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Old 01-26-2014, 07:58 PM   #1
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Info for Glacier, Banff and Jasper

Hey All,

Hard to think about going to northern Montana and Alberta, Canada during this terrible winter, but the planning has started!

We're making a trip out west where we plan to see some friends and family along the way, but will end up seeing Glacier, Banff and Jasper National Parks. We did a 6-week tent-camping trip about 3 years ago through Colorado, Southwest US, and then up to Yellowstone, but this will be our first "long" trip with the Sunline.

Looking for any insight or feedback on places we should consider, logistics of traveling, possibly trailer maintenance checklists before departing, campgrounds, etc. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

It's just the wifey, me and 2 mature, well-behaved pups, the 1999 T-2053 with brand new tires, and about 2 weeks allotted for these 3 parks.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-27-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
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Travel Tips

Been there done that many times. I was born in S. AB and we have 2 children living there. Also have a brother in IL so we have travelled many combinations of roads west and east with 3 different trailers over the last 14 yr.

Two weeks is very short. Expect to drive at least 4000 mi.—close to 300 mi./day—can't be done unless you just drive and don't see much. I would suggest just going to Glacier and taking a side trip solo into Waterton for a day. We find 5 days one way to be very short for this distance even though we've driven it many times and don't stop much. When we're in Jasper, I'm always amazed at how many people pull in late in the afternoon and leave first thing in the morning. We stay 3 days, 4 nights and we've been there many times. It's a NP, there's lots to see and do.

Check the US and CDN border crossing websites if you haven’t done that recently. You need passports and up to date vaccination documents for pets. Don’t pack a gun—border guards are most concerned about weapons, tobacco, alcohol and food. Expect your trailer to be searched, most likely on the way back into the US. Mostly they’re looking for undeclared pets and banned food or a stash of alcohol. Interestingly, they will always open the fridge and lift the bed, but almost never look into outside bins or the truck. You can bring all food into Canada, but the US won’t allow any citrus, off shore apples or peppers and tomatoes even if they are from Canada. Your US cell phone will incur heavy roaming charges unless you get a better plan from your provider. CDN providers are Telus (probably the best in AB), Rogers and Bell, if you can use a local SIM card in your smart phone or tablet. Cell coverage anywhere in the west—US or Canada--can be spotty, but NP in AB have coverage in town and the main cpg.

Coming from PA you don’t have a lot of hwy. options other than Interstate until you get to IN. We avoid Interstates when we can and will take US24 from Ft. Wayne, IN to my brother’s near Peoria and then angle up to US20 at Waterloo, IA—then go north to the Black Hills or continue west to Yellowstone. US30 is also a good route once you’re west of Chicago. Campgrounds like KOA are rare on these roads, but SP are plentiful and a very uniform typical SP quality regardless of what state you’re in. However, you do need to plan your stops and reserve at least on weekends.

One of our favorite routes west used to be US2, but between Minot and the MT border it runs through the Bakken oil field. This oil field has taken off in the last 3 years or so and none of the infrastructure has kept up. Traffic is horrendous—18 wheelers are the small jobs—the scenery is trashed and the campgrounds are packed with oil workers. You can't get off the hwy. to buy fuel or food and if you do, you can't get back on. It’s a good destination for the unemployed, but not for tourists.

At Glacier, we’ve always camped in AB in Waterton NP. Definitely drive the Glacier Going to the Sun Road—20' length and 80” width restrictions—one of the top western mountain experiences.

In AB, Waterton, Banff and Jasper are close to big cities and Albertans love RVs. Check the ParksCanada website, but I believe you can reserve these April 1, but primitive sites generally are not reservable. May 19—much too early for mtn. parks—July 1, first Monday in Aug. and Labor Day are long weekends. Full hookups to primitive are available in various locations from right in town to the middle of nowhere.

There’s lots to do along the way. PM me if you want details. We have traveled pretty much all the reasonable routes west in Canada and the US.


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Old 01-28-2014, 05:25 AM   #3
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Henry - THANK YOU. This is a huge help.

We plan to head out on route 70 to Rocky Mtn NP (with stops along the way to see friends). My brother lives in Breckenridge and we're going to camp together for a few nights, then will have brief stops in Teton and Yellowstone - we've been to these parks before and we're really just reliving some memories.

After that, we're off to Glacier and Alberta. Heeding your advice, we may not visit Teton and Yellowstone, and instead just pass through to get further north.

The way home is not as planned as of yet, and I would have never thought of the Bakken Oil field. Hopefully, we'll get this figured out soon before the good campgrounds fill up!
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:07 AM   #4
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I have a friend that lives in Standoff Alberta he comes to eastern Canada every summer that is where I meet him and he has been pestering me to come visit. So all this talk has pushed me over the edge after all it's only 2600 miles away! I have friends that have been there and have said it's one of the most beautiful places they have ever seen my goal is to see lake Louise if nothing else.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:57 AM   #5
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Awesome and helpful information. I am planning a late summer trip from southern colorado up to yellowstone, glacier, banff, will take my time. I prefer under 250 mile days and have set a caliper on my wall map to estimate the number of days to get places, and then add more for the spirit of travel, adventure and photography
Happy Trails from Colorado. 1995 Sunline Saturn T1850. 2012 Ford E350
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