We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco

San Mateo...
Level Contributor
122 posts
8 reviews
2 helpful votes
Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

Hi, all. I’m looking for trip planning advice. I realize the itinerary is very wide open, but I will continually update it as we move forward (and as I do more of my research and fill in all the holes).

June 21 or so, 2020 we will drive from San Francisco to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier, towing a tiny RV (teardrop trailer). We plan to camp every night, but we can be persuaded to also stay at Inns/Lodges/etc. I'd love to hear suggestions, especially for campsites and driving routes. We plan to stay 5 or so nights in each park (and could be convinced to stay longer!)

Rough schedule

Days 1-3 San Francisco to Tetons (route? stops?)

Days 4-9 Tetons

Days 10-15 Yellowstone

Days 16-21 Glacier

Days 22-28 Return to SF (or add extra days above)

I am looking ideas for any part of the trip. If you had this much time to spend, how would you spend it?

We are more interested in hiking and wildlife than we are in cities, on this trip at least. We are fairly active, but not too adventurous. For example, we will do a whitewater trip, but are not into hikes which require ropes and harnesses (though I may have to get over that to do some slot canyons in the future). I can handle a nose-to-tail horseback ride, but I don't really know how to ride a horse. I'll take our teardrop offroad, but we are not competent offroad drivers. We are fairly soft visitors, not hardened outdoors folks. :)

Food recommendations are welcomed, as are all cultural recommendations.

We are also interested in river/lake trips, in addition to kayaking Yellowstone and Jackson Lakes, and floating the Snake through Grand Tetons NP. We considered a river trip out of Vernal, Utah, but that may be too far from our path of travel.

Our camper doesn't require an electrical or water hookup, though an electrical hookup every week or so is a good idea.

17 replies to this topic
Cora, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
Level Contributor
9,974 posts
7 reviews
15 helpful votes
1. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

For planning your time in GTNP and Jackson Hole, take a look at Top Questions in the Wyoming Forum, "List of Things to Do ..."

I'd suggest horseback riding in GTNP rather than Yellowstone. Whitewater rafting here is done south of Jackson, and is a perfect introduction to whitewater for folks new to the sport.

I agree that Vernal is a good bit out of your way. The drive from Vernal to Jackson is scenic, but I'd go to Vernal only if you had a compelling reason, e.g., touring Dinosaur National Monument nearby.

I don't know what you mean by a cultural recommendation, but will try to answer if you can help me with what you mean.

Sounds like you have a great trip planned.

San Mateo...
Level Contributor
122 posts
8 reviews
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

Hi. By "cultural" I mean any museum, historic marker, local crafts, best pie (!!). :)

Cora, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
Level Contributor
9,974 posts
7 reviews
15 helpful votes
3. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

>Hi. By "cultural" I mean any museum, historic marker, local crafts, best pie (!!). :)

Well, that makes perfect sense. There's some things on the list of things to do, museums, music, etc., that should fit your interests. There are also some really good saloons in Jackson, as well as the weekly Hootenanny, which passes for culture in Wyoming, but not sure if that's what you want or not.

Edited: 1 year ago
Carmel, California
Level Contributor
5,306 posts
11 reviews
46 helpful votes
4. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

You might want to cross post on the road trips forum for the drive out and back. We've driven from CA on 5 of our trips over a variety of routes. The quickest way is across northern Nevada. That could be done in 2 long days with an overnight in Elko. Can't help with campsites but for scenic areas, there's Lamoille Canyon south of Elko. We usually stop somewhere in the Sawtooth mountains of Idaho but it's a bit of a detour and we normally take longer for the drive. Last month returning home, we stopped at City of Rocks in southern Idaho for the first time. There's only one small inn nearby so being able to camp is a plus.

We've returned from Glacier via Sandpoint Idaho and through WA and OR. We went through Mt Hood, Bend, Crater Lake and Lassen.

We've headed to Vernal from Jackson through Flaming Gorge and also visited Dinosaur National Monument. You could possibly do this on the way out but would need more than 3 days.

My husband played at Dornan's hootenanny last month!

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
16,201 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
5. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

This drive doesnt have much to easily see without taking up more time other than Lake Tahoe.

You drive 80 to SLC then 5-6 hrs up to Jackson (multiple routes) the drive can be done in 2 long days with a stop in Wendover at the UT/NV line.

Grand teton itself only needs about 2-3 days. You are spending more time. Unles you plan on doing other activitities or say stayin on a ranch a few days I would suggest shorting time and move it elsewhere

day 1-2 drive

day 3-5 grand teton

day 6-9 Yellowstone

with camping look to stay on central road from west yellowstone to Canyon. these are more central areas

day 10 yellowstone then up to Helena

day 11 to east side of glacier staying at Rising sun or Swiftcurrent or in St Mary

dat 12-13 east side of glacier

day 14 GTTSR to west sideof glacier

day 15 west side of glacier

day 16 flathead lake area

day 17 drive to Missoula to stam;ry, mID north part of sun valley

day 18 sun vallet

day 19 to Boise to burns

day 20 to crater lake np

day 21 crater lake

day 22 to crescent city, CA

day 22-25 Redwoods and southern oregon coast

day 26-28 return to SF along 101 and 1. 101 could be done in one day and you spend 2 days in northern wine country areaa. or along the coast north of SF,

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
5,306 posts
11 reviews
46 helpful votes
6. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

I've found going through Salt Lake takes a bit more time so if you want to strictly stay on the quickest route, I'd head north on 93 from Wells into Idaho. We've done the route through Salt Lake or Park City on multiple occasions too when we wanted to do stuff there.

Returning through Missoula and Stanley would be a nice route.

San Mateo...
Level Contributor
122 posts
8 reviews
2 helpful votes
7. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

Thanks for all the replies. Our current plan is to get to the Tetons as quickly as reasonably possible (while towing a small camper), and staying in the Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier as long as possible, and then get back as quickly (again). 4 weeks at most, I’d say.

I’d like to spend time exploring these few special areas in this trip.

On the big driving days to get to/from San Francisco, we prefer the scenic route to the quickest. And I’m not sure we’ll be up for doing two long days.

I truly appreciate your thoughts, and I’ll explore all of them with my wife.

Edited: 1 year ago
Carmel, California
Level Contributor
5,306 posts
11 reviews
46 helpful votes
8. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

The drive across 80 isn't particularly scenic. There are scenic areas such as Tahoe and Lamoille Canyon but the drive itself is rather dull whether you go through Salt Lake or north into Idaho from Wells.

50 takes longer and is a bit more scenic. There's Great Basin National Park and some historic mining towns along the way https://ponyexpressnevada.com/ but it will add another 4+ hours to your overall drive.

If you want scenery, I'd definitely go through the Sawtooths on the way home. After that you can head home quickly or include some of OR and northern CA.

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
5,306 posts
11 reviews
46 helpful votes
9. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

The day you move from the east side of Glacier to the west side (and I agree two bases is best), you'll need to use Hwy 2 due to length restrictions on the Going to the Sun Rd. You can drive the GTTS Rd on a different day with just the car.

San Mateo...
Level Contributor
122 posts
8 reviews
2 helpful votes
10. Re: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Save

This trip has changed considerably. Thankfully our health is fine and it seems like it wouldn't cause any health risks for us to take a two-week trip - we still have our Glacier campsite reservation

Much shorter trip. Current question: best route while towing small trailer, heading from Glacier to Tetons? Need to stop one night on the way, to make it more pleasurable. But I then only have two nights (which we will spend in the Tetons)(after having spend 7 nights in Glacier, west and east)

Reply to: Tetons/Yellowstone/Glacier, from/to San Francisco
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
US$USD
Ireland
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Ireland. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.