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Old 07-17-2013, 10:20 PM   #1
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Seattle to Glacier Nat'l Park - Suggestions?

Hello
My husband and I are planning on taking our new AS out for a full two weeks next month starting mid-August.

So far, we've been going on weekend trips close to home. We're planning on heading east from Seattle area - and ending up at Glacier National Park. Along the way, we're planning on stopping at Coeur d'Alene for a few days to meet up with some friends. Other than Coeur d'Alene, we have no other destinations in mind. Right now, we're in the planning stages.

Any suggestions for some must-see spots? Any recommendations for places to stay, campgrounds, parks, tourists destinations, etc. Also, would love to hear about the best route to get there.

Thanks in advance for your input - it's greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:30 PM   #2
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Glacier is a beautiful place and a wonderful spot to break in a new Airstream. Heading out in mid August will make for some crowded campgrounds along the way. You might want to try to book ahead if you can. State campgrounds fill up this time of year.

You can get there a lot of different ways. Starting from Couer d'Alene you could follow I-90 east to Missoula and then take 200 east through Bonner until you get to 83. Go north on 83 through Seeley lake for some very pretty country. There are a couple of state parks along this route. Or...you could leave Missoula on 93 straight north to Poulson and then follow Flathead Lake on either the eastern or western shoreline. We went on the east side last time to Big Fork.

You will have to find a place to stay in West Glacier. You can't pull a trailer over the Going to The Sun Highway so it will have to be a day trip. Well worth the time.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:32 PM   #3
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You might swing north from CdA and head up to lake Pend O' Reille ... then across on US2 to Glacier ... park the AS and drive across the Going to the Sun / Logan Pass. It is breath taking!
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:27 AM   #4
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Get your passports updated and cross the border north of Sandpoint.. Enter Canadian Rockies National Park near Radium Hot Springs and camp at Provincial campground at Lake Louise. Drive up glacier Parkway to Jasper and go onto glacier. Drive down to Banff and stay at their campground and tour Fairmont Hotel there.. Drive south east through Calgary and down to St Mary KOA and stay on east side of Glacier. Then down to East Glacier Lodge. Take red "bus" over going to sun highway.. Return around south end of Glacier and West Glacier.. Seriously!! Do it!! PM me for more notes on that trip we took several years ago. It is easy drive, with no real climbs, and spectacular scenery, hiking, wildlife...
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:14 AM   #5
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Condoluminum, My husband and I spent a full week at Banff, visiting Lake Louise, Fairmont Hotel, etc. I totally agree with you! It's a beautiful, place, breathtaking. We just loved it there. Of course, this was a couple of years ago, long before we got our Airstream.

Thank you mefly and aftermath for your suggestions. I didn't even know about the Going to the Sun Highway! We're thinking we'll park our AS outside of the park. I did a quick search and found this place called "North America RV Park".

According to their website, they are located 5 miles west of Glacier National Park west entrance. Seems like a good place to set up a base camp. What do you think?

Just curious about the Going to the Sun Highway. How long is the drive? Is it a loop, so you end up where you started, or do you drive it twice - going and coming?

I'd love to stay in the park, but so far I'm not having any luck making a reservation!

Thank you again. I'm really looking forward to our trip, and I appreciate all your tips and suggestions!
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:09 AM   #6
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We will be visiting Glacier NP for four nights beginning on August 7. We will stay at the West Glacier KOA.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:18 AM   #7
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Staying at the RV park just outside of Glacier sounds like a good idea. It is always nice to have full hookups especially if this is your maiden voyage.

The Sun highway is about 45 miles from west to east. It is not a loop although you could drive all the way over to St. Mary on the east end and then drive around the southern boundary of the park back to West Glacier. If you do this, stop in East Glacier and have lunch at the lodge there.

If you are pressed for time you can just drive up to the visitors center and then drive back down. There is a walking trail out of the visitors center that will take you to an overlook. It is an easy walk and you will encounter some mountain goats along the way. The scenery is amazing.

Instead of driving around the park to the south you could also head north out of St. Mary and go into Canada and take a look at Waterton Lakes National Park. This is the Canadian arm of Glacier and the lodge there will be very recognizable as it has been often photographed. Waterton is not far from St. Mary either. I think it is less than 30 miles. Aside from the lodge, there is a small town with shops to browse and places to get a meal. I remember seeing large herds of elk roaming the town when we were there.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:27 AM   #8
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We stayed at North American RV Park earlier this year. Nice place and easy access to the west entrance to Glacier.
If you have the time and want to see some beautiful country. Go north to Vancouver, BC, then drive Hwy 3 east thru Hope, continue east on Hwy 3. There are a number of border crossings along the way.
Also, we took the boat ride on Lake McDonald, well worth the time.
The maximum length of even a single vehicle is 20'x8' including the mirrors for Logan Pass.
Have a great trip. We did!
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:31 AM   #9
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You can take the Going to the Sun Hwy.. Then exit the park and drive around the east and south side on Hwy 2. It's about 65 miles, from the east entrance to the west entrance of Glacier. As I recall. About 50 miles going over the pass.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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We stayed at Mountain Meadow RV in Deadhorse. Pretty good place. Close to entrance to park. Do not miss taking the Red Bus tour on the Going to the Sun Road. If you like trains you might want to have lunch as the Izzak Walton Inn in Essex and watch the trains go by. Pretty good restaurant and lots of train memorabilia. If you be visiting the east side, check with the place you be staying for the best route . You cant take your trailer up Going to the Sun and there is a highway you dont want to take. (cant remember the number)
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
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Seattle-Glacier-Seattle

I too am planning a trip to Glacier Park in August. But I have travelled I-90 so many times I have decided instead to head south on I-5 to US-12. Then head east on US-12 to Missoula and 200 to Lincoln to visit with relatives. From Lincoln I will head north to East Glacier Park where I worked a couple summers a long, long time ago. Haven't decided where to stay and may take my chances. Two Medicine Lake is nice if I can get in. Also I may take the Red Bus tour over the pass now that they have rebuilt the busses and put real brakes on them. The original White busses (brand, not color) were difficult to shift gears and the drivers were thus called "gear-jammers."

From East Glacier I will return to Seattle via US-2, a longer but less boring route than I-90. Look for my 19-footer with license plate "50KIP."
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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Wow! Great suggestions, thank you all again. The people on this forum are awesome!

50KIP, I'll keep my eyes open for your trailer, you do the same for me. I don't have an easy-to-remember plate number though - but I'll try to remember to send it to you before the trip. Would be great to say hello to a fellow forum member.

I didn't realize there was only 65 miles to the east entrance. That's good to know, thank you!

Seems like it would be more fun to drive the "sun" highway ourselves. Are there places to stop along the way? Is it a scary drive? I have a fear of heights, and tend to get real nervous when we're driving along those scary drives where there is no guard rail and with deep canyons (doesn't everyone?).

I think we're going to go the I-90 route to Couer d'Alene, then on to Glacier. On the way back though, we're thinking of going a different route. We're allowing about 4 or 5 days for the drive home, so that should give us a few options. Mefly2 mentioned "lake Pend O' Reille", maybe we'll hit that on the way home. Does that make sense?

Lots of great suggestions! Thank you all again. And keep posting if you have more recommendations.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:23 PM   #13
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Hi,

We were in Glacier a few years ago. Going to the Sun Road is breathtaking but the driver definitely needs to keep his/her eyes on the road. There are places to pull over and take pictures and allow the driver to take it all in. When we reached the Visitor Center, there was deep snow (this was in July!) - it was incredible. We stayed on Flathead Lake (south of Kalispell) in a Montana State Park that has sites right on the lake. It was a bit of a drive to Glacier, but we loved the serenity of the small campground. Enjoy!
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:48 PM   #14
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I just wanted to amend my last reply - I checked my log, and we were actually in Glacier in late June, not July, and the campground we stayed in was called Big Arm on the western shore of Flathead Lake. Here is a picture of me and my dog frolicking near the Visitor Center at Logan Pass (BTW, the snow had been cleared from the road).

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