At least once in a lifetime, you have to go sightseeing out west. Yellowstone is a national treasure, but we want to share other amazing stops on your way to Yellowstone–that way you get all you can from your road adventure!
Timberline RV Campground is the place to start your first night headed west. You will find this campground on the outskirts of Waukee, Iowa. The park has a store, swimming pool, rec hall, a dog park for your four-legged travel partner, basketball and volleyball courts, laundry room, Wifi, the list stretches on. From here, downtown Des Moines is only 15 minutes away, which leaves tons of options for things to do. We suggest the Wells Fargo History Museum and the Pappajohn Sculpture Park as a few places to visit. If you are staying a few days at this first stop, there is also the Blank Park Zoo and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to spend time in as well.
But don’t plan to stay too long, because there is a lot more road going west!
Tatanka Custer State Park in South Dakota is well-known for the buffalo–there are thousands of the majestic beasts, and many park goers said that there is a ton to see here, however the bison alone are worth the trip. 1.2 Million acres of the Black Hills National Forest surrounds the city of Custer, and you should plan a leisurely drive because there is the Crazy Horse Memorial to see, and of course the iconic Mount Rushmore is within 25 minutes of the park. This is not to mention Devils Tower, which is two hours away, and why we suggest a day to just drive and see the many gorgeous landmark monuments that South Dakota has to offer.
Of course, Sioux Falls Park in South Dakota has the triple waterfall to gaze into. Every second, 7,400 gallons of water are dropping 100 feet. If you aren’t mesmerized, well, then let’s try seeing the Butterfly House and Aquarium, taking one of the many Sioux Falls bike trails, or maybe visiting the Old Courthouse Museum.
Next up, Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and the majesty of the mountain ranges are a backpackers dream! The official website for Grand Teton will let you know whether the grizzly and black bears are active. As of this writing, the bears are active, so brush up on your bear safety. That can be found on the Grand Teton website. Autumn in the Tetons starts at the beginning of September and goes through mid-October. The leaves change, and all of the moose, elk, and deer are in their mating season. You can hear as they search for a mate, their voices echo. Every now and then visitors catch a sparring match. Nearby, visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Lake Solitude, Cascade Canyon, or any other place along the road that inspires you.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is next, and there is so much to see here that whether you schedule a day or 3 days, you cannot take it all in. Drive through the Roosevelt Arch. See the park that boasts of more than 1,100 historic structures that they are happy to talk you through. The vast amounts of wildlife in Yellowstone has always garnered attention. Since the establishment of the park as a national park in 1872, you can plan to see bison, elk, trout, grizzlies, deer. The list stretches on to over 60 types of mammals, 200 birds, and of course, the Yellowstone Wolves.
The geology of the park includes Old Faithful and other geysers. There are hot springs, mud pots, petrified forests, and over 300 waterfalls. For the avid fisher–there are fishing passes available, which only allow catch and release. There are more than 220 lakes, and 1,000 streams in Yellowstone to try your hand at. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a must see. While in Yellowstone, see the Morning Glory Pool and various other well-known attractions. We could tell you of other attractions, but Yellowstone is enough all by itself.
One Final National Park
Glacier National Park in Montana is a good wrap up spot. Not that there has to be an end to a road adventure like this. Known as the Crown of the Continent, streams flow from here to the Pacific, Hudson’s Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. Make sure you take part of “Going-to-the-Sun Road.” This road connects the east and west sides of the park, through the middle of the park. There is no end to the things to do in this park either. From skiing to fishing (no licenses are needed, but there are different rules for different bodies of water) to going on Ranger led programs. Visit one of the many lakes such as Lake McDonald or Avalanche Lake while you are in the area. You can take a guided horseback trail ride on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Don’t just stay on the beaten path we’ve brought up! There is so much to see that we couldn’t write a blog long enough. We can’t claim this is just a once-in-a-lifetime trip–this is one you may have to do a few times.