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Old 03-26-2016, 08:14 PM   #1
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Glacier National Park from MN, possibly Pacific coast

Just got our new trailer (35') and heading out west mid August. We are traveling from west central MN and plan to go through ND via I94. Glacier National Park is the main priority to see this year. I would love to see the Pacific Ocean by visiting Washington and Oregon but we only have 12 days for this trip. We are traveling from west central MN and plan to go out through ND via I94. That's about as far as I have planned things out so far.

We will be traveling with our granddaughter who will be 11 months old at the time of trip so even though she has traveled well so far I do not want to have super long driving days, probably no more than 400 miles. I do not mind interstate for making time but I do appreciate secondary roads if decent and more direct or particularly scenic.

As stated before, Glacier National Park is my priority as I want to ride my bicycle on the Going to the Sun road. I am not opposed to visiting more of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or eastern Washington with our time also. We have seen Yellowstone so no more of that until she is older. We enjoy quieter campgrounds with electrical hookups and preferably the ability to dump tanks. I would also prefer longer sites or pull throughs for convenience.

So as I sit here writing this and add up number of days to spend in areas I see a Pacific coast trip would be lacking quality. That being said, maybe we should focus on Montana, eastern Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota on return? Leave Pacific coast for next year when she's older and make more of a beeline out there?

Any recommendations on routes, things to see, campgrounds, favorite or preferred sites in campgrounds or anything else would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-26-2016, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'll let others chime in on routes and sites but do you know you cannot pull a trailer as long as yours through Glacier Park? Riding your bike may be a good idea.

Eastern Washington has a lot of places to visit as does Idaho. You might want to save those for another trip as Montana does have a lot to offer.

If you get into western MT, one of our favorite spots is Campground St. Regis in St. Regis.


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Old 03-26-2016, 09:12 PM   #3
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Theodore Roosevelt National Park & Town of Medora. Try road side America for sights in any state. Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:50 AM   #4
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We stayed at Johnson's Campground in St. Mary. Nice with pull thru sites. We would go there again. It is conveniently located near the park, great view, and has a good cafe. The play and the pitchfork steaks at Medora were both very good. We really enjoyed the south unit of the Theodore Roosevelt park. If you don't have a lifetime pass for the national parks and are old enough (at least 62), get one. It will save you $$$ on this trip.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
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Did the big trip you note two years ago - Mpls/St. Paul, to Napa, up to Portland, then back via NDak. 3.5 weeks, and ran out of time, as we had planned to go all the way up the coast to the Olympic Peninsula before starting back. Figure 5 plus days to get to the West Coast from Minn, if you don't want to push too hard.
It's been a few years since we went to Glacier, so can't give you much that is current. BUT, do a bit a research on camping stops for Minn., NDak and Eastern Montana. We found selections were kind of sparse, and you therefore may have a day or two where driving length is a little longer than ideal for you. Wide open spaces, infrequent small towns, in areas that are not major attractions, means campgrounds for overnighters are spread thin. And they probably aren't 5 star. There's enough, just letting you know that options are reduced.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:51 PM   #6
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Mid August is usually a great time to visit MT and there is SO...... MUCH...... to see! Google maps says the quickest shortest route to Glacier after entering MT on I-94 is via either Hwy 2 (the MT Hi-Line) or MT Hwy 200 (personally, I'd take the 200 route but I don't know if there's any major construction going on - something to check). I think you have a lot of lakes in Minnesota so that may not be an attraction for you BUT if you have the time and are interested (going or returning) the Flathead Lake is special/beautiful/totally awesome .

Take I-94/I-90/Hwy-93 and then from Polson take the Hwy 93 West Shore Route up to Glacier (Hwy-35 - the two lane East Shore Route - is gorgeous too - I just prefer the west shore route for speed and safety, others may not).
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:12 PM   #7
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Personally I went on a trip out west in the late 80s with my family. I took 17 days for this trip. Went to SD,WY,ID,MT,ND, and back to MN. I planned this trip thinking no problems with driving the miles it takes. When we got back to MN we told ourselves that was a lot of moving from place to place with not a lot of time to see all the sights. My advice is not to go all the way out to the ocean. With only two weeks stay in ND,MT,ID,WY and come back a different way maybe through SD. Don't put to much on your plate. Enjoy your trip!

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Old 04-11-2016, 07:23 PM   #8
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A sign at the first Montana rest area on the east side says"The distance from east to west across Montana is the same distance as New York to Chicago. You have to push a lot of land to get across montana"
I would avoid the oil towns in North Dakota.
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:26 PM   #9
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its a long drive to Glacier. We ended up in Glacier about 3 years ago. When we came back we came across Hwy 2. We did it in two days with a kid and a dog. We started in West Glacier and spent the night at the Minot Walmart (~670mi), the went the rest of the way home the next day on I94 (~510 mi). It was a lot of driving and time at 60 mph, towns with fuel are every 150 miles apart. Cell coverage was only near the towns.

Good luck I would love to go back.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:34 AM   #10
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So we've decided to focus on Glacier National Park with 8 days there. Making reservations as sites are going fast. We're traveling with "sturdy" folk who like it cool and an 11 month old at that time. Question is: While we would like electric site will we need it for them to be comfortable if we stay at St Mary or Apgar?

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