Chicago to Glacier National Park

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Marcin, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. Marcin

    Marcin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    chicago
    Hi All

    I'm planning a trip to GNP in middle of August for 8 days.
    I'm looking for some info from riders who done such a trip mostly camping.
    I will travel I-90 to Rapid City South Dakota and from there I would like to take some less travelled roads. Is there any roads that are must to see and is camping easily available around GNP.
    Any information is highly appreciated. Maybe some GPS routes?

    Thank you
    Marcin
    #1
  2. ts3doug

    ts3doug Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,741
    I'd say needles highway, but you may be hitting sturgis time
    #2
  3. jkm

    jkm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    NW Pa
    I like US 2. Good road, light traffic when I traveled to GNP in 2010. I'll use it again next trip out that way....
    #3
  4. Moto Mikey

    Moto Mikey Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    456
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'm planning my route from AK to GNP and then onto New York through Rapid City. I've been doing some of the same research you are.

    Here's my planned route with some POI's and info i've added:
    http://goo.gl/maps/HuUt2

    The route in the above map for all of Montana is my alternate paved route, as I plan to ride the CDT which I have routed on this map:
    http://goo.gl/maps/QNpOh
    #4
  5. ts3doug

    ts3doug Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,741
    .
    #5
  6. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    look up "benchmark maps" they publish the best maps for the western u.s. states. these are very useful and indicate all paved vs gravel surfaces with high reliability. they also show a lot of detail on campgrounds, etc..

    THe route from Mt Rushmore , west has a lot of opportunities for you across Wyoming and toward Cody.. then up the Chief joe hwy and over the Beartooth hwy, then up toward Great Falls and Choteu, east Glacier.... IMO.

    Lots of threads on trips like this... Have fun!
    #6
  7. Marcin

    Marcin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    chicago
    This time I would like to stay away from Yellowstone and try to go towards Canadian border (never traveled there) so US-2 looks promising.
    How are campgrounds and motels available around Browning.
    In general I don't like to book anything I just go as is, but is it good idea to book motel, campground in advance? any recommendations? I'm a frugal so anything upscale is out of question :D

    Thanks
    #7
  8. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    there are some nice little ma 'n pa cabin-motels in East Glacier. you can "google them" I dint think that Browning is a good place to stop. reservations around glacier park in the summer are definitely recommended
    #8
  9. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,557
    Location:
    Colorado
    You could probably get a very cheap hotel room in Shelby or Cut Bank and still be able to get to the Park early in the morning.

    Kalispell will be VERY expensive for hotels - $100 for Motel 6.

    You could stay in Browning, but I personally would not.
    #9
  10. Marcin

    Marcin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    chicago
    I will check out Shelby or Cut Bank, and Browning doesn't look like good place to stay

    Thanks
    #10
  11. mammal

    mammal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    C-Bus, Ohio
    I rode to Glacier last year in June and had no problem getting a camp site in Glacier. It helped that it was during the week and that I got there early in the day. I don't know if it would be any harder to get a site in August, but I'd recommend it if you can get it. It was $20 a night with flush toilets. Another site further up G2TS road had showers but, apparently, was not as nice.
    #11
  12. Jazz62

    Jazz62 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,222
    Location:
    Midwest
    Sounds like a great trip, I'm jealous. In Chicago too and desperately need a nice adventure. I'll ditto what others have said about Browning. I found it depressing just to drive through. All the most sad results of what's happened to Native Americans and their culture crammed into one small town. Not long after you head west out of Browning you'll be greated by this view and you'll feel better :D

    [​IMG]

    Have a great trip and post a ride report when you get home.
    #12
  13. Marcin

    Marcin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    chicago
    Thanks everyone, I found small mom & pop motel in East Glacier Park that looks great for what I need. Now is just finding roads that will get me to see what's best of GNP.

    Marcin
    #13
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,604
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    #14
  15. nilsso1

    nilsso1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    cold windy southen Alberta
    Going to the sun road is a must see, but I am sure you have already planned that, start off early to beat traffic, before 9 am, or later evening when everyone is having supper. nothing like being stuck behind a van. The past few years there has been a lot of construction on the pass, should almost be done this year.

    From East Glacier you can take 49 to 89 to St Mary's, stop by the Park Café in St Mary's for Pie than up over the pass.

    Depending on What your riding, Kintla Lake or Bowman Lake are nice out of the way camping, but a lot of gravel. Camping usually fills up early, especially on the weekends.

    Feel free to contact me if I can help out on this end, I am from Alberta but spend most of my summers weekends down in GNP. I know I will get some slack over this, being Canadian, but Waterton Park is a nice place but more pricey and more commercial, Nice to see but not a must see.

    http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm
    #15
  16. crazyjeeper

    crazyjeeper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    If you do want to take Hwy 2, I wouldn't get on it anywhere east of Wolf Point as there is heavy oil field traffic, especially from Culbertson to the ND border. In ND, you can expect heavy oil field traffic anywhere west of Hwy 83 for the most part though less so down near Bismarck.

    If you want the true middle of nowhere though, take either MT hwy 200 all of the way across to Lewistown at least, or Hwy 12 from Forsyth up to Roundup is pretty deserted as well.
    #16
  17. GOZFST

    GOZFST Gozfst

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    Black Hills/Arizona
    After you go over the Missouri River in Chamberlan, SD drop down S to Hwy 44 and take that to Rapid City, much more scenic. If you want a diversion take the Bad Lands Loop, it will bring you back out on 90 in Wall. For some nice roads around Rapid City there is Nemo Rd, Spearfish Canyon, and Vanocker Canyon Rd. Unfortunately it will be VERY busy with the Sturgis Rally foot draggers and very slow traffic. Watch out for the nimrods who don't ride very often and are either impaired, gawking at scenery or just bad riders.
    #17
  18. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,122
    Location:
    Lexington, Virginia
    +1 I lived in Wyoming for many years and rode everything out there. If you are in the Black Hills during the Sturgis Rally, forget trying to ride there, the roads/motels/restaurants/bars/etc. are literally CHOKED with people. It is a glorious place to ride but that rally draws a stunning number of people.

    If you go from Gillette, Wyoming across the Powder River Basin (Hwy 14/16 loops around a bit, but is a great road, but then I hate riding Interstates) to Buffalo you can take Hwy 16 across the Bighorns to Tensleep, a fantastic high-speed sweeper ride of about 80 miles. Just gorgeous. I would suggest, though, that you stay north and go through Sheridan and then over the Big Horns on Hwy 14/14A from Dayton/Ranchester to Lovell/Powell/Cody. That route is unbelievable, steep switchbacks up, glorious sweepers across, stunning switchbacks down into the Big Horn Basin. Just before you drop off the west side of the mountains is a place called the Medicine Wheel, a beautiful site where the Native Americans built a tribute to the circle of life, well worth the time and effort to stop and walk out to see. Motels will be more plentiful in Powell than Cody and much cheaper - Cody is essentially the East Entrance to Yellowstone.

    From Cody you will not find a more exciting road than the Chief Joseph Highway through Sunlight Basin and then over the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana. I've gotten stuck in there for days riding that section over and over :D, just stunning. I rode over the Beartooths one July 4th waving at the skiers... Once you're in Montana there are no bad routes in the western part of the state, it is all gorgeous (except maybe right around Butte, sorry). Even I-90 through western Montana is a hoot, very little traffic, twisty and scenic; I used to ride my 1100RT across there at warp 11 because the speed limit was "reasonable and prudent", no numerical maximum!!! That's changed now, I guess. As you get closer to Glacier it gets even prettier, but also more congested and expensive because of the tourism thing. Kalispell is ridiculously pretty. My son and I did a big ride through there several years ago (turned around at Jasper, Alberta) and we enjoyed the Canadian side of Waterton-Glacier more than the American side. There were better campgrounds and fewer people on that side, but Going to the Sun Road is a must-do.

    I've ridden Highway 2 all the way across NoDak and it's a great road (empty 4-lane) but there's a lot of more entertaining riding south of there if you've got the time to look it over.

    Have a great trip!

    Doug
    #18
  19. Marcin

    Marcin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    chicago
    So many road recommendations, so many choices, I think i'm getting overwhelmed.
    Aaaaahhhhh so little time to see it all :(

    Thank YOU everybody
    #19
  20. LoopGaroo

    LoopGaroo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    My wife and I rode our V-Strom 2up out to Glacier last year, starting July 30th. We basically avoided all major interstates the entire time. I don't think we ever made a reservation for campsites... we just basically relied on our iphones and gps to give us suggestions while we're one the road.

    Day 1 we rode through up through Madison, detoured through the twisties in the driftless area and ended up sleeping in Minneapolis.

    We continued north to Hwy 2 and took that over to Glacier. The oil traffic was there...but not bad at all. We're from Chicago, we know what bad traffic is like. The oil traffic was insignificant compared to rush hour in Chicago. I thought it was cool to see...

    Hwy 2 was a little desolate though, but in a beautiful way. Very lonely and scenic. You can make good time on it. Although I got pulled over twice for speeding (warnings both times!).

    We avoided The Badlands & Sturgis on the way out to avoid the rally so we decided to head through that area on our way back to Chicago. I think It was my favorite part of our trip. Spend some time out there if you can. We ended up heading south out of the badlands to Hwy 20 to Iowa, which was nice, and then hit the River Roads through Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Moline, and Dixion on the final stretch home.
    #20