Idaho Falls to Des Moines Road Trip Guide


Hugging Snake River on either side is the gorgeous city of Idaho Falls, ID. The city is situated around the 600-foot-wide Idaho Falls and offers visitors unlimited access when it comes to exploring the great outdoors. Unlike its chaotic neighbor Boise, ID, Idaho Falls has a quaint town-like feel that is calming and perfect for those craving a bit of solitude and peace.

The natural beauty and urban development merge as one allowing visitors the chance to enjoy both nature and all types of other creature comforts. Hiking or biking on the Snake River Greenbelt is an unmissable activity as the paved trail twists along the river and crosses the downtown area.

Collectors Corner Museum, Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park, and off-roading on the St. Anthony Sand Dunes are some of the attractions that you simply must experience before setting out.

If you have more than a week free of responsibilities then you couldn’t have asked for a better time to check out the booming city of Des Moines, IA. The route to Des Moines offers much better respite from the summer heat.

Des Moines is known to be the fastest-growing and most rapidly developing city in the Midwest. The city is certainly one of the most spirited ones you’ll find in the country. Its energy is almost contagious and you’ll feel your spirits soar the second you set foot here.

The most popular attractions of this city include the massive end-of-the-summer Iowa State Fair, Iowa State Capitol, and of course the popular Des Moines’ cuisine.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: any
audience: friends

Point of Interest

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center

When face to face with a grizzly bear, one's main concern is about the safety of their life rather than admiring its savageness. Well, you might get a chance to do just that at your first stop in West Yellowstone, Montana. In this beautiful city, you’ll find the popular Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center where you can watch deadly predators in action from a fairly close distance. In addition to the seven grizzlies that call this place home, the center also caters to seven wolves, many birds of prey, and the elusive American river otters.

The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center first came to being when seven bears began causing havoc in nearby developments; destroying public property and being aggressive against humans. Usually, bears like these are put down, but in this case, they were rescued and kept in the wildlife center. If you have never camped at a bear-populated outdoor area then this is a good place to learn about bear safety as Safety-in-Bear Country programs, films, presentations, and Ranger Talks take place at the center.

Boysen State Park

Boysen State Park in Shoshoni, Wyoming, is an amazing oasis of nature with its concurrence of two very contrasting landscapes. On one hand, the state park boasts hundreds of acres of desert and on the other end of the spectrum, you get miles and miles of deep blue water; all in the same vicinity. Stay here for your first night of the trip and enjoy the day boating, angling, and picnicking. In fact, Boysen Reservoir is especially known for being Wyoming’s best walleye and trout fishery. You might also end up capturing sauger, perch, cutthroat, rainbow, ling, largemouth bass, Stonecat, bluegill, and splake. This is an ideal place to stop during the summers where the cool water will keep you chilled and thoroughly entertained. In addition to swimming, boating, and fishing, water skiing is also a popular water sport here. The park is so wholesome that just sitting and camping close to the Boysen Reservoir feels exhilarating.

Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum

You are on a road trip with your friends, so there’s absolutely no way you can miss the chance to explore an extremely ancient and supposedly haunted place. As luck would have it, the city of Rawlins is on your route where one of the country’s creepiest prisons exists. Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum is a place with stories that are nothing short of a nightmare and yet they are all true.

Some of these nightmarish tales stem from events such as the imprisonment of a girl named Annie Bruce who was brought here in 1908 who had allegedly killed her father by poisoning his plum pie. In 1911, the broom factory of the prison was burned down so that inmates could escape, and 27 of them succeeded. One of the most notorious train robbers of his time, William Carlisle, even tried to escape the prison by hiding in a shirt crate. In 1955, a full-scale riot was staged using kitchen knives. The list of horrors goes on, making this place a must-visit.

Terry Bison Ranch

South of Cheyenne, near the Wyoming-Colorado border, Terry Bison Ranch is quite a spectacle. The working ranch is surrounded by 27,500-acres of grasslands and rolling hills and grazing on these open lands are herds of bison. You can spend half your day here and enjoy life like a cowboy, albeit temporarily. There are tons of activities that you can partake in on this ranch as it houses numerous restaurants, a trading post, and several fun activity centers.

The highlight of this ranch is the chance to scoop up pellets and hand-feed the bison. The ranch also houses several ostriches, camels, and horses. There’s a custom-built mini-train that will drive you around the ranch and allow you to see the inner-workings of ranch life and let you become a part of it. For its younger visitors, the ranch boasts a Ferris wheel and pony rides. Make sure to try the award-winning Bison short ribs at the Senator’s Steakhouse.


So what if you can’t visit the mysterious Stonehenge? At least on this RV road trip, you’ll get a chance to behold the curious and experimental replica of it in Alliance, Nebraska, built by the farmer and engineer Jim Reinders. Of course, no one can replicate those unexplained stones, so Reinders gave it a twist by adding cars to it, hence the name Carhenge.

Interestingly, the project wasn’t pre-planned but a spontaneous decision that took place during a family-gathering in 1982. As a memorial to his dad, who died not too long ago, Reinders gathered some of his 30 mismatched family members to erect 38 cars in the exact position as the stones in England. These cars ‑ including a pick-up truck, an ambulance, and a 1962 Cadillac – were all scavenged from nearby farms and dumps where they were left to rot. It wasn’t until a couple of summers later that they spray painted all cars in gray to mimic the British Stonehenge.

Great Platte River Road Archway

Great Palette River Road Archway was built in honor of westward migration and spans over a good portion of the Interstate 80. The monument and museum consist of two levels housing numerous interactive exhibits such as films, light and sound, life-size dioramas, classic cars, re-enactors, and graphics. These displays educate the visitors on the 150 years of transportation history involving this road, from the days of the Oregon Trail and everything that happened after.

This museum in Kearney, NE, is often named amongst the top ten museums to visit in the USA. The exhibits and shows here are so vivid and detailed that you’ll find yourself being transported to the days of hand-pulled carts, wagons, and crisscrossing trains. An interesting feature at the museum is TrailBlaze, a 4800-square-foot labyrinth that is just thrilling to get lost in until you eventually find your way out.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is located in Ashland; a small city in Saunders County, NE. The park offers the chance to surround yourself with nature once again before heading towards your final destination. The state park is beyond gorgeous with thickets of trees, some centuries old, water bodies, and wildlife. A wooden walkway allows you to become a part of it all and offers mesmerizing views of your surroundings.

The lodge and the campground will allow your party of friends to spend the night in this magical place surrounded by the vivid colors of nature. You don’t just have to sit around and enjoy the serenity of this place, you can partake in any of the various outdoor activities offered here. Here you can have the time of your life as you enjoy horseback riding, miniature golf, tennis, hiking, paddle-boating, and fishing in the summer months. Winter brings cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, sledding, and toboggan runs into the mix.

World’s Largest Ball of Stamps

You have to see an oddity or two when you are on a road trip so that you can brag about it when you get back home. This road trip was designed with oddities in mind - none as spectacular as the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps. In Boys Town, NE, at the Leon Myers Stamp Center is a sphere that is 32-inches in diameter and weighs 600 pounds. The sphere itself is made from over 4,655,000 canceled stamps.

This ball is not just a record-breaking marker but is also a historical monument since it was first started as a project in 1953 by the Boys Town Stamps Collecting Club. This ball of stamps is truly an ode to the time when people had hobbies that they were passionate about and stamp collecting was one of the most beloved ones. The number of stamps on this ball keeps increasing as members of the club continue to stick layers upon layers of stamps to it, making it quite the spectacle.


End your momentous road trip journey surrounded by the lively spirits of Des Moines. This quirky and robust city is the perfect place for a group of friends to gather around, relax, and relive the adventures thus far. The breathtaking sights ofPappajohn Sculpture Park, Salisbury House & Garden, and the State Capitol also means there is a lot yet to see. Make sure that you spend your last evening here watching the nationally-acclaimed Broadway shows hosted at the Des Moines Civic Center. There really couldn't be a more fitting end to your RV road trip.

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