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Yellowstone National Park

Leaving from Portland which way to go? via Spokane or Boise?

Staying in Portland OR. We're visiting from Denmark, Europe. grandma 70 and grand daughter 20. have a rental car. We would like to go to Yellowstone National Park and after that to Mt. Rushmore. We're not going back to Portland but are continuing somehow to San Francisco and Los Angeles hoping to view as many parks as possible. Don't know which way is the best through Boise or through Spokane. I'm the only driver (must be 25 in a rental car) but I'm up to driving long distances. Money are limited so a cheap motel/hotel outside the park will be helpful. we'll be leaving Portland September 7th and has to be in Los Angeles October 5th.

5 Answers

answered first by
Matt from Allentown, Pennsylvania

I flew into Spokane last summer and drove from there to Glacier National Park, then down to Yellowstone. Spokane is a really nice city - not too big, not too small. Walkable downtown with a really nice Riverfront Park, biking/walking trail network and several waterfalls right through the center of town. Has some great history too. Great hotels (visit and dine at the historic The Davenport Hotel), gardens (visit Manito Park if you can) and restaurants - definitely worth a visit. We stopped in Coeur D'alene (charming lakeside town) and Missoula as well. I don't know much about Boise – heard it's known for outdoor recreation, but I'll be honest, the part of southern Idaho I drove through was not terribly interesting. I much prefer the spectacular mountains and forests of northern Idaho and Montana. But you could always go the southern part of Idaho on your way southwest to San Francisco

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spokane (attraction)
  2. Glacier National Park (park)
  3. Riverfront Park (attraction)
  4. The Davenport Hotel (hotel)
  5. Manito Park (attraction)
  6. Coeur D'alene (city)
  7. Missoula (attraction)
  8. Boise (city)
  9. San Francisco (city)
1 thanks

answered by

If you are looking to visit more parks, go the north route and take in Glacier National Park too. Then on to Yellowstone and Devels Tower, then Mt Rushmore and the National badlands in SD.

answered by

If you are looking to visit more parks, go the north route and take in Glacier National Park too. Then on to Yellowstone National Park and Devils Tower, then Mt Rushmore and the Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Glacier National Park (park)
  2. Yellowstone National Park (park)
  3. Devils Tower (attraction)
  4. Mt Rushmore (attraction)
  5. Badlands National Park (park)
  6. South Dakota (attraction)

answered by
Josh from Portland

I grew up in Spokane and Boise and spent the last 3 years living in Portland. I've taken both routes a few times to Rapid City... where Mt Rushmore is.

Fastest Route: Boise

Most Scenic: Spokane

FYI, the road to both Boise and Spokane isn't very scenic. However, Spokane to Yellowstone National Park is incredible. Make sure to stop in Coeur D'alene and visit the lake if you take this route.

While the road from Boise to YNP isn't as scenic, there are a few nice areas along the way.

Happy Trails!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spokane (attraction)
  2. Boise (city)
  3. Portland (city)
  4. Rapid City (city)
  5. Mt Rushmore (attraction)
  6. Yellowstone National Park (park)
  7. Coeur D'alene (city)

answered by
Krissy from Long Beach

We made this trip in 10 days last spring via Boise and thought it was marvelous. We didn't feel rushed and were thrilled with everything we saw. I haven't been via Spokane so I can't compare, but here's what we did:

Our trip was in late April, so most of these sights were not crowded at all. Medora was eerily deserted, in fact, but I'm still glad we saw it.

If we'd had another few days or warmer weather we would have arranged our route through Glacier National Park. I would advise asking some experts on this site or doing some research about the weather in September/October as some roads may be closed or difficult to navigate. We got some snow on our trip.

Enjoy! It will be a beautiful trip whichever way you go.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Portland (city)
  2. Boise (city)
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument (attraction)
  4. Sun Valley (attraction)
  5. Idaho Falls (city)
  6. Jackson (Wyoming) (city)
  7. Grand Teton National Park (park)
  8. Yellowstone National Park (park)
  9. Ennis (attraction)
  10. Bozeman (attraction)
  11. Medora (city)
  12. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (attraction)
  13. Spearfish (attraction)
  14. Deadwood (city)
  15. Jewel Cave National Monument (attraction)
  16. Mt Rushmore (attraction)
  17. Crazy Horse Memorial (attraction)
  18. Rapid City (city)
  19. Badlands National Park (park)
  20. Los Angeles (city)
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