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Old 04-28-2015, 12:11 PM   #1
Dia
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

ETA: Now taking suggestions for WA in general. North Cascades, maybe? What else ya got?

Hi, all!

I have to be at a conference in Spokane in mid to late August. Glacier Nat'l Park is only four hours away, so I'm trying to sneak a couple of extra nights into my itinerary.

So far, the plan is to drive up early, leave Spokane in the morning (day one), spend two nights in the park, then drive back to Spokane for the conference on day three.

So if all I have is two nights and one full day, where should I camp and what should I see? I'm still an inexperienced driver where Lola is concerned, so is the Going to the Sun road going to freak me right out?

Many thanks for your kind assistance.
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:59 PM   #2
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Re: Two nights in Glacier - help me plan?

I've tagged on "trip" days to business trips many times, including to Glacier from a biz trip to Helena. If you can, I'd suggest adding the days *after* the conference, not before. It makes things much less stressful when you don't have to worry about getting to the conference on time, the possibility of a breakdown, or whatever. I found that when I did my vacation days before the meeting I had to go to I wasn't always able to focus on having fun.

BTW, are you sure it's only four hours to Glacier from Spokane? Google shows it as almost five, and I even think that's being optimistic.

Anyways, what I would do for Glacier for two nights one day (and what I have done in the past) is to camp at either Fish Creek, Apgar or Sprague Creek CG on Lake McDonald, as they aren't too far into the park from West Glacier and make for easy in/easy out when coming and going. I believe you can only make reservations at Fish Creek, the other two are first-come. Sprague Creek is really nice, but small. Apgar is pretty big, I think it's the biggest in the park. We found sites there without problems both times we visited Glacier.

Your first night, just enjoy Lake McDonald, get some ice cream in Apgar Village, watch the sunset, etc. The next morning, wake up nice and early and head up Going to the Sun Hwy to Logan Pass and the visitor center there. What we did once was to drive up before breakfast and eat up at the pass. The parking lot there fills up quickly as the morning progresses, but you'll have no problem if you go early. Another benefit of that is that there are less cars on the road early, although you'll have to be careful of all the bicyclists riding up the road. Since they are only allowed to bike to the pass in the morning, you'll see lots of them. After breakfast, hike some of the trails in the Logan Pass area, photograph the ever-present mountain goats, etc.

Personally I don't think Going to the Sun Hwy is all that scary, but it is twisty with some good drop offs. I think you'll be fine, unless you are bothered by heights or that sort of thing. If you are really worried about driving it, the park does run shuttle buses at regular intervals up the road to the pass and back.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:17 PM   #3
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Re: Two nights in Glacier - help me plan?

I live in Spokane and Glacier always takes us at least 5 hours. Going to the sun road shouldn't be any big deal since they drive a school bus like shuttle up it for tourists. If you don't want to drive to far you can always drive up to Priest lake or even over to the North Cascades. Both are 2-3 hours away. If you want any other ideas about what to do in the area there are plenty of places to go so just let me know.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #4
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

Thanks, gents!

Oooh, North Cascades sounds interesting, and closer is better. I'd been hoping to do Glacier with the whole family, but things went a little pear-shaped where this trip is concerned, so I'll be on my own.

Maybe I'll save Glacier for next year?

Re: timing - I'm pretty much stuck going before the conference instead of after. Conference ends on a Sunday and my kid starts school that Wednesday.

ETA: OK - how's this - I'm driving from CA to Spokane and I need me some pines and some mountains. Where should I go? Breathtaking scenery preferred, and while I don't mind neighbors, hopefully not overrun with people, you know?

Also of note: I am 2WD only.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

Whenever you do get to Glacier, I completely agree with Brian's advice............all of it!

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Old 04-30-2015, 11:01 PM   #6
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

Consider Sandpoint, lake ponderay, or priest lake. All in idaho. Highway 95 south to go home.
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Old 05-04-2015, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

I second anything north of Spokane, I recently did much the same by looping from Seattle to Spokane by way of Tonasket, Lake Bonaparte, via Havillah and Chesaw roads over Boulder Pass. Many lakes, a few ghost towns, not much traffic and close to Spokane.

I have a FAA conference in Spokane the second week of August and I'll probably have my SMB out again to do the same as you're considering.

PS: North and slightly east to Lakes Ponderay, Priest and Sandpoint are great too, can't go wrong. Lot closer than Glacier.
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:44 PM   #8
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Re: Two nights in WA / Spokane area - help me plan?

Thanks, everyone! Now that I know what the options are, I'll check 'em out.
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