camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

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camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby slug420 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:56 pm

Trying to plan a trip to Glacier (and Banff/Jasper) for this year. Trip would be around the last week of august/first week of septemberish.

To save money, and because i apparently missed the window to get hotel reservations in the park anyway...we were thinking about camping, maybe 2-3 nights at many glacier?

Our main concern is the likelihood that it will be super cold at night (too cold for my son) based on the time of year. Curious what anyone else (with more experience in the park) thinks...would you camp with a toddler without hesitation? be concerned about the lows at night? invest in a super warm sleeping bag for him but otherwise not really worry about it?

Also, if our trip is 2 weeks (the last week of aug and first of sep), and we plan on going to jasper/banff/waterton/glacier...would you start up north and work your way south or the other way around?
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby PeteE » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:39 am

You're coming during one of the busiest times of the season and as of yet I assume no reservations anywhere.
Many Glacier campground will not have any walk in availability this year--You must have a reservation and they will be very difficult to get.
Plus, the Many Glacier area is going to be a giant cluster**** this year due to construction relation travel restrictions and delays.

https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/manyglacier.htm

Do you have airplane tickets yet if not driving.
If I were you I would consider staying at the KOA campground in St Mary.
I've stayed at the KOA and it's a nice facility
http://www.goglacier.com/our-facilities/amenities/

I checked and they have cabins available right now for at least part of the time period you specified.
They have tent sites as well , but a cabin might be preferable since you have a toddler.
I'll let those who've brought infants and toddlers to Glacier speak to the "cold" issue.
I doubt it'll be a problem even if it does go below freezing---always possible that time of year.



I did a rez request here. If the link doesn't work you can check yourself. $125.00/night
https://koa.com/campgrounds/st-mary/reserve/step3/

St Mary will be an ideal place to base yourself any time, especially this year.
Quick access to the Sun Road, trail heads, Logan Pass as well as reasonable distance to Many Glacier and Two Medicine.
I live here and prefer staying in the St Mary area when I stay on the East side of the park.

You need to get reservations NOW or you may wind up with no place to stay when you get here.
It's going to be a zoo.
If you think that's hyperbole, ask anyone who's been here the last couple years.
Good luck!
pete :wink:

PS
I'll let teapot57 speak to Canada, but I'll bet she'll tell you that Banff and Jasper will present similar issues.
"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

George Carlin
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby teapot57 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:10 pm

I would start north at Jasper and work my way south, solely because chances are it’s going to be colder in Jasper and Banff, so I’d rather get there sooner than later. Some of my coldest nights of camping have been off the Icefields Parkway in mid-August.
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby slug420 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:10 pm

I am aware of how hard it can be...i was going to try in the next week or so as the days we are considering open up at many glacier campground...might get lucky.

Thanks for the KOA tip, that looks like it could be a good option for us. Those cabins at KOA dont have heat do they? EDIT: I see on the site where it says most units are climate controlled.
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby PeteE » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:13 am

I am aware of how hard it can be...i was going to try in the next week or so as the days we are considering open up at many glacier campground...might get lucky.


If I were you, I'd get reservations at KOA now, and then cancel them if you "get lucky" getting a spot at Many Glacier.
Many Glacier will fill up in a matter of hours, if not minutes, when it opens for reservations...and then all the surrounding areas will get much busier.

pete :wink:
"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

George Carlin
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby slug420 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:25 am

pro tip right there, I like it!
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby PeteE » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:43 pm

A note:
I would give any prospective GNP visitor this same advice.
So I'm not lecturing just you Slug 8)

Slug420:

Another suggestion I have would be to make a decision on the exact dates you expect to be here.
Then based on those dates get your plane tickets and car rental done based on those dates.
As soon as you get all that sorted, make reservations at the place(s) where you intend to stay.

They'll be plenty of time to get information on hiking clothing, camping gear, and how to keep your child warm, etc. later on.
Regarding your toddler--Fleece booties, hat, mittens and a one piece fleece or down outfit should be good sleep wear for a healthy toddler.--imo 8)

I've seen people over the last 3 years who arrived at GNP believing they could find a place to stay at the last minute.
And some found themselves sleeping in their cars--often in places that were illegal, dangerous, or both.

If the last time you were here was 2010, let me assure you that the changes at GNP in all respects since 2010 have been, in a word-- dramatic.
Advance planning for visitors coming from out of town is now absolutely essential imo.

And frankly, even for those of us who live locally, planning is nearly as important.
As recently as 4 years ago, I used to be able to get a spot in most of the park's camp grounds at the last minute.
Many times I'd drive to Rising Sun or Many Glacier after work and have no problem getting a camping spot.
I didn't need to get a reservation or wait in line.
Those days are GONE!

Free advice from an old geezer and you know what that's worth 8)

pete :wink:

PS

Slug420 I like that nick :mrgreen:
"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby slug420 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:09 am

Thanks for the advice...we are definitely not planning/trying to just wing it and get FCFS lodging when we are there, thats not even on the table.

We have scoped out airfare and had tickets ready to go for a few weeks now, but we dont want to commit until we understand the lodging situation. At ~300/nt (which seems the be the neighborhood we are in for a decent place in banff/jasper/glacier) we might blow the budget and have to cut the trip back to 1 week and do fewer parks instead of the 2 weeks.

Question for someone who has successfully booked a site through recreation.gov....this morning I was going to try and at like 9:55 the site was lit up as available, but when you went to book it, a window popped up and said this site is not available (until 10AM). In that window I think the options were Proceed (this option was greyed out because it wasnt yet 10AM) or Keep Shopping (which closed the popup so you could look at site availability).
What I was wondering is...if I keep that popup on my screen, does the "proceed" button become active automatically at 10AM...or do I need to close out of the window and try to book again for it to work? Someone scooped me on the site so I am just trying to learn the rules of the game for the next round.
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Re: camping....around labor day....with a toddler?

Postby wnysteve » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:34 am

My limited, and frustrating, experience with Reservation dot gov recalls that they block you from making reservations more than six months in advance. At least that applies to the National Forest campgrounds. Could that be what the problem is?
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