Provo in Utah is a city sandwiched between the prominent peaks of the Wasatch Range and the mountain-backed Utah Lake. It's an urbanization that has been developed with a minimal amount of high rise blocks so there's not a lot to spoil the surrounding views and they're spectacular in all four seasons. With the Utah Lake State Park less than a fifteen-minute drive from Downtown Provo plus the Wasatch Mountain State Park and the Deer Creek State Park within a thirty-mile drive, it's not hard to find a campground to pitch up at if you're passing through or somewhere to escape to if you live in Provo. All three parks are fantastic for many types of outdoor recreation any time of the year including boating, hiking, skiing, and fishing.
There is one set back though to all those fantastic facilities being so close to the city limits. During college and university breaks they attract a large number of student visitors that head there to enjoy themselves and forget all about the stress of studying for their examinations and who can blame them. The fresh air and exercise are a great alternative to stuffy classrooms, libraries and having their noses stuck in books. If you're a couple looking for a quiet retreat or someone involved in the teaching profession, you may prefer to spend your break somewhere with a minimum amount of young folk.
The best thing to do is pack up your rig and take a seven-day RV road trip from Provo to Duluth in Minnesota. Motor out of Provo along the I 80 eastbound until you're out of Utah and heading through Wyoming and South Dakota. On route, you'll find some great areas for wildlife spotting, fantastic natural and man-made wonders to visit, and some very interesting and diverse museums to browse around as well as some breathtaking hiking trails with not another being in sight.
Six hours drive out of Provo and you'll arrive at the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located north of Rawlins and before Casper in Wyoming. The refuge covers nearly seventeen-thousand acres of diverse terrains and is the perfect place to pull up and get out your binoculars. If you want to pitch camp there so you can do some early morning bird watching you can. Camping is permitted in the Bishops Point Campground. The campground can be accessed via Pathfinder Road the turn off for which is just before the rural community of Alcova.
The extensive acreage of the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge varies between grasslands, wetlands and dry lake beds. The lands of the refuge attract many species of waterfowl and shorebirds, both resident and migratory. While there you could spot up to one-hundred and fifty plus different varieties of bird that include the rare white-faced ibis as well as golden eagles. Keep an eye to the ground and you'll also see plenty of mammals and reptiles.
While you're in the region of Casper in Wyoming pay a visit to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center on Popular Street. It's an enormous installation covering eleven-thousand square feet dedicated to preserving the pioneering history of the state. The facility has a spacious parking lot so you'll have no trouble finding somewhere to leave your rig while you're inside.
The center has both indoor and outdoor exhibitions many of which are interactive so it will take you quite a while to explore all of it. The multiple displays portray the journeys of the early settlers of the region in the mid-1800s. Don't miss trying the virtual wagon ride that will have you sitting in the back of a covered wagon as it rolls across rugged territory and through a river. You'll soon realize, your RV is a whole lot more comfortable.
If you like your landscapes with an alpine aspect, you'll definitely want to stop and pitch camp for a while in the Keyhole State Park. The park is located on the eastern shore of the serpentine Keyhole Reservoir in Crook County, Wyoming. To get there leave the I 90 just after passing through Moorcroft then veer off onto the WY 14 or either of the several county roads that wind through the countryside. You may find the Old Sundance Road the easiest to negotiate and the most convenient.
The Keyhole State Park has ten campgrounds so there's no shortage of places to pitch up, though if you want to be sure of a spot you can make a prior reservation for the Tatanka Campground. The rest are first-come, first-served only. This really is a beautiful get-away-from-it-all spot where you can kick back and relax in superb pine-forested lake surroundings – tranquility guaranteed. In fact, it's so nice, you'll quite possibly want to stay for at least a couple of days while you're on your RV road trip from Provo to Duluth.
Take a pit stop at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall Of Fame on your journey to Duluth. You'll find the unique museum on Main Street in the town of Sturgis which you'll be passing through on route. The museum has a parking lot where you can pull in and leave your rig, so no worries about having to park on the side of the road.
Even if you're not an overly avid fan of this two-wheeled form of transport, it's still well worth having a browse around. Catch a motorcycle-related movie in the museum's theater before exploring the displays of antique motorcycles and discovering who has been inducted in the hall of fame. If you're making your road trip from Provo in August and seriously don't want a lot of noise, you may prefer to make a detour around Sturgis as toward the end of the month, the town holds a week-long motorcycle rally and that is not a quiet event.
As you're arriving in Sturgis, you'll have been driving along the northern border of the Black Hills National Forest. Hidden in the forest is one of South Dakota's most impressive natural marvels, the Wonderland Cave. Take the Vanocker Canyon Road out of Sturgis and it'll lead you to a parking area and the trailhead for the short hike up to the cave. The cave is only open for viewing from May to October and when you go inside, be prepared for a dramatic drop in temperature as inside the cave maintains a steady forty-seven degrees Fahrenheit.
There are lots of stairs to negotiate as you go down underground to explore the amazing crystal formations in this subterranean world of white stalagmites and stalactites. Some of the passageways are narrow, dripping with water and can feel slightly claustrophobic, but who said having an underground adventure was easy? Tours of the cave take around forty-five minutes so you won't need to be brave for too long before you're out the other side and admiring the views of the Vanocker Canyon.
You'll have seen it so many times in photos that it's probably become something you take for granted, but while you're on your road trip from Provo to Duluth, make sure to visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It's one-hundred times more magnificent than you could possibly imagine and its magnitude defies description.
The famous sculpture of North America's past presidents was created in the early 1940s and each of the faces measures a staggering sixty feet high. The passing of time and the elements have weathered the features of the four presidents to some degree, but they're still looking pretty good. As you stroll up the visitor's walkway to admire the monument, it's difficult not to be impressed by the logistics of its creation, or to wonder how the artists managed to work at such a high altitude and were able to reproduce the amazing likenesses on such a grand scale.
Roll into 1880 Town in your rig and as well as experiencing a certain sense of deja vu, you'll feel as if you've driven through some time zones that have flipped you back to the past around about a hundred years or so. 1880 Town is located just north of junction 170 on I 90 along the SD 63 northbound. The Wild West town consists of thirty original buildings fitted out with artifacts from the corresponding era and all are accessible for exploring.
Movie fans can put their deja vu down to the fact parts of the town were used as a filming location in the movie Dances with Wolves, and there are also props on display that were used in the making of the film. You can make your visit even more fun by hiring a period costume to wear as you wander around. It will add a great note of authenticity to your souvenir photos. Don't miss trying a slice of homemade cream pie in the railroad dining car.
Pass through Minneapolis and fourteen miles further on you'll be able to stop for a hike in one of the prettiest spots in Minnesota, the Rice Creek North Regional Trail Corridor. There's no camping there but there are plenty of parking spaces to leave your rig while you go trekking. You'll find the trailhead by the parking lot which is on Fairview Avenue. There's a one-way system in place there so if you miss the turning you'll have to do a full circuit then try again.
The six and a half-mile long paved trail winds through thick forests, wetlands, and prairie as well as alongside Rice Creek and loops around several small lakes. The Rice Creek North Trail is just one of several countryside walks in the area and if you decide to stop over to hike some more of them, you'll find a campground in the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve that has fully equipped hook-ups for RVs.
The last part of your road trip from Provo to Duluth will be a scenic drive passing by the Chengwatana National Forest and the St Croix State Park. The first class scenery doesn't stop when you roll into Duluth either. The city sits on the south-western shore of Lake Superior and is surrounded by the Chequamegon-Nicolet and the Superior National Forests. If you're not ready to return to Provo, you'll be in the ideal place to start out on another road trip that will have you motoring along Lake Superior's north shore which, while it is a lakeside run, with its fantastic cliffs and pebble beaches will have you feeling like you're on a coastal vacation. There really is no better end to a road trip than starting another without heading for home.