My wife and I started out on May 31 and returned home July 7.
We drove I-80 non stop all the way to Utah most of wich was boring and alot like work. But were new it was going to be that way so thats why we decided to do it non stop.
Our first national park was Great basin were we camped out until then 6 of june. This is a great park. There's never any crowds and it seems like the entire park is yours, due to the fact how far from anything it is. I call it an elevation park because you really can choose what elevation you camp at, hike at and enjoy your day at. This park has the oldest trees in the world wich were thought was pretty cool. If you haven't been its a defintly must go as long as you dont need a mall or major city close by.
Next we drove on highway 6 thru the dessert and some how found a eastern entrance into Death Valley we just drove thru and stopped at some of the hi lights. This place is massive. The temp the day we were there was 110 degrees. This is defintly a place we will come back and visit during the winter months. The sand dunes looked so small until we got rite next to them. I never new how beautiful the dessert could be.
After leaving Death valley we headed towards Sequia/Kings canyon. Having never been to this area of the country the one word that sums it up is overwhelming. We only spent 3 days here and felt like we could spend months. The camping options are endless. We drove to the bottom of the canyon in amazement. And ended up camping at one of the developed campgrounds the park service provides next to the river. We did a couple of short hikes 3 miles round trip the hiking is endless here. Along picture taking.
From Sequia/Kings canyon we headed north into Yosemite. We camped in a National Forrest campground rite before the southern entrance of the park. Every campground was full but this ones had 1 spot left. It felt like we were camping on top of other people. We could hear others snoring thru out the nite. So we left early And headed into the park thru tunnel veiw this is another spot that takes your breath away. We must of stayed here for an hour just taking pics. Then we headed into the valley. Yosemite is so beautiful the only negative is all the people but if you hike a mile on a trail it seems like nobody is there. The roads were packed and the valley was also so we didn't stay very long. I see now why all the crowds flock here. We camped at another very crowded national forest campground. Then headed towards San Fransisco.
We didn't plan on going to San fran but my wife really wanted to see them golden gate bridge. Buy the time we got there the sun was setting it was great light for pictures of them city and the bridge. After leaving the bridge I made the decision we would drive to redwoods.
We ended up sleeping in our suv at a rest area just south of redwoods. In them morning we drove thru the avenue of giants. It lives up to its name. We decided that prairie woods state park was a decent central location to explore the park for the next couple days. We had a great site with huge trees moss hanging and ferns that seamed to be the size of our car. Across from our campground there were a small herd of roosevelt elk. We decided to do the fern canyon hike this is a great family friendly hike that makes you feel so small but then again the hole area of redwoods national and state parks does. After fern canyon we wanted to watch the sunset so we headed to an overlook and watched whales off shore as well as the best sunset we have ever seen. We didn't want to leave the area but had to push on. Leaving we were told to take the senic drive thru Jedediah Smith state park. This drive made us feel like we were in jurrasic park. We loved this area. Between the forrest and the ocean it is ones of our new favorite places.
After leaving redwoods area we headed north to Crater Lake. The drive is so beautiful. We arrived at Crater lake to find the campground with snow alot of snow. At our site there was 14 feet of snow so we slept in the car. We didn't no but when we got to the visitors center the ranger told us they were opening the southern to northern section of the road in a couple hours. We really lucked out. As we both stood on the rim our minds were blown with how blue and clear the water was. We ended up meeting a couple from ohio who like us have never been to the west coast and were in amazement in the diversity and beauty as were we. We loved crater lake but didn't want to sleep in the car again.
So we headed back to the coast and decided we would drive the coast the rest of the way north. After driving some time we came across the town of Yahacts, Oregon. We ended up getting a room with fireplace, full kitchen pool and jaccuzzi with a deck rite on the ocean. The rates were so good we stayed 3 nites. We did alot of tide pooling. We also hiked in the rainforest outside Yahacts. This is a very friendly town.
From there we slowly drove north for 2 days into Forks, WA. We arrived at Olympic in the evening nd decided we would camp in the Hoh rainforest. When we woke it defintly was the rite choice its so green and dense. We did several short hikes. Ones day we took the drive to cape flattery wich is the most north western corner of the continental US. Another day we did another hike that was aprox. 12 miles thru rainforest then beach then rainforest. And it rained non stop but to us that day it was perfect. We day tripped to the Sold duc hot springs and decided we would camp near hurricane ridge. While we were in this area we hiked the dungeness spit wich is a sand bar that stretches 6 miles into the straight of Jaun dead fuaca. After leaving this area we took a 90 min ferry boat rite into Seattle. Were we ended up having a huge crab dinner. After Dinner we decided we would start heading east.
Leaving Seattle we headed east thru the nite. When my wife woke up we were in Glacier National park. We didn't know if we were going to go but while I was driving. I got and email from the couple we met in Crater lake telling us the going to the sun road was going to open the next day. Im so glad we went to Glacier it is now my #1 favorite park. We tried to cover as much of the park as possible. We camped the first nite outside the park near hungry horse resevoir. The next day we made the unforgiving trip to bowman lake. If you have been there you no what I mean. The day after that we went to 2 medicine. After 4 days of Glacier we left knowing we will be back towards the end of the season.
We had a week left and decided to go from Glacier to Theodore Roosevelt in North Dakota. Those is another ones of those parks thats far from everything so there is never any crowds. We ended up camping outside the park at Buffalo Gap national grass land because they had showers and the campgrounds in the park didn't. We took a 4 hour horse back trip with a guide and were so happy we did we buffalo, elk, wild horses prairie dogs and scenery hardly ever seen by park visitors. We love the parks that don't have the crowds. After our horse back ride we got into the car and received a very unfortunate call telling us my wifes grandmother who raised her passed away. We packed up camp and drove nonstop from North Dakota to Clearwater FL.
We will be doing this same trip next year for my wife.
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West coast National parks road trip. Trip Report
My wife and I started out on May 31 and returned home July 7.