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The Best of the Grand Tetons to Banff: Iconic National Parks

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12 Days | 11 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Eric Leberg Aug 24, 2015 at 07:49 PM

We live in Washington where wild forest fires have devastated much of the eastern side of Wn. Any idea whether fires will affect our trip Sept 1-12?
Cindy B. Aug 25, 2015 at 01:10 AM

I'm from Bellevue, WA and the smoke blew over here last weekend. More clear today for us, but across the Cascade Mountains they're still socked in. Why don't you call the Black Hills Educational Tour Group which sponsors this trip and see what changes they anticipate I know in Essex, MT near East Glacier, they shut down Highway 2 and the Amtrak trains for about 3 days recently, since a fire was a mile or so south of the road and the tracks. Now escort cars seem to be taking the cars and the train is running again. Going to the Sun Road is open at the moment. I've been following all this since my trip in July. We went up to Logan Pass the day before the Reynolds Creek Fire started. Also, I'm a NPS volunteer guide on the train so I hear about those details.
Carol Eagle Aug 29, 2015 at 09:25 PM

I just finished the 8/18 trip & we were greatly affected by the fires. It was especially bad at Glacier NP where we saw none of the Glaciers. The best day was going up on the glacier in Jasper NP. We were traveled above the smoke & got some beautiful photos at last.
Cindy B. Aug 29, 2015 at 10:22 PM

So sorry Carol, that your trip was impacted by the smoke and fires. I've learned from this horrible fire season to book a trip in the spring or early summer next year. I'd love to chat more about the trip if you want to. Reach me at bark601@comcast.net
Carol Eagle Aug 30, 2015 at 10:54 PM

Our trip wasn't a complete waste by any means, but we couldn't enjoy the scenery as much as we should have because of the smoke. We did see the section of Glacier NP that was burned last month. Amazing to see new plant growth there already! I will e-mail you in a day or 2.

Jay Giles Aug 16, 2015 at 12:22 PM

We are Jay and Irene Giles going on the Sept 1-12 trip. We fly out of Boston on 9/1. Any hints on what to pack from recent trips?
Cindy B. Aug 16, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Layers! The weather/temperature changes many times throughout the day. You'll probably start to get some cool evenings. A crushable sun/rain hat and a fleece would be great. Bring your water bottles. They have lots of plastic water bottles on the bus, buy why waste all that plastic? We were constantly thirsty and drinking. They said part was due to the need for more hydration in the higher altitudes. Have a great time! I think the Going to the Sun Road is open now. Yellowstone was totally my favorite, due to all the wildlife and the active geologic features.
NOELLE SIMMONS Aug 17, 2015 at 04:17 PM

Layers are important though we encountered very little cool weather. I would suggest a few pairs of slacks or jeans and some T-shirts. While they mention an outfit for 'dressing up' - most did not dress up on our trip. Comfortable shoes (hiking boots not necessary). I wore my Keens most of the time. A sweatshirt or sweater. Only time we used hiking poles was on the ice flow. Sunglasses, hat or visor and sunscreen. Have fun. The Going-to-the-sun road is open now. You will drink a lot of water but we figured using the disposable bottles on this trip wasn't going to have a huge impact on the enviroment and we didn't have to worry about keeping our own bottles full or loosing them.
NOELLE SIMMONS Aug 17, 2015 at 04:18 PM

Oh, also a light-weight rain jacket that can also act as a wind breaker.

Jeff Benchley Aug 10, 2015 at 10:15 PM

Can't wait! Any update on the fires?
Cindy B. Aug 10, 2015 at 10:45 PM

"Some time this summer" the east side of the Going to the Sun Road will reopen. See http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/4405/26400/ I wouldn't expect it very soon. When are you traveling? I've heard the RS trips are going to Two Medicine Lake instead.

Champa Bilwakesh Jul 30, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Thank you for all your helpful comments. Noelle, when you say itinerary was altered, can you explain? The Keens - are they open toed or full shoes?
NOELLE SIMMONS Jul 31, 2015 at 12:18 AM

Going to the Sun highway was closed due to the fire so we went to Two Medicine instead. While we were very disappointed we understood that this was out of everyone's control. My Keens have closed toes but have openings on the side and back. I wore them with socks and they were fine. We did use out hiking poles today for walking on the ice fields. We were the only ones in our group who had our sticks with us on the bus today but others said they wished they had brought them along. They weren't completely necessary but nice to have.

Champa Bilwakesh Jul 29, 2015 at 05:52 PM

Love to hear comments from those who have completed the trip this. Most interested in what you packed, how many shoes, warm clothes?
NOELLE SIMMONS Jul 29, 2015 at 07:02 PM

Currently on the trip. As someone previously commented - lots of time spent on the bus but beautiful views. Our itinerary in Glacier Nat.Park had to be altered due to the fire and we were a bit disappointed in the substitution. To answer your question about clothes, shoes, etc. - we brought too much. There are no real hikes so hiking poles and hiking boots are unnecessary. I've worn my Keens during the days and changed into light weight sandals in the evening. Bring clothes to layer short and long sleeve T-shirts, hiking pants or jeans rain jacket/wind breaker and sweatshirt. Hope you enjoy the trip, By the way if you are flying in a day early you may want o do as we did and take a local bus ($1.50) out to Teton Village and take the gondola to the top - we much preferred this to spending our time wandering thru all the "touristy" shops.
Cindy B. Jul 29, 2015 at 10:25 PM

Where did you go instead of Many Glacier Hotel, or was it the Going to the Sun Road trip that was the change?
Cindy B. Jul 29, 2015 at 10:30 PM

I packed the lightest I have ever packed and it worked out fine. The biggest space was taken by hiking boots, sneakers and sandals though I wanted each of them at some time, I wore t-shirts several times, had two sleeveless tops, one fleece sweatshirt and even a turtleneck for wearing on glacier day. A few people used hiking poles with a spike on the bottom for our 20? minutes walking on the glacier. REI pants that zip off at the knee to make shorts were great and don't wrinkle.
Cindy B. Jul 29, 2015 at 10:35 PM

Gondola to the top in Jackson Hole sounds good,. Wish I had known of it. The historical museum there was good. It has two locations, one very near the Lexington Hotel. I found Banff even more touristy than Jackson Hole. The weather changed 4-5 times a day so you need flexibility in your clothes. For you swimmers, the hotel in Helena has a nice pool. The hotel in Calgary has pools, hot tubs and two water slides and I went down the milder one three times!

Suzanne Hammontree Jul 29, 2015 at 03:59 PM

I am going on the August 18th trip. I'm flying into Jackson from Atlanta on the 17th. This is my first Road Scholar experience and I'm looking forward to it. Does anybody know how many travelers there will be?
Champa Bilwakesh Jul 29, 2015 at 05:49 PM

Hi Suzanne, my husband Bil are flying in from Boston on the 17th as well. Looking forward. To meeting you and the rest of the group.
Cindy B. Jul 29, 2015 at 10:38 PM

There were 41 on our trip plus guide and driver. The "step-on" guides who joined our bus were wonderful, especially in Jackson Hole and Yellowstone.
Carol Eagle Aug 13, 2015 at 04:47 PM

Suzanne, Will you be on Delta from Atlanta arriving at 6:45?

Sue Wieland Jul 18, 2015 at 06:00 PM

I'm going on the July 21 - Aug 1 trip. This is my first trip with RS. I'll be flying in from Denver on July 21. I hope to make a lot of new friends!
NOELLE SIMMONS Jul 18, 2015 at 07:13 PM

My husband, Jim, and I are also on the July 21 trip and look forward to meeting you. We will be arriving on the 20th from Greenville, SC.
Betty Berry Jul 18, 2015 at 07:22 PM

I did this trip 2 years ago. It was my 36 trip and I truly enjoyed it. A lot of time is spent on the bus but the locations are breathtaking.

Carol Eagle Jul 08, 2015 at 04:26 PM

Anyone going on the August 18-29 trip? Any other solo travellers?
Cindy B. Jul 08, 2015 at 06:14 PM

Cindy B. Jul 08, 2015 at 06:15 PM

No, but I'll let you know how my trip goes when I'm back.
Cindy B. Jul 29, 2015 at 10:23 PM

Got back last Saturday. Great trip! Do you have any specific questions?

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11 nights of accommodations
31 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
16 Field trips


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