I think one of the amazing things about living in the United States is the diversity of our land. As an avid camping family, it has long been a dream of ours to take the iconic “trip out West”. I can not even begin to tell you how much time I spent planning this trip! Between the input of our dear friends (who have made the trip multiple times and had great tips for us) and the input of my brother/sister, we had the road trip of a lifetime! There is no possible way I can put everything in one single post so I am going to break the trip down into destinations and I will link places we stayed along with parks we visited. It was amazing. Truly. Everyone should go!
5 Things You Must Do When Planning a Wild West Trip:
- Decide how far you want to go and then use Roadtrippers App to map possible routes.
- Pick realistic goals- there is no way you can see everything in Utah, Colorado, and Arizona in two weeks. Pick your top places to see but give yourself time to recover too. The altitude and heat can really affect you! There were 2-3 days that my husband really felt miserable because we pushed too hard trying to see everything. In the end, I wished we had planned more down time. And we ended up doing more than we had planned on some days just because we felt like it and we had time. That’s ok too! Either way it will be amazing so just go with the flow!
- Plan to reserve campsites at least 6 months ahead because the campgrounds will be full if you wait!
- If you are visiting multiple National Parks research the National Parks Pass! It saved us a lot of $$ as most of the National Parks have entrance fees!
- Plan age appropriate hikes/activities. There really is something for everyone!
Here is the link to our Roadtrippers Map:
On the Road…
We headed West from Chattanooga, TN on a Thursday afternoon with my brother and his family. Our friends, Steve and Teresa would drive out a few days later and meet us in Moab. We drove to Little Rock, Arkansas. We boon docked overnight in a Cracker Barrel Parking lot. This was our first attempt at boon docking. It was a good experience, really easy to park and there were several other RV’s staying overnight. If you plan to boon dock, make sure to fill your freshwater tank and bring a generator if your RV is not equipped with one.
The next morning we headed further West, driving through Arkansas, Oklahoma and part of Texas. We stopped in Amarillo, Texas for the night. (Along the way, we viewed some of the historic flooding that was taking place along the Mississippi River. One of the campgrounds we had booked for the trip home had already cancelled our reservation due to flooding.) Our third, and final, long day of driving took us through the remainder of Texas and through New Mexico to the first National Park on our parks list.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a unique park indeed. You really have to see it to believe it! Based on the recommendation of our friends, Steve and Teresa, we spend one day/night at Mesa Verde National Park before heading on to our next destination. We didn’t plan on doing any of the hikes at Mesa Verde because I am terrified of heights and my nephew is unable to climb the ladders required on the hikes here. We drove to the overlooks and walked down some of the trails but we didn’t attempt to do a tour where they take you to the cliff dwellings. I still can’t believe people lived in these cliff dwellings! Just imagine what it was like to have a toddler living there! It’s terrifying and it’s amazing!
We stayed at Mesa Verde National Park Campground. It was a beautiful campground, teeming with wildlife!
Our next destination was my favorite! Check back tomorrow for a continuation of our Wild West Trip!
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