National park "hopping"

Travel Forums North America National park "hopping"

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11. Posted by Peter (Admin 7128 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

the bottom line is buses dont get you to the parks

That is a very all encompassing statement you've made. The bus company I linked to before explicitly says it gets you to various parks. For example, this is their description of how they drop you off at the Grand Canyon NP. Combined with the park's shuttle service you could get around to the various areas easily enough. Is this really such an unreasonable option for a more intrepid traveller who wants to avoid hiring a car?

12. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 223 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

From what I see bundu is a travel service that really isn't a bus line it uses old hotel shuttles to drive people from park to park that could work but I sure as heck would spend more than one day in Yellowstone which is what their tours allowed. I can't imagine spending hours and hours and hours on an old hotel shuttle there fine for getting from the airport to the hotel but for a long distance to be uncomfortable as heck. There are number of tour guides that drive people around in the west they can be Googled

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2016, at 09:26 by katzgar ]

13. Posted by Peter (Admin 7128 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Yeah, it's a private service. They have a hop on / hop off option which is pretty much exactly what VildeOddvik was looking for. My impression is you can stay as long as you want in that scenario. No idea on the quality/comfort of the vans.

14. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 223 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Have you ever been to the states and road from the airport to a hotel it's all kinds of shuttles

15. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

A visit to one park does not an expert make, just as a visit to one country does not make someone a world traveller.

I have visited dozens of parks in the USA. None of which I would want to try and get to by bus when I have to carry a tent, food, water, clothing, cooking equipment, sleeping bag, etc. Since the OP intends to CAMP to save money, at the least the OP will need a large backpack with all this gear in it. Where some kind of bus service or shuttle does exist, it may get you to or into the park somewhere but after that, you are on foot from then on.

Now if (as I am) you are familiar with backpacking in a N. American park environment, that may be all you need to get you started but you are going to be on foot and with everything on your back from the bus until you return to the bus days later. Normally, planning a backpacking trip of several days duration in any park requires some serious planning in regards to food and water. So let's say the OP plans how to get to the FIRST park and a backpacking route in the park of several days duration. Let's say it goes well and the OP returns to where the bus/shuttle will pick her back up.

She then needs to get back to public transportation that will take her on to the NEXT park. But before arriving at that next park, she needs to re-stock food and perhaps water. That means a stop in a town, possibly an overnight stay in a motel, the purchase of food suitable to the trail (freeze dried is expensive) and then get to that next park again assuming a bus service/shuttle can get her there. Then on to backpacking in that SECOND park.

To 'rinse and repeat' this a half dozen times in 6 weeks, is not something I can see anyone actually wanting to do.

But all of this is irrelevant if the OP does not return and tell us what kind of BUDGET she plans to have for this 6 weeks. When someone writes that they wan to camp cheap/free etc. it often indicates that their 'plan' is in fact more wishful thinking than anything. When the practicalities are pointed out, the 'plan' doesn't stand the test. More often than not, they don't even respond to say, 'oops, I've wasted your time with this question.'

So 2 guys going on about bus services for a dozen posts, is really about the 2 guys (or gals), not about the OP's question. She might even think the BUS is too expensive for her budget.

If I wanted to visit some parks in any area of the USA, I would NEED a car. ONE park, ok, I might work out a way to get their by public transportation, do my thing and then return. But MULTIPLE parks, no way.

16. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 223 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

A great many people read forums like this so the idea that answers need to be aimed at one individual IE the OPer is just not correct

17. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member 132 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Gentlemen... no need to argue. Perhaps what we have here is completely different expectations when it comes to flexibility in travelling and public transit. North Amercians are acustomed to total travel freedom through our cars. Anything less is an inconvience that we are not willing to put up with.

For example, I find it much more convenient to just rent a car in Europe than mold my travel plans around train schedules etc... even if it means much higher costs.

Perhaps are European friends really don't mind some of the limitations that are associated with public transit... No matter how awful transit is for North Americans!!!

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2016, at 15:42 by TeflonCDN ]

18. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 400 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Your bus by the way Peter wants $600 for a month validity and $495 for 2 weeks. So they might possibly ask for perhaps $800 if you negotiated a 6 week rate. Will the OP consider that cheap?

It does look like it could get you around the parks it lists which isn't a bad list if it happens to be parks you are interested in but in summer, several of them may be too hot for backpacking in.

19. Posted by Peter (Admin 7128 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I agree with katzgar that the topic is not of interest only to the OP. People may well come across this topic for years to come and if we can at least discuss the pros and cons of the options available I think it is worthwhile.

I think that bus company has individual portions as well which probably works out cheaper if you are spending a while in a location. You'd have to really consider it carefully before going for the unlimited travel option. It's probably kind of like the Eurail passes which often aren't the cheapest when you're not travelling every day.

I totally take your point on carrying a lot of gear. Having a car is clearly the most flexible option here! I don't dispute that. But TeflonCDN is also right that non-Americans can be a bit less bothered by the inconvenience of waiting for transport, etc.

I also personally know a few people who have done the US by bicycle as another alternative, including taking camping gear and everything with them. That's another option that Americans just don't seem to consider but is a totally valid and in fact fantastic way to travel around. In six weeks you could cover 3000-4000km without too much trouble if you have just basic fitness. And it would be cheaper than any other option provided so far as well.

Look, I realise I am not an expert on US national parks. I don't however think it is necessary to entirely rule out the option of alternative transport when it clearly is being provided (and used by people) and surely it's at least worthy of considering depending on where you need to go and what exactly your plans are.

20. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 223 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

it is 841 miles from the grand canyon to yellowstone, england is 360 miles long. the reason bicycles arent considered is because they are a really intrepid idea. the reason cars were invented is because bicycles are slow cumbersome and exposed to weather. your problem is common with europeans in that you dont get how big the US is. bicycles are fine in little countries like the UK and Monaco. we are not talking inconvenience but rather an entirely higher order of pain. you cannot get to yellowstone by bus. the bundu thing is a tour that uses old airport shuttles.....painful seating. the constraints, limits and negatices of travel by bus in the US would make the trip not enjoyable.