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Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

usa
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Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

First 2 weeks of September. 13 full days (exclude arrival and departure days). Will rent a car.

Thinking of flying to/from Bozeman

Want to visit:

Yellowstone NP (have spent a week here several years ago). This time just want to spend 3 days/3nights (Mammoth, Lamar, OF area)

Glacier NP (also spent 3 days/3 nights here before). This time want to spend 2-3 days (1-2 East and 1 West side?).

Canadian Rockies (Waterton, Yono, Jasper, Icefields, Banff, etc.) 7 days (Banff 5 nights? Jasper 2 nights?)

Main Goals:

Wildlife, day hikes (up to 20-25 miles/day), scenic drives, natural wonders, less crowds, good weather

Question:

How should my driving route/loop look like and how where should I overnight and how many nights??

I will also post this in the Yellowstone/Glacier Forum. Thank you in advance for all your help.

Winnipeg, Canada
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1. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

Bozeman is very close to YNP. Looks like you already have to route list in order. You don't plan to go to Grand Teton? Have you book the hotel yet at YNP? If you haven't, your only choice is probably Gardiner MT.

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

>> day hikes (up to 20-25 miles/day)

?!?!?! Here in Canada, we use kilometres and 20 to 25 miles translates to 32 to 40 kms, which is a HUGE amount to cover in a day hike. Most day hikes rated "moderate" here in the national parks are between 8 and 12 km's (5 to 7 miles), with 1000 to 1500 or so feet of elevation gain. Prime ones included in this category would be the Plain of Six Glaciers at Lake Louise, Larch Valley at Moraine Lake (add Sentinel Pass for more challenge), Nigel Pass, Wilcox Pass, Opal Hills, and Cavell Meadows... If you are fit enough to do up to 40 kms a day, you will have many, many options, including trails that are typically done as multi-day backpacking trips. The Skyline Trail, one of the most popular backpacking trails here in Jasper National Park, for instance, is 44 km long ... people do it as a day-long hike or run; the record for running is about 6.5 hours, and I know people who have hiked it in 10 to 12 hours.

If you have a week for the Canadian Rockies, I would suggest a 4/3 split for Banff and Jasper. Two nights in Jasper is really only one day, since you will probably take most of the first day on the Icefields Parkway (you could do a hike as well as the usual driving/sightseeing stops). Jasper NP is almost twice the size of Banff NP and has plenty to see.

Edited: 31 May 2013, 17:50
usa
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3. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

Have been to GTNP as well. Thank you for the split suggestions. If I'd like to visit Lake O'Hara and explore Yono, am I better off to stay in Banff (same accom) or stay closer to Yono? Thanks.

Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

Are you aware of the "challenges" in getting into Lake O'Hara? Assuming you get a reservation on the bus (there is information on the Yoho NP website: www.pc.gc.ca/yoho - you'll be able to call for reservations in the next couple of weeks), it's almost an hour's drive from Banff to where you catch it, so I guess it really depends on how early you want to be up in the morning to get to the parking lot to catch the bus. However, if you are serious about doing 30+ km's of hiking in a day, I suppose hiking in on the fireroad (11 km each way) is an option too (although rather dull hiking). Accommodation in Lake Louise is more expensive than Banff, due to the high demand and small supply; there are some guest houses in Field (although many have two night minimums), and a couple of commercial accommodations not too far away - Emerald Lake Lodge, Cathedral Mountain Lodge and the Great Divide Lodge.

usa
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5. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

Hello krp329, yes I'm planning on calling for tickets ASAP. We may even want to camp for 1 night up there, but I"m not sure at this point. However, is the shuttle ticket that demanding even in September?

I am now flying in/out of Kalispell Airport or Great Falls (cheapest) instead of Bozeman Airport and will have 17 full days instead of 13 full days (excluding travel days). We may/may not skip Yellowstone at this point but will definitely do Glacier and Canadian Rockies.

Now that I've decided on the number of days/dates and airport, I need to figure out a flexible and reasonable scenic route, lodgings/camping, hikes and things to do... getting excited.

Thank you for all your feedback. Should I keep my questions in this same thread or open new thread for any future questions I have???

Edited: 01 June 2013, 01:12
Jasper, Canada
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6. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

September is "larch season", when the larch trees turn golden before dropping their needles (Lake Louise and Lake O'Hara are at the very northern edge of their range), and it is still prime hiking season here in the Canadian Rockies. Be prepared to sit and redial, possibly for a few hours. I tried to get through for end-of-July bus tickets last summer, calling in 3 months ahead of time... had to give up at noon, and had never gotten through all morning.

usa
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7. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

Wow krp329, sounds like Lake O'Hara shuttle tickets are really tough to get. Thanks for the headups.

Since I have at least a week in the area, I'll prepare several dates and times and hope we can get something.

Have you camped there before? -- wonder if it's worthwhile to overnight or just one full day is enough to explore.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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8. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

We camped at lake Ohara for three nights last summer. We loved it not your typical back country camping experience with 30 spots, running water chemical toilets and shelters with wood burning stoves. We were the only Americans there and met some friendly happy Canadians who we had a lot of laughs with. Totally worth the time on the phone. I was lucky and got thru in 45 minutes. Do anything to get a spot on that bus. Lake O is a very special place.

9. Re: Need input for 2 weeks trip in September

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