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Old 07-12-2016, 03:03 PM   #1
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Trip Across Western US

My family (me, husband, 12 and 14 yr old kids) will be doing a trip next summer for ~30 days. We'd like to see as much of the Western United States as possible. Our goal is to see a lot, but not overdo it. We will start from home (LA area in California) and head east to Arizona, go up through Utah to Wyoming, into Montana and then West to Washington, down through Oregon and then home to LA. There are 12 legs to our trip. Each one will take about 3.5 to 5.5 hrs to drive (accounting for being in an RV). Below are the legs:

1. LA to Needles (just overnight on our way to the Grand Canyon) - 1 night
2. Needles to the GC - 3 nights
3. GC to Bryce Canyon - 3 nights
4. Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City - 2 nights
5. SLC to Yellowstone - 5 nights
6. Yellowstone to Missoula - 3 nights
7. Missoula to Coeur d'Alene - 3 nights
8. Coeur d'Alene to Kennewick - 3 nights
9. Kennewick to Portland area - 2 or 3 nights
10. Portland area to Roseburg (to visit family) - 3 nights
11. Roseburg to Sacramento or Jackson - 2 nights
12. Sacramento or Jackson to home/LA area

Any input on this planned trip? I know we will be missing a lot of stops in the different states, but I tried to pick the ones we really want to see. We want to experience different landscapes (desert, mountains, lakes, rolling hills, etc.) And we want to break up the national parks with bike rides, rafting, some indoor stuff, etc. (Don't want to kill the kids with hikes through national parks every day.) I think I've accounted for some down time as well - swimming at the pool in the RV parks, lounging in the RV, etc.

I'd love some additional input. Is this too much? Also, any recommended activities in the areas mentioned above OR any input on where to stay?

Thank you!
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:04 PM   #2
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Sounds reasonable, just stay flexible because weather and other disruptions can alter plans quickly. I rarely make reservations, I look at them as a series of appointments I may not be able to keep.
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:07 PM   #3
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One obvious park missing is Grand Teton Nat'l Park. From Salt Lake go up to Idaho Falls on I-15 and take ID26 east to Alpine and north to Jackson, WY and through the park. Colter Bay RV in the park itself would be a nice place to stay. This park has excellent biking on a paved trail; awesome short hikes to waterfalls and small lakes.

Take a gentle float trip down the Snake River in the park and you just might see a moose in the water with you. We did!

If you want a more thrilling raft trip there would be outfitters out of Jackson on a faster part of the Snake River.

There's a ski area and in the summer it offers chairlift rides. Jackson has a rodeo in town.

Yellowstone is absolutely packed with people and cars in the summer. The Tetons are more relaxing.

Also, you have a lot of time in Missoula. Is there a special reason? What about Glacier Nat'l Park?
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:31 PM   #4
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Sounds reasonable, just stay flexible because weather and other disruptions can alter plans quickly. I rarely make reservations, I look at them as a series of appointments I may not be able to keep.
Thank you for your response! That's one vote for the itinerary!
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:33 PM   #5
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Thank you for all of the recommendations - I will take them seriously. Any input I get is helpful!!
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
One obvious park missing is Grand Teton Nat'l Park. From Salt Lake go up to Idaho Falls on I-15 and take ID26 east to Alpine and north to Jackson, WY and through the park. Colter Bay RV in the park itself would be a nice place to stay. This park has excellent biking on a paved trail; awesome short hikes to waterfalls and small lakes.

Take a gentle float trip down the Snake River in the park and you just might see a moose in the water with you. We did!

If you want a more thrilling raft trip there would be outfitters out of Jackson on a faster part of the Snake River.

There's a ski area and in the summer it offers chairlift rides. Jackson has a rodeo in town.

Yellowstone is absolutely packed with people and cars in the summer. The Tetons are more relaxing.

Also, you have a lot of time in Missoula. Is there a special reason? What about Glacier Nat'l Park?
Sorry - just getting used to this forum (and how to post, etc.) Thank you very much for all of your recommendations. i will definitely consider them!! Much appreciated.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
One obvious park missing is Grand Teton Nat'l Park. From Salt Lake go up to Idaho Falls on I-15 and take ID26 east to Alpine and north to Jackson, WY and through the park. Colter Bay RV in the park itself would be a nice place to stay. This park has excellent biking on a paved trail; awesome short hikes to waterfalls and small lakes.

Take a gentle float trip down the Snake River in the park and you just might see a moose in the water with you. We did!

If you want a more thrilling raft trip there would be outfitters out of Jackson on a faster part of the Snake River.

There's a ski area and in the summer it offers chairlift rides. Jackson has a rodeo in town.

Yellowstone is absolutely packed with people and cars in the summer. The Tetons are more relaxing.

Also, you have a lot of time in Missoula. Is there a special reason? What about Glacier Nat'l Park?
Actually no special reason for spending a lot of time in Missoula. It's just too far to drive all the way to Idaho from Yellowstone, so we thought this would be a good half way point. Would you skip it? Reduce the time? Go somewhere else on the way to Idaho? Would you add in the Tetons instead?

I thought Glacier National Park was just too much road - too north for driving although I've heard it's beautiful.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:28 PM   #8
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Actually no special reason for spending a lot of time in Missoula. It's just too far to drive all the way to Idaho from Yellowstone, so we thought this would be a good half way point. Would you skip it? Reduce the time? Go somewhere else on the way to Idaho? Would you add in the Tetons instead?

I thought Glacier National Park was just too much road - too north for driving although I've heard it's beautiful.
There is a pretty good history museum in Missouls.

Also, west of Missoula along 99 is Deer Lodge with its old stare prison and a national historic ranch site. It's worth two nights there to see the 7 or 8 museums contained in the prison including a very nice auto collection. The ranch presents a great develooment history of the area. I think the teens will enjoy both.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:17 PM   #9
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I would most definitely add in Grand Teton National Park especially since you're going to Yellowstone. They're right next door.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:51 PM   #10
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From Bryce Canyon go over through capital reef and goblin valley. There's a very neat short hike through little wild horse slot canyon and temple mountain camping area that gives a look at the past of uranium mining. Or from capital reef go to Moab and canyon lands and arches. There's lots of different routes and places between Bryce and Slc and also Slc to Yellowstone like going through bear lake and stopping in lava hot springs to float the river and soak in the hot springs
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:58 PM   #11
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#8 it's only 171 miles. So come visit Lake FDR, Grand Coulee Dam, Dry Falls, Hanford, The Reach, Ice Harbor Dam, Farragut SP, Palouse Falls, Potholes and the great wheat fields. Many small Russian/German towns, and a whole lot of Friendly People.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:52 AM   #12
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July 24 is Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City. There are only two RV parks there and they get booked up fast so check your dates. I'll be there next July and I'll be making my reservations very soon.
National Parks are usually pretty crowded during the summer so beware of possible problems finding a place to stay.
We've joined the Elk's because they have RV parking in quite a few locations all over the country and it's usually $20 a night, but it's first come, first serve.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:13 PM   #13
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There is a pretty good history museum in Missouls.

Also, west of Missoula along 99 is Deer Lodge with its old stare prison and a national historic ranch site. It's worth two nights there to see the 7 or 8 museums contained in the prison including a very nice auto collection. The ranch presents a great develooment history of the area. I think the teens will enjoy both.
Thank you coupevilleDF!
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:20 PM   #14
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I would most definitely add in Grand Teton National Park especially since you're going to Yellowstone. They're right next door.
twogypsies - do you think the Grand Canyon, followed by Bryce, then Grand Tetons, then Yellowstone is too many national parks in a row for my kids? It sounds like we can mix in other activities while staying at the parks (like river rafting, etc.) Alternatively, do you think we should reduce the # of nights at Yellowstone and Missoula to add 3 nights at the Grand Tetons? Lastly, we were thinking of river rafting in Bozeman on the Gallatin river. Do you have any experience with this river? Not sure two rafting trips close together would be a great idea. If the Snake River is more of a meander though, it could be different enough. We were going to do Class II - III rapids on Gallatin.

Thanks!
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