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Old 01-29-2021, 12:50 PM   #1
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Alaska out Montana In Summer ‘21

The road/ferry trip to AK is out for this summer so now have to explore a new territory this summer. It has to be summer since my brother is a school RN.
The 2 wk trip will begin and end in Seattle. We plan to go to Glacier NP for approx 3-4days. I want to explore Montana and spend more time away from crowds.
We traveled in Idaho from the Grand Tetons (84>55>95>90). Unfortunately we were not able to see much of the Sawtooth Range due to smoke so i wouldn’t rule that area out. We loved traveling along the gorgeous Payette River.
I would love to hear from you all w/ any travel and boondocking recommendations...
Thank you in advance.

Stay safe, Stay Healthy, Wear a mask and wash your hands
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:41 PM   #2
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check out "Crystal Park" in SW Montana...pay a parking fee and go in and dig for crystals...gurenteed to find some and probably great ones! We love it! and try to stop whenever we are in the area...its a State park or National forrest or something like that...PLUS boondocking galore around the area!
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Old 01-29-2021, 07:42 PM   #3
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check out "Crystal Park" in SW Montana...pay a parking fee and go in and dig for crystals...gurenteed to find some and probably great ones! We love it! and try to stop whenever we are in the area...its a State park or National forrest or something like that...PLUS boondocking galore around the area!

Topaz, quartz, or something else? I love digging for gems and minerals.


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Old 01-30-2021, 03:55 AM   #4
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Topaz, quartz, or something else? I love digging for gems and minerals.


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It really is the best eh Arctic!? Perfect excuse to drive/use the SMB out to nowhere and hunt! I was watching a guy on youtube that searches old mining sites via google earth, then goes there...out of the way places just made for a Sportsmobile...

Speaking of gem hunts, were planning two gem hunts this year. First is just a few weeks away to Craters of the Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, then a 6 hour drive to Hogg Mine in SW Georgia, then back home (Hogg mine has free digs, but you can arrange a private dig for the day). Then later this year, a geode field hunt at Dugway (area) in Utah.
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Old 01-30-2021, 10:09 AM   #5
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Queenie, the area you mentioned being interested in is huge and filled with fantastic areas to explore. I'd suggest looking through some guidebooks for additional ideas. While National Parks are awesome, they also come with crowds and limited dispersed camping opportunities. As you pointed out, midsummer trips come with the very real possibility of limited views due to smoke produced from wildfires. July in the Northern Rockies will normally be good, but by August through early October smoke and haze has become common. If you haven't visited the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise) yet, they are well worth the trip.

In the meantime, the guide book (National Geographic Guide to America's Outdoors Northern Rockies) covers the areas you suggested visiting this summer and does a very good job in describing various attractions (used price from $4-$12). Also, if you thought the Payette River was nice, I'd suggest you drive Hwy 12 along the Lochsa River which roughly follows the Lewis and Clark trail. Another possibility would be exploring the International Selkirk Loop which traverses Northern Idaho and portions of the Canadian Rockies. Of course any trips into Canada are tenuous at the moment with Covid closures.

Best of luck in your upcoming travels!
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Old 01-30-2021, 11:34 AM   #6
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Right on! Thanks for your reply Steve. I will pick up that reference and will put Hwy 12 on my radar.
I’ve had the Canadian Rockies on my list but i keep gravitating to Utah and No. Az in October. I love it down there.
I was feeling bad because my brother is unable to join us for the October trips so this year it’s a summer trip vs a fall one.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:15 PM   #7
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Yes, Hwy 12 along the Lochsa in Idaho is pretty. Check out the DeVoto memorial grove with the big cedars... right along the hwy. On Lolo pass there are many gravel/dirt roads. around mid june there will be the camas bloom in Packer meadows.



Consider: Skalkaho Pass


Consider: Big Hole valley (incl Big Hole battle field)


Consider Centennial valley (Lima - West Yellowstone)


Lots more ideas, let me know if you have specific route in mind or specific interests. Also consider the types of roads you want to travel with your vehicle. Note that even good gravel roads can be slippery, sometimes inundated, and of course closed because of lingering snow.
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:59 AM   #8
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Consider: Big Hole valley (incl Big Hole battle field.
And adjacent to the Big Hole Valley are the Pioneer Mountains, way out of the way and beautiful. In most states these would be an uber destination, in Montana in July a few years back we were the only ones there!

Have fun, be safe
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:10 PM   #9
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We fell in love with Montana last summer. Big Hole River is phenomenal. Looking forward to going back this summer, with or without Canada. Anxious to explore northern Idaho.
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