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Old 10-14-2011, 08:42 PM   #1
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Need help with road trip from Oregon through ID, MT, WY, & Banff Canada

We just bought our 23' International and have been going on small weekends trips around the state parks in Oregon. We are trying to plan a road trip from Oregon, through Idaho, onto Montana to see Yellowstone, then to Jackson Hole Wyoming, and hit Coeur D'Alene ID and Banff Canada on the way home. My question is how much do I have to plan/book before we hit the road (this will be our first road trip). I don't know if any other states are as bad as Oregon as far as filling up by reservation only. Also, any recommendations along the way? Thanks and happy travels!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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I try to go to Yellowstone at least once a year. All of the campgrounds in the park fill up every night in the high season (July 4th - Labor Day). If you go a little before, or a little after, your chances of staying in the park without stress about finding a spot increase greatly. There are also a couple of very nice campgrounds just outside the park that have good access. Check out Baker's Hole just outside West Yellowstone. It has a few electric sites and is right on the Madison River.

In Jackson try Signal Mountain or Gros Ventre campgrounds. Gros Ventre is larger and usually has drive in spots all season.

I traveled up to Glacier and then the Canadian Rockies this August without reservations. If you are open to some smaller campgrounds, and no hook ups, you can find stops without reservations. I did not have any trouble. Also check for National Forest campgrounds just outside the parks. They usually have more availability.

You are planning a great trip. Hope you have lots of time. You will want to stay!

Stan
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:53 AM   #3
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Coulter Bay in the Tetons is, I believe, the only full hook-up in the Tetons (if you want that), and is pretty close to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Coulter Bay area has about everything you need for a long stay, including nice restaurants, laundry, grocery , etc.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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Depends on time of year. Depends on what kind of camping you want. The 23 footer will fit in most forest service campgrounds. You probably will not need the airconditioning. If you add a small generator you can run the heat as much as you want wnen off the grid. Not many states are as bad for filling up as the coast of Oregon. Glaicer-Waterton would be a good addition. East side, going to the sun road, and into the Canadian section is one good way to do it. If going to Banaff then go up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Good campgrounds up there, lots of Elk and mountain views. If it is peak season and you want electricity you ought to have a reservation at Jasper. If you go up the Lola pass there are a several small forest service campgrounds right on the river. Only time I have been stuck without a campsite was in Oregon on labor day weekend last year. And then a KOA let us park in a overflow site for one night. Might need reservations at Yellowstone during peak times.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the ideas! I think it will be a trial by error method. We don't want to plan the whole thing out to a "t" but I'll keep you posted! I'm sure more questions to come.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Check out the Allstays Camp and RV app (for iPhone, don't know about android but it's probable) it was able to find me a place in Conrad, Montana in the middle of the night.

Oh, and take tons of photographs to share! I was just in Banff (not with the Airstream) this summer and it's a beautiful place. You need to check out the amazing mountain lakes and the columbia ice field. You get to ride on a "Canadian School Bus!"
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:28 AM   #7
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In British Colombia you'll find that there are many Provincial Parks to stay at. While these don't have hookups, they're usually large, have a picnic table and a fire pit. They cost about $10 per night, collected nightly by a park attendant who will also sell you firewood. All have restrooms, and some have shower facilities. Almost every town has a Visitor Center that has a dump station.

What BC doesn't have is many RV parks with hookups. Many will have power and water, but no dumps. And those with dumps are often taken by full timers living in trailers as they work the mines, oil or natural gas facilities.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Glaicer-Waterton would be a good addition. East side, going to the sun road, and into the Canadian section is one good way to do it. .
If you go to Glacier National Park--and you should, it's spectacular--note that you can't take your Airstream or any other trailer over the Going to the Sun Road. Instead, you camp in the park (each campsite keeps some of the sites for drop-ins), drop your trailer and go over the pass in your TV. Don't miss it! After that, you have to drive around the park on either the east or west side. Its not a giant detour to do so.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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I think you’ll find that your home state has an outstanding, RV-friendly State Park system. We’ve often visited many parks in Oregon, and completed a trip through some of the territory you mention during the fall of 2010. I don’t know your route of travel, or your RVing preferences, but if you’re heading through John Day, you might enjoy staying at Clyde Holliday State Park, right on the John Day River. Idaho also has some nice State parks, and we stayed at Three Island Crossing near Glenns Ferry, and Massacre Rocks near American Falls. We didn’t stay there, but there’s also a nice Idaho State Park at Henry’s Lake, near the Idaho/Montana line if you’re going to Yellowstone from that direction. Weather in Yellowstone can be unpredictable. We had snow around Labor Day last year, and I had ice all over the side of the Airstream from the sprinklers. So, it’s nice to have heat. We stayed at the Grizzly RV Park in W. Yellowstone. It’s very convenient to the West Entrance. It is a nice, albeit very commercial park, but we spent all of our daylight hours touring Yellowstone, not lazing about the RV park. There’s only one hookup park inside Yellowstone Park, Fishing Bridge Campground, and we found that unacceptably close. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen higher density camping, except maybe on a California beach. In Grand Teton Park (Jackson Hole), we stayed at Coulter Bay RV Park. It is a full-hookup, woodsy commercial RV park, and the sites are reasonably large and kinda level. Like Yellowstone, we weren’t there much during the daylight, but when we were there, we were glad we had hookups. I don’t recommend using Coulter Bay as a base camp for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton; the distances are too great. We were traveling for a month, and only had reservations for our nights in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. That’s our usual approach, RVing/camping without a net.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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No trip across the northern tier should overlook Watertown Lakes. They start folding up the sidewalks by mid-September; ie, you'll need to bring your own groceries after that. But that is just about the start of elk bugling on the flats north of town -- a sight never to be missed! There's great hiking all over the area -- almost easier than that available in Glacier to the south.

Worth a look at least.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:03 PM   #11
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We drove our 310 motorhome from the Bay area to my mom's in Montana last fall. From Baker City, OR we took Hwy 86 through Hell's Canyon into Idaho, turned north on Hwy 95 to Kooskia, ID, and then east on Hwy 12 over the divide into Montana. Hell's Canyon, the stretches of 95 along the LIttle Salmon River, and Hwy 12 were spectacular, even in the fall. There are several Forest Service campgrounds on Hwy 12 that would have been nice to stay at, but unfortunately they had closed for the season.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:36 AM   #12
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We drove our 310 motorhome from the Bay area to my mom's in Montana last fall. From Baker City, OR we took Hwy 86 through Hell's Canyon into Idaho, turned north on Hwy 95 to Kooskia, ID, and then east on Hwy 12 over the divide into Montana. Hell's Canyon, the stretches of 95 along the LIttle Salmon River, and Hwy 12 were spectacular, even in the fall. There are several Forest Service campgrounds on Hwy 12 that would have been nice to stay at, but unfortunately they had closed for the season.

Wish I had known, you could have stayed at my place on the Selway River, just off highway 12, with electric and water, dump a few miles off. Yes, highway 12 is fantastic, as are the campgrounds, which they close all to soon after the "season", but there are still a number of good ad hoc campgrounds even then.

Keep it in mind. Others too.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:17 AM   #13
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We are planning a trip to Glacier National Park in September 2012 and really appreciate reading this thread. We will be going through Bend Or. on the way to Glacier and hitting Yellowstone on the way home. Planning to take around 3 weeks for the trip.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:53 AM   #14
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Chad and Sarah,

We are planning a return to Banff this summer after many years since our last trip. It is an amazing place and one I find spectacular in all regards. My suggestion would be to come into Yellowstone from the south. There are campgrounds just north of Jackson and if you made this your base you could hit Yellowstone from there.

Leaving through the north entrance at Gardner, there are some nice RV spots along the river well before you get to Livingston where you could rest up, do your laundry and hit Chico Hot Springs for a nice dinner either in their dinning room or the tavern.

Check into the entry fees for Banff. The last I checked it was about $20 a day for two people. My only suggestion here comes from years ago when we were there with our two daughters. We entered through the Radium Hot springs entrance on highway 93. This "T"s into Highway 1 between Banff to the south and Lake Louise to the north. We stayed there at Johnston Canyon campground which had no hookups but did have very nice bathroom facilities. From there we drove into Banff and Lake Louise. The secret here is to drive the "back" road or the "old highway" into Banff at dusk. We saw more wildlife on this trip than we did in all of Yellowstone. It was a quiet drive with some spectacular sights.

I am the type that likes to have reservations when traveling to big interest spots. If you want to stay in Yellowstone I would suggest that you plan ahead. There is a huge campground right in Banff. Not really camping in my eyes but we did stay there one time and it was very nice. The people in Canada are great and we have always been impressed with the condition of their campgrounds.

Have a great trip. If you are planning a return through the Spokane area PM me with any questions.

Dick
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