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Road Trip through UT, ID, MT, WY, CO, KS, TX, NM, AZ...

Travel Forums North America Road Trip through UT, ID, MT, WY, CO, KS, TX, NM, AZ...

1. Posted by Brookiebicks (Budding Member, 2 posts) 6 Jul '14 16:34

We are heading out on a 5 week long road trip this weekend. It will be my husband, myself, our ten month old, and our two boxer pups traveling in our VW camper van.

Looking for advise on MUST SEES in these states:

-Utah
-Idaho
-Wyoming
-Montana
-Colorado
-New Mexico

We have a rough route planned, but it could change from day to day depending on how our babe is handling the trip. :)

Thanks in advance!

2. Posted by zentric (Budding Member, 22 posts) 6 Jul '14 17:01

Fun road trip!! I grew up in MT and WY (and most of my family is still scattered across those two states) so I can hopefully answer any specific questions you have on those two. Is this a round trip (ending up the same place you start) or a point-to-point trip? What is your rough route?

Definitely check radio and the web for updates on construction - summer is construction season, and it would be a bummer to lose time waiting in construction.

Some of my favorites:
- in eastern WY, Devil's Tower national monument (as seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but much much cooler in person)
- Sheridan, WY (where I grew up) has a great wild-west history, including the Sheridan Inn, which might be haunted, depending on your viewpoint :)
- Yellowstone Park is of course fabulous, and I would also recommend Earthquake Lake, in Gallatin National Forest, which is just west of Yellowstone in MT
- Glacier Nat'l Park is gorgeous as well, and you can drive Going to the Sun Road (but check that it's open), which offers a view unmatched pretty much anywhere
- another personal favorite are Virginia City and Nevada City, a few hours southish of Bozeman - super rich history of Montana as a state (Virginia City at one point was the capital of the Montana Territory), of gold and silver mining in the Alder Gulch valley, and of vigilante justice
- the drive from Bozemen up to Big Sky (up in elevation, but you're driving south) is really nice, and there are plenty of pull-outs on the way up if you want to stop and stare at mountain streams (or walk puppies!); there is also lots to do in Big Sky in the summer (it's a ski resort in the winter)

That's off the top of my head, but let me know a bit more about your planned route and things you're particularly interested in and I can make some better suggestions.

Hope you have a blast!!

3. Posted by Brookiebicks (Budding Member, 2 posts) 6 Jul '14 20:16

Thank you so much for your response and suggestions! There are some places in there that I've never heard of and would love to check out.

Our trip will be a round trip. Here is the tentative route that we have planned:

LA ---> Vegas
Vegas ---> Zion National Park
Zion National Park ---> Salt Lake City
SLC ---> Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls ---> Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls ---> Glacier National Park
GNP ---> Hungry Horse Resevoir
HHR ---> Bozeman
Bozeman ---> Yellowstone Ntl. Park
YNP ---> Jackson Hole, WY
Jackson Hole ---> Cheyenne, WY
Cheyenne ---> Denver, CO (stopping along the way boulder, etc).
Denver ---> KS
KS ---> Austin
Austin ---> Santa Fe/Taos, NM
Santa Fe ---> Scottsdale/Grand Canyon
GC ---> Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu ---> LA

We are originally from KS, so we are pretty familiar with all of Kansas, Colorado and Texas and are staying with friends/family in those places. We've been through AZ, too.

We are planning on camping most of the time in WY and MT. It looks BEAUTIFUL!

If there is someone on our list that isn't worth check it out, I'd love to know that, too! :)

Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it!

4. Posted by Will__M (Budding Member, 20 posts) 7 Jul '14 11:21

Check out balance rock in Buhl, ID. It's pretty close to Shoshone Falls and good for a picture.

5. Posted by zentric (Budding Member, 22 posts) 8 Jul '14 14:10

That trip sounds so fun!

Ok, let's see, assuming you're taking I-15 and I-90 from ID to Glacier, Virginia City and Nevada City might be too far out of your way (will really depend on if you're trying to make good time). Along that particular route, there's Berkley Pit in Butte (not worth a stop unless you're already stopping in Butte), there's an old Prison (now a museum.... also potentially haunted) near Deer Lodge (there's also an old Auto museum in that area as well). Once you get to the Flathead area, you'll have lots and lots of nice scenery.

I would advise leaving Glacier the same way you come in, on the west side, going back down MT-83. If you go out on the east side on MT-89, it takes you out into the flat and rolly hills, which get pretty boring after the second hour of them.

If you wanted to see a different route going south, you could turn off for Helena, go through Helena (potentially see the state house - oh, and there is a cathedral and a carousel in Helena that are worth a look if you are there), drive down next to Canyon Ferry Lake towards Three Forks, then get onto I-90 for Bozeman.

From Bozeman (again if you're not trying to make time), you could take 191 south (pass through Big Sky) and enter Yellowstone from the west (also the side that Earthquake Lake is on).

Once you're in Yellowstone, Old Faithful is absolutely worth the wait and the crowds.

I'm not super familiar with southern WY, but you'll be out of the mountains shortly after you leave Jackson, and it will be pretty flat all the way until Cheyenne. There are lots of big windfarms in that part of WY, if you're interested in that sort of thing; I know someone who works in wind, so if you're interested I can find out if any of them are visible from the highway and maybe have visitor centers.

Feel free to hit me up with more questions - I hope you have nice weather and good tailwinds for your trip!