Riverside to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Road Trip Guide


If you are planning an RV camping adventure from Riverside to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, we have done the hard work for you. Carefully mapping out the best state parks, campgrounds, and attractions along the way.

With an array of crystal clear lakes, babbling creeks and powerful rivers to cool down in the summer sun, this is the perfect summer road trip. It is aimed at those with a passion for the outdoors and a hankering to get back to nature. It would be best suited to an outdoorsy couple or a group of friends who are seeking an adventure. Alternatively, it could be a great choice for anyone with a passion for nature or an interest in the vibrant history of our country.

Taking you to some of the most delightful spots in the country, our Riverside to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Road Trip is 1,670 miles long, depending on which of the points of interest you choose to visit. It should take over seven days, but you could extend your RV camping by staying longer at some of your favorite spots.

As always, let someone know where you are planning on going and have an emergency plan in place just in case. Also, check with the state websites to see whether you need to make any reservations in advance and whether a permit is required for each day's activities.

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Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: any
audience: all

Point of Interest

Devils Tower National Monument

Rising 1267 feet from the ground, this butte of igneous rock was the US's first-ever national monument. For the more experienced climbers, getting to the top of the Devils Tower Monument has become popular in more recent years. The most common route is the Durrance Route, but there are developed climbing routes around each face of the Tower.

If you are planning on climbing, you must register with the park ranger beforehand and there is no climbing here during June. This is not a statutory rule but most climbers avoid the monument at this time to honor its significance in Native American history and folklore.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Pompeys Pillar was named after Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, an 18-month old whose nickname was Pompey. The little boy was carried on the back of his mother, Sacagawea, as she aided the 14-month Lewis and Clark expedition.

A visit to Pompey’s Pillar provides the opportunity to spot the signature of William Clark himself. Moreover, climbing over 200 steps to reap the rewards at the top is certainly advised, with phenomenal views of the breath-taking Yellowstone River Valley below. Plus, you can find out more about the history of the area at the Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Centre.

The site is managed and maintained by the US Bureau of Land Management, and it is located around 25 miles from Billings, Montana. There is no camping at the Pillar but if you are planning on staying in the area, the Acton Recreation Area provides primitive camping on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternately, enjoy excellent access to the Bighorn Lake and its wealth of water recreation at the Afterbay Campground in Bighorn.

Yellowstone National Park

Sprawling across two million acres of Wyoming and reaching into Montana and Idaho, the Yellowstone National Park is world-famous. Yellowstone is America’s first National Park and possibly the first in the world! This unique area of wilderness, geothermal marvels, lakes, canyons, rivers, forests and mountain ranges became a protected park back in 1872.

A vast variety of animal and bird species are native to the region, including an array of rare, endangered or threatened species as well as the chance to spot bison, wolves and grizzly bears roaming through the region. There is so much to do here, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and wildlife watching, as well as hikes to the iconic spots, including the Lower Falls, Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake.

Grand Prismatic Spring

This is situated in the Yellowstone National Park, but it deserves to be a point of interest on its own. As the largest hot spring in the States, the Grand Prismatic Spring is a unique geological wonder. With vibrant brands of yellow and green surrounding the thermal aqua pools, this boiling hot pool is 250 by 380 feet and up to 160 ft. deep and they are located in the Midway Geyser Basin.

For nearby landmarks, check out the Turquoise Pool, Opal Pool, and the Excelsior Geyser- an enormous crater in the out-of-this-world landscape. This is not the sort of hot spring that you can swim in; the water is far too hot. In fact, it is illegal to swim in most of the thermal springs at Yellowstone. However, there are some hot springs nearby where you are permitted to soak, including the Boiling River near Mammoth and at the Firehole Swim area.

Utah Olympic Park

35 miles east from Salt Lake City, the Utah Olympic Park is a 400-acre venue that promises to be a great day for those who enjoy winter sports. This 2002 Winter Olympics Park is located just outside of downtown Park City, and there is so much to see and do here.

Enjoy year-round skiing or check out the Comet Bobsled Ride, a slide that is 1,335 meters and features over 15 turns and 103 feet of vertical drops. This is open to the public in the summer when the sleds are equipped with wheels and the track defrosted.

From tubing to zipping along one of the four zip lines alongside the chance to spot world-class athletes in training, entrance into the park and museum is free, with some attractions at an additional cost.

Lagoon Amusement Park

Adding some thrills and spills of the theme park variety to your road trip, the Lagoon Amusement Park is a family-owned day of fun and excitement The Park is located around 17 miles north of downtown Salt Lake and there are over 60 different rides here.

For the thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, there are ten rollercoasters to choose from. Whereas, the Kiddie Land at Lagoon Amusement Park is full of rides aimed at younger children and it is one of the biggest of such areas in the country. There are rides for all ages, as well as games, live entertainment, food, and refreshments.

For a splashingly splendid time, head to the Lagoon A Beach water park. Here you will discover four giant water slides, a river ride and plenty of beach space to lie back and top up your tan. Alternatively, the nearby Pioneer Village allows for a glimpse of life in the Old West.

Utah Lake State Park

The next stop on our journey is Utah Lake State Park. This is the perfect stop for anyone who enjoys getting out onto the water, with excellent access to one of the most majestic lakes in the country. This is Utah's largest freshwater lake, and it is a popular camping spot for people looking to get away from the city. A stay here provides unrivaled access to recreation on, in and around the lake, with swimming, boating, hiking, and more.

This lake is also renowned for world-class fishing, with the chance to catch catfish, walleye, bass, and panfish. Providing a lakeside base whilst you explore the nearby cities, this is a great camping destination if you plan to check out Provo or Salt Lake. The RV campground has 31 sites available, each of which has both water and electric hook-ups.

Yuba State Park

With excellent access to the water and a wealth of outdoor recreation available, the next stop on our journey is the Yuba State Park. This is an area that has been inhabited for centuries and is rich in history. As you explore the Park, you may discover rock art, pottery and stone tools that were created and used by ancient Native Americans.

With clear waters and sandy beaches amongst spectacular scenery, this is an idyllic place to spend the night. There are two campsites within the State Park, Oasis Campground and the Painted Rocks Campground, and you can also camp at the designated beach areas. The Oasis area is the most popular, with trees to provide privacy and shade and RV Hook-ups. If you are visiting during peak season, you will need to reserve ahead.

The docks in the park have a shop, stocking groceries, firewood, and basic supplies as well as anything else you may have forgotten. This is also the place to go if you want to rent personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats.

Zion National Park

Striped pink and red sandstone cliffs provide the perfect backdrop to your outdoor RV camping adventure at Zion National Park. Located in the southwest of Utah, this park is built around the expansive Zion canyon, which is around 2, 000 ft. deep. As a result, it is a popular destination for climbers, with Angels Landing and The Narrows being particularly popular spots.

There are three campgrounds in Zion National Park, and the closest to this location would be either the South or the Watchman campgrounds. Reservations can be made in advance and should be secured online or via telephone. They do have some sites available on a first-come, first-served basis but this is a busy spot in the summer and they are often fully booked.

Hoover Dam

With almost a million people visiting each year, the Hoover Dam offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the location and admire one of the seven wonders of the industrial world.

The Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam that was built between 1931 and 1936, and there are both guided and self-guided tours available.

Head to the visitor center to find out about the various tours available and to get more information about the area. It is important to note that not all vehicles can cross the dam, so we advise you to check out the restrictions online. Some RVs and motorhomes are permitted but they may be inspected. Hoover Dam and the adjoining visitor center are open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


After your journey through some of the most famous landscapes across the Continental US reaches a conclusion, with hopefully lots of fun and laughter has been had along the way. Centered around one of the most famous rock sculptures in the world, this large-scale mountain sculpture was created by sculptor Gutzon Borglum between 1927 and 1941.

Mount Rushmore features four of the most influential presidents in America’s history: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Nestled in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, you will undoubtedly want to take the half-mile walking trail for the best views of the rock. Plus, you can learn more about the Shrine to Democracy at the museum and pick up souvenirs at the gift shop.

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