Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted December 15, 2020

All Mariah Carey wanted for Christmas this year was an RV road trip, and she got it! Follow along on her trip to Aspen and start planning an RV trip of your own. Trust me; you’ll want to write this stuff down!

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Where to Go

Mariah’s 5-day venture starts in Los Angeles and ends in Aspen.

Mariah’s Road Trip Itinerary

  • Rainbow Basin, Mojave National Preserve, & Red Rock Canyon
  • Zion National Park
  • Capitol Reef & Goblin Valley
  • Arches, Canyonlands, & Grand Junction
  • Aspen, Colorado

First, we make our way out of California, through to Nevada.

From California to Nevada

There are plenty of beautiful stops on the road to Nevada. Rainbow Basin and Mojave are two natural wonders worth stopping for on the way to Vegas. And, while in Vegas, you can skip the casinos and shows, and instead let nature put on its own show for you at Red Rock Canyon.

Rainbow Basin Natural Area 

Wander around the canyons and take in the beautifully colorful rock formations. You may even spy a desert tortoise on your trek!

Mojave National Preserve 

The I-15 Scenic Detour takes you through the Mojave National Preserve. You’ll pass cinder cones, lava flows, Joshua trees, the Kelso Dunes, and the Providence Mountains. If you have the time, hike one of the 13 different trails!

Red Rock Canyon

Within the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon is comprised of Aztec sandstone and rich geological history. Take the 13-mile scenic drive or climb to the top of Turtlehead Mountain on the Turtlehead Peak Trail for stunning views of Red Rock Canyon and Las Vegas. Or, for a shorter hike, check out Calico Tanks Trail that leads to the hidden pocket of water and also offers great views of Las Vegas.

Through to Zion

One of Utah’s Mighty Five, Zion is a must-stop for anyone driving through Utah.

Zion National Park 

Spend at least a full day exploring the park and all it has to offer. Many suggest spending at least two or three days, and once you get there you’ll see why. From the scenic drive to iconic hikes, like Angel’s Landing, you’ll never run short of things to do.

In and Around Utah

There is much to be explored around Utah and just not enough time in the day. With one day to spare, you can make two stops

Capitol Reef National Park 

In the Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef National Park hosts a variety of habitats, plants, and wildlife. It is also designated as an International Dark Sky Park, making it a great spot for stargazing. During the day, you can take a hike in Fruita, the Waterpocket District, or Cathedral Valley, or tour by bike or horseback!

Goblin Valley State Park 

Home to thousands of hoodoos, Goblin Valley State Park is what some may describe as “unearthly.” Explore the Valley of Goblins, drive to Observation Point, or hike to the Three Sisters.

From Utah to Colorado

Through to Colorado, make a couple stops at two more of the Mighty Five. After this trip, you’ll have made it to four out of five. And if you have more time, go ahead and add Bryce Canyon to your list.

Arches National Park 

Go walking in a “red-rock wonderland” at Arches National Park. Winter is a rather quiet time to visit, and you’ll get some crowd-free, awe-inspiring views. Delicate Arch is a winter-day hike worth bundling up for.

Canyonlands National Park 

Winter at Canyonlands, the largest national park in Utah, is also a quiet time, providing a peaceful experience with a breathtaking image of white snow among the red rocks. The wintertime is off-season for the Southwest, so you can expect fewer people on popular hikes like Mesa Arch or Corona Arch.

Grand Junction

Grand Mesa and Dominguez Canyon are two sites to see once you arrive in Grand Junction. Grand Mesa has the world’s largest flat-topped mountain. Drive around the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway to take in 63 miles of gorgeous scenery through the forest and around the stream-fed lakes.

At Dominguez Canyon, one of the most popular treks is Big Dominguez Canyon. Though it is a little more than 12 miles, if you have the time it’s worth the hike. On any of the hikes, you’ll encounter incredible landscapes from the petroglyphs to the waterfalls

Considered the hub of the Colorado wine country, Grand Junction is a great spot to sip wine and explore. Grab a bottle of wine or two from Two Rivers Winery to enjoy at your campsite and cheers to a good day.

Final Destination: Aspen

A popular winter destination, Aspen is ideal for skiing and snow sports, but there is so much more to it.

Aspen

If skiing is your thing, or you want it to be, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk have some great slopes. And, there is something for all skill levels! If skiing isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Instead, take a snowmobile tour, go fly fishing, or wander around the Aspen Art Museum.

To really get in the holiday spirit, end your night at Snowmass Luminescence, an exhibit of light and art.  Head through LED illuminated walkways and arches and immerse yourself in a visual, light-filled experience.

Note that visitors must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in Aspen and complete an online traveler affidavit.

What to Eat

Spending the holidays on the road, you don’t have to sacrifice a quality Christmas feast.

Two RV recipes sure to spread holiday cheer around the dining table are:

  • Holiday Ham
  • Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Holiday Ham

Want a holiday ham in under 30 minutes? You’ve got it!

This instant pot recipe calls for:

  • Spiral-cut ham
  • Butter or ghee
  • Golden monk fruit, coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Minced garlic

The pressure cooker makes this an easy RV holiday recipe. All you have to do is:

  1. Combine the ingredients to make the glaze
  2. Add water to your instant pot
  3. Place the ham in the pot
  4. Glaze your ham
  5. Close the lid to cook
  6. Slice and serve

I’m more in the Christmas spirit already.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Nothing like a cup of hot chocolate by the campfire to keep you warm and cozy. For a taste of Christmas, try out this peppermint hot chocolate recipe or one of our other gourmet hot cocoa RV recipes.

To make peppermint hot cocoa for two, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk, or any milk alternative
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, or sugar alternative
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract

For boozy holiday cocoa, add 2 ounces of peppermint schnapps instead of the extract. Top with marshmallows and candy canes, sip, and enjoy!

If you’re not big on hot chocolate, try one of these other RV holiday drink recipes — all of which are just as tasty and easy to make!

What to Drive

Mariah rented a 2020 Prevost Marathon Coach for her winter trip. This Class A RV has all the luxurious amenities, including an expansive living space, full kitchen, multiple bedrooms, HD TVs, and a washer and dryer. If this life of luxury is one you want to live, there are plenty of RV listings in your area.

Roll like Mariah in one of these Class A’s:

If campervans and teardrop trailers are more your thing, we also have plenty of those!

What to Pack

If you plan to do some winter hiking, you’ll want to make sure you have three things:

  1. waterproof hiking boots with good traction
  2. hiking poles
  3. warm layers (and lots of them)

Before you go, make sure you check off everything else on your hiking checklist. While you’re at it, might as well check that list twice.

And of course, if you’re packing for the holidays, don’t forget a festive Christmas sweater and Santa hat!

What to Listen To

Our “Home for the Holidays” playlist is on Spotify. Don’t worry, it’s chock-full of Mariah.

Happy Holidays

From Mariah Carey and us at Outdoorsy, happy holidays! We’re wishing you all the hot cocoa and good cheer from our RV to yours!

 

Want more Mariah?

Check out her new book, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. You can also catch her new Christmas special, Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on Apple+ now!

Lizzie Dragon

Outdoorsy Author

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