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  1. Default American West Road Trip

    Iím panning on taking a road trip for two months (66 days) from Yellowstone to North Cascades all the way down to Joshua tree then to Colorado. I plan to stop at 20 national parks and I will be camping most the time in a tent and sleeping bag. What are the best national parks? At those national parks what are the best campgrounds and trails/attractions. I will be getting a national park pass. What would be a good budget to look at if I was planning on driving 8000 miles? Not sure how many people will be with me but I know there will be two including myself. Has any one ever taking their dog on a road trip and made it work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Budgeting -- well, I'd buy a national parks pass, right now priced at $80 and good at most major parks. This is for entrance to the park only. It will not cover parking, motels, campgrounds, or anything else. Generally, you break even at about the 4th or 5th national park. It's good for a year.

    Best campgrounds -- at some, you'll make a reservation at whatever campground has a site. Yellowstone has a bunch of great campgrounds, as does Grand Teton. I believe Joshua Tree only has a couple of campgrounds. Check at at each park's site.

    Trails and attractions -- once again, check the We really don't do "best" here, since someone's "best" is another's "oh, that's not me!"

    Back to budgeting -- go to the right hand side to the "Fuel Cost Calculator", and you can figure out your fuel costs. I would personally budget at $3.50/gallon, but I usually overbudget for fuel! For camping, you will find that most national park campground prices are in the sites for each park. A rough guide would be $15-20/night. You'll probably want to do a budget for the occasional night in a motel, and for showers (since many national park campgrounds point you to pay showers someplace). For food, well, that's going to depend a LOT on what you like to eat and if you are planning to cook when you camp, grab food on the go, and (if planning to camp) how much food you are willing/able to carry along. Groceries in national parks and in the surrounding communities are going to be a little more costly than in a large city. Also, don't forget to budget for ice -- $1.50-2.00/bag (7-lb) isn't at all unusual, though occasionally I've found $1 bags and $3 bags.

    You didn't say if you are renting a vehicle or taking your own. If your own, you may want to budget (and plan for) an oil change along the way if your car likes one every 5000 miles. (If renting, the agency will tell you what they expect.)

    Dogs in national parks are generally frowned upon, especially in parks such as Yellowstone where wildlife is prevalent. You can't leave them alone in the campsite, even tied up or in a kennel. Taking them in your car means you have to deal with them if you go on a hike or even just want to sit and wait for Old Faithful to go off. We've taken a dog camping, hiking (though NOT in the national parks), and on road trips, but we've said "no more dogs". We leave our cat home with a family member to check on her periodically.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    check the
    It's It's a great site that tells you just about everything you want to know about all the national parks.

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