National Park Road Trip

Tripoto
20th Jul 2016
Day 1

"Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States."

Mesa Verde is full of history and several cliff dwellings to explore through the various tours the park offers. Plan to spend a day to learn all there is to know about the ancients who inhabited the cliffs. https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

Ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

Photo of Mesa Verde National Park, CO, United States by Kim Miller
Day 2

The only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Besides the ability to stand in four states at the same time and buy jewelry and other trinkets from the local Navajo Indians, there is nothing to see or do here. This stop takes no more than 30 minutes. http://navajonationparks.org/navajo-tribal-parks/four-corners-monument/

Four Corners National Monument

Photo of Four Corners Monument, Teec Nos Pos, AZ, United States by Kim Miller
Day 3

One of the most awe-inspiring places on the planet. The Grand Canyon is a must see. The South Rim is easily accessible and a drive up to the Grand Canyon Village provides visitors with wildlife viewing along the route and convenient amenities in the village, including a grocery and souvenir store, restaurant, fuel and lodging. https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

Grand Canyon from the South Rim

Photo of Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States by Kim Miller
Day 4

With orange hoodoos and vistas that stretch for miles and miles, Bryce Canyon does not disappoint. https://www.brycecanyon.com/

Bryce Canyon National Park

Photo of Bryce Canyon, UT, United States by Kim Miller
Day 5

The Hoover Dam is a man-made marvel. Walk across and enjoy the view on your own or embark on a tour. https://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Photo of Hoover Dam, United States by Kim Miller
Day 6

Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon offers an up close encounter in the "Land of the Giants." The humongous trees are the second largest in the world and are very, very old. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/sequoias/quammen-text

Sequoia National Park

Photo of Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County, CA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 7

Yosemite National Park is simply magical. A lot of time can be spent hiking, exploring, shopping, or just sitting on the giant boulders in the creek. http://www.yosemite.com/

Yosemit

Photo of Yosemite Village, Yosemite Valley, CA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 8

Onward to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Prepare for cooler temperatures as you venture across the bridge. http://www.sftravel.com/golden-gate-bridge

Photo of San Francisco, CA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 9

Scoot up and hit the Pacific Coast on Highway 101 then on to the Redwood National Park for more giant trees and wildlife viewing. https://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

Beach on the Pacific Coast

Photo of Redwood National Park - Kuechel Visitor Center by Kim Miller

Redwood National Park

Photo of Redwood National Park - Kuechel Visitor Center by Kim Miller
Day 10

"Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range." https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

After enjoying the spectacular scenery at Crater Lake, don't pass up the opportunity to venture back to the Oregon coast, taking in the splendor along Highway 101 and stop by the sea lion caves!

Crater Lake National Park

Photo of Crater Lake, Klamath County, OR, United States by Kim Miller

Pacific Coast

Photo of Crater Lake, Klamath County, OR, United States by Kim Miller

Pacific Coast

Photo of Crater Lake, Klamath County, OR, United States by Kim Miller

Sea Lion Caves, Florence OR

Photo of Crater Lake, Klamath County, OR, United States by Kim Miller
Day 11

Head north into Depoe Bay Oregon for some whale watching and a charming seaside town. The rest of day 11 is a driving day into Washington.

Depoe Bay, OR

Photo of Depoe Bay, OR, United States by Kim Miller
Day 12

"Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits." https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm

After Rainier, jog over to the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park where you can get an up close glimpse of lots of animals. https://visitrainier.com/northwest-trek-wildlife-park/

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Photo of Mount Rainier, Pierce County, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Photo of Mount Rainier, Pierce County, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Photo of Mount Rainier, Pierce County, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Photo of Mount Rainier, Pierce County, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Photo of Mount Rainier, Pierce County, WA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 13

"With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. Come explore!" https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Beautiful vistas, plenty of hiking, and numerous wildlife sightings are just a few of Olympics highlights.

Next stop, Puget Sound. Board the ferry to cross the sound.

Olympic National Park

Photo of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Puget Sound

Photo of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 14

Ross Lake and Diablo Lake in the North Cascades. The water is this amazing turquoise color which is caused by glaciers grinding up rocks into a fine powder, which is then carried by creeks into the lake. Magnificent, to say the least.

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Photo of North Cascades National Park, WA, United States by Kim Miller

Ross Lake, North Cascades National Park

Photo of North Cascades National Park, WA, United States by Kim Miller

North Cascades National Park

Photo of North Cascades National Park, WA, United States by Kim Miller
Day 15

"As the Crown of the Continent, Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson's Bay. What happens here affects waters in a huge section of North America." https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

Lakes and streams with the clearest water, rocks a multitude of colors, fantastic landscape and scenery...Glacier is stunning.

Glacier National Park

Photo of Glacier National Park, MT, United States by Kim Miller

Crystal clear water at Glacier National Park

Photo of Glacier National Park, MT, United States by Kim Miller
Day 16

Craters of the moon is a massive field of lava from a fissure in the earth formed thousands of years ago. Hike across the lava field and explore a cave. https://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm

Ceiling of the cave

Photo of Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, ID, United States by Kim Miller

Lava field

Photo of Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, ID, United States by Kim Miller

Lava field

Photo of Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, ID, United States by Kim Miller
Day 17

Make your way to Grand Teton National Park by way of Jackson Hole Wyoming and take in the beauty. https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

The Grand Tetons

Photo of Grand Teton National Park, Teton County, WY, United States by Kim Miller

The Grand Tetons

Photo of Grand Teton National Park, Teton County, WY, United States by Kim Miller
Day 18

Next stop, Yellowstone National Park. Truly you could spend a month here and have plenty to do. West Yellowstone today to visit Old Faithful and a bunch of beautiful geyser basins. https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

Old Faithful

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Geyser basin

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Geyser basin

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Geyser basin

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller
Day 19

With 2.2 million acres, there is no shortage of things to experience in Yellowstone. There are awesome waterfalls, rivers, lakes, bison herds, wolves, elk, pronghorn, geysers, and so much more.

Beautiful scenery

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Just a few of the hundreds of bison

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Yellowstone Falls

Photo of Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States by Kim Miller
Day 20

On to Cody WY to see the historic buildings of Old Trail Town where several famous gun slingers were known to frequent then head to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and look at some cool fossils and dinosaur bones. http://oldtrailtown.org/; http://www.wyodino.org/#Exhibitions

Dinosaur Museum

Photo of Thermopolis, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Dinosaur Museum

Photo of Thermopolis, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Old Trail Town

Photo of Thermopolis, WY, United States by Kim Miller

Dinosaur Museum

Photo of Thermopolis, WY, United States by Kim Miller
Day 21

Scoot up to Mt. Rushmore and marvel at the grand carving. While you're at it, head over to the Crazy Horse Memorial which is still under construction but impressive. Then wind your way over to Wind Cave National Park in Black Hills, SD. https://crazyhorsememorial.org/; https://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm; https://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm

Mt. Rushmore

Photo of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 244, Keystone, SD, United States by Kim Miller

Wind Cave National Park

Photo of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 244, Keystone, SD, United States by Kim Miller

Crazy Horse Memorial

Photo of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 244, Keystone, SD, United States by Kim Miller
Day 22

Last stop, Badlands National Park. Lots of interesting scenery here and you may even spot a prairie dog or two. https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm

Badlands National Park

Photo of Badlands National Park, SD, United States by Kim Miller

Curious Prairie Dog

Photo of Badlands National Park, SD, United States by Kim Miller

Badlands National Park

Photo of Badlands National Park, SD, United States by Kim Miller
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