In late Summer, John and I took out for another long road trip before we headed off to Slovakia for a year. We knew we wanted it to be all National Parks again, but we also wanted to maximize the number of parks and how quickly we could get to each one, even though we had 2 weeks. We departed from a conference we had in Fort Collins, Colorado and headed north.
We would head northwest through Grand Teton, immediately into Yellowstone (the 2 parks border each other), further north to Glacier in Montana, and then cross over into Canada to see Banff.
By far, Glacier was our favorite. It’s not really a great National Park to drive through, so you have to get out and embark on some hikes. We believe the longer, the better.
Yellowstone, in my opinion, is a little overrated. I know that may be controversial to say, but it’s become more about “attractions” and less about the wilderness. Still great for families and to see some cool sites, but keep your time there short.
Teton is amazing and we kicked ourselves for not staying longer. It feels less like your typical National Park, and is more or less just a range of mountains that is so compact, you can fit it all in one photo. Not a bad thing, since you can see it from anywhere miles around. But to really experience it, you have to hike up into the Tetons.
Banff has some pretty remarkable lakes, the most famous being Louise and Morraine. With stunning hues of blue/green that seem impossible, it’ll blow you away. Be careful, though- Banff feels more like an “amusement park” for nature, versus an enclosed National Park. You don’t ever “officially enter” Banff, since the main road through it is just a normal highway that Canadians take on a daily basis. Everything costs money to see and some of the best views are only accessible by pricey gondolas. Go for the lakes, don’t expect to see too much more.