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21 days of car camping in Greater Yellowstone and Northwest?
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Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
21 days of car camping in Greater Yellowstone and Northwest? on 03/11/2008 00:43:50 MDT Print View

In August I will be heading west again for a road trip mostly doing car camping. Although I will bring much of my backpacking gear, I will also be bringing an old college buddy that can be a bit reckless and has no experience backpacking; so backpacking will likely be limited to one or two one-night trips.

We'll fly in to Salt Lake and get a rental car, then head north through central Idaho -- possibly visiting Craters of the Moon. Central Eastern Oregon forests will be next followed by Hells Canyon. Then we plan to visit Coeur d'Alene Lake and head east to Glacier. We will spend some time in various forests in Montana then head to Yellowstone and the Tetons and back to Salt Lake.

One thing I am curious about is nice areas in South Central Montana and North Central Wyoming. I understand there are some beautiful areas there, but I'm not sure where.

I'm also looking for recommendations on wilderness areas, national forests, great car camping areas, and one or two time fillers for memorable overnight hikes. Also, the idea is to see as much natural beauty from the road as possible, so any scenic routes that your are familiar with would be appreciated too!

My second love, other than backpacking, is scenic road tripping, and I hope to make it a great one. Your suggestions are appreciated!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
21 days of car camping in Greater Yellowstone and Northwest? on 03/11/2008 11:22:11 MDT Print View

Hwy 83 between Glacier and Yellowstone is a pretty drive. And probably the most direct route as well.

Andrew Richard
(fairweather8588) - F

Locale: The Desert
21 days of car camping in Greater Yellowstone and Northwest? on 03/11/2008 11:36:27 MDT Print View

Sounds like a sweet trip, this summer I'll be spending a little over two weeks camping all around the west, in California, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

The only place I've backpacked in that area was in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness in Montana, the drive in that area was worth it alone

Edited by fairweather8588 on 03/11/2008 11:39:15 MDT.

NYC Hiker
(NYCHiker) - F

Locale: NYC
21 days of car camping in Greater Yellowstone and Northwest? on 03/15/2008 00:31:41 MDT Print View

Last summer, my girlfriend and I did a long road trip around the Northwest, down the coast, through the Grand Canyon and Arches. At Yellowstone, we came in the West entrance and explored as much as we could from our car. If you want a nice day hike at Yellowstone and don't mind being on a "crowded" trail, check out the hike up Mt. Washburn. There's a fire lookout up top with water. The views are spectacular.

To GNP, we took 90 to 93 since we were staying in the western part. We also took this route because we wanted to go by Flathead Lake. It's a nice drive and the lake is gorgeous. Plus, there are a number of small towns around the lake that sell all kinds of huckleberry products (although, I'm sure most smaller towns sell these to tourists).

A number of people recommended taking 15 up and cutting across on 2 to go through the Blackfeet Reservation. If you're staying on the east side and want to avoid Going to the Sun on your drive in, I'd suggest going that way.

Because our time was so limited, we ended up taking the full day red bus tour of Going to the Sun. At the very least, it was a good introduction to the park. We're already planning on getting back there to backpack. Site C112 at Fish Creek has a great view of the lake and is one of the closest to McDonald Lake.

For most of our trip, we stayed in NPs. We did stay in NFs from time to time to save money (most are free). I tried to avoid them when I could so the SO could have flush toilets and running sinks (trying to slowly ease her into the backcountry and didn’t want to shock her too much with NF sites).

I'm sure there are plenty of experienced Glacier people here to give advice on specific trails. If you're planning on staying in the backcountry in GNP, campsites fill very quickly. April 1-15 is advanced registration.

Have fun!