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Turned 50... time for a road trip!

Columbus, Ohio
6 posts
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Turned 50... time for a road trip!

I am posting this in all the respective forums (Montana, Wyoming and Utah) so that each group of travelers can give me some great ideas… I’ve already gotten so much from you guys!

I’m finally planning my long-awaited trip out west! Turned 50 this year, but have thought about a trip like this for almost a decade… solo hiking and sightseeing in the following parks/areas:

Glacier for about 4 days; Yellowstone for about 3 days; Grand Tetons for about 2 days; Moab area for about 4 days (Arches and Canyonlands); Fruita about 2 days (Capital Reef); Bryce and Zion for about 3 days.

This trip started out about 10 days long, but I kept telling myself… if I’m out here, I might as well head over this way… Driving out from Ohio through Badlands, and stopping at Mount Rushmore before heading to Glacier. I will be camping at all parks except for travel days. My main questions are – your favorite campsites in each area and your favorite day hikes. I will not camping back country. Also, how is my timeframe? My list of places to stay and hike is ever-changing, but your combined knowledge should help me narrow it down!

I have never been to any of these national parks before… hence the reason for my trip. Have done some short hiking before and in pretty good physical shape, so I’m really looking forward to putting an end to my training and get to hiking!

Thanks in advance for your time and responses.


Columbus, Ohio
6 posts
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1. Re: Turned 50... time for a road trip!

Forgot to post that my trip is planned for the last 3 weeks in September of this year.

Bemidji, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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2,676 posts
18 reviews
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2. Re: Turned 50... time for a road trip!

Can you move your trip up in time to the last of August/first of September? The Going to the Sun highway in Glacier closes in mid-September and you wouldn't want to miss that. It's also possible to run into snow in late September, either in Glacier or on the Beartooth highway out the northeast entrance to Yellowstone.

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334 posts
60 reviews
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3. Re: Turned 50... time for a road trip!

When you get to Mt Rushmore, don't leave the area without driving the Needles Hwy and Iron Mtn Rd, not to be missed. Be sure to drive north up Iron Mtn Rd toward Mt Rushmore because as you go thru several tunnels you will see Rushmore framed thru the tunnel, a very striking and memorable view. Needles Hwy is another scenic trip not to be missed. Would be such a shame if you just zipped by Rushmore and missed these awesome sites. Also highly recommended, a drive thru Custer St Park to see the herds of buffalo roaming free.

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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3,218 posts
112 reviews
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4. Re: Turned 50... time for a road trip!

You will ahve access to Glacie and arrive at a great time for the colors to turn. Yopu can get on going-to-the-sun, but questionable as to actually crossing, or accessing sections from each side. Considering your routes, I would stay east (many glacier/st.mary) and then maybe a quick visit to hike at two medicine, before heading on. With limited time, and hopefull access to logan pass on GTTS, this would give you a good introduction. Then head south via the rocky mntn front in the early moring via Choteau and Lincoln, or cut over via Great Falls, depending on what you want to see next.

5. Re: Turned 50... time for a road trip!

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