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Golden Gate, Glaciers, and Geysers

Golden Gate, Glaciers, and Geysers Loop.

There is no shortage of awe-inspiring sights and experiences on this 2800 mile Golden Gate, Glaciers and Geysers loop that starts and ends in San Francisco, CA.   From jagged peaks, glacial lakes, and erupting geysers to bison, moose, and bears (oh my!) – this epic Golden Gate, Glaciers, and Geysers loop is a trip of a lifetime and deserves as much time as you have to explore all it has to offer.

This itinerary was tackled by a family of 4 in our 2019 Winnebago Travato over 17 days in July.  If they had their way, the time on the road would have been doubled, but this incredible adventure opened their eyes to how easy and fun it is to venture out in an RV and see all the wild west has to offer.

2800 Mile Loop

All toys loaded

And we’re off!

Leaving the beautiful city by the Bay

Day 1. July 10 
Destination: Ashland, OR
Mileage: San Francisco, CA to Ashland, OR via route 5  ~ 351miles/6hrs
Overnight:  Emigrant Lake Campground .  There’s also great camping at Glenyan RV Park and Campground  

Activities:  Travel Day

Day 2. July 11
Destination: Ashland, OR (layover day)

Activities:
For a smallish town, there’s plenty to do inside and out.  Start your morning right with coffee and pastries at Remix.  To keep the adrenaline going, raft on the Rogue where the put-in is only 25 minutes away and has you experiencing Nugget Falls.  Hike in Lithia Park or Mountain Bike on the (awesome) new Jabberwocky trail.  Afterwards, hang out at Gil’s – a growler and beer stop with outdoor area and fire pit.

Emigrant Lake - The Point RV Park, Ashland, OR

Emigrant Lake – The Point RV Park

Day 3. July 12
Destination: Crater Lake, OR
Mileage: Ashland to Crater Lake, OR via route 62 ~ 90 miles Miles / 2hrs30Min
Overnight: Mazama Village Campground

Activities:
Tons of Hiking and swimming options. Fishing in the lake is accessible by the Cleetwood Trail on the north side of the Lake.   There is a 33-mile clockwise Bike ride around the lake starting at the Park Headquarters. Here are some boat tours offered by the park. Reservations are needed.

Be sure to stop in Prospect to experience Beckie’s Cafe for Pie!

Crater Lake!

Day 4. July 13
Destination: Bend, OR
Mileage: Mazama Village at Crater Lake to Bend, OR via routes 138 and 97 ~ 95 Miles/2hrs 30min
Overnight: La Pine State Park Campground, La Pine OR

Activities:
Bend is an outdoor enthusiasts dream destination and if you can stay here for two or more days you’ll be glad you did!  Because it’s known as “Bike City, USA’ you’ll want to check out the road riding on the Three Sisters Scenic trail and/or the endless single track mountain biking.  Hiking trails are endless and simply a matter of narrowing down your options as you’ll see here.  Water activities include kayaking, tubing, SUP or floating down or on the Deschutes River.  If you want to get a little higher off the ground, there are plenty of rock walls to climb at Smith Rock. Reward yourself post your active adventure, or simply dedicate the day to enjoying the local food and brew scene by hopping on the Bend Ale Trail!  

Day 5. July 14
Destination: Coeur d’Alene, ID
Mileage: Bend OR to Coeur D’Alene, ID via Routes 97/84/82/395/90 ~  452 Miles/ 8hrs
Overnight: Camp Coeur d’Alene

Activities:
You name it, this beautiful and fun town has something for everyone, as you’ll see here.  From a family-friendly theme park and bike trails to golfing, hiking, paddling, climbing, biking, or however else you like to play.  If you hit the town on September 21/22 you’ll find yourself just in time for the well known Coeur d’Fondo cycling event as well as Octoberfest, both of which are worth planning your trip around

Day 6. July 15
Destination: Glacier National Park, Apgar Village, MT
Mileage: Coeur d’Alene to Apgar Village via route  281 ~ Miles/ 4hrs 45mins
Overnight: Apgar Village Campground

Activities: This spectacular National Park is worthy of a week, or more if you have it. Here are just a few top activities to consider so that you get to experience just some of its highlights:

Hike the Trail of the Cedars
Visit Lake McDonald to hang out at the beach
Bike, Drive or Red Bus up and over Going To the Sun Road
Visit Logan’s Pass and hike to Hidden Lake Overlook
Visit Many Glacier
Polebridge Mercantile and Lake Bowman
Go on a rafting trip
Visit Whitefish town, Beach & The Mountain Resort for the day
Hike the Avalanche Lake Trail
Visit Canada and the Waterton Lakes National Park
See Wildlife!

Useful links: 19 Magical Things to Do and 15 Best Hikes in the Park and What You Need to Know Before you go

Glamping

Day 7. July 16
Destination: Many Glacier or Browning, MT
Mileage: Apgar Village to Browning, MT via 49miles/1hr40min
Overnight: Many Glacier Campground or Johnsons of St. Mary Campground

Activities: (see above) Switching campsites over to the East side of the Park will allow you to shorten your travel time to other park attractions. Sitting on the deck of the Many Glacier Hotel is a must after a long day of hiking or biking up and over Going to the Sun Road!

Biking up Going to the Sun Road

The Top!

Day 8. July 17
Destination: Many Glacier or Browning, MT (layover day)
Overnight: Many Glacier Campground or Johnsons of St. Mary Campground

Activities: (see above). If you are staying at Johnsons of St. Mary Campground, be sure to make an advanced dinner reservation at their fabulous restaurant! 

Many Glacier Hotel deck

Day 9. July 18
Destination: Yellowstone National Park, WY
Mileage: Browning, MT to Yellowstone, WY via route 287~ 427 Miles / 8hrs
Overnight: Grant Village Campground, WY

Activities: Travel Day

Yellowstone Falls

The Geysers of Yellowstone

Day 10. July 19
Destination: Yellowstone National Park, Grant Village (layover day)
Overnight: Grant Village Campground, WY

Activities: Yellowstone National Park is one of the most spectacular and most visited in the country. A trip to the visitors center is always a great first stop to make certain you see all the top attractions, and time your trip to Old Faithful just right. Here are a few links to the top activities in the park to help you build your perfect day: Fishing, Hiking, Rafting, Rodeos and More, and:  7 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Yellowstone

Jackson Bike Paths

Day 11. July 20
Destination: Jackson Hole, WY
Mileage: Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, WY via  60 Miles/1 hour
Overnight: Colter Bay RV Park-Campground or splurge and stay in town at Mountain Modern Motel

Activities:  Teton County is wrapped in 65 miles of pathways to be enjoyed by bikers, runners, families, and dog walkers. Enjoy it all, or narrow your path down to the most scenic 20-mile stretch that rests within the borders of Grand Teton National Park.  Once you’re done circumnavigating the mountain range, get on your mountain bike and explore the countless miles of dirt trails in the Teton Range.  If you’re looking for Fly Fishing, Rock Climbing, Rodeos or Wildlife, then you’re in luck.  There are also lots of ongoing activities that allow you to take in September activities like a local. All in all, Jackson has so much to offer that you may want to stay until the leaves turn and the best skiing in the west begins!

Day 12: July 21
Destination: Jackson Hole, WY (layover day)
Overnight: Colter Bay RV Park-Campground or splurge and stay in town at Mountain Modern Motel

Activities: More of the above!

No shortage of wildlife!

Day 13. July 22
Destination: Wells, NV
Mileage: Jackson Hole, WY to Wells, NV via Route 93 ~ 380 Miles/ 6hrs 30mins
Overnight: Welcome Station RV Park

Activities: Travel Day (or stay longer in Jackson!)

Day 14: July 23
Destination: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mileage: Wells, NV to South Lake Tahoe City, CA via Route 80 ~  400 Miles / 6hrs30mins
Overnight: Fallen Leaf Campground  or Camp Shelby

Activities: Travel Day

Day 15: July 24
Destination: South Lake Tahoe City, CA
Mileage: Layover Day
Overnight: Fallen Leaf Campground  or Camp Shelby

Activities: Between the boating and water activities on the lake, and the endless hiking and mountain biking trails that surround it, you pretty much need to look no further for ways to enjoy this area and its gorgeous views.  However, if you want to sprinkle in some fun activities around this emerald blue lake, here are 50 fun ideas!

Lake Tahoe

Day 16: July 25
Destination: Layover Day in Tahoe City, CA
Mileage:  Layover Day
Overnight: Fallen Leaf Campground  or Camp Shelby

Activities: More of the above

Day 17: July 26
Destination: San Francisco, CA
Mileage: Tahoe City to San Francisco, CA 192 Miles/ 3hrs45mins
Overnight: Home!

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