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Old 03-09-2012, 12:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default yellowstone, Grand Teton, Galcier NP and Banff

Planning a summer trip to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier NP and Banff(Jasper NP) in AB, Canada. Looking for suggestion on "must see" spot/thing to do at these places? any suggestion for lodging? Will be travelling with 2 young kids (under 7)....
Willl probably stop at Badland and Mt. Rushmore on the way.

Is Banff worth going in the summer(june/july)? is this more of a ski town?
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Planning a summer trip to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier NP and Banff(Jasper NP) in AB, Canada. Looking for suggestion on "must see" spot/thing to do at these places? any suggestion for lodging? Will be travelling with 2 young kids (under 7)....
Willl probably stop at Badland and Mt. Rushmore on the way.

Is Banff worth going in the summer(june/july)? is this more of a ski town?
Wow you must have seen my bucket list. Please!!! By all means report back on the trip with tips! -

Only tip I have is that Glacier NP - my dad ran up there to visit a friend summer before last and the pass did not open till 2nd week of July. So weigh your timing so snow isn't preventing you from checking out the pass etc.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Grand Teton and Yellowstone are amazing. We stayed at the Flagg Ranch which is in between the two parks and is not that expensive to stay in one of their cabins

As far as what to see and do all depends on how much time your staying. We were there for 6 days and still didn't have enough time to see and do everything we wanted.

I would also suggest to check out Jackson Hole. Nice place to visit and is just outside of the south entrance to Grand Teton NP.

Oh ya, one more thing. Watch out for Grizzly bears and don't trust the bear spray they sell, its a joke...
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been to Badlands, the Tetons, and Yellowstone.. If you're going to hit that many National Parks at one time, you might consider getting a National Parks Pass. It might save you a few bucks. But, maybe not.. I kinda like having the pass so I never have to worry about fumbling for cash or anything like that when I get to the entrances. It's good for a year. So, it can pay for itself (plus some) if you hit several parks.

If you're thinking about staying in Badlands National Park, those little "cabins" they have are pretty dang small.. So, since you said your whole family is going, I would suggest not trying their "cabins." I think I've seen deer stands that were bigger..

If you're thinking about staying in the Grand Tetons National Park, I preferred Signal Mountain Lodge over Jackson Lake Lodge. Either one will be pricy, though.. OH! Make sure to make whatever reservations in or near the national parks early.

I haven't been to Glacier National Park.. yet. I keep "planning" to, but it's just such a long ways from Texas, I haven't been able to squeeze it in yet for a road trip. I'm starting to think I might just fly up to that area, get a rental for a few days, and fly back home..

I agree with what subiesailer suggested, though. If you're going to Glacier, plan your trip for the July timeframe.. Last year, I think it around July 4th when they finally got the Going To The Sun Road opened.. You don't want to go all that way and find out "it'll be open next week" (which I believe my parents ran into a year or two back..) I've been keeping an eye on the web cams and it doesn't "look" like they have received as much snow this year as last. But, their snow season is no where CLOSE to over yet..

As far as "must see" things.. Just go, take your time as best you can, and enjoy. You and your family will have a great time!

Here are a few pictures I took back in 2005 on a trip that took me through Badlands NP, the Tetons, and Yellowstone. I still need to get the pictures from my 2011 Tetons trip posted..

OH! OH! OH!! Are you taking your Outback?? If so, you might want to consider Snake River Road in Tetons National Park. There were a couple of kinda "iffy" spots for me. But, if you take your time and pick your line, you should be fine. Even though the park wasn't packed when I was there, it was neat to be so close to so many people and still get off the paved roads for a while to see some things "most" people who visit there never see..

Actually, looking at their online map, it's just called "River Road" and I don't remember the signs pointing to it being very well labeled. If you see "4x4 required," it's probably the right road. Like I said, though, there were a couple of "iffy" spots, but it wasn't anything that pausing for a moment or two and thinking through your lines couldn't get you out of.

That reminds me.. I still need to get the video from that edited and posted..

I'll try to work on that this weekend, since it's supposed to be cool & rainy here most of the weekend.

Sorry I got so long-winded.

EDIT : Here's the link to the live road status in Glacier NP.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh, yeah.. Regarding pepper-spray..



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Old 03-09-2012, 08:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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When are you planning on going? the earlier you can go there's a lot of money to be saved. For example hotels in Jackson Hole late may can be found for around 50 a night and then a month later the same hotel be 150.

I really personally really enjoyed the cabins in the badlands. There's a master, a smaller room, decent sized living room and kitchen. TV with dvd player. But, no cable.

I've worked at Flagg Ranch before one summer. It was recently bought by Grand Teton Lodge Company so i don't know what changes have been made. I do the name changed so don't expect to find it under "Flagg Ranch". but there are so many better places to stay than there. I would look at Jackson Lake lodge and The old faithful inn. Both of which are very neat architecturally and i can't remember there names right now but it can be looked up.

(You might be disappointed with old faithful...)

Also depending on when you come into Yellowstone it matters where you come in. I would prefer the East entrance but that opens last i think? It really sucks driving all over the place because everything is an hour away from each other.

Be aware of people slamming on their breaks and stopping form 60 to 5 mph to view one of the hundreds of buffalo (Bison) you'll see.

And the biggest thing is that's a lot of stuff to see. i've been spending my summers living in Jackson hole and climbing in the tetons for years and still find new stuff to see. so just take your time. You're on vacation. That's a lot of driving and while working at a hotel you would constantly see families yelling at each other trying to make deadlines.

Food! Evey thing is some what average in the Jackson... But really expensive.

-Leeks Marina. (Great pizza with awesome view)
-The Bunnery
-Snake River brewery
-Thai me up ( really cool beer list. Like a beer that cost a thousand dollars!) cool to look at. casual and fine for kids.)
-Great wall (cheap Chinese food depending on budget)
-Marry Pigs (This place looks interesting but everyone i've talked to said it's horrible... Mexican food is hard to mess up too so i don't know.)

Have to leave for class! PM me if you have any questions. Sounds like an awesome trip!
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh yeah! Bells against bears has been proven to be NON-effective. I don't think they can't hear them or something? I've run into multiple bears and they just kinda mind there own business but get curious every now and then which can be scary at times. Just clap your hands and talk loudly with each other while hiking and don't approach them or try to interact with them just hike around them in a large circle down wind. I haven't even owned bear spray in the last 2 times i was out there and felt comfortable while hiking.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I really personally really enjoyed the cabins in the badlands. There's a master, a smaller room, decent sized living room and kitchen. TV with dvd player. But, no cable.
Maybe what I stayed in wasn't a "cabin" then.. There was barely enough room for a bed and bathroom..
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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MY 2c...

Banff/Jasper is beautiful any time of the year. Unfortunately, there isn't really an "off-season", usually prices are cheaper around end of april early may, but May is when camping season begins, and it gets really busy again. Early July (during calgary stampede), is probably the busiest time for Banff/Jasper.

To me it sounds like you've got quite the trip planned already, I'd be inclined to take your time abit and enjoy each park more, instead of just skimming through each one.

To answer your question, YES it's worth it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've been to Banff, Glacier, Badlands, Yellowstone, and the Tetons many times and can't stress how jealous I am that you're going soon! Banff is one of the most gorgeous places you'll ever drive through, and Athabasca glacier is worth stopping at, assuming it hasn't practically melted into oblivion by now...

I'm a tent camper so I can't recommend places to stay, specially as I'm not a family person yet, but all these places have great places to stay and you probably can't go wrong with anything. Just make sure to hit up the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier and stop and hike along the way, specially in Logan Pass. Avoid Old Faithful in Yellowstone and just go hike a few flat miles to Angel Falls in Yellowstone instead and see a couple of nearly-constant eruptions of cool geysers.

There's so many cool stops at every place and you've got a list of all the best parks I've been to yet (besides Acadia NP in Maine!) and no matter what, you'll have a great time!
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