For many travelers, it's the dream trip. A bucket-list journey. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We like to call it "the ultimate road trip".
Combining the classic, beautiful national parks of the Rocky Mountains over the course of a few weeks in summertime is the RV road trip you've been waiting for. You'll take in Yellowstone, Glacier, Waterton, Banff and more, High peaks, open roads, iconic views and picturesque wilderness are all included.
Here's what you need to know:
1. How long do I need?
The classic RV trip that combines Yellowstone and Glacier national parks requires at least two weeks to complete. If you're wanting to add in Waterton, Banff and beyond, give yourself a month.
Photo: Fall in Glacier Country can be absolutely beautiful and great for road tripping.
2. Do I need to book ahead of time?
Yes, you most definitely do. Most RV sites book up at least six months ahead of time. Spaces are limited and demand is high in the peak seasons. It's important to plan accordingly.
3. What's the best route?
Coming from the south, start at Yellowstone and plan your route there thoughtfully—you'll want to avoid driving steep mountain passes with hairpin turns in your RV. Spend at least five days there before driving north to Glacier. It'll take about seven hours if you're driving straight through, but we recommend stopping in at Big Sky and Missoula. Then, settle in at the West Glacier RV Park for at least four nights.
From here, you can continue north to Waterton and Banff, or head back south to Yellowstone via eastern Montana, stopping at places like Helena and Bozeman.
Photo: Big mountains make exploring this part of the world with an RV scenic at every turn.
4. When should we come?
If possible, we highly recommend avoiding the high seasons months of July and August. You'll have more luck finding the best spots (and more peace and quiet to enjoy them) if you come in June or September.
Photo: The Going-to-the-Sun Road includes a high Alpine pass, tight switchbacks and steep cliffs. Vehicle restrictions are in place.
5. What are the must-see highlights in Yellowstone, Glacier and Banff?
You've probably already got Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone on your list. In Glacier, you can't miss the Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass (if you're RV is too big* for this road, hop on the Red Bus Tours or the National Park Shuttle for a fun and stress-free experience). In Banff, you'll also want to include a trip up the Banff Gondola, a visit to Lake Louise and a drive on the Icefields Parkway.
*Note that there are restrictions on the Going-to-the-Sun Road for vehicle size.
Photo: The Icefields Parkway in Alberta makes for wonderful RV road-tripping.
6. What about crossing the border?
Crossing any border can be a stressful experience. If you're prepared, bringing your RV into Canada can be smooth. You'll need your passports and proof of insurance. If you have a pet, make sure it has documentation to prove vaccination against rabies. And remember that Canada has a very strict policy for bringing firearms of any kind into the country.
Photo: Get to Lake Louise early or later in the day for fewer crowds and prime paddling opportunities.
For the latest information on rules and regulations, check with Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).
With some solid research and meticulous planning, you can turn your "Ultimate RV Road Trip" dream into reality. We'll see you on the road this summer!