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Glacier National Park/Banff or Lake Tahoe/Yosemite (Sept)?

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1. Posted by loeschg (Budding Member 12 posts) 5y

loeschg has indicated that this thread is about Western United States

I'm in the process of planning a trip with my dad as somewhat of a last "hoorah" before starting work in October. We have somewhere in the range of 7-10 days to vacation... will be flying from the Midwest (don't have time to drive cross country).

As of right now, our decision has been narrowed to Glacier National Park (with perhaps a couple days trip to Banff in Canada) or the Lake Tahoe/Yosemite National Park area.

Here are some of the bullet points of our travel conditions/desires.

  • Travelling mid-late September.
  • 7-10 days (including travel)
  • Looking for good nature photo opportunities
  • Good hiking (Both of us have some experience in the outdoors, but we're by no means professionals.)
  • Want to play a round of golf or two

If some other location in the US fits these conditions better, I'd love other suggestions, too. My buddy threw out there the idea of Olympic National Park... sounded pretty sweet.

Any help would be great. Thanks!!! :)

2. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 5y

Gotta be honest, you can't go wrong with either trip. But if you do go to Banff take a half a day and go north towards Jasper, there is a lot to see along the way. Like Peyto Lake for instance:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=moz35&va=peyto+lake

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 5y

For what it's worth, the only reason I can come up with to go to the Lake Tahoe/Yosemite area, is the weather, which is probably better further south during the second half of September.

on the other hand, you will sure beat the crowds when going north and it's probably not going to be very cold. September is a rather stable month weatherwise.

Cheers
Mike

4. Posted by loeschg (Budding Member 12 posts) 5y

Quoting DaveinMD

Gotta be honest, you can't go wrong with either trip. But if you do go to Banff take a half a day and go north towards Jasper, there is a lot to see along the way. Like Peyto Lake for instance:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=moz35&va=peyto+lake

I kind of figured both would be good trips. Jasper would be in the plans if we do make that trip. Is 6 days enough to visit GNP and Banff? If we do take that trip, the tentative itinerary is to stay in GNP for 3 days, and spend 2 days in Banff (Jasper would be in the plans). I'm thinking that may just be really rushed... thoughts?

Quoting Utrecht

For what it's worth, the only reason I can come up with to go to the Lake Tahoe/Yosemite area, is the weather, which is probably better further south during the second half of September.

on the other hand, you will sure beat the crowds when going north and it's probably not going to be very cold. September is a rather stable month weatherwise.

Thanks for the input. Most of the things I read agreed with your view. It sounded like this would be one of the bad times to visit Yosemite (water not flowing as much, etc).

So... Tahoe/Yosemite is out, and it has been replaced with the option of going to the state of Washington... particularly the Olympic National Park area (Hoh Rain Forest was recommended by a friend). I've heard Mt. Rainier is definitely something to check out, too. Thoughts now between GNP/Banff and Olympic National Park area? Looks like the trip is going to be cut closer to 6 days... :/

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1992 posts) 5y

I would pick GNP - I was not terribly impressed with Olympic NP. The California parks are currently in the dry season (fires and lack of water for waterfalls).

The State of Oregon is also very nice - Columbia River Gorge, the Rogue River, the Oregon Coast and Crater Lake NP are all well worth the effort.

6. Posted by loeschg (Budding Member 12 posts) 5y

Quoting Daawgon

I would pick GNP - I was not terribly impressed with Olympic NP. The California parks are currently in the dry season (fires and lack of water for waterfalls).

The State of Oregon is also very nice - Columbia River Gorge, the Rogue River, the Oregon Coast and Crater Lake NP are all well worth the effort.

Thanks, Daawgon. Exactly the info/type of suggestion I was looking for.

I've narrowed it down to Oregon (the areas listed above) or GNP. If anyone has recommendations or thoughts regarding these two, I'd love to hear. Otherwise, I'll just make a decision based on price/convenience and other such things that come up while planning.

Thanks for all the help!

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 5y

You really can't go wrong with either trip. Crater Lake has the cleanest water on the face of the planet (bet you didn't know that); and Glacier National Park has the widest variety of climate zones in one spot anywhere in North America (to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, in the meadows it is like being in Montana--where the park actually is--while at the mountain summits, it is like being at the Arctic Circle in terms of the climate).

In fact, I would say that this is why you might prefer to go to Oregon instead of Glacier (in Montana). At Glacier Park, there will be many snowstorms at the higher elevations--even in June!! Since this is how it is in June, you know that there will be even more in late September. On the other hand, if you want to see more wildlife, that is what you will see in Glacier. Be aware that the park is full of not only grouse, wild birds and deer everywhere, but that it also has giant concentrations of coyote and moose.

I think I would prefer eastern Oregon--and then maybe also venture down towards Mt. Shasta in California and Lassen Volcanic park or else go north from Crater Lake towards Mt. Bachelor in the middle of the state of Oregon and then on west through Eugene towards the Oregon coast. These are both fairly unexplored (unfairly so) regions that are full of loads of beautiful wild countryside and unspoiled vistas.

Enjoy your trip, whichever you choose.

8. Posted by loeschg (Budding Member 12 posts) 5y

@Calcruzer

Thanks for the post! We were planning on flying into one place and making day trips... though if people recommended staying a couple places, I'm sure I could talk Dad into it :).

So... any thoughts on the home base (or recommendation to not stay in one place)? I don't know if you saw above; it's likely going to be only a 6 day trip now. :/

9. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 5y

Well, if it was me, I'd choose the Oregon trip, fly into Portland, then drive south and split my time between two places--Bend, Oregon (taking a day trip down to Crater Lake), and hiking trips/golf trips locally around Bend, and then I'd drive over to Coos Bay, Oregon and take local trips up/down the coast (and maybe some local hiking along coastal hiking paths).

I might spend one day in either Salem or Eugene in order to golf one of the courses along the I-5 corridor (there is a really great course north of Salem but south of Portland (Langdon Farms) that I golfed at a few years ago.

If you go to Glacier National Park, I'd fly into either Grand Forks, Montana (or for cheaper fares using Southwest Airlines, maybe fly into Spokane, WA)--and then make my base either East Glacier Park Village or else Kalispell, MT.

[ Edit: . ]

10. Posted by loeschg (Budding Member 12 posts) 5y

Here's a link to our tentative plan... are we nuts to try to do this all in 6-7 days?

Tentative trip

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