14 Days, 3,538 Miles, 9 States, 5 National Parks, 3 National Memorials
Living in the big city of L.A. is great, except every winter around this time I always catch myself dreaming of wide-open skies instead of crowded highways and whistling birds rather than blaring horns on the 405. Recently, I turned this dream into a reality for myself for this coming summer. I planned a 14-day road trip to 9 states, 5 national parks and 3 national memorials, staying at Under Canvas along the way. Here’s how I’ll be spending my summer break in 2019 and you could too!
Day 1: LA to the Grand Canyon
Wake up early, pack the car and gab a quick breakfast sandwich at Eggslut. Wave goodbye to LA and head to the Grand Canyon. Drive for 4 hours and stop for lunch at (aptly named) Catfish Paradise by Lake Havasu. Drive the rest of the way to Under Canvas’ Grand Canyon camp.
Day 2: Grand Canyon National Park
Wake up before the sun and drive to Mather Point to fulfill my dreams of watching the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Take plenty of photos and head to Hermits Rest to hike the Hermit Trail. After, go to the Red Raven Restaurant for a well-deserved dinner and beer. Go back to the Under Canvas Grand Canyon camp and enjoy the comfortable king-sized bed.
Day 3: Horseshoe Bend and Monument Valley
Drive two and a half hours to Horseshoe Bend. Take in the views with a late breakfast and hike around. Drive two more hours to Monument Valley. Hike the Wildcat Trail in Monument Valley and drive three hours to the Under Canvas Moab camp.
Day 4: Arches National Park
Sleep in and wake up to the sounds of the desert and enjoy breakfast at camp. Hit all the bucket list items at Arches National Park including, double arch, balanced rock and delicate arch for sunset. Drive back to camp and take in the view of the stars from the porch of my tent.
Day 5: Denver, CO
Wake up and say see ya’ later to Utah. Drive three hours to Glenwood Springs, Colorado and give my legs a break from hiking by soaking in the natural hot springs. Drive the last two and a half hours and grab dinner at Denver Milk Market and choose from one of the many options at this collective eatery.
Day 6: Denver to Mt. Rushmore
Get a coffee and plenty of good podcasts for the five-hour drive to the Mammoth Site in South Dakota and see mammoth bones! Drive to the Under Canvas Mt. Rushmore camp and enjoy the luxuries of glamping; especially the hot shower and soft bed.
Day 7: Mt. Rushmore and Badlands National Park
Get up before the sun and take coffee to watch the sunrise over Mt. Rushmore from the observation deck just outside of the main tent.
Get a cinnamon roll from the Colonial House Restaurant & Bar in Rapid City. Drive an hour to Badlands National Park and hike the Medicine Root Trail. Drive back to the Under Canvas Mt. Rushmore camp and roast marshmallows over the campfire.
Day 8: Billings, MT
Leave Mt. Rushmore and drive just 30 minutes to the Crazy Horse Mountain Memorial and cross into Montana. Drive just under 5 hours to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Do an audio tour using my phone and then drive to Billings, Montana. Get world class craft beer and mac n cheese at Uberbrew.
Day 9: Yellowstone National Park
Quick breakfast at the hotel and drive four and a half hours to Yellowstone National Park. Check out Yellowstone classics like Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Upper Yellowstone Falls. Drive to Under Canvas Yellowstone.
Day 10: Yellowstone National Park
Wake up early, pack plenty of water and snacks and hike to the top of Mt. Washburn. Take in the views from the top with the mountain goats. Change into a swimsuit and rest my tired legs in the Boiling River. Drive back to the Under Canvas camp and relax.
Day 11: Salt Lake City, UT
Drive four and a half hours from Yellowstone to Salt Lake City. On the way, stop in Provo and get a glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls. Drive into Salt Lake City and get dinner and a movie at Brewvies.
Day 12: Zion National Park
Get breakfast at Pig & A Jelly Jar before driving four and a half hours to Zion. Drive the Mt. Camel Scenic Highway and stop at the Riverside Walk for a peaceful stroll between the towering canyon walls. Drive to Under Canvas Zion for a great night sleep.
Day 13: Zion National Park
Wake up early and pack water and snacks. Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing for a spectacular view. Take plenty of photos and savor the last hike of the trip. Stop at weeping rock and weep a bit too since the trip is coming to an end. Dinner at the Under Canvas camp.
Day 14: Zion National Park to LA
Wake up and savor the last few minutes in the Under Canvas bed. Enjoy coffee and the silence of the desert before driving away from the cactus and into the city.
In total, this road trip is 3,538 miles and will take me to some seriously amazing places. Feeling anxious like me to get out of the city? Stop dreaming and plan your road trip today! Do you have any recommendations for places I missed? Let me know in the comments.
What are you going to do with your TENt PASS?