Planning a road trip from Dallas to Yellowstone? Our carefully planned journey will take you from the Lone Star State to America’s most famous national park. Standing at approximately 1, 300 miles apart, this is a cross country adventure like no other.
The points of interest on this journey have been planned to provide the opportunity for rest and relaxation as well as outdoor fun and recreation. It would be an ideal holiday for anyone who enjoys getting back to nature, but there are still plenty of fun stops along the way. Whether it is getting close to the animals at Denver Zoo, riding the railway at Pike’s Peak or just soaking away your worries in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, there really is something for everyone. All before finishing off the trip at America's first, and most famous, National Park- Yellowstone.
If you are planning a road trip from Dallas, TX, to Yellowstone, the most direct route is the US 287 through Amarillo and Denver. Before you head out on your RV road trip, always check the weather forecast and driving conditions. Plus, pack emergency supplies and drinking water, and let someone know your itinerary- just to be on the safe side.
Spend the afternoon watching the prairie dogs play or swimming in the lake, land a big one with first-class fishing or have a splashing good time doing water sports at the Lake Arrowhead State Park. There is so much to do here, with the chance to get involved with a whole host of recreational opportunities. There are several boat launches onto the lake, with rentals available nearby and for those who enjoy fishing, bass, crappie, and catfish are often caught here.
If you fancy a relatively easy hike, you could consider the four-mile Onion Creek trail, which has plenty of opportunities to admire the changing landscapes and stunning scenery. Alternatively, take some time to relax and do absolutely nothing but laze on the beautiful beach; conveniently located next to the swimming area. If you are planning on spending the night here, there are several campgrounds, containing over 65 RV sites.
Each of the campsites are equipped with water and electric hook-up, as well as a picnic table, fire ring, and grills for those all-important camp cookouts.
The nation’s second-largest canyon, the Palo Duro, is 800 feet deep, 20 miles wide and 120 miles long acres and it is located just near to Amarillo. This is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Lone Star State, with fantastic views, historical sites, camping, and outdoor recreation. Palo Duro is Spanish for hardwood, with the area taking its name from the dense mesquite and juniper trees, with which it is covered.
For a truly unique view, check out the zip line at the Palo Duro Adventure Park for a hair raising canyon experience. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, enjoy hiking, biking and horse riding on the many developed trails within the region. Highlights include the Civilian Conservation Corps Trail and the Lighthouse trail, with both being popular choices for hikers of all abilities.
You can also learn more about the history of the area at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Camping here promises solitude and isolation, as well as some seriously impressive stargazing. There are nearly 80 campsites throughout the park, with a range of facilities available.
From one unique landscape to another, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is the next stop on our journey. Centered around some of the biggest dunes in the country, the 149, 000 acre-park is filled with diverse scenery, from grasslands and wetlands to alpine lakes and tundra. The Star Dune is the tallest one in the Park at 755 feet tall, and clambering up to the summit of this dune is certainly worth it when you get to the top; with panoramic breath-taking vistas waiting for you.
If you are visiting around late May, you will definitely want to check out one of Colorado’s best-hidden gems, the Medano Creek. This beautiful little beach makes the perfect base whilst you splash in the cold snow-melt waters. Don’t forget to check out the visitor's center to find out more about the diverse and complex geography of the area. Plus, you might want to rent sand sleds or boards to try gliding down the dunes. You can rent gear throughout the year in nearby Alamosa, or between April and October, there is rental just outside the park entrance.
Located just near Denver and Colorado Springs, the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway is the world’s highest cog train. Since 1891, trains have been running people along this railway track and up to the top of the Pike Peaks summit, which sits at an elevation of 14, 115 feet. Fans of the locomotive will love taking this winding train journey through four distinctive landscapes, from the high plains to the alpine tundra, aspen groves and dense forests, as well as streams and steep canyons.
Keep your eyes peeled for the chance to spot some of the wildlife at home on the mountain, including elk, deer, bears, and the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. For those looking to hike to the top of this 14er, it is around 13.5 miles with an elevation gain of nearly 7,500 feet. This is not for the fainthearted, and you will definitely want to make sure that you take plenty of water to keep hydrated all the way up.
One of the most visited attractions in the region, the Garden of the Gods is a beautiful public park, which was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. With the Pike’s Peak Mountain providing the perfect backdrop, the garden is comprised of majestic red rock formations and contrasting dense vegetation.
There are miles of hiking and biking trails here, and you should check out the Visitor and Nature Center for a free map of the area. This is also the place to go for guided walks, which are a great option for those looking to learn more about the region. Rock climbing is also a popular pastime here, but remember, you must register by filling out the free form. This is some of the best climbing in the country, with over 100 developed routes, but it is important to check out the rules and regulations before climbing.
First opened in 1896, Denver Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in the country. It is home to more than 4000 animals, with representatives from over 750 species. This 80-acre zoological garden will bring you closer than ever to your favorites. There are no bars or fences here Instead, exhibits are created by rocks, trees, and other natural elements to separate the animals. Meet the big cats at predator ridge, touch and feed stingrays and sharks at Stingray Cove, or meet some of the zoo’s most famous residents, the Komodo dragons.
As well as the chance to learn more about the animals, the zoo also offers a range of up-close encounters, including giraffe feeding and waddling along with the penguins. Denver Zoo is a non-profit organization, with all profits going directly to care for the animals in the zoo and wider afield. In fact, the zoo dedicates around $2 million each year to protect endangered species within their own natural habitats.
Located on the border between Colorado and Utah, the Dinosaur National Monument spans over 200, 000 acres and it has sites and attractions in both States. See the area where dinosaurs once roamed, with the chance to spot over 1,500 fossils in the cliff face or check out over 800 palaeontological sites. Ancient petroglyphs give a glimpse of life here thousands of years ago and you can find out more about the significance of the area at the Visitor Center.
You could also check out the Strawberry Park natural hot springs, located nearby. These natural hot springs provide the opportunity to relax and unwind in 104-degree mineral water. The unique stone masonry of these pools and surrounding forest make this a great place to visit year-round. However, it is truly a spectacular sight in the winter, with the snowfall resulting in a picture-perfect landscape.
Bear Lake is known as the ‘Caribbean of the Rockies’ due to the spectacular scenery surrounding the waters. Situated just seven miles south of Montpelier, the lake spans over 20 miles and it goes across the Idaho and Utah border. Apparently, there is a Loch Ness style monster lurking in the depths, so keep your eyes open to see if you can spot the Bear Lake creature.
May and June are particularly popular times to visit for bird-watchers, with so many migratory birds making a stop here. If you are looking to spot some wildlife, the nearby Caribou-Targhee National Forest is home to 200 species of birds, 85 types of mammals and 17 reptiles and amphibians. There is plentiful camping nearby, including eight campgrounds within Bear Lake State Park itself. If you are looking for primitive camping amongst beautiful scenery and with excellent access to the water, the Paris Springs Campground is one of the most popular.
Just before you reach Yellowstone, the Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the most iconic sights within the National Park. The largest hot spring in the States, the Grand Prismatic is a group of unique geothermal pools situated in the Midway geyser basin.
One of the most Instagrammable shots in America, this is a one-of-kind location. The bands of bright yellow, red and green contrast with the rich aquamarine of the steaming hot pool and the surrounding landscape add to the ethereal scenery. The water is far too hot to soak here, reaching boiling temperatures, but there are some options for bathing nearby. We advise that you spend a few days in the Yellowstone area, as there is so much to see and do here.
Sprawled across two million acres, America’s first national park is your final destination. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous landscapes in the country, consisting of diverse terrains, spectacular scenery, and unique geological formations. If you are visiting during the summer, this is high season and the park can get busy, so you will need to reserve ahead. There are several campgrounds situated throughout the park, but it should be noted that cell coverage is minimal in some areas.
You should definitely check out the many iconic spots, including the Lower Falls, Old Faithful, and the immense Yellowstone Lake. If you would like as chance to get up close to some of Yellowstone’s most famous residents, check out the Yellowstone Bear World.