HELENE’S TRIP

TO MONTANA & WYOMING

15 DAYS/6 STOPS 

 

A Magnificent Mountainous Road Trip!

Discover Helene’s travel profile and all her favorite trip itineraries.
Our dream was to discover the spectacular mountains of Montana (Glacier National Park) and the volcanic fields and mountains of Wyoming (Yellowstone and Grand Teton). After visiting other national parks and getting a taste of the natural magnificence of the earth, we wanted to visit others. During this road trip, we stayed an average of two to three nights per location. In 15 days, we drove a total of 1,200 km and spent 20 hours on the road. This itinerary is from August 2013.
Photo ©helenedwds
NEW YORK – KALISPELL (MONTANA)
JACKSON HOLE (WYOMING) – NEW YORK
6 hours with 1 stop via Chicago or Denver
$550

 

RENTAL CAR
1200 km in 15 days
20 hours on the road
6 stops
AVERAGE BUDGET PER PERSON
TOTAL: $1695 / pp 
 $880 / pp for 15 nights excl. breakfast.
$265 /pp for car rental
$550 /pp
 
NATURE AT ITS WILDEST

 Glacier National Park & hike to Iceberg Lake 
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Lodging and activities
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A snapshot

A snapshot

1GrnCircleKALISPELL AIRPORT TO
COLUMBIA FALLS
 

45 km/45 min
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Retreat
3 NIGHTS
  • Mountain Cleft Retreat: Secluded wilderness refuge with 3 chalets, set in the magnificent Montana mountain wilderness. It is just eight miles from the West Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park. We stayed in the Glacier chalet. We had a great view on a meadow where we could spot deer every day.
  •  
    Hike at Lake McDonald : In the morning we hiked the McDonald Creek trail until Avalanche Creek Overlook (north of the lake), in the afternoon we hiked the Rocky Point Trail.

    Hike at Bowman Lake : Take the Outside North Fork Road (An SUV is a must, most of the road is unpaved, beautiful views) until Polebridge where you can make a pitstop at the Mercantile (the building is worth it !) and then continue to Bowman Lake where you can leave the car at the camping. We hiked the trail almost until the end of the lake, eat our picnic and even had a swim in the lake ! Great hike far away from the crowd.

GOING TO
THE-SUN-ROAD
 

70 km/3 hours
Saint Mary Glacier National Park

Saint Mary Glacier National Park

Lakes
2 NIGHTS
  • Pinnacle Cottages: comfortable cabins with a nice view on the mountains, close to the St Mary’s entrance and Visitor Center (East of the park).
  • We drove from the West to the East of the Park on the Going-to-the-sun road, stopped at numerous points of view (Avalanche Creek, Logan Pass, Jackson Glacier Overlook, Wild Goose Island Overlook,…) and finished the day with a boat tour on St Mary Lake at Rising Sun. Fantastic views !
     
    Day hike to Iceberg Lake : one of the highlights of our trip ! It is a 14 km round trip with a 300m elevation change to a beautiful lake surrounded on 3 sides by towering cliffs. The lake is frozen all year except in the summer when icebergs float in the pristine blue water. The trail to the lake has majestic views, beautiful flowers and wildlife (moose, grizzly bear,…). Don’t forget your picnic.


SAINT MARY TO
WEST YELLOWSTONE
 

600 km/6h30
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Retreat
3 NIGHTS
  • West Yellowstone Kelly Inn: very convenient hotel for a family, big rooms, complimentary breakfast and the hotel has a swimming pool. West Yellowstone is a very touristic little town with plenty of restaurants and shops and close to the West entrance of the park.

  • On our way from Glacier N.P. to Yellowstone, we stopped for lunch in Helena, the capital of Montana. We also made a stop in a real “ghost city”, Nevada City, where you can experience the the old west in a village that was abandoned in 1863.

    We spent most of the next day in the Old Faithful Area. There is a trail walking you from one geyser to another and from one pool to another. And of course the Old Faithful Geyser that erupts every 90 to 120 minutes. Impressive !
WEST YELLOWSTONE TO
GARDINER
 

600 km/6h30
Gardiner North Yellowstone

Gardiner North Yellowstone

Rafting
2 NIGHTS
NORTH YELLOWSTONE TO
EAST YELLOWSTONE
 

200 km/3h
East Yellowstone

East Yellowstone

Wildlife
2 NIGHTS
  • We transformed in cowboys for 2 nights and stayed in a real ranch : the Shoshone Lodge Guest Ranch. We stayed in cabins 5 and 6. The restaurant is very good and every night you can sit around the fire pit and make some smores.

  • On our way  to the ranch we stopped at different point of views : Lamar Valley, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (Inspiration Point, Lookout Point, Red Rock Point, Artist Point, Uncle Tom’s trail,…).

    We spent the next day on a horse. We booked a 4-hour lunch ride at the ranch for our family. We spent the day with our guide, a real cowboy, riding in the mountains and picnicking by a little river. Another fantastic experience with the kids ! 
EAST YELLOWSTONE TO
GRAND TETON NP
 

200 km/3h
Grand Teton

Grand Teton

Scenery
3 NIGHTS
  • Signal Mountain Lodge: the only lakefront (Jackson Lake) accommodations in the park with view on the Teton Range. We stayed in a Lakefront Retreat (room with a view). There are a few restaurants in the area, pizzas at Leek’s Marina are good. There is a small beach at the hotel, we enjoyed swimming in the lake.

  • On our way  to Grand Teton N.P. we stopped at different point of views around Yellowstone Lake: Steamboat Point, West Thumb Geyser Bassin. Before arriving at the hotel we also climbed the Signal Mountain Summit Road where you have a stunning view of the park.

    On the next day we hiked around Jenny Lake to Inspiration Point and the Hidden Falls and came back to the visitor center by boat. We also made several stops on the very scenic Teton Park Road.

GOOD TO KNOW

 
 

–  www.roadtrippin.fr is an excellent french website to use to plan your road trip in the National State Parks.

–  www.hikinginglacier.com is great to help you plan your hikes in Glacier National Park.

– Travel between end of May and beginning of October, roads can be closed because of the snow between Octobre and May. July and August are very crowded (Especially in Yellowstone NP)

– Please become familiar with some of the potential hazards in the parks : bears and mountain lions (Glacier national Park); bears, bisons, wolves and geothermal dangers (Yellowstone and Grand Teton).

– In the US National Parks, you will not find the most charming hotels. They are clean and practical. Some have great views.

– The food tends to be boring and there is little variety, i.e. hamburgers and Caesar salads. Try to plan ahead and pick up a picnic and groceries on the way.