Yellowstone vs. Glacier?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by eye-of-searle, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. I'm starting to research a trip at the end of July to Montana. My wife has a
    conference in Big Sky, Montana so we thought we would stay a few days extra to
    visit one of the above mentioned parks. We will probably have 3 to 4 days
    before or after the conference and I'm thinking it would be best to focus on
    one park. I don't want to try and cram too much into the 3 to 4 days.

    For those of you that have been to one or even both of these parks and if you
    had 3 or 4 days, which one would you recommend? We won't be doing any long
    multi day hikes with camping. Probably just some day hikes. I'll have to try
    and find lodging even though I know we are getting a late start on planning.

    We will one day go back for an extended time but figure while we are there we
    might as well take advantage of being nearby. I will be taking camera gear
    but that won't be the primary focus of the visit. At least that's what I'm
    telling the wife! ;)

    So if you had to choose, which one?

  2. Glacier IMO. Plenty of day hikes.

    Yellowstone is also lovely but it is a land of fire and smoke and steam.. tho there is wonderful wildlife and streams. Plenty of Day Hikes there as well.

    Of course, as close as the Grand Tetons are to Yellowstone, you can get them as well... if you go to Yellowstone.

    I just love Glacier. It is less visited that Yellowstone, especially at peak toutist season.

    I might hate it ALL at the height of tourist season.
  3. I've never been to Glacier and it's not so much farther away that the distance makes any difference, I'd think. I really loved Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons - landscapes and wildlife opportunities are everywhere. I don't think you can make a wrong choice here. Yellowstone is unusual in it's combination of thermal features as well as scenery and wildlife so if that grabs your interests, that might be the first choice.
  4. I've been to Yellowstone 2x and Glacier once.

    In Yellowstone, if you just hike down the trails a ways, you'll be alone almost as soon as you leave the parking lot.

    I've heard similar stories about Glacier, but haven't hiked there. I believe the people telling the stories, though.

    It's a bit of a wash. Both are stupendous. I'd have to flip a coin if I were in your shoes and all else was equal.
  5. They're both must sees, so flip a coin, as was mentioned. I love these partially funded side trips.
  6. Thanks for the advised so far guys. Been doing some more research and like a few of you mentioned, it's really a flip of the coin. So far, I'm leaning towards Glacier. The Crypts Lake hike seems to be "out of this world". You take a boat to the trailhead and then about a 6 hour hike along cliffs, ladders, tunnels, etc. That alone may tip the scale for us.

    Stephen, I do love the "partially funded" side trips. My wife get's to go all over the country and even out of the country on business trips and we try extend them into personal trips when we can. Saves some airfare and I get to get out and shoot while she is at her business events. Her boss is a good friend and he is cool with me going.
  7. When she flies business do you schlep it in the cattle class? LOL

    I fly business worldwide and to spare the GF the indignity, I fly her out later (my expense) after I get set up in an apartment. I've done it this way for years.
  8. Big Sky is right next store to Yellowstone and within an hour you will be at the west yellowstone entrance. You can also find places to stay right at that entrance and the west entrance will allow you to start your day at the middle of the park.

    The grand Tetons are also within a days drive out of bigsky and Jackson hole has plenty of places to spend the night.

    I prefer Glacier because there seems to be less tourist but it is a half days drive to Glacier so you will lose a full day just driving back and forth.
  9. Stephen, Nah I usually upgrade.


    Thanks for the info. Glacier does seem to be a bit further but it may be worth it. I hate crowds. I think I may want to hit Yellowstone in the off season to avoid the peak season. I hear it can be jammed packed durung the summer months. I would probably get out of the crowd by going deeper into the trails but getting in and out of the park might be a pain.

    I'm also thinking about going up before my wife and taking part in an "F8 And Be There" photo workshop at Glacier. It takes place a few days before my wife gets there. I could do the workshop, she could do her confernce and we could still stay a few days longer. Never done a workshop before but this one seems pretty amazing.
  10. You may want to consider if the temps. in July are "better" in which park. Search for climatic data for these two parks. I searched for elevations for these two parks, but came up empty. I'm fairly sure Glacier is higher, so may be more pleasant, temp. wise in the summer, I went in the winter. I've never been to the other.
  11. Looks like mid to upper 70's until you get up higher. Guessing 50's to 60's in the upper elevations? During the day of course. Hell, I'm from Houston so anything below 90 in the summer is like winter to me. I think your right about Yellowstone, lower and warmer.
  12. Hey Jim since you will only be an hour or so away from the park entrance anyways why not do both. if you get up early before the sun rise you could be in the park at first light. at either the West Yellowstone entrance or Mammouth hotsprings which is a few miles from the NW entrance.
  13. You can have cold snow in Yellowstone in July and require a coat and gloves. The park is at 7,000' or so. Once you get 10 minutes away from most parking lots, you will almost be alone there.
    You can run through both parks in the time you have. Don't know about your wife, though.
  14. Its a long drive from Big Sky to Glacier. If you stop to see anything or eat or visit some attraction its all day plus. Thats two days in a car for the round trip. If you have 4 days total you can do it but its lots of driving and not so much having fun. Granted its a nice drive but its still mostly looking through a windshield. I'd rather be somewhere outside walking around. Your mileage may vary.
  15. Henry is right, Montana is huge and if you only have 4 days you will be spending the best
    part of 2 of those days driving to Glacier. If it was me i wouldn't worry about what I'm not
    seeing and put your energy into Yellowstone since it is so close, It doesn't evoke the
    superlatives of Glacier's viewpoints, but is one of the most incredible ecosystems anywhere.
    Even in four days you can'rt scratch the surface, it is the size of Maryland and Delaware put
    together. Despite the traffic on the ring roads, if you walk a mile down any trail the numbers
    fall off enormously. Both places are worthy of their own trips IMHO.
  16. Glacier is the most beautiful national park I have been to. I'm going to Yellowstone next month, but strongly encourage a trip to Glacier. Some great day hikes are The Highline Trail, Cracker Lake Trail, and Grinnel Glacier Trail. I was there in 2005, and cannot wait to go back. I have been telling everyone I know that it is the place to be. Logan Pass is also a really beautiful part of the park. We ran into a grizzly on Iceberg Lake Trail and it was one of the most thrilling experiences I've had on a vacation.

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