Western US National Park RV Tour
Experience the National Parks in the Western United States by RV
16 days / 15 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
The National Parks of the west offer some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes in the world.
Southwestern Utah’s Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks are two of the most geologically fascinating and stunningly beautiful places on earth. Explore colorful canyon walls and looming cliffs in Zion National Park when you trek the Canyon Overlook Trail. Hike the most magnificent slot canyon around: Zion National Park’s Virgin River Narrows, ranked fifth out of America’s best 100 adventures by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Browse galleries in the artist conclave of Springdale and unwind each night while marveling at the brilliance of Utah’s starlit sky.
As you head on north, you come to Wyoming. Wyoming is home to two of our nation’s most renowned national parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.
The highest of the snow-capped, snaggle-toothed Tetons towers 13,770 feet into the clouds. Twelve breathtaking summits in all, the Tetons are home to pristine glacier-carved valleys, spruce and fir forests, alpine meadows, and rushing creeks.
Yellowstone is the world’s first national park. Its beautiful mountains create spectacular valleys that are peppered with geysers, fumaroles, steam vents, and mud pots. Rushing rivers feed crystalline lakes, and lush forests make a comfortable home for grizzly bears, moose, elk, bison, wolves, deer, coyotes, and eagles.
As you turn away from Wyoming and head to Yosemite, You will stay on Highway 20 through Caribou-Targhee National Forest, all the way to Idaho Falls. This is a good place to stretch your legs after the first two hours of your drive day. Take a walk along The River Walk trail system skirting the Snake River in town or check out the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho which showcases eclectic works. Downtown’s Museum of Idaho has local-history exhibits, including items linked to the Lewis and Clark expedition and a re-created 1800s town. Continue on Interstate 15 South for another 113 miles for a nice lunch stop at Shoshone Falls. Shoshone Falls is a waterfall
on the Snake River in southern Idaho. Sometimes called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 212 feet high—45 feet higher than Niagara Falls—and flows over a rim nearly 1,000 feet wide.
Now you’ve made your way to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has inspired poets, painters, photographers, and conservationists for centuries – how will it inspire you on your Vacation?
Drive: Los Angeles, CA to Springdale, UT (450 Miles)
Welcome to Springdale, Utah
Although it is a tiny town of just about 500 people, Springdale hosts thousands of visitors every year. Located just outside beautiful Zion National Park, Springdale is the gateway to everything the park has to offer: rugged, car-free bike trails, challenging hikes, brilliant wildlife and breathtaking vistas. The town’s lodgings and services accommodate travelers on their way to discovering the incomparable beauty of Utah’s natural landscapes.
Explore Downtown Springdale where you’ll discover artist studios, galleries, bookstores, great restaurants and a path through town you can bike or run. Enjoy a tasty dinner at the Bit & Spur and Spotted Dog Cafe or pick up a lunch to-go for the day’s adventures at Sol Foods.
Welcome to Zion National Park
In Utah’s first national park, follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present-day adventures.
You will be required to pay an entrance fee to enter. A private vehicle costs $35 for entry and is good for 7 days. For this trip, we recommend purchasing an Interagency Annual Pass which costs $80 and is good for one year from purchase date in any national park.
Guided Canyoneering in Zion, Drive to Bryce Canyon (75 Miles)
Experience the water carved landscapes of Utah on a canyoneering trip through a sandstone slot canyon. Guided tours involve hiking, rappelling, down-climbing, stemming, and in some cases wading or swimming.
Welcome to Bryce Canyon National Park!
Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but here is the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth. Situated along a high plateau at the top of the Grand Staircase, the park’s high elevations include numerous life communities, fantastic dark skies, and geological wonders that defy description.
Bryce Canyon is not a single canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters or bowls, carved into the edge of a high plateau. The most famous of these is the Bryce Amphitheater, which is filled with irregularly eroded spires of rocks called hoodoos. Perhaps every visitor to the park will spend at least some time marveling at its four main viewpoints, all found within the first few miles of the park: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point.
A few notes to get the most of your visit…
Early bird gets the worm: sunrise and early mornings before 10 a.m. are a great time to visit and find less visitors along trails and at popular overlooks.
Enjoy Bryce Canyon’s Shared Use Path! Just beyond the park entrance, Bryce Canyon City offers plenty of vehicle parking. From there it’s only a 4-mile bike ride or walk to the Bryce Amphitheater.
Park in less busy areas. For example, consider an easy 15-minute walk or even quicker bike ride from the park Visitor Center to Sunrise Point on the rim. Park in the Additional Parking area across from the Visitor Center and enjoy the quiet, forested scenery along the Shared Use Path.
Take a scenic drive to the southern end of the park during the busiest times between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and enjoy some of the quieter overlooks and picnic areas. Visitors are encouraged to drive the entire 18-mile scenic drive to Rainbow Point and work their way back to the park entrance so that all overlooks will be on your right-hand (east) side of the road.
The free park shuttle has resumed and will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily in the Bryce Amphitheater; the Rainbow Bus Tour is not operating at this time; RVs are strongly encouraged to park at the shuttle station and utilize this service or the Shared Use Path, as parking is extremely limited for larger vehicles and congested parking lots may experience short-term closures at peak times.
Bryce Canyon to Jackson, Wyoming (515 Miles)
Remote, rugged, and bursting with creative energy, Jackson, Wyoming, should be on every traveler’s bucket list. (Fun bit of trivia: Though everyone refers to it as Jackson Hole, that’s a misnomer. “Hole” is an old-timey word once used to describe a valley surrounded by high mountains—so Jackson Hole really refers to the entire valley, not just the historic town.) Adventuring outdoors is a way of life here, thanks to Jackson’s proximity to two national parks (Grand Teton and Yellowstone), a ski resort, and Snake River’s rafting and fishing opportunities. But visitors would be missing out if they didn’t save some time for exploring the town’s incredible array of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
After parking your RV, we recommend walking one mile to downtown where you’ll find all of Jackson’s best attractions. Our favorite breakfast restaurants include Persephone Bakery & The Bunnery. Dinner at Local Restaurant & Bar, Gather, or Café Genevieve are a few of our favorites. While downtown, you have to get a classic photo at the elk antler arches on Town Square and check out the Jackson Hole Shootout which happens every night at 6:00 PM. And don’t forget to stop in to Moo’s for a gourmet ice cream!
Explore Grand Teton National Park or Jackson Hole
The START Bus is a very common method of travel to get around town and over to Teton Village without having to drive a car. Talk to the front desk at The Virginian to learn more about pick-up locations and schedules. If you want to get into Grand Teton National Park for the day without moving the RV, our best recommendation is to either rent a small vehicle for the day or arrange private transportation with Jackson Hole Shuttle. Jackson is also very bike-friendly with 67 miles of paved pathways that link the town of Jackson to Teton Village and Grand Teton National Park, and over 115 miles of mountain bike trails. Alternatively, you might also consider scheduling in advance a hike with Jackson Hole Hiking Experience or a fly fishing excursion with Jackson Hole Anglers, as these are full day activities with transportation included.
Jackson to Cody Through Yellowstone (177 Miles)
You made it! Yellowstone was established in 1872 and is officially the United States (and World’s) first National Park. Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.
Be sure to plan ahead and bring food with you to eat for the day when in Yellowstone. Many of the dining options are closed in the park in 2020. Select dining options will be open for “takeout” options only. You can see a list of which park restaurants are open here.
We recommend downloading the Yellowstone National Park App (and make sure to enable the “offline content” in your settings so you can use it without cell service).
A few notes to get the most out of your visit…
- Yellowstone has very little cell service. Download and look up what you need to before entering. Cell service for calling or texting is spotty at best.
- Have patience and enjoy the journey! Don’t rush to get anywhere. You will often see slowed traffic due to wildlife viewing (and unfortunately construction).
- Stay on marked trails and boardwalks; these are here for a reason, especially to keep you safe in geothermal areas where the earth’s crust is fragile.
- Early and late birds get the worm! To avoid crowds, try and plan your visits to top sights in the early morning or late afternoons/ evenings.
- Keep your distance from wildlife – 100 yards for bears and wolves and 25 yards for all other animals. You might consider bringing a pair of binoculars for better close up viewing.
Welcome to Cody, Wyoming!
Cody, Wyoming was founded in 1896 by the living legend, Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who at the age of 41 was one of the most famous men in the world. Founded as a hospitality center, Cody truly is the “Wildwest way into Yellowstone” located just 50 miles from the east entrance and 80 miles from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Experience the west with attractions that include nightly rodeos, gun fight reenactments, cowboy music and the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Outdoor adventure includes rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, fly-fishing, horseback riding or river rafting. Three scenic byways offer opportunities to view wildlife and see some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere. Cody’s downtown includes fine restaurants, art galleries, unique shopping and the historic Irma Hotel.
A few of our favorite restaurants in Cody include The Local, Annie’s Soda Saloon, Our Place Cafe, and Pat O’Hara Brewing Company. All of these options can be found within a 1.5 mile walk of Ponderosa Campground.
Cody is a great place to restock the motorhome with groceries as there are several grocery stores in town as well as a Walmart Supercenter.
While spending a day in Cody, we recommend checking out any of the following experiences:
Buffalo Bill Center of the West The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming is bigger than you think. Five world-class museums covering the size of five football fields take you back in time to a world of cowboys and cowgirls, Plains Indians, and rugged, untouched landscapes. With five world-class museums under one roof and a wealth of after hours programs and experiences, you’ll create one-of-a-kind memories on your journey through Yellowstone. Plan your visit, grab your tickets, and hold onto your hat — it’s time to saddle up and ride into the Wild West.
Cody Firearms Experience Ever wanted to pretend you’re a cowboy? The Cody Firearms Experience has guns you can shoot in their indoor range from an Indian trade musket of the 1700’s to a Colt Walker to a Gatling gun. Experience the West through firearms. First-time shooters encouraged.
Self-Drive Jeep Rental If you want to explore the rugged mountains surrounding Cody by Jeep, then this is the experience for you. The owners of Rocky Mountain Backroads Adventure will work with you on an itinerary designed with maps and safety tips to get you out driving a Jeep in the backcountry.
Red Canyon Wild Mustangs Tour This adventure with Cody Wyoming Adventures is a true American wild mustang safari. Trips depart daily at 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM to the McCullough Peaks Wild Mustang Management Area, 22 miles from Cody. During your 2.5-3 hour trip, you’ll have the opportunity to spot pronghorn antelope, golden eagles, coyotes, blacktailed prairie dogs, and of course, wild mustangs. Binoculars will be provided for every guest.
Cody to Sage Lodge - Through Cooke City (166 Miles)
On the way you will want to check out the sights.
Explore Lamar Valley and the Tower-Roosevelt Area.
These Yellowstone sites are located along the north side of the Upper Loop Road. This area of Yellowstone is home to some of the best wildlife viewing in the park. Pack a lunch or snacks and take your time along the road.
View the Wildlife: Lamar Valley is known as the “American Serengeti”. Bison, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, grizzly bears, mule deer, pronghorn and wolves are some of the many large animals that inhabit the area. The best times to visit are dawn and dusk, but you will most likely see some wildlife all times of day. Keep your binoculars handy, and if you see people pulled over on the side of the road, chances are, they have spotted a wolf, bison or other animals.
Take a Hike: Check out the Parks Day Hike Guide to this area. There are trails to stretch your legs or get a major workout and into the backcountry. Choose your fancy!
Tower Fall: After a short hike from the Tower General Store, you will be rewarded with this famous 132 foot waterfall. The viewpoint is only 100 yards from the store parking area.
Explore the Mammoth Hot Springs Area.
The Mammoth Area has a few great and worthwhile attractions…
Albright Visitor Center: We love all visitors centers and this one is no exception. Built in 1909, the building originally housed the single army officers and now is the jumping off point for exploration in the area. If you don’t know where to start, start here! Visit the wildlife exhibits, get hiking tips from the rangers or grab a guide book from the bookshop.
Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces: Walk on boardwalks above the steaming hydrothermal features or take a drive around the vibrant travertine terraces. From the boardwalks, you will be able to see over 50 different springs. These are a must see, as they vary from all of the other geothermal features within the Park. Mammoth Hot Springs is made of limestone which means that its travertine formations grow much faster than other features in the park. There isn’t any swimming in these springs, but bring your cameras to capture the otherworldly beauty.
Take a Hike: Get out and stretch your legs while walking along the Upper and Lower Boardwalks mentioned above. If you want something a little more strenuous, check out the Day Hike Options starting in the Mammoth Area.
Welcome to Gardiner!
Gardiner is the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The town is situated in breathtaking Paradise Valley with the Yellowstone River running right through town. Founded in 1880, Gardiner is a center of activity for visitors to the region, serving as the only entrance into Yellowstone National Park that remains open to wheeled-vehicle use year-round.
While in Gardiner, we recommend getting your picture taken in front of the Yellowstone sign (there are two signs – one inside the park right before the iconic Roosevelt Arch and one outside the arch as you exit to the right.
Gardiner is a great place to do some souvenir shopping for Yellowstone gifts. And you’ll also want to grab a coffee or an ice cream from The Perk (which also happens to house the town pharmacy – gotta love small towns!)
“Surf and Turf” in Paradise Valley with an Austin Adventures Day Guide
Horseback riding This morning, your Austin Adventures Day Guide will meet you in the lobby of Sage Lodge at 9:00 AM and will whisk you away in private transportation about 30 minutes’ drive to Flying Diamond Ranch. This ranch, owned by fourth-generation ranchers Jack and Martin Davis, provides a stunning location for a picturesque horseback ride up and above Paradise Valley. You’ll have the chance to speak with the ranchers along the ride to learn more about the fascinating life of a cattle rancher living in Montana.
Lunch in Gardiner included at Yellowstone Pizza Co. or similar
Whitewater rafting This afternoon, we’ll head out on the Yellowstone River for an 8-mile trip along the border of Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone white water rafting trip is a fun, wide, high volume river that features rolling wave rapids. Rapids vary on size depending on water levels.
Dinner at Chico Hot Springs Resort with your guide, just a short drive away from Sage Lodge.
Upon completion of this fun-filled day in Paradise Valley, your guide will drop you off post-dinner at Sage Lodge, just in time for you to watch the sunset before hitting the sack.
Sage Lodge to West Yellowstone (113 miles)
Explore Norris Geyser Area and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
This drive brings you back through the North Entrance of Yellowstone and directly south down the Grand Loop Road. We recommend checking out Norris Geyser Basin and then taking a side trip to the famed Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, before backtracking and continuing south and then west to the town of West Yellowstone.
This area is the hottest, oldest and most dynamic thermal area in the Park! The Norris area is divided between two geyser basins, Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin.
If you aren’t sure where to start, park at the main lot and make the Norris Museum your first stop.
Porcelain Basin is barren of trees and provides a sensory experience in sound, color, and smell; a 3/4-mile (1.2-km) bareground and boardwalk trail accesses this area. This geyser basin almost feels like you are exploring another planet.
Back Basin is more heavily wooded with features scattered throughout the area. A 1.5-mile (2.4-km) trail of boardwalks and bareground encircles this part of the basin. The Steamboat Geyser is in the Back Basin and the tallest geyser in the world. It has been known to reach a height of 400 feet, but it is very unpredictable. Hopefully you get to see it go!
If you are short on time, go see the Steamboat Geyser and then hike the 1 mile loop around Porcelain Basin.
Explore the Canyon Area
No trip to Yellowstone is complete without heading to and gaping at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The Canyon is roughly 20 miles long and is a dramatic painting of colors, shapes and materials. There are many viewpoints in the area, and they are all amazing.
Canyon Village Education Center: As always the best way to orient yourself (and learn) is by heading to the visitor center! The Canyon one features exhibits on the Yellowstone Supervolcano, presents park films in the theatre, and provides information via rangers or real-time information displays.
The two ways to see the canyon are via the South Rim and North Rim…
North Rim Drive begins 1.2 miles (1.9 km) south of Canyon Junction. This one-way road takes you to four accessible views of the canyon, each featuring a different aspect of the canyon’s power, color, and geology. At Brink of Lower Falls, glimpse Lower Falls and Upper Falls from paved accessible trails at the top or descend the steep Brink Trail to witness the Lower Falls’ power. View Lower Falls again from Lookout, and see it again from a distance at Inspiration Point. Grand View offers spectacular views of the canyon and river.
The spur road to Brink of Upper Falls is 1.6 miles (2.6 km) south of Canyon Junction on the Grand Loop Road. Follow the paved path to a dramatic vantage point for viewing the Yellowstone River as plunges over Upper Falls.
South Rim Drive begins 2.3 miles (3.7 km) south of Canyon Junction and leads you to views of Upper Falls at Uncle Tom’s Point and of Lower Falls and the canyon at Artist Point.
Welcome to West Yellowstone!
The Town of West Yellowstone welcomes visitors with Western hospitality that’s second to none.This town is truly a four-season destination, with camping, hiking and fly-fishing in the warmer months and snowmobiling and Nordic skiing when the snow flies. As the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, and bordered on three sides by National Forests, West Yellowstone offers nearly limitless recreational opportunities for visitors and residents alike.
Geyser Basins Guided Exploration with Austin Adventures Day Guide
This morning, your Austin Adventures Day Guide will meet you just outside the Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone at 9:00 AM. Look for an Austin Adventures 15-passenger van.
Your guide will drive you into the West Entrance of the park. A 45-minute drive will bring you to the trailhead for the Overlook of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. Grand Prismatic is the third largest hot spring in the world and one of the most beautiful; you’ll find its image on all sorts of items in Yellowstone’s gift shops! Rather than walking the boardwalk around the geyser, we’ll walk up to the nearby overlook as the best colors are seen from above looking down.
Next, your guide will whisk you off to the nearby Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful and many other fascinating geothermal features. Here, you’ll enjoy a packed picnic lunch (provided by your guide), and will have time to explore the area. We’ll of course watch an eruption of Old Faithful herself! We can also fit in a short hike up to Observation Point to see the entire geyser basin from high up or we can walk around the miles of boardwalks in the area to check out the many features.
Late afternoon, we’ll begin our drive back to West Yellowstone. Your guide will drop you off at Yellowstone RV Park and you can enjoy dinner on your own at your campsite or in town.
West Yellowstone to Wells, NV (380 Miles)
What you’ll see along the drive:
You will stay on Highway 20 through Caribou-Targhee National Forest, all the way to Idaho Falls. This is a good place to stretch your legs after the first two hours of your drive day. Take a walk along The River Walk trail system skirting the Snake River in town or check out the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho which showcases eclectic works. Downtown’s Museum of Idaho has local-history exhibits, including items linked to the Lewis and Clark expedition and a re-created 1800s town.
Continue on Interstate 15 South for another 113 miles for a nice lunch stop at Shoshone Falls. Shoshone Falls is a waterfall on the Snake River in southern Idaho. Sometimes called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 212 feet high—45 feet higher than Niagara Falls—and flows over a rim nearly 1,000 feet wide.
After your lunch stop and visit to the falls, get back on Highway 93 and continue traveling south to Wells, Nevada.
Wells, NV to Lee Vining, CA (418 Miles)
Lee Vining is minutes away from Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park, the ghost town of Bodie, and Mono Lake. Motels, restaurants, service stations, markets, churches, and other visitor services are available. You’ll be welcomed with small-town hospitality. While in Lee Vining, visit the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore(also the Chamber of Commerce), the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, and the Mono Basin Historical Society Museum. Each offers interpretive displays, information, and friendly staff to help acquaint you with the rich human and natural history of the area.
Explore Mono Lake or Bodie Ghost Town
After plenty of driving the last few days, we recommend a layover day spent checking out the sites near Mono Vista RV Park. You might choose to check out:
Mono Lake: Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old — one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. The reserve was established to preserve the spectacular “tufa towers,” calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface itself as well as the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year.
Bodie Ghost Town: Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake.
Lee Vining, California to Oakhurst, California via Yosemite National Park
Welcome to Yosemite National Park!
Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
We recommend downloading the Yosemite National Park App (and make sure to enable the “offline content” in your settings so you can use it without cell service).
A few notes to get the most out of your visit…
- Yosemite’s weather tends to change quickly so be sure to dress in layers.
- Yosemite has a dry climate so steer clear of dehydration and overheating by drinking plenty of water in conjunction with scheduling the most strenuous parts of your activity before or after the peak heat of the day.
- Park your RV in Yosemite Valley (see parking below) and get around by bicycle.
- While Yosemite has some modern-day conveniences—a well-stocked grocery store, luxury lodges—you likely won’t be able to Instagram that epic shot of Half Dome right away. Cell phone signals are spotty, at best, and at most points in the park, nonexistent. More significantly, you won’t be able to pull up a map with GPS, so make sure to keep a paper map on you, especially when driving.
Parking an RV in Yosemite Valley
Parking an RV in Yosemite Valley – Parking an RV in Yosemite Valley: Class A and B RVs can park in the Half Dome Village Day Use lot, or in the parking lot west of Yosemite Valley Lodge, across from Camp 4. Class C RVs can park in the day use parking area at Yosemite Village, or in the parking area west of Yosemite Valley Lodge. It’s important to know that vehicles longer than 45 feet are not allowed on any of the roads leading into Yosemite Valley. If you have a vehicle over 45 feet in length, either park outside the park and take public transportation in (see below) or stick to Tioga Road between Lee Vining and Crane Flat Campground.
What to check out in Yosemite Valley
This geologic marvel, a 4,000-foot-deep trough lined by towering cliffs and glacially sculpted, polished rock, is the prized jewel of Yosemite National Park. Although glacially carved valleys with similar features exist elsewhere in the world, none can compete with what legendary naturalist John Muir called “Incomparable Valley.” Here’s a few things you might want to check out while you’re in the main valley…
Biking the Trails: Park the RV and take advantage of 12 miles of paved trails in the Valley, which offer excellent views of Yosemite Falls and access to popular sites like Mirror Lake. Make sure to bring bike locks with you if you wish to bike to a trailhead and leave your bike behind to hike!
Hike the Mist Trail: The John Muir and Mist Trails offer spectacular, up-close views of two large waterfalls, enjoyable scenery along the Merced River, and unique views across Yosemite Valley. This first paved mile of trail is busiest and accesses the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Almost entirely uphill, you can appreciate views along the way. This hike gives you options of hiking to the Footbridge (1.6 mi roundtrip), top of Vernal Fall (2.4 mi roundtrip), or top of Nevada Fall (5.4 mi roundtrip).
Hike Mirror Lake: Mirror Lake has little water much of the year and, while pleasant at any time of year, it is fullest in spring and early summer, when Tenaya Creek flows freely with fresh snowmelt. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. The hike to Mirror Lake is considered easy and takes 2-3 hours round trip.
Hike Lower Yosemite Falls: Part of North America’s tallest waterfall, Lower Yosemite Fall is the final 320-foot (98-meter) drop. Deafening in spring and early summer when the waterfall peaks in volume, you can expect to get sprayed with water when standing on the footbridge near its base. This short, easy walk rewards with spectacular views of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. This paved loop trail offers different vantage points of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Creek, and you can stop at the many exhibits to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.
Swimming: Swimming is generally permitted in all bodies of water in the park. Swimming in the Merced River is a popular way to cool off–but help protect the river by entering and exiting only on sandy beaches. Swimming in rivers is not without hazards, including swift currents, cold water, and hazards within the river (e.g., trees).
Oakhurst, California to LA (~264 miles)
You have about 4 to 5 hours of driving in front of you today (not counting traffic time) in front of you today. You might choose to take a direct route home through Fresno or Bakersfield. Alternatively, you can take the “scenic route” home with side trips to Kings Canyon National Park and/or Sequoia National Park.
Don’t forget to return the RV!
You tell us when you want to leave and we will make all the arrangements.
We require a $2,000 development fee. $1,000 to start the process, with the balance due on approval.
RV trips average $400-$600 a day depending on the RV and services. You will receive a breakdown of expenses after approval of your itinerary.
Arrival & Departure
This RV trip begins in the Los Angeles area. Depending on your arrival time, you may decide to spend the night before beginning your RV trip.
Guided and unguided hiking: 1-6 miles per hike, easy to difficult terrain
Discovery: Learn the history of our nations national parks as you visit each one. You’ll delve deep in the geologic story of Zion, human and natural history, and highlight many significant moments in the 18 million year timeline of the Narrows. Along the way, there are any moments of learning, but also a great deal of fun, reflection and meditation, and photography galore. Learn about Bryce Canyon and the homesteaders who settled there in the area in 1874. Discover Grand Teton’s 310,000 acres that include lush valley floors, mountain meadows, alpine lakes and the rising peaks of the Teton Range. While iconic locations like Mormon Row and the Moulton Barns may be the most photographed destinations in the park, Grand Teton’s celestial peaks also provide the perfect setting for nature lovers, outdoor adventurers and road trippers who are looking to explore the park’s incredible landscapes.
Learn about how Yellowstone was established in 1872 and is officially the United States (and World’s) first National Park. Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
National Park Expert
As President of Operations at Austin Adventures, Kasey Austin can tell you the logistical ins and outs of every single trip. More than that, though, Kasey has lived and breathed most of the company’s featured destinations and will eagerly share her contagious passion for the transformational power of active travel. Kasey grew up in the adventure travel business; she knows the positive, lifelong impact of family travel, a quality that earned her the distinction of being named top family travel guide by Outside Magazine in 2014.