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Old 02-09-2020, 08:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2020
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30 day RV trip west from NC

Been reading the site for some time but new to posting..

We are taking a 30 day summer road trip in our 40í Class A towing a Jeep. Leaving NC and plan to head west.

Places on our list include Rushmore, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, Moab (I need my 4x4 off road fix), among others not decided on yet.

We are leaving mid June and plan to come back in mid July. Initial thoughts are to head north to Chicago and watch the Red Sox play the Cubbies in Chicago then head west from there.

We like adventure and hiking, and parks, etc but our trip isnít necessarily focused around just that. We also like museums, plays, and historic attractions. Iíll be traveling with my wife and twin girls of 9 (turning 10 on the trip!) and our 1 year old lab.

We are open to suggestions as far as things to do out that way and around those parks and along the route. We are researching more and have purchased a few books but like to reach out for additional thoughts and ideas.

Iím still building the route and havenít made any specific reservations as of yet but know it needs to be done ASAP.

Thanks all!

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Old 02-09-2020, 09:01 PM   #2
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You are biting off too much at one time. I suggest you limit it to 3 or 4 parks. Maybe YNP, Tetons, Rushmore is a quickie couple of hours, I would add Capital Reef for the 4wD trails, do not miss the Harnett loop. Absolutely fantastic.

Canyonlands is all about 4WD you can't really explore it without that. And there are lots of trails around Moab besides those.

I'd drop Grand Canyon and anything south of Arches on this trip. You just don't have time. You will burn almost two weeks just getting there and back. Escalante is not on your list but there are all sorts of off road trails around there including the Hole in the Wall. And maybe 20 other trails branching off that one.

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Old 02-09-2020, 09:50 PM   #3
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Good info.

4x4 is on my list of to-dos. I’ll likely tackle that in Moab as I have a friend a few hours away that will join us in his off road buggy as well.

Grand Canyon is on my wife’s must do list, so it’s going to be nearly impossible to axe it from the list. If we have to cut off other places to make the Grand Canyon happen, then so be it.

Yellowstone is at the top of the list as well as Bruce, Zion, and Arches. Beyond those and the Grand Canyon, we are open.

I know the drive out west from NC will eat up a lot of time and I’ve reminded my better half of that. But, she is willing to drive some to knock it out.

We’ll be on our trip for July 4 as well as my twin girls’ 10th birthday on June 30, so we have some opportunity to make their birthday cool and experience a July 4 celebration that we wouldn’t get to otherwise. So that’s nice as well.

I’ll look at those other places and see what can work into the schedule.

Another note. We aren’t opposed to parking the RV at a campground for a few days and branching off from there to visit various attractions over the course of a few days (Bruce, Zion, Grand Canyon, etc). We don’t mind hitting a hotel a time or two when it doesn’t make sense to drive the RV.

So, all options are on the table.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:55 PM   #4
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Another thought as well. I could extend our trip if needed. I mean, nothing really holding me to just 30 days other than work. If I plan now I may could make it happen.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:11 PM   #5
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Make sure you allow for some down time. Every 3-4th day, you might just want to rest and enjoy the campground to recharge your senses with nothing planned.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:30 PM   #6
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As others have said that's a lots of stops and stuff in a couple of weeks. Keep in mind you're planning on hitting these NPS at high season. That means serious traffic issues and potentially long wait times.

We spent a full two weeks in just Yellowstone and the Tetons, and that was kinda of rushed, in our opinion. If you can add a couple of weeks on to your trip it would be more enjoyable and relaxing. Otherwise you will be on the go all the time.

All of the stops you want to make are great, just take time to enjoy them.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:05 PM   #7
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You really try to split this trip into two different trips, you're really gonna miss a lot.

That said, if going to Capitol Reef/Escalante area, do the Burr Trail out of Boulder. About 9-10 miles out it is quite fabulous. If camped in Torrey you could make a loop out of Burr and into Capital Reef via the back country and come out on US24, using the toad.

We hung out for a couple of weeks just in the Torrey area, playing on a lot(certainly not all) of the back country "roads". We boondocked on BLM land just east of Torrey in July. Hot(100+/-) during the day, about 60 overnight. It does cool off enough in the evenings to enjoy.

You will also probably want to get the annual national park pass.

Oh, buy beer before getting to UT, if you indulge in such.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:19 PM   #8
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You better be making your reservations very soon for the 4th of July.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:12 AM   #9
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At our maximum, we have learned to try to see only two major things like the Grand Canyon or Arches per week.

My opinion, which is worth exactly what you paid for it, is that you may end up exhausted and not enjoy the amazing sights that much, after a week or so at that pace...

The traffic and the crowds and the checking in and the packing up all take their toll.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:42 AM   #10
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It might be better to visit the North Rim of the GC rather than the south. Saves a lot of driving.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:56 AM   #11
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Ok so I’ve seen a lot of north rim and south rim suggestions with no distinct comparison between the two with regard to getting the most from the visit.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:04 AM   #12
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I prefer the North Rim. Much cooler in Summer, less crowded. I recommend staying at Kaibab Camper Village at Jacob lake North of the Park. Full Hook ups if you can grab one. Then take the trip to the North rim but also hit the dirt and go to Locust Point. I camped here for a week once. Awesome. Only saw a few people. So quiet here your ears hurt just trying to hear a noise. Literally on the edge of the canyon. There is a trail for hiking/biking that follows the edge. Here is a link to a blog with directions to the point. http://www.mountainbikebill.com/AZ10...RainbowRim.htm
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:54 PM   #13
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Cannot offer any suggestions on most of the trip, however, you are planning too many places to visit as others have suggested. Utah is a trip unto itself.

Traveling west on I-90, if you need a place to stop for the night, Chamberlain has campgrounds on either side of the Missouri River, right in town.

American Creek


But better than this is a COE campground at Big Bend Dam at Ft Thompson. Get off at Chamberlain and go north on 50 to 34, west on 34 to Ft Thompson and south onto the dam, down the backside of the dam and you find yourself surrounded by the Missouri River in a real nice campground.

The Black Hills can take a week (at least four or five days) of exploring to see it all, or most of it.

If you travel west on I-90, get off and drive thru the Badlands. Its worth the visit, but for me, several stops on the way thru, and I was done. Get off at exit 131 and re-enter at Wall, exit 110.

When you get to Rapid City, get off at exit 58 and go left (south) on Haines Ave. Turn left onto New York St, at the edge of the park and Rapid Creek. There you will find the Journey Museum, which you will find to be top notch. Expect to spend at least two hours.

Museums | Native American Culture | Journey Museum and Learning Center

If you need to stay further along the road headed out, at Spearfish, get off exit 12, go left, thru town to Canyon St. and turn left and go till you run into the City owned campground at the Fish Hatchery. Very nice full hookups plus shower houses/restrooms.


Must do drives in the Black Hills is the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway Us Alt 14, the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park ($20 entrance fee), The Needles Highway, and the Iron Mountain Highway. The museum at Rushmore is neat and the kids will enjoy it. The museum at the Crazy Horse Memorial ($11) is very well set up with Native American artifacts, and also well worth the time. You can ride the 1880 Steam Train from Keystone to Hill City (or the reverse) takes about 2 hrs to make the back and forth. Main station is at Keystone and the SD RR museum is there also.

The last thing headed west I can attest to is Devils Tower. Get off at exit 185 and take 14 and 24 up to it. As an alternative, take exit 199, first exit inside of Wyoming, and stop at the welcome station, best I have ever encountered for displays and information. Then go north on 111 to 24 go left and continue till you get to Devils Tower. You have a better view for longer from the highway this way, and the ride is quite scenic thru the Wyoming portion of the Black Hills National Forest. Plan on crowds and its about a mile and a half walk around the base of the tower on an asphalt trail. You get different lighting and angles as you walk around it. Parking is very limited. Turn left toward the campground and there is a place provided for parking motorhomes and trailers. Cut the Jeep loose and drive it on around to the parking at the tower. No place for a motorhome back there.

Be sure and get an America the Beautiful Park pass. Its $80, but entrance at the Badlands is $20, Devils Tower is $20, Rushmore is free but parking is $10 and very tight, again, not real good for motorhomes with toads., Grand Teton NP is $35 and Yellowstone is $35, so the pass saves you money.


Get this before you start out or the first place you stop and have to pay. You can get it probably close to home but also at any one of the places in this list.


I bought my senior pass on my 62ed birthday by driving about 30 minutes to the project office of a COE lake and dam near my house.

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Old 02-10-2020, 10:07 PM   #14
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I agree it’s a lot of stops for the time we are taking and we are working through that. We may just need to break it into 3 main areas and focus around those.

Yellowstone/Tetons, then Moab/Arches/Canyonlands, then Bryce/Zion/Valley of Fire. May include Grand Canyon in with the last group since its somewhat close and on the route home.

I don’t see enjoying the trip unless we either extend it to 45 days (at least) or eliminating a group like Rushmore/Black Hills/Devils Tower.

Not sure what we are going to have to do yet but I don’t want to be rushed but don’t want to miss anything either. Decisions decisions.

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