

PS Someone has mentioned Brownie's Hostel in East Glacier as a nice, inexpensive place to stay.

Congrats on getting free tickets to MT in the summertime...no easy feat!

Indianapolis...
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5. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Thanks everyone for the informative comments. I have an option of flying in and out of either great Falls or Missoula. Which one do you think would be better?

I wont be able to finalize my ticket before 19th May. So that is when I can give a firm idea of my landing airport and exact dates.

Till now what I have gathered from you is that I should devote time to the Many Glacier Area, Logan Pass, Iceberg lake, GTTSR.. are there any other must see's I should add to my list. Which areas would be best to avoid traffic and parking lot tourists?

For accommodations, I am looking at

Swiftcurrent Inn, Apgar Lodge, KOA, Brownie's Hostel. Any other cheap accomodations I should look into? I head of a Thornstore

general store for accommodation. Could not find anything online.

Once again thanks a lot for the help. Will keep you posted when I get my final tickets tomorrow.

Bemidji, Minnesota
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6. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Just how small is your budget? We've found that we can pack our tent and sleeping bags, cook gear and propane stove (minus the propane that you have to buy when you get there) and stay in the campgrounds for much less than any motel or hotel. That leaves us with a bit more money to spend on other things while we are there. One other advantage is that campgrounds don't seem to require the months of advance reservations. Most of the time we just show up before mid-afternoon and we're in.

indiana
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7. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

It is Thronson's Motel and General Store in Babb.. They do have mixed reviews on this site. Have never stayed there, but they usually have nice flowers and it is well kept on the outside. It is right at the entrance to the Many Glacier area, but honestly I think it will only be a few dollars more to stay in the valley at Swiftcurrent. As RM-MN asked, what is your budget? Knowing that will make it easier for everyone to give better suggestions.

Indianapolis...
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8. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Thanks once again for the advice. Ideally I am looking to spend less than 500$ (2 people) for the whole trip. So after car rental and gas, that leaves less than 60$ per night for 2 people. However, I wont probably be going to Glacier again very soon so if I have to spend another 100$ to maximize our time there, I would be ready to do it. But that is pretty much the upper limit.

Woodbine
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9. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

Someone ought to explain the Tax. I had to cancel them, but my reservations for Swiftcurrent had a extra $30.00 for tax for one night. The tax could wreck a budget.

Urbana, IL
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10. Re: Help with budget trip planning-August 10-15

I'm just in the planning stages of a trip to GNP myself, so I don't have any first hand experience with these places, but here's some inexpensive (relatively!) options that I turned up in my search:

West Side (more like $100 per night):

Tamarack Lodge www.historictamaracklodge.com

East Side ($60-80ish per night):

Brown House (in East Glacier) http://www.eastglacierpark.info/Motels.html

Bison Creek www.angelfire.com/mt/bisoncreek/cabins.html

Our trip is earlier in the summer than yours, but we were finding that a lot of places were already filled up, so definitely move fast once you confirm your dates! Budget lodging (besides camping) is *really* hard to come by around GNP, so anything that is remotely inexpensive fills up FAST. I was surprised by how much I had to increase our trip's budget once I started looking. Good luck!

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