Trip planning: Big Trip #4 – fall in the Northern Rockies, including Canada

ousel peak trail hike
Hiking outside Glacier National Park

[We’ve updated the plan since this post and our route looks pretty different now!]

We are freshly home from our last trip and are itching to get back out there, so we’re thrilled to be planning a trip out west for this fall! No offense, East Coast. We started with an itinerary based on our original plan last time we did a big trip out west in 2020; that plan morphed as we traveled due to wildfires, which will likely happen again to some degree this year. Covid also affected our plans in 2020, with the biggest wrench in our plans thrown by Canada, who didn’t want us to visit. The east side of Glacier National Park was also closed due to Covid. So guess where we’re going this fall? Yep, East Glacier and Canada!

rock scramble near scotchmans peak
Hiking near Sandpoint, ID

And we’ll go to some other awesome places too. This is the general itinerary, which I’m sure will change as we starting booking campgrounds and run into seasonal closures and lack of campground vacancy:

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park in OH
  • Indiana Dunes National Park
  • Making our way to Fargo for visit #2, via WI and MN
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park for visit #2
  • The eastern side of Glacier National Park (we’ve only seen the western side)
  • Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada
  • Banff National Park in Canada
  • Sandpoint, ID for visit #2
  • Mt Rainier National Park in WA, weather permitting
  • Bend, OR
  • Crater Lake National Park in OR, weather permitting
  • Boise, ID
  • Ketchum, ID for visit #2 as we cross through Idaho
  • Jackson WY and Grand Teton National Park for visit #2
  • Park City, UT for visit #3
  • Dinosaur National Monument in UT and CO
  • A collection of ski towns in CO for hiking: Steamboat Springs, Vail, Aspen
  • Springfield, MO, to visit a brewery
  • Nashville and Asheville for visits #6 and #12 respectively, always favorite stops on our way home from out West
Bugsy outside the Airstream
Boondocking outside Capitol Reef National Park, sadly not part of this itinerary

It’s an ambitious itinerary, but we’re trying to space out the long driving days and not rush through all the stops. Note that there’s no southern Utah or Arizona in there, which are our favorite Airstreaming destinations. We’re trying to mix it up and hit some new places.

As always, if you have opinions on our targeted destinations, or if we’re missing important stops in the general area of the above locations, please let us know in the comments!

4 Replies to “Trip planning: Big Trip #4 – fall in the Northern Rockies, including Canada

  1. Now you’re talking!!! Looks like a great adventure although just on general principals I’d stay out of Oregon. If you need an extra driver give me a call.

  2. Most of these are places we haven’t been yet, but we did spend some time in Bend, OR last year.

    In terms of pet-friendly stuff, Tumalo Falls is pretty and there’s a hiking trail that follows Tumalo Creek from above.

    Smith Rock State Park is just north of Bend and is beautiful. Truffles and I hiked along the Canyon Trail for a little while and then the River Trail for some way.

    Lava Lands at Newberry Volcanic National Monument is pet-friendly. They have paved paths, so it’s not like Bugsy will have to walk on volcanic rock. It can get extremely windy and cold there though, so depending on the temperature you might want to wrap up warmly.

    The Deschutes River Trail is nice, plus there’s a dog park right next to it at one point.

    Deschutes Brewery is pet-friendly to an extent; pups aren’t allowed in the main tasting room, but right next to it is the lobby with a couple of tables where they’re allowed.

    Silver Moon Brewing has lots of outdoor seating with some fire pits and it’s all dog-friendly.

    In terms of non-pet friendly things to do, the Last Blockbuster On The Planet is there and is definitely worth a visit for nostalgia value. We got to bring Truffles in with us because we could carry her, but I’m not sure how they’d feel if you carried in Bugsy 😉

    We also found the High Desert Museum to be interesting. Although it’s half indoors and half outdoors, dogs aren’t allowed there.

    We didn’t get a chance to visit when we were in Oregon from October to December, but it might be worth trying to fit in Alvord Desert when driving from Bend to Boise. It’s a bit of a diversion from your route, but having your Airstream will make it easier to camp nearby and it looks very cool.

  3. One other thing I just remembered. Bend has the Bend Ale Trail which is a collection of dozens of breweries over 7 territories in the city. They have both a digital and physical passport you can use to get stamps at each brewery you visit.

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