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Old 05-15-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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2000 25' Excella
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Bay Area to Glacier National Park Thru Idaho

I'm plotting a late summer route from the SF Bay Area to Glacier NP, and who knows what else. I'm very familiar with California, Oregon, and Washington, so I'm thinking of heading east on I-80 to Winnemucca, NV, then north on US 95 to Grangeville, ID, north on 13 to Kooskia, ID, then east on 12 to Lolo, MT & Missoula, etc.

I'm familiar with the I-80 segment, and US 95 up to Cambridge, ID. The last time I was in that country, I then took Idaho 71 down into Hell's incredible descent.

I have no knowledge of US 95 from Cambridge, ID north. The segment of 95 that interests me is from McCall north to Grangeville, the Idaho 13 segment between Grangeville and Kooskia, and the highway 12 segment from Kooskia to Lolo. McCall to Grangeville and Kooskia to Lolo are labeled "scenic" on the map, and that can involve varying degrees of difficulty.

Does anyone have experience pulling their trailer on the McCall-Grangeville & Kooskia-Lolo roads that they would be willing to offer advice?

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Old 05-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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McCall to Grangeville – you will encounter a steep grade with short turns just a couple miles out of McCall (within 200 yards of Brundage Mountain road) with 20 – 25 mph turns for one or two miles. Make sure your breaks work, and everything should be well.

Once you work your way through the flats (after turning north on 95 at New Meadows) you will start down another grade along the Little Salmon River. The grade is not as steep or the corners as sharp as what you experienced just outside of McCall.

You will find a beautiful drive once north of Riggins along the main Salmon river.

Once you separate from the Salmon River, be prepared to climb about 8 miles up the White bird grade (7%, 7 miles: ). Though the grade is steep down the north side, it is not near as long.

Grangeville is 3-4 miles further down the road.

There are some tight spots between Grangeville and Kooskia, particularly down the grade, but again, it’s doable.

If you were instead to continue on 95 about 50 miles toward Lewiston, you can find the Winchester State Park ( ctCode=ID&parkId=311025) if looking for a nice place for the night. The next day you could continue down the Winchester grade eventually crossing the Clearwater River where once on the north side you could reconnect with highway 12.

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Old 05-15-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Have pulled 12 through to to Missoula and then up the main road to Kalispel. Pretty good steak place where 12 hits the main road. Loved 12. We got to it from Lewiston. No problems for the trailer. Stayed 3 nights in little forest service campgrounds right along the river and road and fished a couple of days. End of season, everything empty. Caught some cutthroats in the Locsa River. Sorry I did not stay longer. We pull a 25' also (1988 Excella). Just east from Missoula on the interstate is the Stage Station campground and resturant on Rock Creek. (Phillipsville?) Nice place, good food, good fishing, huckleberry pie.
I like Glaicer. Have to go around to get trailer from west side to east. Good route around with some grades. Last trip to Glacier was with a Caravan. We stayed at a private campground on the east side that was high on a hill with a view. Then we drove around and stayed on the west. I think in the KOA. Huge one there. Did day trips around. The Waterton part of the park up in Canada is very much worth a trip also. We took the boat ride. Have dirven the going to the sun road in our diesel pickup, but really suggest just taking the tour coach instead. Never know what the state of repair of that road is or if there is room to park at the top. Had to fold the mirror in and inch by people the last trip. But do not miss it, however you do it.
The trip along Flathead lake between Missoula and Kalispel has 20 miles or so of the prettiest drives anywhere. Lot of forest service campgrounds in this area if that suits you.
If you want to add time and miles, the Icefields parkway and Jasper are well worth the dirve and time. We go up from the west side of Glacier though Radium Hot Springs (nice provincial campground and park there) and then through to Jasper.
If you fish there are some private campgrounds south of Missoula on the Bitterroot that provide good access and will rent pontoon boats for a float.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
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GetOutDoors & BillM,

Thanks very much for the detailed input. It sounds like the roads are navigable with the Airstream, and that there's a lot of pretty country. Long, steep descents are always less fun than ascents; but if you go up, I guess you gotta come back down.

Thanks much.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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Ah, my old stomping ground! I'm from Moscow originally... Gorgeous gorgeous country Idaho is... (didn't realize how lucky I was til I moved to Colorado about 14 yrs ago - which is fantastic as well!)
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