Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
National Park Travel Advice Needed
Old 02-25-2008, 01:17 AM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
GoodSense's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 678
National Park Travel Advice Needed

DH and I are planning a trip in the US for August or early September. We can't decide between these four national parks, and would like your advice.

1. Yosemite
2. Yellowstone
3. Glacier
4. Grand Canyon

We've never been to any of these four (pretty sad!). We live in the upper midwest and have probably 10 days to spend. Our anticipated modes of transportation will be: Yosemite: fly, car rental. Yellowstone or Glacier: Amtrak, car rental. Grand Canyon: drive.

A little bit about us: We like trees, mountains, flowers, wildlife, etc. We are not particularly outdoorsy and like short hikes. We like camping when there's modern bathroom facilities nearby. We don't have an RV. Also, we're on a budget, which makes Grand Canyon more attractive because we can drive there.

My concern is that 10 days is not a lot of time, especially since transportation could easily take up 2 days.

Which would you pick out of the four if you were us? And why?

Thanks for taking the time to respond!
__________________

__________________
GoodSense is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-25-2008, 04:59 AM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
jambo101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 940
From another forum but you might get some hints from the posters that might help you make a decision.: Roads and Routes: Rockies, Tetons, Yellowstone & Glacier
__________________

__________________
"Second star to the right and straight on till morning"
jambo101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 06:28 AM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
Puzzley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 169
I've been to all four, and I'd have to say that since you've been to none, I'd pick the Grand Canyon. I'd pick it because it's easily the most spectacular, and everyone in this country should see it once.

Having said that, spending 10 days there might be a somewhat of a trial, because there's not much infrastructure close, or much else to do once you've exhausted the Canyon's charms. If you don't mind driving a bit, Northern Arizona has much to see, such as the Petrified Forest, and many early american ruins sites.

Of course, for close other attractions, Yosemite is hard to beat. Kings Canyon National Park, Lake Tahoe, the big valley (I like agriculture) are all easy drives, and if you fly into San Francisco, your choices in a rental car are legion....
__________________
Carpe Diem, Vita Brevis
Puzzley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 06:48 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
If you are in the upper midwest, why would you drive to the Grand Canyon, but not to Yellowstone?

Have not been to Glacier, but did a cross-country tour that went like this (from MA): Niagra Falls; Chicago; Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills; Yellowstone; Arches; Mesa Verde; Grand Canyon; Las Vegas; LA; Pacific H'way; SF/Point Reyes.. in a little under 2 weeks. Did a bit of Rte. 66 as then-BF felt the need to "stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona".

If you do the Grand Canyon you can take in Arches and Mesa Verde.. both fascinating places. There are also Zion and Bryce Canyon in that general area. BUT they are desert-y. In August. We did it, but it was HOT (a dry heat, though!).

If you want flowers and trees then it sounds like the more northern parks will be your cup of tea.

Yosemite National Park - Visiting in Summer (U.S. National Park Service)
You can check out facilities, fees, temperature data, etc. on all the national parks here, too. A great site!
__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 06:49 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RonBoyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,280
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodSense View Post
We can't decide between these four national parks, and would like your advice.

1. Yosemite
2. Yellowstone
3. Glacier
4. Grand Canyon
Yikes! That's like asking me if you should choose chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I recommend them all.

I am unsure what the "upper midwest" is but if you can drive to the Grand Canyon but not to the other three then you may want to consider adding any of the parks in Southern Utah to your itinerary -- I am partial to Arches/Canyonland but the ones further west are just as wonderful. (I mention this as agreeing with Puzzley about 10 days being a loooong time at the Grand Canyon.)

Anyway, which ever park you decide on will be the best choice.
__________________
RonBoyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 07:37 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
Not knowing your ages this may not be applicable, but, if at least one is over 61 years, the Senior Pass; The National Park and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (US Citizen or Permanent Resident), maybe one of the better bargains out there for National Park travelers.
__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 08:11 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Goonie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North-Central Illinois
Posts: 3,198
We went to Yellowstone and Glacier a couple of years ago in late Aug-early Sept, and it was GREAT! The weather was superb...warm days and cool evenings....not hot or cold....just warm and cool! Then went up into the Canadian Rockies and went to Jasper, Lake Louise, Bannff, Columbia Icefields where we boarded Snowcoaches to go onto the Athabasca Glacier.

We also did the southwest Nat'l Parks a year ago this past fall.....late Septemberish.......Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, Zion, and then up to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park in CO. Again, the weather was great, but it was in Sept, not August....Not positive, but I'd think August would be too hot for my taste!

We enjoyed ALL of the places we visited, but if we were going again.....we'd definitely choose Glacier, and possibly Yellowstone again! Just my opinion, but Glacier seems to be the most pristine, 'untouched' natural place that I've been. And it wasn't crowded with tourists like the Grand Canyon! VERY beautiful.....and VERY peaceful! We stayed at Many Glacier Lodge, a huge log lodge, which is right in the park. The rooms were fairly small, but quite comfortable....they just put telephones in the rooms a few years ago. If you want to watch TV, go down to the great room by the lobby......that's where the TV is located.......none in the rooms. The restaurant in the lodge is wonderful, and the prices are reasonably....and besides the normal fare, they also offer dishes featuring buffalo.....like scrumptious buffalo stroganoff, as well as buffalo burgers and buffalo steak! BTW....there are NO elevators in the lodge, which was no problem for us, as we'd venture out in the morning and not return to our room 'til late evening.....lots of stuff to see and explore!!! (we were on the 4th of 5 floors) Also NO A/C....don't need it! Just throw open a window and enjoy the cool, dry fresh air!

Glacier also offers guided hikes, boat rides, and the "must do"......the 'Jammers' which take you on the "Going to the Sun" road....SPECTACULAR!!! The 'Jammers' are old, fully restored canvas-topped vehicles that hold about 16 people, and if the weather is nice (which it was when we were there) they roll the canvas top back so you can enjoy the view of the mountains towering overhead. There's a LOT of wild life to see.....longhorn sheep, antelope, black bears, grizzly bears....many times you won't need telephoto lenses or binoculars 'cause they'll be very close by! Cool!!!

We enjoyed all of the other parks.....but as you can probably tell......we liked Glacier the best!

Happy trails!
__________________
Goonie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 01:10 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
GoodSense's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 678
Thanks for all the advice! I looked up in Mapquest and indeed Yellowstone and Gracier are within driving distance (17 hours). For some odd reason I had always thought they were closer to the West Coast and therefore requiring 30 hours of driving.

I think I'll leave Yosemite for the next time I go to San Francisco. The race is on between Grand Canyon and Yellowstone/Glacier. It sounds like if we can get away in August, Yellowstone/Gracier is better, while in September Grand Canyon is more pleasant.

I am so excited. Thank you all!
__________________
GoodSense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 03:29 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,988
Goodsense,

Have you considered flying to Las Vegas and renting a car to drive somewhere like the Grand Canyon?

I have friends who live in the midwest (Northern Ohio) and they used to fly to Vegas, simply because of the availability of cheap and frequent flights. They'd rent a car at the airport and drive off to a big park to do some camping and hiking. They never even set foot in town.

Just a thought, as it might save you some time and, hopefully, some money too.

omni
__________________
omni550 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 04:41 PM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
GoodSense's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 678
I've never been to Las Vegas, either. I've never considered it my type of place, but it DOES have cheap flights from Minnesota, where I live. It will probably shave a day of driving each way, so it's probably worth the money.

Thanks!
__________________
GoodSense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 04:49 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 927
I've been to Yosemite any number of times -- summer and winter -- and it is stunningly beautiful. That said, it has ALWAYS been a mob scene. Too. Many. People.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the same -- a hot, crowded zoo with great views and lousy tourist-traps everywhere. (IMHO)

If you can make it to the NORTH Rim, though, that's really a treat - enough services to keep you fed and housed at your level of comfort, but without the crowds.

(In case I haven't made it clear, I'm not wild about crowds.)

Also, the North Rim is alpine environment due to its elevation, so it will be cooler than the lower-elevation South Rim.

If I had a choice I'd do what others have recommended -- the North Rim of GC and a visit to some of the other parks and sites in the area. Bryce is fabulous, Zion too crowded (but boy, it's "gorge"ous) and Capitol Reef is also beautiful and relatively uncrowded. There are other interesting little places along the way -- Goblin Valley, the Waterpocket Fold... and if you never stopped at any of them you'd see enough on a DRIVE through the canyonlands to roll the eyes back in your head.

Whatever you do -- have a GREAT time!
__________________
Caroline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2008, 05:16 PM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodSense View Post
I've never been to Las Vegas, either. I've never considered it my type of place, but it DOES have cheap flights from Minnesota, where I live. It will probably shave a day of driving each way, so it's probably worth the money.

Thanks!


It will shave more than a day off the driving. We have driven to the Grand Canyon and it is a long way from Minnesota. Los Vegas is a long way from Minnesota. I think the idea of flying to Vegas and renting a car is a good one.

That said, I sure like Yellowstone and Glacier. Yellowstone is a moderate drive from Minnesota. You can entertain yourself on the trip by stopping at the corn palace for kitsch:


Glacier does have that tedious drive across North Dakota and Montana, but you could detour and do a brief visit to Teddy Roosevelt Park:


Either are nice enough road trips. Yellowstone is quit a bit closer though to Minnesota. Either way, be sure you visit all the parks in your lifetime, they are amazing.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks for the photos!
Old 02-25-2008, 11:58 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
GoodSense's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 678
Thanks for the photos!

The buffalo is so cute! I have to check it out!
__________________
GoodSense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 09:23 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,290
I have been to all except Yosemite....

As others have said, do two!!!

We did Yellowstone for a few days and then drove up to Glacier and spent a couple of days there followed by the Canadian part of Glacier (where there is a nice log cabin hotel also, BIG)...

I did Zion, something else and Grand Canyon (both north and south rims) on another trip... flew into Vegas and did a 'loop'... great trip...

As someone said, the Grand Canyon is not a long term destination... and crowded in the summer (I have heard of lines of HOURS trying to get into the park)... I went in the fall and drove right in... in fact, the north rim was 'closed' and I did not have to pay!!! But saw the sites I wanted to see...


But with what you said you like... I would do Yellowstone and Glacier...
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 09:39 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
ijuba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 51
We drove from the East (with RV) to Glacier/Yellowstone this past summer. Having been to Yosemite - you must see it once.

However, given the time of year you're traveling, I'd recommend G/Y over G. Can.
On your way up - South Dakota is beautiful and yes...the Corn Palace is worth a 2 hr. stop!
Heading up to G/Y - you can go through the Rapid City, SD area and see Custer State Park and Mt. Rushmore. This area was a special bonus to our trip. We loved Custer SP and their 2nd largest in U.S. herd of bison (behind Y'stone). They have nice lodges in Custer too. Rushmore is in the same general vicinity. On the way to Glacier, we stopped at Devils Tower Nat'l Monument. Great stuff!

Glacier is simply spectacular and Yellowstone is the most diverse park I have ever been to. There is a little of everything there.

Go to Glacier now because - by Park estimates, the glaicers will be completely gone in 20 years....."The Park Formerly Known as Glacier National Park". :confused:

If you decide on Glacier/Yellow - feel free to PM me with any questions.
__________________
ijuba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 09:40 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
jIMOh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Milford, OH
Posts: 2,085
Where is Glacier?

If you drive to grand canyon, would you be passing by Rocky Mountain National park?

I have not been to any of the 4 you listed. I have been to Niagara falls numerous times and also been to Rocky Mountain national park once. I'd like to retire to CO, as I cannot get enough of the mountain scenery.

I saw fireworks on 4th of July in the rockies, with mountains as a backdrop, and words cannot describe what that looked like.
__________________
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. One person's stupidity is another person's job security.
jIMOh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 06:31 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Goonie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North-Central Illinois
Posts: 3,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by jIMOh View Post
Where is Glacier?
It's located NW of Great Falls, Montana, on the Canadian border.
__________________
Goonie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 07:13 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,906
One of my best road trips (completed twice) is to start in Vegas and do the Grand Circle through the national parks in southern Utah and Grand Canyon. You will see the most amazing scenery! Makes me want to go back just talking about it.

Link:

1 Week Grand Circle Road Trip - Byrce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and more! - US-Parks.com
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 07:19 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodSense View Post
...The race is on between Grand Canyon and Yellowstone/Glacier...

I really liked Grand Canyon, but other than the various hikes into the canyon (which requires significant desire and LOTS of water in the summer), I didn't find much to keep my interest beyond the views into the canyon. I don't want to minimize the amazing sight that is Grand Canyon, but it's sort of a one-trick pony.

I really liked Yellowstone too, and it has a lot more variety to offer - flora, fauna, active geo, hiking, fishing, etc. You can find variety around Grand Canyon too, but it takes a lot more work.

In my mind Grand Canyon is a place you stop at for a day or two on your way elsewhere (and is definitely a stop you'll want to make at some point), but I could spend weeks exploring Yellowstone...
__________________
skyline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2008, 07:24 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,149
We took that trip a few years ago and it was great! Got off to a wonderful start - DW spent an hour playing the slots before we departed Vegas and won $600....
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice needed Savant FIRE and Money 25 10-26-2007 01:28 AM
Glacier National Park in Montana - thoughts? soupcxan Other topics 22 05-17-2007 10:39 AM
Where to park/invest funds needed at certain time intervals during retirement? Bailing-Bob FIRE and Money 11 12-17-2006 10:58 PM
Inexpensive travel...opinions needed! thefed FIRE and Money 18 03-15-2006 10:22 AM
National Park Visit today................ Cut-Throat Life after FIRE 9 03-11-2005 12:11 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:35 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.