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Old 05-28-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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A visit to Glacier Nat. Park

Thinking of a trip to Glacier NP in August. Would like to pass from East - West on Rt. 2 towing a 30'AS with a Dodge 3500 diesel pickup. Would appreciate any input from the forum members regarding this trip. I have no doubt as to the pulling ability of my rig but I would like to know if the road is doable. I'm pretty adventurous in my travels and not very feint of heart when it comes to driving but also don't wish to push my luck either. If these roads would not be advisable with my trailer in tow I would look to another route.

Thanks all, See ya on the road sometime
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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I don't remember all the roads around Glacier. We've followed several highways along the eastern edge and some of it was very curvy through the hills east of the mountains. Not easy driving, but doable with our rig. US 2: we've taken it along the southern side of the NP and I don't remember anything difficult about that route.

You won't be able to take a trailer over Going to the Sun Rd. If you are acrophobic, that road may be too much for you. Part of it is carved into the side of a very high rock face and looks like it will fall off the mountain as soon as you are on it.

Don't forget Waterton NP in Alberta. It is a wonderful park too. There is also a Glacier NP park a couple of hundred miles north in BC.

Go soon—the glaciers are melting and they may have to change the name of the park to No More Glaciers NP.

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:18 PM   #3
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Thanks Gene, I'm tuned in to the melting glaciers and that's why it's on my "HIT LIST" while they are still there. Thanks for your mention of the going to the sun highway. I had meant to include that in my inquiry but forgot. But can it be any worse than the road through Rocky Mtn. NP ???? The one that comes out and leads to Granby, Co. I've been on that one but not with my trailer. In fact, I was going to inquire about towing that route also. I may wish to drop down and visit there again on the way home from GNP. I took it several years ago going east - west. I don't really think it would be wise to do it with my trailer in tow but would value another opinion.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:23 PM   #4
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We were on a Airstream caravan that went south around Glacier on Rt 2 a couple of years ago. 34 units of various Airstream trailers and motorhomes all made it with no reported trouble. Several 34' trailers. Like Gene said, do the Waterton NP also while you are there. We stayed in a private campground up on a hill at East Glacier and drove up to Waterton for the day and took the boat ride. Waterton is actually worth more time than that, but it is what we did. I suggest taking the touring shuttle ride up Going to the Sun. At least the first time from the East. Have driven it several times over the years and the last few times they were working on it, it was crowded, and no place to park at the visitors center when we got there. It may be all fixed now, but I doubt it. Not the best place for a heavy duty tow pickup. I had to stop and fold the drivers side mirror in to keep from hitting a guy coming the other way. Fortunately he stopped and folded also, or I would have lost one.

On the way home from that caravan we went through Granby and Rocky Mountain Nationl Park. Pulled the trailer across the top and stopped at the visitor center. Stayed in the campground on the east side for 3 days. The road around Glacier is not real high, maybe 6000 feet, and not as tight of turns. Probably only 4000 or so feet of elevation chage. It is the route that trucks and most traffic take from east to west in that region.

We pull a 25' and sometimes a 32' with a 2500 Dodge diesel. You will have no trouble with your rig.

Where you heading from West Glacier?
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:30 PM   #5
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US 2 along the southern edge of Glacier is very doable for your setup. Marias Pass is the lowest one through the Rockies and for that was selected by Great Northern RR for their route west. Once through leave the Airstream at West Glacier and travel back over the mountains on a day trip on the Going to the Sun Road. A lot of improvements have been made in the last years. If the 75-year-old red tour buses can make it, you can in your TV (without AS). A trip you will never forget.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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There are restrictions on Going to the Sun and a trailer will not be permitted. The year we were there, they were rebuilding the top and 18 wheelers came up and down frequently, fast and crazy. The top was closed. We went part way up in a 4Runner (pre-trailer days) but I could feel the road beginning to slide down the mountain side and decided to turn around. Strangely, it was still there when we got to the bottom.

So, I don't know how it compares with Trail Ridge Rd. since we haven't been the whole length of Going to the Sun. By the way, Going to the Sun was built in the early 1930's be either the WPA or CCC and no one could afford to build it now.

Here's a link about openings, construction and restrictions—vehicles or vehicle combinations more than 21' are verbotten: Going-to-the-Sun Road FAQs - Glacier National Park

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Sounds as if the rebuilding of the Going .... Sun Rd. is a yearly undertaking. So if I wish to sum up what's been presented :::: Rt. 2 is passable with a trailer in tow. Going ...Sun they are not permitted. That answers my inquiry, Thanks.

Regarding RMNP, looks like 2 roads. I took one on my trip that went over a high pass ( maybe 13000' or so ) with snow in early July. Google maps shows 2 but I don't know which I had taken. Going up from the Estes Park side didn't seem too bad but over the top going down the western slope was much more interesting and I might not recommend towing. Not sure if the other choice is any better.

Further comments / suggestions / experiences will still be appreciated.

Thanks all.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse
Thinking of a trip to Glacier NP in August. Would like to pass from East - West on Rt. 2 towing a 30'AS with a Dodge 3500 diesel pickup. Would appreciate any input from the forum members regarding this trip. I have no doubt as to the pulling ability of my rig but I would like to know if the road is doable. I'm pretty adventurous in my travels and not very feint of heart when it comes to driving but also don't wish to push my luck either. If these roads would not be advisable with my trailer in tow I would look to another route.

Thanks all, See ya on the road sometime
We drove from MN to Glacier two years ago, on Rt. 2.

Loved the drive, wanted to see it all. Lots of open prairie, made me yearn for a bonnet, long dress and covered wagon.

It isn't quick, so plan on a meandering journey (the very best kind). Take time to explore Kalispell, Helena, etc.

Travel safe,


Maggie
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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I always wondered how a town gets a name like NORMAL ????? What's normal. Not sure I know the answer to that one. Anyhow, thanks for the input. We're looking for a slow ride through the great plains. I'm sure there won't be enough time to see all I want to see but we'll try. I'm trying to plan for 5 - 7 days from leaving Rockford, Illinois to GNP. I think that will allow for some long driving days and a few short ones with time to smell the roses along the way.

Thanks,
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
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Hwy 2 is an easy grade both ways. There is no significant climbing and no summit pass to speak of. For example, Essex, MT, is at an elevation of 3860'.

Campgrounds in the park (we've stayed at Apgar, Many Glacier, Two Medicine):
1. South end of Lake Macdonald: Fish Creek has very few campsites that will fit an Airstream; tight drive-through loops w trees on street side, low overhangs. Apgar is a very large campground at which most sites are suitable for RVs; good shade.
2. East side of Glacier: St. Mary's RV area is all prairie, sunny, hot when it is hot (duh), opposite of pretty. Two Medicine and Many Glacier are a bit smaller but very nice.

MT-49 approaching Two Medicine from the north is posted closed to combinations longer than about 25'. There are severe old fashioned switchbacks; you'd really get boxed in during summer traffic. You must approach Two Medicine via MT-49 through East Glacier Park Village from the south. Likewise, to get back and forth between the east and west sides while towing, you have to go through Browning.

We spent about 3 nights up at Waterton townsite campground and had a great time there.

Traveling shoulder season, we just about missed it. Some boat rides on Glacier lakes and Waterton starts shutting down about the weekend after Labor Day.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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We did that route last August. If you stay at Many Glacier (more remote and more wildlife) or St. Marys, best route is 89 over to Browning and down to East Glacier and Hwy 2. Although 49 is shorter, they caution against long trailers, 89 is curvy enough. From E. Glacier, Hwy 2 is no problem. We also found that the shuttle was a lot less hassle on the GTS road due to construction if you want to get off and hike. Parking can be a problem at many popular stops along the GTS.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse
I always wondered how a town gets a name like NORMAL ????? What's normal. Not sure I know the answer to that one. Anyhow, thanks for the input. We're looking for a slow ride through the great plains. I'm sure there won't be enough time to see all I want to see but we'll try. I'm trying to plan for 5 - 7 days from leaving Rockford, Illinois to GNP. I think that will allow for some long driving days and a few short ones with time to smell the roses along the way.

Thanks,
Everyone has to make fun of the name of this town! Every time we give our address.

Seriously, as I understand it, the town is named for the university that is now Illinois State. It was once a teacher&rsquo;s college. I don't know where the name came from, we just live here.

To avoid the jokes, Doug will tell people we live in Bloomington.

It is a beautiful drive, have a great time, but 5-7 days is not long to make that trip. Keep your eyes open so you don't miss anything.


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Old 05-28-2012, 05:35 PM   #13
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Normal Schools were the original teachers' training schools and they were glorified high schools. Eventually they were upgraded to teachers' colleges and now they are often called universities and have more programs than teacher training.

In RMNP, the main east/west road is Trail Ridge Rd. (US 34). It goes between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Fall River Rd. is a narrow, one way road subject to traffic jams on busy days. It starts on the east side and merges with Trail Ridge Rd. at the top.

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Old 05-28-2012, 07:23 PM   #14
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Speaking of Fall River. Do you know that it is the only river that flows into a creek. Little trivia and off topic I know.
I've been over Going to the Sun road many times in both directions many years ago. But never on anything with more than two wheels and an engine of course.
Been over Hiway 2 many times as well. Beautiful Country!
I hope the 7 days is just to get there.
We are headed that way in late August early September, to Beautiful British Columbia.
DW is from Vancouver, hasn't been back for 8 years. I haven't been since '97, so we are looking forward to it.
Hope you have a great trip.
Don't know if you'll be gone by the time we are in the area, but if you see an Argosy withe the words " The Great Twinkie" on the back. That's us.
Travel Safe.
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