Jump to content

Glacier National Park; 2014

cris nitro

Recommended Posts

I know this is pretty far off, but I am planning a week long trip next year to Montana/Glacier Nat. Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons area. It's a little early to start the trip route, but my first prioity is to pick a time and coordinate with my buddy's schedules. What is great or even good time to visit this area? Is it too hot in the dead of summer?

We did Yosemite two years ago in August and roasted in the heat.


Thanks for any and all input.


Link to comment

In terms of weather, the peak of summer is the time to go. While it's usually nice or even hot, rainy and cool isn't extraordinary (the elevation is fairly high).


The down side is, of course, the crowds. In the parks, book your hotel rooms months in advance (longer at places like old faithful lodge, which is ~98% booked for this year). A couple weeks should be sufficient for Campgrounds. Avoid weekends and holidays. It can be done, but avoid showing up without reservations.


As soon as the kids go back to school in the fall is the best time if you want to avoid the crowds, and find reasonable weather.


btw - a 1 week trip, if you're coming from PA, prolly isn't enough.

Link to comment

Cris, the danger in going too early is that park roads (especially in Glacier) might not be open. I rode throuhg Glacier in the last week of June and the crowds weren't bad and the "Going To The Sun Road" was open, but I'm not sure you can guarantee that. It's a spectacular place to see, so do it!


A few years earlier my wife and I were on a car trip and drove through Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park on July 1. The next day the road was closed becasue of snow.


Two suggestions: 1- Consider early September (kids are back in school, the temps are warm, snow isn't likely and the aspens will be turning to gold) 2- Also, coming from the East, go over the Mackinack Bridge (yikes!)to northern Michigan and take US 2 West all the way to Glacier Park. Lots more interesting than the Interstate, although it's a long-long way across ND and MT no matter how you go.


Enjoy the trip!


Link to comment

I talked to the manager of the 'general store' in Yellowstone when I was out there (two years ago during the last two weeks of September).

He said they do about $2.2 million worth of business for the entire year. Late September thru early June they do $200,000. That gives you an idea how large the summer crowds are in the West...The weather is still good in September, with little to no danger of closings.

Link to comment

Pretty much agree with the others opinions. If you go too early, it may be too snowy. I've been through there three times in September and the weather has been very good with some rain. Just realize that you could get ANY weather at ANY time of the year there.

It will have lots of cars, even in September, because all of us old pharts want to go there when the kids are in school. :/


I've actually found that some of the most beautiful parts of these areas are found OUTSIDE the parks. One of the most beautiful trips was taking horses on a day long ride outside the park boundaries.

Link to comment

We also did Yellowstone in September and it was just about perfect. We stayed 3 days just outside the western gate of Yellowstone (West Yellowstone, MT). This proved to be a great central location for all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton. When we left Yellowstone we ran down Eastern Idaho which was great as well. Given your proposed itinerary I'd make sure to add the area around the Bear Tooth Pass and Cheif Joseph Highway (Red Lodge, MT).

Link to comment

You're a week shy of what you need. Absolutely after Labor Day. Try to book the various lodges. McDonald is okay; Glacier Park Lodge is spectacular, not to be missed. If you extend to Waterton Lakes N. P. in Canada, the Prince of Wales is also spectacular (it's a day's BICYCLE ride from Many Glacier Lodge).


In lieu of McDonald Lodge, there's a motel in Apgar Village with picture windows overlooking the lake...can't remember the name...is 60's style.

Link to comment

I've been to Yellowstone three times now on the bike, and always in the middle of summer (I never found it too hot). I've also always stayed in Cody, WY. It's conveniently located to the east of the park, and it's also easy to get from there to the Beartooth and the Chief Joseph. One way to avoid a lot of congestion in the park is to get up early. On one of those trips, my wife and I did a great ride from Cody and into the park. We left at sunrise, headed north out of Cody and took the Chief Joseph Highway west, entering the park at the northeast entrance. We hardly saw another vehicle on the road and even when we got to the park, all the people in motor homes and those pulling trailers hadn't even budged. I'd also suggest checking the park's website well in advance to see if there's any road construction scheduled. That can be a major pain. If you do stay in Cody, you need to book a room well in advance.

Link to comment

Thanks for all the great input, guys. I guess I forgot to mention that we will be flying in and renting bikes. No way we could ride out there, see all the sites and ride home in one week. No fun in that.

Link to comment

We did Teton and Yellowstone in the 3rd week of July in 2011 and the weather could NOT have been better. Absolutely awesome. 80s ish. Loved it. We went from there up to Butte MT for the last week of July and still amazing nice weather.


As far as crowds, there were alot of people in Yellowstone, but not many in Teton. But even in Yellowstone we could move around pretty freely and were able to see all of the attractions, waterfalls, gysers, vernal pools, and other stuff with little to no issues with crowds. The hotels, cabins, and lodges INSIDE the park are crazy booked, way ahead of time. If you want to stay inside the park, pick your dates and book NOW.


We stayed 30 minutes outside of YS park and were easily able to book our cabin 2 or 3 months before we went. I do not think the place we stayed at was even totally booked while we were there. IT had cabins and a big Lodge hotel.


I will post its name when my wife gets home, my daughter and I can not remember it.


The traffic driving through YS park is there for sure, but we found most of it is because there is something to see, like a Grizzly, or Elk, or Moose....near the road. It was actually kind of good in the sense that if you were driving/riding along with NO traffic you might be looking straight ahead, or off to one side and miss some cool sight on the other side, but because traffic would slow or even stop, it forced you to look around or ask and boom there it was.


We are heading to Glacier NP in July, mostly up in Canada part of it, but if we see anything really cool I will post it up after.


As far as Grand Teton NP, we loved it. Very cool Alpine style mountain range with shear rugged rock cliffs and steep pointed bald tops. Amazing.


We took a boat ride to a cool spot on the back side of Jenny Lake and then some awesome hikes up to and past some cool water falls and a neat overlook point. We did not get enough time in GT NP, you could spend many days in all of these parks. We only spent 3 days, well more like 2 full days in YS NP and it was too little. We loved both, and it was worth going even if too short.


Have a great time.

Link to comment

Might also want to check out this thread.


I've done just about every route from Yellowstone to Glacier. The fastest route out of Yellowstone is West Yellowstone to Hebgen Lake/US 287. You can do a very high rate of speed after Cliff Lake all the way to I 90. I like to then stay on MT 359 - MT69 - to Boulder, MT. Then a short bit of I 15 to US 287 again at Wolf Creek then US 89 and on to East Glacier. But the most scenic route is US 191 north to the MT 84 intersection.


But if you are going to go to Yellowstone you should also do the Beartooth Pass (US 212) and Chief Joseph (WY 296). Which could fill the whole week.


Mike Cassidy

Link to comment

Not sure about Glacier NP, but one time of the year most people do not think of for Yellowstone is CHRISTMAS. Yes dead of winter. Flight costs in are cheap, motels are cheap, car rentals are cheap. Well you say of couse they are THERE IS NOTHING TO DO. NOT SO. Yellowstone (and I hear Glacier does as well) has an incredible winter snowmobile opportunity. Sometimes you can go to places in Yellowstone you can not drive to. Guided tours are available, as well as daily rental and exploring on your own. A Christmas in Yellowstone is on Cathy and mine's bucket list. We are thinking when our Son is in his final year of college it will be our/his graduation present.

Link to comment

The SO and I did Cody/Yellowstone/Jackson Hole the 2nd week of June 2010 and we were probably a week or two early that year. It is a crap shoot to go too early or too late. As stated previously be prepared for the worst weather wise. We based in Cody and Jackson Hole. Beautiful ride.

Link to comment

I already have rooms booked for June of 2014 at the MacDonald Lodge in Glacier. Don't put it off if you want to stay there (406-892-2525). Yellowstone will open up reservations for June of 2014 on May 1st of this year (307-344-5437).

Link to comment

I was through GNP a few years ago in September. The photo was taken on the Sun Hwy. The weather was everything from warm and sunny in the valley to snow and overcast at the top. It's a wonderful road...

Also, as others mentioned, Beartooth Pass, great road with views and views.





Link to comment

My wife and I rode to SD Yellowstone Gr Tetons and Glacier in July of 2008. Some parts were hot but it was doable and beautiful.I wanted to photograph in Yellowstone early in the AM and late in the PM (beautiful light and saw Grizzlies and black bear) I suggest staying in the park so you don't have to ride in or out in the dark.Yellowstone lodge was nice and sitting on their outdoor 2nd floor cafe drinking a beer at the end of the day as we watched old faithful go off not far away was one of our highlights. We had 2 1/2 weeks and did 600 mi days to get out there as quick as possible.Tried rte 2 across the north on the way back but a 2 lane road with no divider with trucks coming at you while you're both doing 70 was a bit hairy.We got off after a while and took a main hwy for the rest of the way home. Awesome trip . total of 7020 mi. Have a great trip.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...