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Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

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68 posts
18 reviews
Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Hi there,

We are planning a road trip from Vancouver, BC Canada to YNP and GTNP with our classmates from US to have reunion in YNP. We have marked ~two weeks Aug 17-Sept 1/2019.

Please kindly help us to plan:

1/ itinerary suggestions: we can drive 4-5 hours daily, prefer to have motel or cabin for accommodation, will consider camping if we rent a RV somewhere along the route.

2/ meeting point options for classmates from San Francisco. Should they fly or drive?

3/ RV rental company suggestion

Thank you

35 replies to this topic
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
21,091 posts
451 reviews
1. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Given your interests, I would take the US2 route across Washington. Look at spending first night around Leavenworth or Wenatchee. Then push on to Coeur d'Alene for night two. Given your own direction of travel, maybe look at Bozeman as a meetup location. It's a great town and you could all spend the night. United has a non-stop from SFO. Then work your way down into the park either via West Yellowstone or Gardiner.

Should your San Francisco friends decide to drive, meet them in West Yellowstone.

Have fun.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
35,166 posts
508 reviews
2. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

No to RV unless also renting a car. Passengers in the back can see nothing due to small windows, seating, etc.

There are a number of affordable lodges in the park and that will cut down on drive times. Book only thru Xanterra. The only RV campground in the park at Fishing Bridge with full services is closed for next year.

Yellowstone is huge with over 300 miles of roads and travel very, very slow.

Here is a mileage map-

https:/…Park-Map-with-mileage.pdf

Madison, WI
Level Contributor
10,563 posts
66 reviews
3. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

You will have to bump up your daily drive times....it will take you at least 3 days to get to Yellowstone driving only 4-5 hours a day. Dependent on route it's over 1000 miles. What is your departure city? If back to the west coast you will be using almost a week driving. Visiting YNP/GTNP will take up a week alone. I also agree with PeachBelle about the RV idea. Not viable for the parks and probably more expensive as well.

https:/…Rv.Rental.Is.It.Right.For.Us.html

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,174 posts
112 reviews
4. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Agree with PeachBelle. Please don't use an RV for this trip. Yellowstone roads are narrow and the lay-bys can be short for an RV. Plenty of people do it but you'll have a better trip if you don't have to stow everything in the AM, unhook, then re-level and deploy everything again in the evening.

Book your in park lodging only thru Xanterra, the official lodging concessioner, at www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com Do NOT use a 3rd party as they charge you a 10% fee and have horrible cancellation policies.

Agree with Eric that you'll likely need to lengthen your drive days if you can just to get to Yellowstone. I'd follow the route suggested by Tumbleweeds but I'd push to Coeur d'Alene the first night. Then, head for Bozeman or Gardiner for your meet up with your friends the next night.

I drive I90 from CdA to Gardiner all the time and despite what googlemaps says, it take me 7.5 hours on the dot every time. I make a couple of stops for fuel and comfort, usually have food with me so I don't stop for a meal. If you are using googlemaps for a time indicator be aware that the times are wheels turning so add time for stops when you are doing your calculations.

I'd spend at least 4 nights in Yellowstone and 2 or 3 nights in Grand Tetons. More is better in either park. You can also add in Cody if you'd like (a very nice 5-museum complex) and perhaps a drive over Beartooth Highway which is between Yellowstone's NE entrance and Red Lodge.

Not to discourage you, but do know that this time of year there is always the possibility of smoke in the parks and indeed along the whole drive from Vancouver thru Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Pam

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
11,653 posts
1 review
5. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Plan in a 2 day drive fir both groups coming from Vancouver ir Bay Area.

Day 1-2 Vancouver then WA20 to us 2 to Spokane then night couer D Alene next day to yellowstone in West Yellowstone. Batpy Area gO 89 to winnemucca then next day to West Yellowstone

Day 3 Yellowstone, night canyon

Dat 4 Yellowstone—Canyon

Dat 5 Yellowstone—Canyon

Day 6 Yellowstone-Canyon

Dat 7 to Grand Teton

Day 8-10 Grand Teton

Day 11-14 return. To Vancouver go to Ketchum then Boise then Seattle

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
6. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

I'd split lodging for YNP for less driving and to see the Old Faithful area early and late. The cabins are just for sleeping, but there are lodge/inn public areas you can gather together in. Keep in mind, there is no cooking in the park.

Level Contributor
68 posts
18 reviews
7. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Thank you for all the useful tips. Will drive from Vancouver to Spokane on day 1 & meet friends at Bozeman on day 2.

Please advice on the most popular route and hiking trails if we only have 4 days at YNP.

Hi thbergs,

Please advice on split lodging options at YNP instead of staying at one area, i.e. Canyon for 4 nights.

No cooking is allowed in the Park. Is it only applied to camper? How about the kitchen on the RV? Please advice on meal plan options.

Thank you so much in advance!

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
8. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Are you set on the RV? As mentioned, YNP is not very RV friendly, have other cons, and a separate vehicle to tour the park is recommended.

Sorry for the confusion, just not in YNP lodging- rooms or the cabins. You can cook in an RV, you can cook in picnic areas following the rules for that, even without an RV. There are grocery stores and grills and cafeterias and dining rooms (some require reservations, others don't take them) and bars where you can purchase food. You can bring in food from outside the park.

Some people don't like to move, and stay in one location the entire time, like Canyon, which is most central. For less driving, staying some nights at two different locations (Canyon and Old Faithful) means you don't have to repeat your drive back to one location after touring other areas every day. It is advised to not drive in the dark, so that reduces your time in other areas.

If you have a large group, remember, everything takes longer. Did we give you the drive-time map link? Times don't include stops for comfort, touring or animal jams. https:/…Park-Map-with-mileage.pdf

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
25,174 posts
112 reviews
9. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

I'd push on slightly past Spokane. Either to Spokane Valley, Post Falls or Coeur d'Alene. Downtown Spokane is difficult in a car as well as pretty impossible with an RV. The areas a bit further east are also nicer and easier off/on from the interstate.

Pam

Level Contributor
68 posts
18 reviews
10. Re: Reunion trip itinerary suggestion: Vancouver, BC to YNP & GT

Hi everyone,

Thank you all the useful tips. We have booked hotel at Spokane valley and Bozeman.

The lodging inside the YNP & GTNP will be our choice. It looks like that renting a small RV with kitchen and booking a campground will be most economical. We will have sedan/SUV to follow the RVs. Now we have to move forward to book the camp grounds.

We could only get a RV quote from the Cruise America at Bozeman. Cruise America has no cancellation charge from reading on their website. Is it true? Anyone has any other suggestion on RV rental?

RV rental return time is before 11 a.m. Will it be more logical that our last night of lodging will be at the Canyon Campground?

Day 1-2 Vancouver to Bozeman. Meet friends at Hotel.

Day 3- PU RV at Bozeman at 1 p.m-3 p.m. and drive to Yellowstone Park. Please advice the campground location at YNP.

Day 4 Yellowstone— ? Campground

Day 5 Yellowstone— ? Campground

Day 6 Yellowstone- ? Campground

Day 7 Grand Teton

Day 8 Grand Teton

Day 9 Yellowstone- Canyon Campground

Day 10 or Day 11 Drive RV from Canyon Campground to Bozeman before 11 a.m.

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15 Seattle to Vancouver

Any input on the above itinerary with suggestion on easy trails will be highly appreciated!

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