Road Trippin'
August 23, 2016 8:05 PM   Subscribe

I will be driving from Nelson, BC, Canada to Glacier National Park (Apgar, Montana, USA). Which is the best (most scenic/interesting) route to take?

1) the 95 to the 93 (more northern route, spend a bit longer in Canada)

2) the 95 to the 2 (the more southern route, entering the US more quickly)

Also, it is likely I will want to overnight somewhere along the way. Does either route offer a more compelling town to stop for a night (or even two)?
posted by Socky McSockface to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
If you aren't a big rush, take the ferry across Kootenay Lake and drive down the other side instead of going over the pass to Creston.

The Canadian route is much more populated, while the US side is pretty empty until you get to Kallispell. On the Canadian route, you might want to stop in Kimberley or Fernie (both 20-30 min off route) or in Whitefish, MT. On the US side, the towns are very small (Libby is the natural stopping point). Both routes are pretty nice, but I think the US side is definitely better if you want to travel through wilderness and probably a little more scenic.
posted by ssg at 9:05 PM on August 23, 2016

Whitefish is pretty funky; I'd stop there if you get the chance!
posted by book 'em dano at 1:51 PM on August 24, 2016

The most scenic and interesting route is going to stay on highway 3 all the way over the Rockies and then head south on 6, which turns into 17 in the US and then back track on 89. With less than 6 hours of driving that puts you at Waterton Park Alberta - a truly amazing and largely ignored park that has decent places to stay and you can get a piece of the hiking or get a boat tour of the lake. This route puts you through Fernie as well. And is the entrance to Glacier National that god intended. Serious- the mountains just rise up from the prairie.

This route you can take the ferry ride (the locals just love the ferry - you'll meet other touristy types but it's not fancy) and I also second making the extra trek to Kimberly if it fits.

Amazing: Frank slide. Where an actual mountain collapsed and smashed a small town. ALL THE MOUNTAINS. You'll cross the Selkirks and the Rockies! Not as touristy. Look for Pies.
Lowlights: Cranbrook. Small industrial towns. Not as touristy. Hope you like pie.

The US route sticks to mostly in mountain valleys - which has smaller towns than the Canadian side but you end up driving through much more farmland and low density human activity, especially on 93. On the Canadian side there's a fair bit of activity around Creston and the Cranbrook valley (lumberton around to Elko) but otherwise its just mountains and then a town and then more mountains. The US side is most interesting between Moyie Springs and Jennings on #2 in terms of driving and being in the mountains - until you reach the park that is.

The US side is through the panhandle of Idaho - the most racist place I have ever been and not in some distant hidden sort of way. There's armed compounds, white prison gang headquarters, militias and Fail trucks, and prides itself on being the most republican area of the most republican state. This is in large part thanks to Richard Butler, the founder of ayran nation, and the massive influx of racist soCals who brought christian identity (claims to be a religion) to the region. They certainly choose the panhandle cause it was already racist, but it's really been a significant transition in my lifetime - from slightly racist in a rural sort of way to the headquarters of racism in America.
posted by zenon at 11:30 AM on August 25, 2016

Response by poster: Very helpful input from all, many thanks. :)
posted by Socky McSockface at 11:03 PM on August 25, 2016

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