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  1. Default LA - ABQ - Denver - Mt. Rushmore - Yellowstone

    Hi there,

    hope you all have had a lovely Thanksgiving. I'm in the process of planning a 30 day road trip for me and the family (wife + 2 kids, 5 and 9 yo). The trip will be from mid June to mid July.

    Our plan is to fly into Los Angeles and visit Disneyland before we rent a RV and start the road trip. I have thought of the following itinerary:

    Day 1: Fly into Los Angeles
    Day 2: Los Angeles - sightseeing/beach
    Day 3: Los Angeles - sightseeing/beach
    Day 4: Disneyland
    Day 5: Disneyland
    Day 6: Disneyland
    Day 7: drive Anaheim - Phoenix (via Joshua Tree NP)
    Day 8: Phoenix - Tombstone - Douglas, AZ
    Day 9: Douglas, AZ - Alburquerque, NM
    Day 10: Albuquerque, AZ (possible visit Taos Pueblo)
    Day 11: Albuquerque, AZ - Denver, CO
    Day 12: Denver, CO - Rocky Mountain NP
    Day 13: Rocky Mountain, NP
    Day 14: Rocky Mountain, NP
    Day 15: Rocky Mountain, NP - Alliance, NE
    Day 16: Alliance, NE - Badlands NP, SD
    Day 17: Badlands NP, SD - Deadwood, SD (see Mount Rushmore)
    Day 18: Deadwood, SD (see Blackhills)
    Day 19: Deadwood, SD - Theodore NP, ND
    Day 20: Theodore NP, ND - Billings, MT
    Day 21: Billings, BT - Cody, WY
    Day 22: Cody, WY - Yellowstone NP
    Day 23: Yellowstone NP
    Day 24: Yellowstone NP
    Day 25: Yellowstone NP
    Day 26: Yellowstone NP - Jackson, WY
    Day 27: Jackson, WY (see Grand Teton NP)
    Day 28: Jackson, WY - Salt Lake City, UT
    Day 29: Salt Lake City, UT
    Day 30: Fly home from Salt Lake City

    Does anyone have any input regarding the route? Will it be too much? Or should we instead consider other stops?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Looks Good

    Hi and Welcome back for another road trip.

    The only thing which comes to mind as I read your itinerary is to include the Beartooth Highway over Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone NP, via Red Lodge. A fantastic drive and a great entrance into the NP.

    Be sure to book your accommodation early. It is one of the most popular and sought after NPs. Your cheildren at just at the right age to learn much from the Junior Ranger Program. Be sure to enrol them in it at each NP you visit. It will earn them some cool souvenirs to take home. Encourage them to keep a simple journal of their most memorable moments each day.


  3. Default

    Thanks a lot Lifey!

    These are some excellent advises! I must admit, that I had never heard of Beartooth Pass, so I have looked it up. It looks fantastic!

    Do you know, if this road is doable in a 30ft. RV ?
    Will taking this road fit OK with visiting Cody also, where we had planned of staying one 1 night to watch the rodeo? I looks the route from Billings to Cody will be: Billings - Red Lodge - Beartooth Pass - going SE on road 296 to Cody from Beartooth Pass.

    Or will I miss out the best part of Beartooth Pass, if I'm taking road 296 going SE?

    Yeah I'm expecting the NP's to be very busy! We will hit Yellowstone on around the 7th of July, so a lot of people will probably be out for their 4th of July holidays. I hope it will not get too cramped.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Beartooth shouldn't be a problem at all in an RV. It will be slow going, certainly, but not a problem otherwise. You will cross the pass before you get to 296, and that route should work well to head down to Cody.

    The National Parks will likely be very busy at this time of year, so certainly get going on your reservations, but the nice thing about the National Parks is that most of them are so big that it doesn't take a lot to get away from them. A remarkably small percentage of people ever go farther than the viewpoints just off the road, so just a short walk down a trail can make a huge difference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default In case you haven't considered 'it'.

    A fantastic trip you have planned for the family ! The National parks are very popular and sites to take a 30ft RV are limited so it is really important that you book as soon as the booking window opens, literally ! You can find all the info on each park at It can be a long drive each day in and out of the parks if you do not secure your sites which also means possible queues at the kiosks.

    Or should we instead consider other stops?
    If you haven't considered going to the Grand canyon NP then it's certainly worthy. From Phoenix I would consider heading there and then through Monument valley to Arches and Canyonlands NP's near Moab UT and I70 towards Denver/Moab. I would find that more rewarding over Tombstone and Albuquerque etc, but it's your trip and all that is important is what appeals to you.

    You are likely to get a significant one way drop off fee when returning your RV to a different depot. Also remember to budget for campground fees, mileage charges, bedroom and kitchen kits etc and expect a return of 9-10mpg from your RV. It's a wonderful way to travel if you like the Lifestyle [as we do] but it is not a budget friendly choice compared to a car and Motel rooms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Not too Rushed!

    First, let me say "congrats" on a well-planned vacation. Not too rushed, enough time spent in the various places to not feel like you're running through it.

    Three days at DLR will be good. Two days at DL and a day at DCA, unless you go for the park-hoppers, is perfect. (Park hopping is easy to do there, since they are just across the Esplanade from each other.)

    In Rocky Mountain NP, if you have a 30 ft motorhome, you will be kept to Trail Ridge Road. Fall River Road is not open to RV's of any type because of the dips and the low hanging branches.

    In the Black Hills area, there is lots to see and do. We spent a morning at Mount Rushmore, where walking the Presidential Trail gets you away from thousands of other people. Then we drove Iron Mountain Drive and Needles Highway, part of Custer State Park, in the afternoon. However, you might want to check on those because I'm not sure RV's are allowed on that road. The next day, we went to Wind Cave National Park in the morning (plenty of RV parking there if you can go in the morning) and drove the Wildlife Road in the afternoon (also part of Custer SP). Once again, though, I'm not sure about RV's on that road. There is also Jewel Cave National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial in the area, though we did not see either of those (except Crazy Horse from the road).

    In Yellowstone, get going early in the morning. You have a better chance of seeing active wildlife and the parking in the various viewpoints will be easier. Take the hike into the mudpots (if your kids can stand the smell), and in Norris Geyser Basin. Also, if you can get to Old Faithful around 6:30 in the morning, you'll find almost NO one there. Four hours later, it will be the Macy's Parade for the rest of the day. Then take the long walk (if your kids can handle it) around that Upper Geyser Basin. The farther you get from Old Faithful, the less and less people that are there.

    While RV's are permitted on the Beartooth, Michael's comments that "it will be slow going, certainly" is right on. We were in a diesel pickup and we were slow, but it's also because the scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful that you want to look around!

    Bear in mind that the other advise is also right-on: you definitely need reservations anywhere near the NP's that you want to stay at/in/around. If you can get into one of the campgrounds in Grand Teton, you'll like it. We drove around Colter Bay RV a little bit this summer, and there were lots of longer RV's in there. Colter Bay RV Park (with hookups) is the only one that takes reservations. At Yellowstone, Fishing Bridge RV Park has hookups and takes reservations.

    The biggest issue I see with your plan is renting an RV in LA and returning it to SLC. Get that in place, and realize that you will probably pay a hefty one-way drop charge, ASAP. Not all rental places will allow that one-way drop - El Monte, Camping World, and Cruise America are the big 3 nationals.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-28-2014 at 10:37 PM. Reason: punctuation

  7. Default

    Midwest Michael - Thanks for the advice. Sounds good regarding 296. I will make sure to get some info regarding walking trails.

    Southwest Dave You're right. I have actually considered making the route past Arches NP. On our previous road trip two years ago, we went to Grand Canyon NP, Monument Valley and Bryce and Zion NP. Fantastic places, but that's why I wanted to try different route. And then I am a huge Breaking Bad fan, so that's why I making a stop in Alburquerque :-)

    DonnaR57 Thanks alot Donna. They are some really great advises! I will definatly have those in mind now!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Day 10: Albuquerque, AZ (possible visit Taos Pueblo) Day 11: Albuquerque, AZ - Denver, CO
    You could opt to visit Taos on the way to Denver which would save the 5 hour plus round trip from Albu. I would also look at Colorado or Manitou Springs as an overnight stop unless there is something in particular in Denver you want to catch. There is an RV park right by the 'Garden of the Gods' in Manitou Springs which is a lovely place to visit. Morriane park campground in RMNP is good for exploring the park and not far from the town of Estes park if you want a night out.

  9. Default

    Really good point Southwest Dave. I hadn't realised the distance to Taos from Alburquerque. It makes good sense to visit Taos on the way to Colorado.
    I haven't got anything to see in Denver, so it was just meant as a overnight stop. I had never heard of the place in Manitou Springs. I sounds really great. I think I will make that my stop instead of Denver. Thanks a lot!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Take time to enjoy it all.

    Be sure to allow yourself lots of time for the Beartooth Highway & Pass, plus the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (WY-296), as they are beautiful drives and very slow, especially in an RV. Many photo opportunities along the way.

    It is really worthwhile stopping at the Top of the World Store on Beartooth Pass. A small store with unique items and serve yourself coffee and hot chocolate.


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