If you are planning on leaving behind the lights of Las Vegas for a cross-State RV road trip to the Badlands National Park, this carefully planned trip could be the ideal adventure for you.
We have chosen points of interest which promise to provide a once in a lifetime journey across the continental US of A. If you visit each of the stops planned on this road trip, it is expected to be around 1, 335 miles. This is the perfect road trip for a family or group of friends, with camping in some of the most picturesque spots in the country alongside lots of fun and frolics. As well as the chance to get back to nature, this trip also attempts to immerse you in the history of the lands, with stops at historical landmarks along the way. Promising to be both entertaining and educational, this RV camping adventure is an epic journey like no other.
As always, we advise you to make any necessary bookings in advance for attractions and campgrounds that require a reservation. Also, make sure you pack some emergency supplies and a first aid kit, and let someone know your itinerary and where you are planning on being- just to be on the safe side!
In the Black Hills of Custer County, South Dakota, the Crazy Horse Monument is one of the largest mountain carvings in the States. Carved out of a 641-ft high stone outcrop, the Crazy Horse Monument depicts Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse; a patriot of the Sioux tribe who participated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The monument was the brainchild of a local civic leader, Henry Standing Bear, and it was originally designed by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski- his family has continued the artwork in his memory. Work began in 1948, but it is still not quite finished to this day. However, this is not the only well-known mountain monument in the area, with the world-renowned Mount Rushmore memorial just eighteen miles to the east.
Featured in Spielberg’s 1977 cult classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Devils Tower is in the Ranger District of the Black Hills. This was the very first National Monument in the US, proclaimed by Roosevelt in 1906. To date, this is a particularly popular spot for climbing, with developed routes on each face of the Tower. However, climbing is not recommended in June. This Tower is the site of ceremonial rituals, and climbers try to avoid it during this time. Also, if you are visiting the site, do not touch or move any religious artifacts.
For nearby camping amongst the wilderness, check out the Keyhole State Park, surrounding the Keyhole Reservoir. There is a lot to do here including swimming, hiking, boating, water-skiing and so much more. If you are a keen angler- some of the biggest fish ever caught in Wyoming have been hooked at this park.
The next stop on our Vegas to Badlands road trip is the Pictograph State Park in Montana. The Park takes its name from the rock paintings, which can be found throughout. These are thought to be over 2000 years old and there over 100 pictographs within the park’s boundaries.
There are three main caves here- Pictograph, Middle and Ghost Cave. These were all home to hunters dating back to prehistoric times and the easy quarter a mile hike to the caves is undoubtedly worth it. You might also want to check out Pompey's Pillar Monument nearby. This monument was central within the Lewis and Clark’s expedition, and it gets its name from the 18-month-old baby that joined them on their journey. Here, you can also see examples of pictographs as well as the original date and signature. If you are planning to stay in the area, Camping is available at the Acton Recreation Centre or Billings KOA.
After the fun and outdoor recreation at Yellowstone, the next stop on our journey is a great place to learn more about the rich history of the surrounding area. Old Trail Town is an award-winning attraction, with historic buildings, artifacts, and interpretive programs that provide a wealth of information about the Wild West and how people lived during the days of the Frontier West. You can even stroll around original cabins used by Butch Cassidy including a saloon that was regularly visited by his Hole-in-the-Wall gang. If you want to stay the night near this picturesque town, there are several campgrounds nearby including the Cody KOA holiday park and the BLM-managed Five Springs Falls Campground.
One of America’s most well-known National Parks and the very first; Yellowstone is a sprawling area of wilderness set over an area of over 3,400 square miles. This epic national park is home to mountain ranges, reservoirs, forests, rivers and lakes; all centered around the Yellowstone Caldera- the largest super volcano on the continent. A visit to Yellowstone also includes the opportunity to spot hundreds of species of animals, birds, and fish, including a variety that are endangered or threatened.
You should definitely check out the Grand Prismatic Spring. This unique and colorful geothermal pool is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the park. You could also visit the Yellowstone Bear World, a private attraction that includes hands-on experiences and the chance to spot an abundance of wildlife; including some of Yellowstone’s most famous residents.
Known as the best little zoo in the west, the Idaho Falls Zoo is actually the largest in the state, with a diverse range of animals from around the world. Learn all about the animals that are at home here, as well how the zoo plays an important role in over 40 species survival plans. You can also discover everything there is to know about your favorite animals at the Keeper Chat or Animal Encounter Show.
There is also hands-on fun at the petting zoo, as well as food stands and face painting. Alternatively, there is a lot to do in nearby Idaho Falls with a range of museums, galleries, and attractions. If you are planning on staying in the city, there is a range of both public and private campgrounds nearby.
One of the four national parks in the State, the Craters of the Moon is a one-of-a-kind national park. With its out-of-this-world landscape and ethereal scenery, the area was formed after volcanoes erupted between 15000 and 20000 years ago. You can find out more about the geography and topography of the area at the Craters of the Moon Visitor Centre. Here, you can also learn more about the space research conducted by NASA in the region.
Just south of the Craters of the Moon National Park, you can find the McClendon Spring Campground. This is primitive camping, with just vault toilets and no drinking water or other amenities. Nestled amongst picturesque woodland with a small babbling creek, this campsite is free and managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. If you would prefer to stay somewhere with more facilities, the Craters of the Moon/ Arco KOA has everything that you could possibly need for the home away from home experience.
Known as the Niagara of the west, the Shoshone Falls are actually taller than the Niagara Falls at 212 feet. These dramatic cascades located on the Snake River are truly impressive, and the surrounding scenery is spectacular. With miles upon miles of well-maintained hiking trails, class IV white-water rafting and the chance to spot the many wildlife species that are native to the region, there is a wealth of outdoor recreation in the area.
You will definitely want to check out the scenic overlook, and we recommended taking the 1.8-mile hike to the place where, in 1974, Evel Knievel tried and failed to jump across the river. If you are looking to spend the night in the area, the Falls Campground is managed by the USDA Forest service. Surrounded by mature pine and fir trees, this is a primitive campsite with just basic facilities and the maximum RV length is 32 ft.
Alternately, check out the nearby Twin Falls KOA Campsite for a developed campground with all the amenities you could require. Some bears roam these areas, so wherever you choose to spend the night, make sure you store your food appropriately and be cautious.
Located just northwest of Wells, Nevada, the Tabor Creek Campground is one of the most remote campsites in the State. It is a little bit out of the way, but this is the perfect place to experience some quiet and solitude on your trip.
This US Bureau of Land Management campground contains ten different campsites, each of which are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the place where immigrant wagon trains used to stop and rest, this campground promises miles upon miles of isolation. It is a particularly popular destination for being that like to fish, with premium fishing in the nearby Tabor Creek. This is primitive camping with just basic facilities, and there is no drinking water here so make sure you have plenty of supplies. This campground is open from mid-April till late-November.
The Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area is a 14,815-acre park, with five reservoirs and an abundance of beautiful scenery. Camping among the desert landscape provides the opportunity to spot plentiful local wildlife, as well as the chance to enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, hiking and mountain biking.
The nearby Hot Creek Refugium is also a great place to relax and unwind amongst the warm waters. If the water is too hot to soak, there is a creek just below which is ideal for a cooling swim. Spend the night at the Gap Mountain Campground, a BLM-managed campsite that offers primitive camping amongst the arid wilderness. Stargazing here is truly amazing, with the whole sky lit up at night with the constellations. It should be noted, campfires are not permitted within this region.
As you arrive at your destination, you will hopefully be reflecting on time well spent and an RV holiday enjoyed. Badlands National Park is located just east of Rapid City and it is home to one of the richest fossil beds in the world. Sprawling across 242,756 acres, the sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, valleys, and canyons are where skeletons of three-toed horses and sabretooth cats, as well as a whole host of other prehistoric discoveries, have been found. With its rugged beauty and ethereal landscape, this is a one of a kind destination, and we hope that you enjoy your stay.