I'm anxious to begin our cross country RV trip

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Campfire RV

Well-known member
Mar 24, 2012
Ridgecrest, CA
We still have just a little less than three months before we begin a month long vacation from California to Kentucky with a few nice stops along the way. May will be one month since we purchased our first MH and we put nearly 7,000 miles on it last year beginning with a nice 1500 mile trip to northern California and getting a chance to learn about the RV lifestyle.

We will be leaving southern California in late June for a lot of fun with the family on the road stopping at:
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Mt. Rushmore
Mark Twain Lake
Family in KY
Branson, MO
Petrified Forest
Meteor Crater

This trip will be great with the family and a great bonding trip and stress relief from work.

Stay at Wall, SD, not far from Mt. Rushmore. There's a nice RV park just behind Wall Drug. Wall Drug is touristy, but they have a lot of neat stores there. Plan on spending at least a day. Arizona's Petrified Forest is off I40. It and nearby Painted Desert are very scenic. You might want to stay in Williams, about 65 miles from the Grand Canyon, too. They have some great restaurants and Bearzonia where you drive among animals. Try to make a side trip to Sodona, too. The Meteor Crater is kind of neat. It's a bit off the interstate and is quite interesting. When in Wall, see the Badlands that are nearby. We love the west and have been traveling there from lorida every fall since the 1990s. You cannot see everything our west in one trip. We generally stay an an RV park and use the car to get around.
We have a son and grandkids who live in Rapid City.  The Black Hills are a great place to visit and there is much to see and do. I agree, stay at the Campground at Wall, and drive the loop road thru the Badlands.  Very interesting.  Then, if you want to see all the sights up in the Black Hills, drive up to one the campgrounds up near Mt Rushmore.  Crazy Horse, Needles Hyw, Wind Cave and Custer State Park are nice.
Not sure on your route or time...

Arches National Park, Moab, UT is a cool place to do a few days hiking.  Could fit in from Bryce to Mt. Rushmore.  Also, definatly hit up Custer State Park near Mt. Rushmore.

As has been said, time is the key.

We hiked all the short trails and saw all the tourist sites at Zion in 3 days.  Great transportation system.  Will be hot during the summer.  We have not done Bryce.  It just never fit in our travel route as it's kind of tucked away.  Arches was another 3 day where we hiked most of the shorter trails and saw all the tourist sites.  You are really going to want to have atleast 5 to 7 days in the Black Hills area.  Great stuff to do as mention by others. 

We have no experience in the KY, MO area. 

I'm not sure what to tell you about the Petrified Forrest or Meteor Crater.  They are both good places to visit, but both in the middle of nowhere.  Both are a day thing at the most.  There are many things to see and do around the Flagstaff area. 

That last leg of your trip is the hardest to plan as there is a lot of empty area and the "attractions" are far apart.  We struggle everytime we go to UT, CO, WY on where to stay on that leg home through NM, AZ.  What route are you planning to take home and how much time do you have?     
You might want to stay in Williams, about 65 miles from the Grand Canyon, too.

If you do stay in or near Williams, take the Grand Canyon Railroad to the Grand Canyon (it often, not always, uses a steam locomotive) -- advance reservations are good to have, though you might get lucky. The round trip takes most of the day, including the western "gunfight" before the trip, the enroute boarding/"robbing" of the train, and some sightseeing time -- we took a bus tour (arranged as part of the train trip, lunch included), which gave us a slightly different perspective on the Canyon; we'd been there several times before, just driving.

We took the ride in the winter one time, also. Plus, we were lucky enough to get on the Keokuk, a very fancy car at the rear of the train with easy chairs instead of bench seats, and with a server dedicated to that car. I think that car was only on loan, and since I see no reference to it on the current web site, it may have gone back. I presume (without certain knowledge) that the Max Biegert car took its place.

Looking closer, there are more options than when we were there in the mid '90s, so some things may have changed. Anyway, it was fun. Disclaimer -- I'm a rail fan, too.
While in the Mt. Rushmore area, stop at Mammoth Site. It is an archeological site where a number of wooly mammoths fell into a pit. You used to be able to walk through th dig on a wooden sidewalk.


The Devil's Tower in NE WY is worth a stop if you can work it in.

When you're at Bryce. go to the BLM office in Cannonville and ask them for a map to some of the slot canyons in the area and hike into a couple. Well worth the time and effort.

When you leave Zion to go to Bryce. Leave real early in the morning. The sunrise as you climb east out of Zion is spectacular.
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