Trip Feedback: Montana/Glacier National Park in early May - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-01-2016, 09:27 PM   #1
Member
 
DrewSK's Avatar
 
Name: Drew
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 16ft, Layout 4
Minnesota
Posts: 77
Trip Feedback: Montana/Glacier National Park in early May

O Wise Travelers,

I'm trying to plan a trip from Minnesota to Montana in early May (either the first or second week). We'll be in Montana for 7 days and would like to stay for a few nights on the southern side (relatively near to Bozeman/Billings to camp with some friends from WY) then travel near to Glacier National Park.

We camp with our dogs and enjoy hiking with them, might partake in some canoeing or whitewater rafting as well. We've traveled out to Colorado in the past, and take quite a few weekend trips around Minnesota. Our rig is a 16ft Scamp and a Ford Ranger, did alright in the Colorado Rockies despite being drug over some passes.

My primary question is that I've noticed that the state park campgrounds do not take any reservations in May - how competitive is the first-come-first-serve nature of the campgrounds in May? I don't have a specific cg to ask about yet, but it will not be inside a national park (the dogs aren't welcome). Our general comfort level is a site with electricity.

Secondary, seeking any other general advice you have about Montana in May. I believe it could be down into the 30s at night and we could experience snowfall.

I've read all the reports I can find around here in regards to MT and have seen some phenominal pictures you all have shared. We can't wait to go!
__________________

__________________
DrewSK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 09:49 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewSK View Post
Our general comfort level is a site with electricity.
An electric blanket at night can making sleeping terrific! No matter how comfortable the bed. YMMV
__________________

__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 10:10 PM   #3
Member
 
DrewSK's Avatar
 
Name: Drew
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 16ft, Layout 4
Minnesota
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
An electric blanket at night can making sleeping terrific! No matter how comfortable the bed. YMMV
Good thought - we have one we occasionally use at home. With a small ceramic heater and all of us piled in the bed (wife, I, 3 pugs) we stay nice and warm.
__________________
DrewSK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 11:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,143
You will beat the crowds, I think. Glacier gets busy in July and August. The Sun Road doesn't even open until sometime in July, when the snow plows can finally get through.
__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 04:50 AM   #5
CPW
Senior Member
 
CPW's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Flori-duh!
Posts: 934
Registry
We went to Glacier last year in early June (1-4) and stayed at a private campground that was the closest campground to the west entrance (Glacier Campground). While weather is a factor, the heaviest thing we wore was sweatshirts. And a ceramic heater was all we ever needed at night. For that matter, I avoid camping when the temps fall below freezing. While I have been caught a couple of times when it dipped below freezing for a few hours, I have NEVER had to use the propane furnace. A ceramic heater has always been adequate even at near freezing temperatures, above or below. The ceramic heater has always maintained inside temps in the 70s (1 Coleman pop-up, which stayed in the 60s, 2 Aliners, a Scamp 19, and now an Escape 5.0TA).


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
__________________
CPW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 07:10 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Name: jim
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape19 Prairie Schooner pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,398
Registry
Glacier or rather it's roads are sometimes closed until June. Depends on weather.
__________________
Jim
Never in doubt, often wrong
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 10:41 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
Posts: 253
Registry
Just an fyi about the dogs "Pet travelers should be aware that, like many of our national parks, the desire to protect the wildlife and their habitat and prevent interactions with pets has lead to severe restrictions on where pets can go in the park....Pets are allowed in developed areas, in picnic areas, along roads, and in parking areas only....There is only one trail in Glacier Park that is pet friendly. McDonald Creek Bike path is a paved trail that runs 2.5 miles between West Glacier and Apgar Village." We have learned to check trails in advance as there are few "developed" trails that allow dogs.
__________________
Island Bolers and Friends on Facebook
Island Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 11:08 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Jon Vermilye's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,407
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Glacier or rather it's roads are sometimes closed until June. Depends on weather.
The Going to the Sun Road may even be closed until July. In 2011, the road opened on July 13. (Some photos)

You are headed for my favorite National Park!

If you are on the west side of the park be sure to drive out to the Polebridge Mercantile (if the roads are open) for the best sticky bun I've eaten. They also have great cinnamon buns & decent sandwiches)

While all the campgrounds in the park are dry camping, if you are comfortable with that, my favorites are 2 Medicine & Many Glacier. Check to see if they are open here.
Jon Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 03:54 PM   #9
Member
 
DrewSK's Avatar
 
Name: Drew
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 16ft, Layout 4
Minnesota
Posts: 77
Carl - thank you for the note on what you wore, it sounds like the weather will be nice and cool. Coming from Saint Paul, MN, the weather seems perfectly reasonable to us.

Mike - with the crowds beginning in July in earnest, I agree that May will be a-ok. Very good point.

Claire - this is why we tend to stick to state parks and national forests. We'll likely day hike a bit in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Flathead National Forest. Our most likely campgrounds are Lewis and Clark Caverns and Flathead Lake. When we visit the national parks, it's generally for an "off day" of scenic driving.

thanks everyone!
__________________
DrewSK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 03:59 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Peg
Trailer: 2016 -13' Scamp
Massachusetts
Posts: 132
We are planning the same trip, during the 2nd week of May. We'll probably see you on the highway!

My first concern was hauling a Scamp 13' up through the mountains, even though I just bought a new tow vehicle - a Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo with a tow package (289 horsepower?).

I was planning to stay warm with just a ceramic heater, or use sparingly the Scamp propane furnace when dry camping.
__________________
herons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 05:13 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Name: Shirley
Trailer: Casita
Missouri
Posts: 11
We lived on the MT/WY border for 15 years and spent tons of time camping. Not many choices around Billings but lots in Bozeman, Livingston, and Butte areas. On our way to Glacier each year our first night was always at the KOA in Butte, although we are normally state/national park campers. The KOA had a tasty carry out chicken place that made life simple after a long day on the road, and the sites at that KOA were not too cramped. There is also a nice KOA south of Glacier in the Hungry Horse/West Glacier area. Part of Glacier may not be open, depends on weather. We found the west side most to our liking. We often spent weeks on a friend's homestead on the North Fork, and the Polebridge Mercantile is a must for baked goods! Beware, the road may shake you up if it has not been graded-slow going but the North Fork road borders the river and is spectacular. A side trip to Whitefish is fun, very artsy place with a lovely city lake and beach, and lots of cool things year-round. I would plan to dress in layers and be sure to have an ice scraper. We have been snowed on as late as July, although usually by early May the days are warm and nights chilly. We used a small electric heater on occasion to take the chill off. We never had a problem with our dog in the National Park, but be aware that dogs are restricted in some areas. If you plan to hike, take pepper spray and bear bells. If you hike by the river, talk loudly or wear bells so wildlife can hear you and avoid you. That is fairly early in the season and animals are on the move. We have encountered bears (including a grizzly on the West Glacier golf course!), wolves, and mountain lions, as well as tons of elk, moose, and deer. Just use common sense and be prepared. Rafting may or may not be an option that early, it depends on snow melt and the Middle Fork of the Flathead can be inaccessible through the spring run off. (We also owned a 15 foot whitewater raft and ranted the Middle and North Forks as well as the Snake down by the Tetons.) The rafting companies do a great job of reading the river and making the safest calls. There should be a ton of gorgeous wildflowers popping out, lots of baby animals, and some truly spectacular scenery. Enjoy!
__________________
ssatkinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 05:28 PM   #12
Commercial Member
 
Name: Jeremy
Trailer: Compact Jr and Teardrop Trailer
Washington
Posts: 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewSK View Post
I don't have a specific cg to ask about yet, but it will not be inside a national park (the dogs aren't welcome).
Not sure why you are saying dogs are not welcome. You can have dogs in GNP campgrounds.

From the GNP Web site:
"All areas are closed to pets except in developed areas, frontcountry campsites and picnic areas, along roads open to motor vehicles, and in vessels on lakes where motorized watercraft are permitted. Pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet, under physical Pets restraint, or caged at all times. Pets are not to be left tied to an object when unattended. Pet owners must pick up after their pets and dispose of waste in a trash receptacle. Owners must not allow a pet to make noise that is unreasonable."

You cannot take them to any back country campsites or on any hiking trails except the bike path between Apgar and West Glacier.

This is the same restriction the Yellowstone NP has.

Jeremy
__________________
rainjer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 06:57 PM   #13
Member
 
DrewSK's Avatar
 
Name: Drew
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 16ft, Layout 4
Minnesota
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainjer View Post
Not sure why you are saying dogs are not welcome. You can have dogs in GNP campgrounds.

Jeremy
I understand that dogs are allowed in certain areas, but since the joy of hiking is enhanced by having the dogs along - the national parks and the policy to keep dogs off of trails aren't ideal for the bulk of our trip. From a conservation standpoint, I understand. Personal preference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ssatkinson View Post
I would plan to dress in layers and be sure to have an ice scraper. We have been snowed on as late as July, although usually by early May the days are warm and nights chilly. We used a small electric heater on occasion to take the chill off. We never had a problem with our dog in the National Park, but be aware that dogs are restricted in some areas. If you plan to hike, take pepper spray and bear bells. If you hike by the river, talk loudly or wear bells so wildlife can hear you and avoid you. That is fairly early in the season and animals are on the move. We have encountered bears (including a grizzly on the West Glacier golf course!), wolves, and mountain lions, as well as tons of elk, moose, and deer. Just use common sense and be prepared. Rafting may or may not be an option that early, it depends on snow melt and the Middle Fork of the Flathead can be inaccessible through the spring run off. (We also owned a 15 foot whitewater raft and ranted the Middle and North Forks as well as the Snake down by the Tetons.) The rafting companies do a great job of reading the river and making the safest calls. There should be a ton of gorgeous wildflowers popping out, lots of baby animals, and some truly spectacular scenery. Enjoy!
I pretty much plan on getting snowed on, that's half the fun! Bringing bell to avoid encountering a bear, and spray and extra pants in case we do.



Quote:
Originally Posted by herons View Post
We are planning the same trip, during the 2nd week of May. We'll probably see you on the highway!

My first concern was hauling a Scamp 13' up through the mountains, even though I just bought a new tow vehicle - a Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo with a tow package (289 horsepower?).

I was planning to stay warm with just a ceramic heater, or use sparingly the Scamp propane furnace when dry camping.
My Ranger is the 4L V6, but the 3L V6 made it through the Colorado Rockies alright - your Santa Fe should be a-ok with a 13-er. It's less the "going" than the stopping I keep in mind - brake controller is a must. In a 13ft Scamp, a ceramic heater will keep you more than warm. We camp in MN when it's in the low 20's at night with a small ceramic heater and it's nice and toasty inside. These eggs are miraculous.
__________________
DrewSK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2016, 07:06 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: Shopping
CO
Posts: 353
Make sure you clearly understand the impact of The Going To The Sun Road being closed will have on your trip. I cancelled a May trip a while back when I realized, that key attraction doesn't open until at least late June.
Going-to-the-Sun Road Information and Transit System - Glacier National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
__________________

__________________
Tom 72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Has anyone been in Glacier Nationnal Park recently? Janb313 General Chat 5 08-28-2015 10:51 PM
Large fire in Glacier National Park Rob Outlaw Camping, Campout Reports 2 07-28-2015 09:48 AM
Trip Planning Assistance: Rainier, Cascade & Glacier NPs Gilda Camping, Campout Reports 4 07-27-2014 09:28 PM
Glacier Natl Park Daniel B General Chat 42 07-27-2011 12:22 AM
Glacier National Park Vivian Camping, Campout Reports 4 04-07-2007 05:49 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.