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2024 Trip Planning

craig7h
Nomad
Nomad
The more I look the more confused I get, hopefully I can get some guidance from you folks. Time frame is no real concern, will be leaving Iowa around mid July heading west on HWY 2

1) What to see along hwy2 before getting to Montana and how much time to spend at those spots?

2) Once in Montana is it worth it to go into Canada and up to Calgary? Main reason seeing the Canadian Rockies. How much time is needed

3) Glacier NP how much time needed

4) Yellowstone NP how much time needed

The DW and I DO NOT hike, or bike. We pretty much drive get out see the sights and move on. We need FHU sites so for the most part it will be at private campgrounds i think.

Any help with this adventure will be appreciated
Itasca Meridian SE 36g
Road Master Tow Dolly
13 REPLIES 13

Veebyes
Explorer II
Explorer II
The Calgary Stampede is a big deal for sure but IMO overrated. Been there. Also been to a whole bunch of other rodeos, much smaller, with the same cowboys, same bulls, much better viewing & at far less cost, plus much more convenient to attend. Get online for rodeo schedules

On the Canadian plus side, the drive from Banff to Jasper is absolutely stunning. Sorry, the Canadian Rockies put the Colorado Rockies to shame. Get off the main highway as well. Glacier Waterton is a do both sides of the border. Again, loads of info online.
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Mayor30
Explorer
Explorer
I rarely stay at FHU campgrounds.I prefer the space and beauty of state and federal parks so I can't help you there. Now Yellowstone has Fishing Bridge which is FHU. I would really suggest staying in the park as it's as big as Rhode Island.I would say 4 days minimum in Yellowstone.5 days would be better.If you stay outside the park,it takes at least 30 minutes or more to just get into the heart of the park and an hour or so of driving to get from one attraction to another.

enblethen
Nomad
Nomad
Research campgrounds for Stampede and make reservations early!

Bud
USAF Retired
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craig7h
Nomad
Nomad
Thank you all for the information. Completely forgot about the Calgary Stampede, DW says we are going!
Itasca Meridian SE 36g
Road Master Tow Dolly

enblethen
Nomad
Nomad
Enchanted Highway south of US2 off I94
Teddy Roosevelt National Park North unit South of US2 south of Williston
US 2 tourism
US 2 printable sites

Bud
USAF Retired
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2003 Chev Ice Road Tracker

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
enblethen wrote:
US 2 has some interesting sites. I would order free tourism guides from each of the states. They show many of the places. It is a little slower pace then flying down the interstates.


Honest question: what sites?

We are currently near Great Falls, MT and heading east in a couple days and US-2 or I-94 is about the same distance for us to get to Michigan UP.

We took I-90 west last fall and if you haven't done that route, there seems to have far more to see and do.

We took the Empire Builder (train) to Montana this spring where we stored the RV over the winter. From Grand Forks, it parallels US-2 and while nice open prarie, I wasn't seeing anything (out the window or on the map) along the route that jumped out at us?

We decided to try I-94 as it's shorter than going back by I-90 and adds an new National Park for us. Cruising speed really isn't a big difference for us. We usually cruise at around 60mph freeway or 2 lane (assuming conditions allow and we aren't causing backups which out west usually isn't a problem).
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
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valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
TenOC wrote:
Look at one of the "senior bus tours" They see YS in 1-2 days. You can see the MAIN sites in a day or all of YS in a lifetime.


Ummm...I think you would struggle to drive both loops in a day, particularly in the busy summer season when you get stuck in traffic. Certainly not if you stop at the prime sites.

If you actually took time to stop at the visitor centers and main sites immediately adjacent to the road (ie: no hikes), I would think 3 days minimum and those would be mostly full days, no relaxing back at the RV.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

TenOC
Nomad
Nomad
Look at one of the "senior bus tours" They see YS in 1-2 days. You can see the MAIN sites in a day or all of YS in a lifetime.
Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.

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TenOC
Nomad
Nomad
1. The mountains are more scenic either in the early summer Mid-May to Mid- June with snow on them or the late fall with the fall colors 9/15 to 10/15 than in the summer.

2. The Canada Rockies Waterton NP, Lake Louise, Jasper are much more scenic than any of the US Rockies.

3. VERY HARD TO GET RESERVATIONS in the summer when school is out.

4. Replete # 3
Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.

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enblethen
Nomad
Nomad
US 2 has some interesting sites. I would order free tourism guides from each of the states. They show many of the places. It is a little slower pace then flying down the interstates.

Bud
USAF Retired
Pace Arrow


2003 Chev Ice Road Tracker

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
craig7h wrote:
The more I look the more confused I get, hopefully I can get some guidance from you folks. Time frame is no real concern, will be leaving Iowa around mid July heading west on HWY 2

1) What to see along hwy2 before getting to Montana and how much time to spend at those spots?

2) Once in Montana is it worth it to go into Canada and up to Calgary? Main reason seeing the Canadian Rockies. How much time is needed

3) Glacier NP how much time needed

4) Yellowstone NP how much time needed

The DW and I DO NOT hike, or bike. We pretty much drive get out see the sights and move on. We need FHU sites so for the most part it will be at private campgrounds i think.

Any help with this adventure will be appreciated


We are just working our way back from Montana on a similar trip but starting in Michigan.

1) Is there a reason you are going up to US-2? From Iowa, I would cut across I-90 WB and then I-94 on the return (Obviously divert from the highway where it makes sense but in general terms). This gives you access to the Badlands NP, Blackhills (& Mt. Rushmore), Big Horn Mountains on the way to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. On the return, you can add in Teddy Roosevelt NP.

2) Absolutely worth it to go Banff & Jasper and if you are going in July, you can hit the Calgary Stampeed. We were just there last week. Stayed about 25miles south (no issue getting a campsite & tickets last minute), then we used the free park & ride lot to catch the commuter train which drops you off right outside the Stampeed. Banff & Jasper are spectacular.

3/4) If you aren't into hiking, I would give 2-3 days (not counting travel days) for each park...with the exception of Yellowstone. We spent a week staying at Fishing Bridge in the park and it was just enough time to do all the drives (the park is massive).

Our trip also included Alaska/Yukon/BC. If you aren't pressed for time, consider, adding in down days maybe one day per week where you don't travel or sight see. It's easy to go into overload and a down day can let you rest and reflect.

Our biggest issue: by the time we got to Glacier earlier this week, we felt really bad...The mountain views are spectacular but we've been seeing spectacular mountain views since last fall.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

Old_Days
Explorer II
Explorer II
we have been to Glacier and yellowstone many of times, I would at least spend 4 days in each spot. To really enjoy both you will have to hike a little bit.

enblethen
Nomad
Nomad
I would suggest the Banf/ Lake Louise and Jasper area if you go into Canada.
Yellowstone is a place where you could spend several weeks and not see everything.
Glacier can vary. A few days would be minimum.

Bud
USAF Retired
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2003 Chev Ice Road Tracker