Day 1-2. Arrive in Denver and drive to the Grand Tetons. Distance 508 miles (approx. 8 hours).
Depending on what time you arrive in Denver you could decide to do the whole drive in one day or you could break it up as we did with an overnight stop en route in somewhere like Laramie.
Day 3-4. Grand Tetons National Park.
The main thing to do here is go out hiking. The ones we completed were the Hermitage Trail and the route around Jenny Lake. If you go during the summer there are more opportunities to participate in watersports on one of the many lakes and in Winter it is a popular place for skiing. It would be amazing to do a multiday back country trek into the mountains as well.
Day 5-8. Yellowstone National Park. Distance depends on where you are staying but for us at Gardiner 142 miles (approx. 4 hours).
There are so many things to do and see in Yellowstone National Park. The highlights are:
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Old Faithful Geyser
- Grand Prismatic Spring
- Yellowstone Canyon
- The Lamar Valley
- The Artist’s Paintpots
And so much more….
Day 9. Gardiner to Billings via Bozeman. Distance 219 miles (approx. 3.5 hours).
This is mainly a travel day broken up by a trip to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Here we found out about the archeological and paleontological finds of the area with one of the best dinosaur exhibits I have ever seen.
Day 10. Billings to Rapid City via Little Bighorn Battlefield and Devil’s Tower. Distance 373 miles (approx. 6 hours).
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is extremely interesting to go and see and provided an insight into American history that I knew nothing about prior to coming to the area.
Devil’s Tower is less exciting. It is nice to see and it works well as a stop on this route but I probably wouldn’t go completely out of your way to go there.
Day 11-12. Rapid City.
There are 2 big places near Rapid City to visit. One of those are the Black Hills National Forest/ Custer State Park which not only includes Mount Rushmore National Memorial but also some stunning scenery which is perfect for hiking such as the brilliant Sunday Gulch Trail.
The other place to visit are the Badlands National Park. This otherworldly place is incredible. There are some cute little hikes around the place and I absolutely loved it here.
Day 13. Drive to Estes Park via Scottsbluff. Distance 388 miles (approx. 6.25 hours).
This is mainly a travel day. There are a few options of routes to take however a stop at Scottsbluff breaks up the journey nicely. Here there are some nice views of the plains and it gave some information about the Oregon Trail that I admit I knew nothing about.
Day 14. Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is amazing and 100% needs longer than just 1 day to explore. The main pull of the area is hiking. Be aware that most of this high altitude which does make it harder work than normal however it is well worth the effort. Our hike to Sky Pond was exceptional.
Day 15. Back to Denver then to the airport. Distance 77 miles (approx. 1.5 hours).
Overall distance approx. 1707 miles (not including any day to day trips and driving).
Although the trip covers huge distances it was absolutely epic and just so genuinely worth it. So many of the places we saw were just stunning. There were plenty of areas (especially the Rocky Mountain National Park) that I would like to have spent longer but the 2 week timescale worked well.
Is there anywhere else you would add into this road trip? Which is you favourite place to road trip in the USA?