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Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

Spring Valley, Ohio
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82 posts
60 reviews
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Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

Planning a trip to Glacier NP in early Sept. spending 4-5 days at GNP.

We are considering either adding YNP or the Banff area to this trip. Total trip would be 10-11 days. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Bemidji, Minnesota
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for Yellowstone National Park
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2,654 posts
18 reviews
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1. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

Glacier and Banff are similar geologic features. Yellowstone is very different.

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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109 reviews
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2. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

I would vote GNP and YNP

Atlanta, Georgia
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3,322 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

I'd pick Banff/Jasper. Easy access to glaciers and lots of great scenery more turquoise lakes and more day hikes IMHO. 2 days West side of Glacier, 2 or 3 on East side then 4 days Banff, 4 days Jasper.

Yellowstone desreves its own visit. Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Jackson, Craters of the Moon.

Iowa
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28 posts
20 reviews
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4. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

I vote for GNP, Waterton-Glacier, Banff, Jasper....trip of a lifetime! We've done it!!! We've done Yellowstone, Tetons as well.....that too, was a great trip. But, if you haven't seen the Canadian Rockies, you're missing out. I'd be happy to share more....you can PM me if you want!!

Golden, Canada
Destination Expert
for Regina
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93 reviews
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5. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

Yellowstone

Louisville, Kentucky
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611 posts
104 reviews
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6. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

I vote Yellowstone too.

Hudson Valley
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1,822 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

I think it depends on your interests. I think Yellowstone is more unique and has a lot of variety with the thermal features, wildlife, waterfalls, etc. The Canadian Rockies have stunning mountains and lakes and I think has better options for hiking. Either would be a great add on, just depends on what you are looking to do.

Phoenix, Arizona
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36 posts
13 reviews
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8. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

For me it would depend on what you plan to do at Glacier. Many of its most scenic locations are accessible only by trail, whereas at Banff and Jasper you can drive to turquoise lakes and glaciers. If you aren't planning to hike much at Glacier, then a drive along the Icefields Parkway in Banff and Jasper would compensate for what you didn't see there.

If you do hike at Glacier, you will find turquoise lakes and glaciers (albeit on a smaller scale)... the trails to Cracker Lake, Grinnell Glacier, the Granite Park Chalet and Dawson/Pitamakin Passes impressed me as much as similar places in the Canadian Rockies, such as Lake O'Hara and Lake Louise (and I know opinions vary on this). I also really liked Waterton Lakes National Park, just to the north of Glacier- many folks prefer it as an alternative to Banff and the Carthew-Alderson Trail there is world-class.

It's a tough choice, but I think that after 5 days of good hiking in Glacier, I might head down to Yellowstone and the Tetons, as that region is unlike anywhere else on Earth. Those parks offer a tremendous variety... canyons, geysers, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, etc. I also think wildlife is a bit easier to see in the Yellowstone area than in Banff.

Incidentally I've spent a lot of time at Glacier, having worked there as recently as last summer, and have visited all of these other parks in conjunction with my travels to and from there. For hiking, Glacier has it... for breathtaking vistas and accessibility, I'd say Banff and Jasper... for diversity and wildlife, I think it's Yellowstone and the Tetons. In short, I'd say that if you manage to hike at Glacier, my vote is to do Yellowstone afterwards. If not, head to Banff, where you can easily access those spectacular lakes and glaciers that often elude passersby at Glacier. Or, if you think you'll get to these other places again, you might just want to spend all 11 days in Glacier... 7 months wasn't enough for me to see it all. I doubt you'll be disappointed with any choice... and I do agree with other posters, you should eventually visit ALL of these places. It's a fabulous region of the world :)

Phoenix, Arizona
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36 posts
13 reviews
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9. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

P.S. Glacier, Banff and Jasper are, from a geological standpoint, all part of the Canadian Rockies, so they are more similar to each other than any of the three are to Yellowstone. Also, I don't mean to imply in my post that there aren't spectacular roads in Glacier. There certainly are, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a classic... that said, the Icefields Parkway is considerably longer and offers vistas on an immense scale... comparable scenes, where they exist in Glacier, must generally be hiked to.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3,322 posts
25 reviews
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10. Re: Glacier and YNP or Glacier and Banff

JTM from PHX hits it... I, too have been to all three areas and enjoyed every aspect of each. I have an ongoing discussion with a friend, who had not been about Glacier NP and access to actually seeing a glacier. The name itself is somewhat misleading. in the case of GNP, since one may expect to see glaciers somewhat easily. My input to my friend is ... If you want to see glaciers, and that is high on your list as a reason to pick one area over the other go to Banff/Jasper.

You will see spectacular scenery in GNP and in the Canadian Rockies, but you will definitely have much easier access to glacier viewing in the Canadian Rockies.

And , if you are mobile and moderately active, do GNP or Banff/Jasper on your own .. no tour.

Edited: 10 April 2012, 01:03