Winter RV Adventure to National Parks: Utah, Wyoming and Arizona

When thinking about where to go for a super fun winter getaway, remember Utah, Wyoming and Arizona. These scenic jewels are often overlooked when planning a winter RV camping excursion. Begin your journey around Salt Lake City where you can rent an RV from El Monte’s RV Rentals. You would travel from Salt Lake City, perhaps driving north first to visit Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming. Dinosaurs once roamed in Dinosaur National Monument and their remains are still visible embedded in the rocks today. The mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support an array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here. Dinosaur offers much to explore. There are several campgrounds in Dinosaur and nearby.

Fossil Butte National Monument is nicknamed America’s aquarium in stone. The world’s best preserved fossils are found here in the flat-topped ridges of southwestern Wyoming’s cold sagebrush desert. Fossilized fish, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals are exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation. Most remarkable is the story they tell of ancient life in a subtropical landscape. While camping is not available in this park, there are many choices of places to camp nearby.

As you travel south through Utah, be sure to stop at Arches National Park and Zion National Park before heading south to Arizona and Grand Canyon National Park, celebrating its 100thbirthday this year.

Arches National Park

Most visits to Arches involve traveling by vehicle along the scenic drive, which provides access to many viewpoints and trailheads. Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural arches in the world. Over 2,500 of these unusual rock formations can be found here. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area. The park is within an arid, high desert environment with hot summers and cold winters. Parking is limited at all destinations. Popular trailheads like Delicate Arch and Devils Garden often fill for hours at a time, especially on weekends and holidays. Many parking spots can’t fit recreational vehicles (RVs) or vehicles with trailers. If you’re towing a car, considering driving it instead and leaving the big rig outside the park. For more suggestions on traveling in the park and how to avoid the crowds, visit the NPS Traffic & Travel Tips page.

Zion National Park

Zion was Utah’s first national park and is still quite popular. Here you can follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. You’ll be able to gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. You can experience true 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.

Grand Canyon National Park

Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. The Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. The South Rim is open all year but the North Rim is closed now until May of 2020. Be sure to take advantage of the National Park Service Trip Planner for planning a successful trip to this icon of National Parks. Also check out their calendar of events to commemorate the centennial anniversary of this park’s creation

Camping Spots

In your RV you can discover some of America’s best outdoor experiences in the West.

Here are just a few choices:

Camp in the National Parks – with reservations required for many spots, you may have to book early to get one. But, many sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our national park system is so technologically sophisticated that you can get full details including which sites filled yesterday and by what time at their websites.

  • For Arches National Park, you can camp at one of 51 campsites among slick rock outcroppings at Devils Garden Campground18 miles from the park entrance. You can reserve standard campsites up to 6 months in advance for stays March 1-October 31. All sites are usually reserved months in advance. Between November 1 and February 28, sites are first-come, first-served. Facilities include drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and both pit-style and flush toilets. For Arches National Park reservations, check out the link above.


  • For Zion National Park, there are three on-site campgrounds plus at least five off-site if the ones in the park are full. You should make reservations to get in Zion as it fills up quickly especially in the summer. To make Zion reservations, contact the park directly.


  • For Grand Canyon National Park camping, find all the information on their website. There are four developed campgrounds where vehicles are permitted plus RV hookups can be found at Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. The Desert View Campground is closed for winter but when open, it is on a first-come, first-served basis.


To make the most of your National Park RV camping trip, you can easily rent an RV at El Monte RV Rentals in Salt Lake City.

And just to remind you, you can still take advantage of our Season of Thanks Special offer– from now until December 15th, you get a 7thnight free with a 6 night rental from any El Monte RV location. Check all our locations to find one that is nearest you.

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, Utah RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Vacations in our Favorite National Parks – A Great Time to Visit Wyoming

Wyoming offers many parks and a great climate for summer RV enthusiasts. Here are some of the most popular but not necessarily really crowded spots. Check out the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in Wyoming. You may want to make a few more stops at Jackson Hole and Devil’s Tower, as well as Mount Rushmore while you are there.

If you are starting out in Denver, at El Monte’s RV Rentals, you would travel north from Colorado and maybe pick some spots to stay along the way but be sure to get all the way to Wyoming this summer as it is truly a national treasure.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Lots of folks travel to Wyoming during the summer to get a tour of Yellowstone National Park, but ten miles north you will find the craggy peaks, open meadows, and pleasant views of Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton has everything that a western National Park should have to make it a great trip even if you’re not visiting Yellowstone. If you want to capture the beauty of the area but don’t want to be fighting the crowds at Yellowstone then Grand Teton is a great alternative. Grand Teton also has many great RV parks and is close to lots of other summer fun at Jackson Hole.

Brief History 

Native Americans have been calling the regions of Teton home for around 11,000 years. American settlers and fur trappers came across the region in the early 19th century and preyed on of the area’s vast resources. The US Government led further exploration of the area and its first permanent settlement, Jackson Hole, was founded around the later period of the 19th century.

At the same time, many settlers urged the US to protect the land so near to Yellowstone and on February 26, 1929, the US Congress declared Grand Teton National Park protected. Soon after oil magnate and conservationist John D. Rockefeller began buying up large swaths of land around Jackson Hole to increase the park’s boundaries. This land became known as Jackson Hole National Monument and was added to the park in 1950.

Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone is one of the nation’s most popular National Parks and sees more people during summer than any other season. You may want to visit there along with many others as it offers 12 campgrounds with more than 2,000 sites. The Yellowstone National Park Lodges takes reservations for five of the campgrounds and the rest are first-come, first-served. They also offer a network of backcountry campsites if you prefer the roads less-traveled. Yellowstone is in the mountains and campsites are located at altitudes from 6,250 to 7,800 feet.

If time allows, make a side trip to Devil’s Tower, which made a cameo appearance in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” You can actually take a nighttime hayride around the Devils Tower National Monument. Devil’s Tower boasts “Half the Park is After Dark” due to the magnificent star viewing you can see from many of the park’s locations.

Devil’s Tower is near the gorgeous Keyhole Reservoir and Keyhole State Park for some on the water fun. Amateur archeologists will have a blast at Vore Buffalo Jump and if you’re trying to squeeze in some sightseeing have no fear as Mount Rushmore is less than a half hour due east from Devil’s Tower.

Camping Spots

You can discover some of America’s best outdoor experiences in Wyoming.

Here are just a few choices:

Camp in the National Parks – with reservations for many spots, you may have to book early to get one. But, our national park system is sophisticated and many sites are first-come, first-served. You can get full details including which sites filled yesterday at their websites.

  • For Grand Teton National Park reservations, click here.
  • For Yellowstone National Park reservations, click here.
  • For Devil’s Tower National Park reservations, click here.

To make the most of your trip, you can easily rent an RV at El Monte RV Rentals in Denver.

Posted in National Parks, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment

Holiday RV Travel—Christmas on the Road

Travel over Christmas break isn’t something new—but it doesn’t have to mean a crowded ski lodge or peak-season-priced hotel rooms. If your family’s ready to try something new, why not pack the RV and find the magic of Christmas on the road? For regions where weather conditions don’t favor RV travel, consider flying to a warmer spot and picking up a rental RV for your adventure.

We’ve collected some tips for keeping Christmas merry and bright while traveling by RV with the family. Pick one or try them all—these ideas are handpicked to bring holiday cheer to RV camping families.  We’ve even got a Holiday Special to help with your RV rental!

Christmas TreeRV Holiday Travel Destinations 

What RV camping destinations are popular at Christmas? Let’s narrow that answer down a bit. What does your family enjoy doing together? Where have you dreamed of going to get away for the holidays? Combining the winter holidays with activities everyone will enjoy is the key to an unforgettable holiday RV road trip.

Here are just a few suggestions for holiday RV travel destinations.

Ski Resorts with RV Parks combine winter sports, beautiful mountain settings and affordable accommodations. An excellent example of a year-round campground is the Fireside Resort near the ski slopes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Many ski resorts allow boondocking, or dry camping, in self-contained motorhomes in their parking lots, so be sure to ask what’s available.

Theme Park Christmas Getaways are perfect for RV camping families who want to keep the fun going over the holidays. A big plus—theme parks dress up in their holiday best and host special events to add excitement to your family’s winter break.

Many RVers are familiar with Fort Wilderness Camping Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, but did you know there are plenty of other options for holiday camping near theme parks? Check out Paradise by the Sea Resort in San Diego. You’ll be within easy driving distance of Legoland and San Diego Sea World. Arlington KOA is minutes away from Six Flags Over Texas. When you’ve chosen your theme park destination, look for on-site campgrounds or campgrounds within an easy drive.

Christmas Camping in the Beauty of Nature

Discovering natural wonders is one more way families who camp together get the most from their winter breaks. Think of the memories you’ll make sharing Yuletide delights surrounded by desert vistas (Mojave National Preserve in Southern California), discovering trails along a rocky riverbank (Colorado Bend State Park north of Austin, TX) or exploring Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia.

RV Holiday Travel Tips 

No matter which holiday RV travel destination you choose, it’s easy to keep the excitement building along the way. Try these tips: 

Twelve Days of RV Christmas: Pick a theme and plan small gifts for everyone to enjoy each day as the holiday approaches. Time together as a family is the goal as each person unwraps the day’s gift. You could also draw names for ‘Secret Santa’ gifts to be purchased along the way or before you begin your trip.

Take Holiday Traditions on the Road: Bring along the holiday traditions that mean the most to your family. Pack the holiday books or movies you always share as a family. Sing along with Christmas music on the radio. Make each youngster a travel bag with holiday-themed coloring or puzzle books. Let older kids choose an audiobook of a Christmas classic to share.

Bring the ingredients for favorite cookies and candies, and spend the day baking together at the campground. Stock your RV kitchen with cocoa mix, marshmallows and candy canes for a shared treat while watching for Santa. Buy Command™ hooks to hang stockings without damaging the walls of your motorhome. Do you always have chili for Christmas Eve dinner? Is there a special cookie plate to set out with Santa’s goodies? All it takes is a little planning to transform your winter RV trip into a holiday to remember.

Holiday travel by RV can be whatever your family wants it to be. Carry on treasured traditions while traveling to a special destination, or explore the holiday traditions of other regions and cultures. Camp in extraordinary natural settings and spend the time bonding with your family. Traveling by motorhome gives you the freedom to shape your winter holiday celebrations into something remarkable.

Posted in California RV Camping Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, Texas RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Five Northwest Lake Destinations to Discover

Out of RV Travel Ideas?

If you camp by RV often, you may find the same old campgrounds losing their luster. We’ve got five enticing lake destinations in America’s rugged Northwest to help restart your RV camping hearts. Pick one from our list below and get back on the road to camping fun.

  1.   Washington – Lake Chelan

Located in the mountainous forests of Central Washington, Lake Chelan is a developed lake ringed by resort properties, quaint villages and abundant RV camping options.

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Sunset at Lake Chelan, WA

Winding its way through Lake Chelan National Recreation AreaLakeshore RV Resort, operated by the city of Chelan, features full-service amenities paired with a swimming beach and easy access to services in town.the lake is custom-made for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping are popular ways to enjoy the bright blue waters of Lake Chelan and the surrounding Cascades. Campers are also within an easy drive of wineries, galleries, restaurants and shops in two lakeside villages – Chelan and Manson. A must-do day trip idea—hike or take the passenger ferry to the rustic village of Stehekin to enjoy unspoiled beauty.    

  1.   Oregon – Lake of the Woods

If you’ve been RV camping in Oregon, you’ve probably camped at magnificent Crater Lake. We’d like to offer Oregon travelers another possibility—RV camping at Lake of the Woods, a smaller, more intimate setting with plenty of woodsy charm.

Lake of the Woods, in Oregon’s Southern Cascades, is a high mountain lake kept full year-round by snow runoff and natural springs. Kokanee salmon, German Brown and Rainbow Trout thrive in the cold, clear waters at five-thousand-feet elevation.

Lake of the Woods Resort operates the camping concession within Fremont-Winema National Forest. Their small, nicely wooded campground features full hook-up and electric & water sites and is close to the marina.

Plan to spend many hours outdoors at this lush mountain paradise, where trails wind through old-growth forests, around the lake and beyond to nearby mountains. Views of Mt. McLoughlin frame your journey as you paddle a canoe or kayak along the lake’s shoreline.

  1.   Idaho – Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d’Alene in Northern Idaho is famous for its bright blue waters and first-class outdoor recreation. Camp in one of several RV campgrounds and resorts near the city of Coeur d’Alene and enjoy tour boat cruises, guided fishing excursions for chinook and bass, and golf on one of ten courses that ring this stunningly scenic lake.

Trails in and around the city (be sure to try Tubbs Hill), as well as a section of the seventy-mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, cater to hikers, trail runners and mountain biking enthusiasts. Adjacent Coeur d’Alene National Forest is also home to hundreds of miles of trails.

  1.   Montana – Flathead Lake

Been promising your camping companions a fishing charter experience? There’s no better place in Montana to fish than Flathead Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi.

Situated in the valley adjacent to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake is fed by two cold, clear rivers. Local outfitters can guide you to where the forty-plus-pound Lake Trout (Mackinaws) feed.

If you’re not into fishing, never fear. The lake is surrounded by hiking trails, two scenic highways that skirt the lake’s thirty-mile length and plenty of places to enjoy wildlife watching, swimming, water sports and comfortable Montana RV camping.

Speaking of camping, Finley Point State Park Campground and a half-dozen private RV parks ring the lake, offering a variety of amenities. Most are on the water or in the lakeside towns of Polson, Bigfork and Rollins.

  1.   Wyoming – Jackson Lake

One of the star attractions of Grand Teton National Park is the collection of alpine lakes within the park’s boundaries. Several of these mountain lakes are remote, accessible to hikers and tent campers. There are, however, RV camping options near the chilly, pristine waters of Jackson Lake.

Colter Bay RV Park, five minutes from Jackson Lake, is a full-service campground with full-hookups and easy access to services in Colter Bay Village. Colter Bay Campground is a large, wooded campground suitable for dry camping in an RV. Showers, laundry facilities and a dump station are close by.

Why camp at Jackson Lake while visiting Grand Teton National Park? It’s centrally located for access to all the park has to offer. The lake itself is famous for cutthroat, brown trout and lake trout fishing, and is also perfect for launching your sailboat or kayak. Boat tours are offered throughout the summer to give campers an up-close view of Mt. Moran and other jagged peaks that border the lake.

Pick a lake that appeals to your heart and plan to go RV camping soon in America’s glorious Northwest. Be sure to let us know which lakeside camping adventure you’ll be repeating!

Posted in Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, RV Campgrounds, State Parks, Washington RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

AAA Members-Look Skyward! 2017 Eclipse RV Travel Savings

You may have noticed our earlier discussion about the singular celestial event that’s coming to America in 2017. To refresh your memories, we’ll be enjoying a total solar eclipse over America on August 21, 2017. A special reason we’re highlighting this opportunity for RV travel again is that AAA members can save big when renting an RV to view the solar eclipse.

AAA members always enjoy RV rental discounts through El Monte RV Rental & Sales as part of their active membership. For this year’s total solar eclipse experience, the nationwide auto club is encouraging members to hit the road in an RV to find the optimal eclipse viewing sites.

This article on the 2017 eclipse in AAA’s April member newsletter offers information on where, when and how to view the eclipse. If you aren’t currently a AAA member, this link offers you the opportunity to join so you can take advantage of the RV rental discounts.  

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

Haven’t started making plans to see the moon’s shadow completely block the sun from Earthly viewers? Here are the details you’ll need to plan your 2017 total solar eclipse RV vacation:

When Will the Eclipse Occur?

The shadow of the moon will align to blot out the sun from our view for approximately two minutes at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Pacific Coast near Newport, Oregon. That will be the North American debut of the 2017 solar eclipse. The moon’s shadow will then block the sun from sight in an arc across the US, moving back over the Atlantic off the South Carolina coast at 2:48 pm EDT.

Where Will the Total Eclipse be Visible?

This excellent map of the eclipse trajectory shows the fourteen states (from Oregon to South Carolina) crossed by the “path of totality”. On that path, there’s a sixty-mile band of optimum viewing of the entire eclipse event. Outside that band, you won’t be able to see the total eclipse and will have to settle for partial eclipse memories.

To help you plan your eclipse-viewing RV vacation, here are some of the cities within the path of totality:

Oregon: Newport, Corvallis, Madras, Salem

Idaho: Stanley, McKay, Idaho Falls

Montana: No cities within optimum viewing band, eight miles of remote mountain terrain only

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park, Casper, Thermopolis

Nebraska: Scott’s Bluff, Hastings, Grand Island

Kansas: Troy, Atchison, Leavenworth

Missouri: St. Joseph, Columbia

Illinois: Carbondale, Chester

Kentucky: Bowling Green, Hopkinsville

Tennessee: Nashville, Gallatin, Clarksville

Georgia: Blairsville, Clayton

North Carolina: Andrews, Clingmans Dome area of Great Smoky Mountain NP

South Carolina: Anderson, Orangeburg, Columbia

Why Rent an RV to View the Eclipse?

As any experienced RV traveler can tell you, weather changes occur when you least expect them. Viewing the eclipse in all its glory will require staying ahead of cloud cover or storms. Two planning steps can help you win the race:

  •         Watch local forecasts for the area where you plan to view the eclipse. If heavy cloud cover or storms are predicted, have a Plan B viewing location in mind.
  •         Traveling by RV allows you to change plans quickly. The flexibility to move to a better location as the event approaches may make the difference between awesome eclipse viewing memories and traveling home disappointed.

AAA and El Monte RV Rental & Sales can help you plan the perfect eclipse viewing RV vacation, but you’ll need to act fast. Campgrounds are filling rapidly, so don’t delay any longer making your plans.

Where will you be when the sun goes dark on August 21, 2017?

Posted in Georgia RV Camping Vacation, Idaho RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Kansas RV Camping Vacation, Kentucky RV Camping Vacation, Missouri RV Camping Vacation, Montana RV Camping Vacation, Nebraska RV Camping Vacation, North Carolina RV Camping Vacation, Oregon RV Camping Vacation, South Dakota RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—Rockefeller Memorial Parkway

What would it take to turn your mind to an RV road trip? How about two national parks, twenty-thousand-plus acres of rugged Western beauty, and wildlife roaming free all along your route? John D Rockefeller, Jr Memorial Parkway, twenty-seven miles of Wyoming splendor, is one RV road trip anyone in search of America should travel.

How Do We Get There?

You’ll find this unforgettable stretch of road at the northern boundary of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, stretching north to West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. From Salt Lake City, it’s a six-hour drive north on I-15 into Grand Teton NP, then north on US-191, the main road through the Parkway. It also makes for a scenic thirteen-hour journey from Sacramento on I-80 to Wells, Nevada and then north to Grand Teton via US-93.

No matter which direction you’re traveling by RV to reach Grand Teton National Park, slow down once you reach the Park’s borders and begin to absorb the grandeur of the surrounding mountain range.

What Will We See There?

The Tetons are motivation enough to make the journey, but there’s so much more to see while you’re there. The John D Rockefeller Memorial Parkway encompasses twenty-four-thousand acres, bounded on two sides by national forests, encompassing the jagged peaks of the Grand Teton Range, the volcanic beginnings of Yellowstone NP and the wild beauty of the Snake River.

Be aware that large mammals roam freely along the Parkway and don’t be surprised to see grizzlies, elk and bighorn sheep among the many species that call this paradise home.

What Can We Do Nearby?

Once you’ve looked your fill at the scenery along the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, your options for outdoor recreation are abundant. Both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are rich with natural wonders, from geysers to breathtaking views of two mountain ranges.

Here are just a few special places to explore in the two national parks along the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway:

  • Visit Colter Bay Village on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton NP for access to paddling, Snake River rafting and fishing, or hiking the trails surrounding nearby lakes.
  • Take the scenic drive to Mormon Row and visit the 1890s homesteads to learn about the early settlement of Antelope Valley.

    Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

    Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

  • Visit the western bay on Lake Yellowstone known as West Thumb, at the northern end of Rockefeller Parkway to see hydrothermal features like geysers, mudpots and hot springs.
  • Don’t miss Yellowstone favorites like Old Faithful, thirteen-story Tower Falls and prime wildlife watching in Lamar Valley.

Where Can We Camp Near the Parkway?

Being located within two national parks, the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway is conveniently close to exceptional RV camping. Developed campgrounds near Moran, WY at the Parkway’s southern terminus, the Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch, right on the Parkway and two miles from Yellowstone’s southern entrance and campgrounds within Bridger-Teton National Forest are just a few of the options you have for camping in this area that’s highly popular with RV travelers. 

Your journey to discover America by RV deserves a stop at Wyoming’s western national parks Don’t miss this drive along the Roosevelt Memorial Parkway. Pick up your RV rental and pack your outdoor gear…it’s time to find your own camping memories!

Posted in Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Beat the Late Summer Heat: RV Camping in Medicine Bow National Forest

There’s a place just three hours north of Denver that beckons RV travelers to escape late summer’s oppressive heat.  The deep-forest and lakeside campgrounds of Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest are ringed by snowcapped peaks, steeped in Native American lore and perfectly positioned for maximum outdoor recreation.

Medicine Bow National Forest

Medicine Bow National Forest

Sound like the kind of place you’d like to spend late summer experiencing? Don’t hesitate to make plans, as most campgrounds in this national forest are only open through mid-September.  But there’s still time to park the RV beneath the trees and absorb the cool, green wonders of Medicine Bow.

If that sounds too sedate for your active RV camping crew, never fear. There are so many different ways to experience Wyoming’s Snowy Range!  Here are just a few ideas for spending time while RV camping in Medicine Bow National Forest:

  • Camp at Vedauwoo Recreation Area, just twenty miles east of Laramie, WY on I-80. The campground is surrounded by enormous granite formations, with unforgettable views of the Snowy Range.  The National Park Service has taken great pains to create a comfortable campground that manages to seem wild and remote.

What to do while camping at Vedauwoo?  Go mountain biking on Turtle Rock Trail, hike the more than twenty miles of trails through high meadows and subalpine forests (not to mention taking in the rock formations all around you), or take a quick drive over to the Ames Monument “Pyramid” on the other side of I-80.

  • Did we mention that Medicine Bow NF stretches out for a million acres in southern Wyoming? That’s why it’s possible to camp at places like Silver Lake Campground, eighteen miles east of Centennial on WY-130 (also known as the Snowy Range Scenic Byway) and feel like you’ve left civilization behind. This small, well-planned campground at just over ten thousand feet elevation is only open July to September, making it the perfect late summer refuge.

If you choose Silver Lake as your Medicine Bow RV camping base, the sky’s the limit for outdoor recreation. Hikers will enjoy the short but awesomely scenic trail around the lake and trails to special places like Lake Marie Falls.  There’s also a trail up Medicine Bow Peak, where you can hike as far as your expertise allows (snow and ice even in mid-June, some scrambling across boulder fields near the summit), with magnificent views of the Smoky Range at every level.

Silver Lake itself is popular with ‘belly boat’ fishermen and kayakers, too, so bring the watercraft if that’s your passion.

  • Speaking of fishing, the small Sugarloaf campground tucked into the spruce and pine forests on Libby Lake offers campers the chance to fish two clear, snowmelt lakes—Libby Lake and Lewis Lake—for brook trout and splake.

Popular trailheads in the Sugarloaf area invite hikers to explore the forest or hike the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain. Great vacation photos guaranteed!

Whether escaping the late summer heat for you means relaxing in a quiet forest campground, hiking to a mountain summit or fishing and paddling your way across an alpine lake, Medicine Bow National Forest is the place to be.

Pick up a Denver RV rental and head north to Wyoming. The Smoky Range is waiting to fulfill your late summer, RV camping dreams.

Posted in Wyoming RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

A Yellowstone Vacation with an RV

Picture of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

A vacation in an RV to Yellowstone National Park is a completely captivating experience. This park is a most unusual landscape, filled with geysers, mud pots and colorful geothermal features. Hot springs and pine forests attract wildlife, and the picturesque waterfalls and canyons intrigue millions of visitors from all over the world.

Drive your RV into the Yellowstone North Entrance at Mammoth. On the way you must stop at the famous Roosevelt Arch. This soaring basalt stone arch is a special symbol of Yellowstone, welcoming travelers to the most popular park in the U.S.

You will come to Mammoth Hot Springs as you move into the park from the North Entrance. The terraces are not to be missed, with the colorful formations amazing in their beauty as hot water and limestone work together to create this natural artwork.

To really get the most out of your visit to Mammoth Hot Springs, you should take the Lower Terrace Trail. You will hike an easy one-mile path and come to an overlook that gives you the best view. You can also access the Upper Terrace and witness how these hot springs are forever changing as the water flows every which way, leaving mineral deposits and making living sculptures.

Absorb some the history at the park by taking a walking tour of Fort Yellowstone. The buildings here were built in 1891, with quarters for officers, guards and enlisted men. At Albright Visitor Center and Museum you can get more history and study the early settlers, mountain men and Native Americans who made this area their home. Ensure you visit the Moran Gallery for amazing watercolor sketches by Thomas Moran.

The Grand Loop Road offers most of the major attractions of Yellowstone only a few hundred feet from the road. Easy access means you will use this as your main route through the park so you don’t miss anything. One place you don’t want to pass up is Mesa Falls, a spot at the headwaters of the Snake River and containing amazing views. Bird watching here is really fun, and you may see an eagle fly overhead.

A must-see is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, carved by great glaciers and the water of the Yellowstone River. Watch the gorgeous cascade of the Lower Falls just east of Canyon Village. The views are indescribable. This is the largest waterfall in the park, as well as the second most photographed attraction (after Old Faithful).

Stopping at Lake Village is a wonderful respite in your RV trip through the park. You’ll find all the supplies you need to continue your travels. At the Fishing Bridge you will see a log bridge built in 1902 that was a favorite of fishermen to go for a trophy catch. You can stand on the bridge and watch the fish swimming below you. Don’t forget to stop at the Fishing Bridge Museum to learn more about this area. The Fishing Bridge RV Park is the perfect place to park your RV for a while and explore the surrounding wonders of Yellowstone.

Now it is time to get yourself over to Old Faithful and watch the impressive display of Mother Nature. As the spray flies sky-high you will find it hard to believe that a geyser can have that much power. Afterwards, explore the Upper Geyser Basin for a wealth of sights such as hot springs, mud pots, more geysers and pools. Walk around Geyser Hill and enjoy the eruptions of Amemone and Beehive Geysers.

Lower Geyser Basin also offers plentiful thermal features to delight and inspire the whole family. You can see massive displays of water shooting up to 150 feet in the air. The multi-colored mud pots bubble and gurgle, making you curious as to what is below your feet in this amazing Yellowstone National Park.

Head north to Madison and see all the sights there are here. From natural highlights like Gibbon Falls to the Madison Museum, you will want to take it all in. Drive towards Norris and stop at Terrace Springs to walk the short boardwalk through this thermal area. Further on you will come to the Artists Paintpots. There is a one-mile trail that will take you to hot springs and large mud pots as well as some backcountry geothermal areas to explore.

Your RV trip does not have to end here. There is always more to do in Yellowstone. You may want to stay a week or two so you can enjoy this famous park to the max. Whatever you decide, you are sure to have a great time no matter how long you stay.

Picture credits: The picture of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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An Autumn RV Adventure in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Take an autumn trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to enjoy the awesome fall colors all around. Splendid views are only a part of the thrill of an RV vacation to Jackson Hole. You have the gorgeous valley landscapes that hold a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities as well as some educational sites from the Old West.

In the fall, the weather is great. You don’t have to leave your shorts at home, but definitely you will need to bring some warmer clothes, like long-sleeved shirts and jackets. Getting out into the outdoors around Jackson Hole is an adventure. You will see wildlife everywhere you go. Catch glimpses of elk, moose, buffalo and antelope.

RV camping is abundant in the region. You can stay in Jackson at the Jackson Hole Campground or stay at Grand Teton Park RV Resort east of Grand Teton Park. All will provide great amenities and friendly service. An RV, of course, is a great place to relax between all those fun adventures, such as ballooning, whitewater rafting or golfing.

Head north to Grand Teton National Park once you have settled in. You will be able to take in all the fall colors of yellow, orange, red and gold as you drive past. The aspens, cottonwoods and willows all change to brilliant hues. The park itself is a panorama of color, with mountains, lakes, trails and rivers offering tons of outdoor fun.

With more than two hundred miles of hiking trails, you will find plenty of fascinating places to explore. The scenery and the wildlife will fascinate the whole family. The trails are of varying length and are ideal for many levels of capability. Short hikes of a little over three miles long or the longest at 15.8 miles – take your pick!

While in the park, make your way to the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve where there are more trails to hike. In fact, this preserve is the starting point for a whole network of trails. View the beautiful Phelps Lake and stop at some rest areas for views of the Teton Range.

Float trips on the Snake River will make your trip extra-special, with views you could have gotten no other way. Watch for beaver and see if you can spot some of their dams built along the tributary rivers. Otters are also a favorite to see swimming the waters. The best time to see wildlife is around sunrise and at dusk.

Another must-see in Grand Teton is the Cunningham Cabin. Step back into the past and get the true flavor of the Old West as you tour the old homestead with its fascinating stories. Also be sure to include Menor’s Ferry on your itinerary. This was the perfect place to cross the Snake River and a ferry operated here until a bridge was built in 1927. It is possible a replica will be operating when you visit in the fall. (You will have to check dates and times before you arrive at the National Park Entrance.)

Before you leave to go back to Jackson, check out the fun available on Jenny Lake. You can discover plenty of inspiring activities by stopping by the Visitor’s Center. Take a ranger-led hike to Inspiration Point or watch a film on how the Teton Range was formed. If it is chilly outside, you can simply sit and warm up by the fire.

Once back in Jackson Hole, you can have many more adventures before heading home in your RV. Browse the art galleries, walk the boardwalks of downtown and stop in the National Museum of Wildlife Art for a magnificent view of art collections from more than 500 artists. This is also a history lesson in wildlife art.

Take your camera and go to the National Elk Refuge to photograph the elk population in their natural habitat. They are migrating in the fall and this is a sight not to miss! With about 10,000 elk wintering there, it is a splendid opportunity for young and old to witness this yearly event. Then you should make your way to Granite Hot Springs to take a wonderful warm soak in the hot springs.

The trip to Jackson Hole is a wonderful opportunity to see how the Old West really was and how present day recreation can please and relax the whole family. Always end your visit with a cheery goodbye to all the good friends you’ve made, with plans to return again another day.

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See Wyoming from the Centennial Scenic Byway

Winding River Along the Centennial Scenic Byway in Wyoming

Winding River Along the Centennial Scenic Byway in Wyoming

The Centennial Scenic Byway crosses a stretch of 162 miles, from Dubois to Pinedale, Wyoming.

Recreational Vehicle accommodations are available in Dubois at The Longhorn Ranch, Lodge and RV Park. Make sure to call in advance – the outstanding beauty and recreational opportunities in this region can make peak season quite busy.

An ideal starting point for this part of your motorhome vacation would be the Wind River Historical Centre in Dubois. Here you can learn about the Mountain Shoshone people who were the first inhabitants of the area, the European settlers who came in the 1880s, and the Scandinavian loggers, called “Tie Hacks” who came to work and provide lumber to build the nations railroads.

Setting out on US 26, the route will take you to the Northwest past the eastern flank of the Wind River Range, up through Togwotee Pass. Be ready for the extensive wildlife viewing opportunities along the highway, as the area is heavily populated by moose, elk, and bears. Look upward, as well, as there’s a good chance there’ll be eagles and hawks hunting overhead. You’ll drive across the lush flood plains of the Buffalo Fork River on your way into Grand Teton National Park.

At Moran Junction, the Centennial Scenic Byway turns south across gently rolling terrain toward the Snake River Overlook, which affords a great opportunity to see Grand Teton, standing nearly 14,000 feet high. You’ll pass through the valley of Jackson Hole on your way to Jackson, Wyoming, a bustling town with approximately 9,500 occupants. Jackson is home to many ski resorts, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and some very interesting arches that are constructed from antlers shed by the large elk population in the region. South of Jackson, at Hoback Junction, the road bears east onto US 189. You’ll drive up the Hoback Canyon, and descend into the Green River Valley. The Wind River Range will again be in view up ahead. Take US 191 to the end of the Byway, in Pinedale Wyoming. If you’ve taken your time, the day should be just about at its end. RV Camping is available at Lakeside Lodge, on the shores of Lake Fremont. Featured activities here are swimming, boating, and fishing.

While in Pinedale, consider visiting the Museum of the Mountain Man to learn about how the fur trade opened up the American west to commerce.

The Centennial Scenic Byway is open year-round, but is subject to local closure due to weather conditions. Make sure to check the status before journeying out in questionable weather. There are recreational opportunities available in all seasons, with excellent skiing at the famous resorts in the valley of Jackson Hole. Also of interest is the National Elk Refuge, also located near Jackson. Every winter it becomes home to 10,000 elk, which can be viewed by a sleigh ride taken from the refuge headquarters.

If you’re visiting Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks, the Centennial Scenic Byway affords excellent opportunities for RV Campers to experience the beauty of the West. Don’t miss it!

Picture credits: The picture in this post is from the National Scenic Byways website. Use is allowed if the user displays the copyright and credits with the item. The image is copyright © 1997 The Wagner Perspective.

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