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big road trip

Bedford, United...
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big road trip

Whilst hoping to visit relatives in vancouver next year we have discovered that it is cheapest to fly into seattle. So taking 3 weeks we want to do a big road round trip from seattle via Glacier National park into Canada and back to Seattle. We are quite happy to do a long day of driving if it gets us to a good national Park so that we can do some walking.

We aren't into big cities but enjoy the countryside, wildlife, great scenery and scenic drives and food. Can anyone suggest a scenic drive towords Glacier national park. We will be in June 2012 - which roads would we need to be aware of? Possible closures due to snow that would change our route?

I promise we will stay in seattle on the way home but our budget for hotels isn't much more than $100 - $150 so is there a good suburb with a cheap good hotel that would still allow us easy access to downtown area? We will have a hire car, picked up & dropped off, at the airport but if we can travel in by bus we are quite happy to do that unless parking in seattle is better than most big cities.

Phew - thanks in advance for any help.

seattle
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1. Re: big road trip

Hi and welcome. There is also a road trip forum. I do this as a tour guide but we leave from Spokand. From Seattle you can drive towards Couer D Alene. From there to Whitefish and into Glacier NP is a pretty easy drive. Do the Going to Sun Hwy in an old antique Jammer bus its way more fun than driving. From there you can either visit Watertown NP or continue onto Calgary and visit Banff Lake Louise, and Jasper. You'd return via Kamloops, Vancovuer and down to Seattle. You can see an itinerary from various tour operators to give you an idea of overnites and things to see.

Grand circle travel does this trip from Spokane though many others do as well. It will give you a little sense of what to do and plan and you can expand the time since you'll have your own car.

Hope this helps getting you started.

Green Valley...
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2. Re: big road trip

GTTS Rd. might not be fully open, so you'll have to keep in touch with the GNP website or Montana State Dept. of highways.

You are headed for truly beautiful and interesting country from the Cascades through the "scab-lands" of central/eastern WA (worth reading about) into mountain country, GNP and north. David's suggestions deserve heeding.

Just about any road taken for that routing will be lovely.

If the weather works against you, and you need a Plan B, consider Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, then work your way to Vancouver by several routes. Three weeks is plenty of time for this trip.

Bellingham...
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3. Re: big road trip

Head north from Seattle to Everett and pick up Highway 2 East which will take you through the Cascades and to Leavenworth. You can then stay on 2 all the way to Glacier National Park going through northern Idaho on the way or you can switch near Spokane to I-90 for a while and then cut up towards Flathead Lake (this would save some time) and on to Glacier.

Once you've finished Glacier leave from the eastern side of the park and head north to Banff and Lake Louise. Come out of that area through Golden and then down Canada 95 south along the hot springs route (several places to stop for a nice soak) to Canada 3 west which will take you near several parks and eventually joins Canada 5 heading into Vancouver.

Washington State
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4. Re: big road trip

Be sure to let the car rental company know that you'll be taking their car out of the US. Here is a Road Trips thread about renting from a 3rd party company, CarHire3000: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k4713887 (You can go to the main page of that forum to post your itinerary question there. Also post on Canadian forums.)

Renton, WA
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5. Re: big road trip

To look for a good hotel with parking and access to downtown, search for lodging in Tukwila. There is a string of motels along Interurban, and the bus into town runs right past their front doors. A chancier alternative would be to catch the Sounder train from the Tuklwila "station" (just a platform) but it is oriented toward commuters and only runs a couple of times a day.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: big road trip

A couple of thoughts...

With 3 weeks, and saying you're not averse to long days behind the wheel (given a reasonable payoff) then you might look at starting with Yellowstone instead of Glacier. Yellowstone is really unique with its blend of scenery, wildlife, and thermal features, and it's not any more difficult to reach from Seattle than Glacier.

You could spend 2 or 3 days at Yellowstone, then travel up to Glacier (a day's drive - not hard.) Then continue as No. 3 says, up to Banff/Jasper NPs, then back to Vancouver via Revelstoke and the Kootenays, visiting Nelson BC and taking BC Route 3 back across the Cascades.

Three weeks is ample time for this loop, and there will be no shortage of spectacular scenery and natural wonders en route.

Green Valley...
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7. Re: big road trip

In #2, I said Glacier NP, when I meant Grand Teton NP.

Spokane, Washington
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8. Re: big road trip

As voyaging suggested check out this web-site...

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/missoula_floods

Collie

Bedford, United...
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9. Re: big road trip

Thanks for all these suggestions - I will map them all and work out a route. We saw & loved Grand tetons and Yellowstone on our last trip 4 years ago so don't need to go that far south and whilst there were told that we had to see Glacier NP. We are now arriving on 4th june and leave on 29th due to a extra holiday in the uk so get even longer to enjoy this wonderful corner.

If we cross the border into Canada at Vancouver is there a 'best' time of day or day of the week to avoid crowds? We might go the other way round ie vancouver & canada first so the GTTS road is open as it looks spectacular.

If we stayed near the airport in Seattle is the light rail nearby to get into downtown? it would save hiring a car until we set off. Many thanks.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: big road trip

As you'll be crossing the border on Australian passports, you can expect to have to go inside for processing, so allow some extra time for that. Danish friends of mine were there for 4 hrs. The wait times to get to the processing area can be anything from 15 minutes to 4+ hrs. Weekends are typically bad. Middle of the day is usually good because the daytrippers are where they want to be at that time of the day.