14 Must See Spots on Your Road Trip to Yellowstone!

Last year we took an epic road trip from Texas to Montana, and then back home! Below, I’m including 14 must see spots on your road trip to Yellowstone! This road trip adventure will take you through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Our entire road trip route!


Erwin Widmer / Shutterstock

Cadillac Ranch

We are notorious for driving through Texas as quick as we can and not making too many stops in our home state. But, if you’re looking for a quick, fun, colorful stop, then check our Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. Don’t forget to bring along a can of spray paint!

Address: 13651 I-40 Frontage Road, Amarillo, TX

New Mexico

Amarillo, TX to Farmington, NM

If you’re coming in from Texas, New Mexico is a great place to stop for the night! We stayed in Farmington, NM and that was about a twelve hour drive for us from home. We typically don’t like to drive that far in one day, but we wanted to knock out a big chunk early on to have more days for exploring. And Texas is a huge state to drive through!

Aztec Ruins National Monument

The boys at Aztec Ruins

The Aztec Ruins are a fun and educational stop in Farmington, NM. We spent about an hour here, exploring the different areas of the ruins. The boys loved all of the prairie dogs!

Address: 725 Ruins Rd, Aztec, NM 87410


Family photo with Shiprock Peak behind us!

Shiprock is an iconic sight, rising 1,583 feet tall, about 30 minutes from Farmington! Be aware, it’s considered a sacred place to the Navajo tribe and is not open to the public. We just made a quick stop for a photo on the side of the road!

Directions from Farmington: Take US 64 west to Shiprock and make a left at the intersection with US 491. Continue 7.1 miles on US 64 and 491, and turn right (west) onto the paved Indian Service Route 13. Continue 7.6 miles on IR 13 and turn right (north) onto IR 5010, which is a dirt road. Follow IR 5010 north to Shiprock, which is about 3.5 miles away.


Farmington, NM to Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Forest Gump Point

I have always wanted to see Monument Valley, so we made sure to add this route to our road trip itinerary! I am hoping to explore more of this area on a future trip out west. We just drove through, and stopped for a quick photo at Forest Gump Point. I typed that in on my GPS and it led us there! The landscape here was impressive and I am so happy we added this quick detour to our route!

Monument Valley is located on US Highway 163.


Monument Valley to Moab, UT

Utah is one of the coolest states we’ve ever visited! On this trip, we drove through Moab on our journey to Yellowstone. Of course, we had to stop for some hiking! There are so many amazing spots in Moab to explore. If you’re short on time, I recommend hiking up to Wilson Arch. If you have more time on your road trip, you can stay in Moab for a few days to explore the two National Parks here!

Wilson Arch

The boys under Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch is a quick, five minute hike from the side of highway 191, about 20 minutes south of Moab. It’s mostly uphill, but we were able to hike up and back down without any issues. You can find the pull out to park right alongside the highway, and even though it’s not very crowded, you’ll see other cars along the road. We like this hike because you don’t have to pay to explore here!

Arches National Park

Delicate Arch trail

Arches National Park is the site of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. It’s one of those places that you just have to see to believe! My boys loved exploring this park and keep asking to go back. There are so many areas to explore, if you’re short on time you can even just drive through and stop at different overlooks to take in the different arches. If you have time for a hike, I recommend the three mile hike to the iconic Delicate Arch! Keep in mind, you do need a timed-entry permit to enter Arches National Park from April 1st-October 31st.

Directions to Arches: From Moab, drive north on US 191 for five miles. You will see the sign for the entrance!

Dead Horse Point State Park

The vista at Dead Horse Point

I think I prefer Dead Horse Point State Park over the Grand Canyon, it’s that scenic! You don’t need a ton of time here, we just parked and walked along the overlook trail. The views are absolutely breathtaking!

Directions to Dead Horse Point: Drive nine miles northwest of Moab on US 191 and then 23 miles southwest on Utah 313 to the end of the highway. You will see signs for Dead Horse Point along the drive!

Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch trail

Another amazing National Park in Moab is Canyonlands! The area called Island in the Sky is right next to Dead Horse Point State Park, so you can knock these two places out at one time! The overlooks are truly amazing. If you don’t have much time, I recommend checking out Mesa Arch!

Directions to Canyonlands: From US 191 north of Moab, UT 313 leads to Island in the Sky district. You will keep driving past Arches NP and will see signs for Canyonlands National Park.


Moab, UT to Twin Falls, ID

Idaho has to be the most underrated state we’ve ever visited! We were blown away with the views, the waterfalls, the hiking trails, the mountains, and more! On our road trip, we decided to stay in Twin Falls for a few nights to explore the area and spend some time outside of the car. This ended up being a great choice and one of my favorite destinations of the entire trip!

Perrine Coulee Falls

Can you see the people on the trail behind the waterfall?

Did you know that you can hike behind one of the tallest waterfalls in Twin Falls? I had no clue until I began researching stops along our route. The 200 foot waterfall is quite impressive by itself, but having the opportunity to walk behind it was really special!

Directions to Perrine Coulee Falls: This waterfall is just outside of Centennial Waterfront Park. You’ll see cars parked along the street next to the falls. You won’t miss this one, it’s close to the road that leads through the park!

Shoshone Falls Park

Shoshone Falls Park

Shoshone Falls is also known as The Niagara of the West! If you’re in Twin Falls, you have to visit this park! There are several different paved trails with different views of the falls. And, you don’t need a lot of time here to experience the magic!

Shoshone Falls Park Address: 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade, Twin Falls, ID 83301. There is a $5 entrance fee per vehicle.

Upper Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls

If you’re driving from Twin Falls, you should make the stop to hike around Upper Mesa Falls near the Idaho, Montana border! I really had no clue that Idaho was full of so many amazing waterfalls. This is a very short hike to a 114 feet high, 200 feet wide roaring curtain of water!

Directions to Mesa Falls: You’ll find Upper Mesa Falls in Ashton, Idaho off of Hwy 20 via Scenic Byway 47. I used the Alltrails app for directions and we had no issues finding it. There were also signs along the drive.


Twin Falls, ID to West Yellowstone, MT

Up to this point, our trip was fantastic, but then we arrived in West Yellowstone, MT and found out that Yellowstone National Park was closed. Yes, we are some of the unfortunate people that made the trip only to learn that other areas of the park had encountered historic flooding. So, we never actually got to enter Yellowstone. We were so sad, but found other things to do in the area.

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone

The boys with our favorite bear!

We had been so excited to see wild animals in Yellowstone, so it made sense to visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Plus, it was directly across the street from our lodging. It is a fantastic facility! We loved seeing the bears and were so excited when the wolves woke up and began moving around. We spent several hours here viewing the animals, hearing their stories, and exploring the museum inside.

Address: 201 S Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT 59758. It costs $16.50 for adults, $11.50 for kids.


West Yellowstone, MT to Jackson, WY

Our trip was completely redeemed once we made it to Jackson, WY! The Grand Tetons are absolutely gorgeous. And, the best part is that we got to encounter a real bear in the wild!

Grand Teton National Park

Jenny Lake

One can easily spend weeks here and not see everything that this National Park has to offer. We had the chance to spend a couple of nights here, and we were able to spend two full days hiking in the park. If I had one place to recommend, I’d suggest the Jenny Lake area! If you want to see wildlife, hike on the Phelps Lake Overlook trail, that’s where we saw the bear!

Visitor Center Address: 100 Discovery Way, Moose, WY 83012


Jackson, WY to Colorado Springs, CO

By the time we made it to Colorado Springs for the night, before journeying back home, we were exhausted! This is such a neat destination, you can easily spend a week vacationing here alone. So, even though there are tons of activities and attractions to explore here, we opted for a quick visit to Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid! I knew I wanted to bring my boys here. They’ve actually visited this place on several different occasions, it makes for a great stop! My boys love the easy walk around the different rock formations. And the climbing is their favorite part! Plus, it’s always a good idea to get the kids tired before beginning a long trip back home! Don’t miss out on the museum inside the Visitor Center.

Address: 1805 N. 30th Street Colorado Springs, CO 80904

We spent two weeks adventuring through the desert and over mountains on this road trip! Even though we didn’t get to see the main attraction on this trip, we still had a wonderful time and made tons of memories! This road trip did involve a lot of planning, especially for the weather! It was warm in some places, but snowed in others, all within just a few days.

Road Trip Tips

  • Have a plan! Make sure to know your route and where you plan to stop and stay each night!
  • Get your vehicle checked before your road trip!
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit in your vehicle.
  • Bring plenty of snacks and drinks for the drive!
  • Create a playlist. If you have kids, have them help you!
  • Stop often for breaks.
  • Don’t try to drive too long each day unless you know you and your kiddos can handle it.
  • Prepare for the weather at each destination on your adventure!
  • Be patient, expect traffic and weather delays from time to time.
  • Don’t try to pack in too much each day!
  • Have fun!

I’m sure we missed a ton of awesome places on this road trip! We do have plans to one day return to Yellowstone, taking a different route. Be sure to check out more of my blog posts for complete travel guides and itineraries! Good luck on your next road trip, I know it’s going to be amazing!

Texas to South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary

The Fosters in front of Mount Rushmore!

Hey y’all! Well, I’m writing from Cody, WY today as we wait for our Yukon to be worked on. We were not expecting that the whole computer system would go out on our drive back home. But, we’re at a nice little Inn that’s in a great location and Cody is a beautiful little town. So, I decided I might as well blog about this trip while it’s fresh on my mind. Plus, I’ve had several friends reach out to me asking how I planned this trip to begin with, so I thought I’d list out our itinerary for others to use. We definitely didn’t see or do it all, but we had the best time!

Honestly, South Dakota wasn’t even my original destination. I wanted to visit the Redwood Forests in California but didn’t think that Jereme would want to drive that far. He hates road tripping haha! And when looking for plane tickets and rental cars, I got a little overwhelmed. It just so happens that my 2nd grade son’s class was learning about the presidents and monuments around the USA. He quickly became fascinated with Mount Rushmore and when I looked at the distance, I realized that a 15 hour drive would be totally do-able. I mean we drove to South Carolina over spring break and that was a 16 hour trip! We decided to book our trip from June 23-29th and we would be able to celebrate our 15 year anniversary and Jake’s 5th birthday while we were there. Once I had dates in mind, I went to Pinterest and read other travel blogs for inspiration. I had no idea there was SOOOOOO much to do in South Dakota!

I discovered that Rapid City, SD is a nice size town with a lot of lodging and dinner options. I’ve mentioned before that I use Expedia.com to book most of our hotels using the book now/pay later option. I found a fun Best Western with a water slide and was sold! We booked it that day and I had a few months to plan out our week. We decided that on the drive up to South Dakota, we would just go straight there the quickest way. Below is the route we took. We stopped in Grand Island, Nebraska for the night after driving most of the day.

Screenshot of our route to Rapid City, SD

Day 1: We left around 10:00 am on Sunday, June 22nd. The drive to Nebraska was about 8 hours. It was so beautiful. On the drive, I started googling fun places to visit and used some of the billboards along the route and found that we were really close to Smith Falls, which happens to be the largest waterfall in Nebraska. Of course, we had to stop there! That took us a little ways off of the route and added about 2 additional hours total with the extra driving and exploring the area. It was totally worth it!

Scenic overlook on the drive to Smith Falls State Park

My sweet Jake at the scenic overlook!

Smith Falls

Family photo in front of Smith Falls

Jereme and the boys!

The trail leading to the waterfall!

As you can see, it was a really neat stop after driving all day. The entire path was labeled and most of it was on a boardwalk through the forest. My boys loved it! From here, we drove to Grand Island, Nebraska and stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham for the night. And let me just say, this hotel had the best free breakfast buffet that we’ve ever had by far!

Day 2: After a restful night, we got up and finished the drive to Rapid City, SD. The drive from Nebraska to South Dakota was gorgeous.

Murdo, SD

We got caught in a small storm during the drive

We booked our week at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City. It was great! The best part was the water park inside the hotel and the crazy slides that the kids LOVED! We went to the water park every single night! I highly recommend this hotel too, especially if you have children with you!

How cool is this place!?

My boys going down the slides!

Day 3: Now to the fun stuff! We decided to head to Mount Rushmore first! The kids were so excited to see it and I really wanted to visit this place on our anniversary! I had no idea that it would be so neat. I honestly thought we’d just look at the monument and be on our way. I was totally wrong! The drive from Rapid City to Mount Rushmore took about 30 minutes and it was a really scenic drive. Most attractions are between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore, so that was really convenient for us! And I loved that the roads were very easy to navigate and there are signs everywhere, too that are helpful.

Tunnel on the highway right before Keystone, SD

When we came around a corner up in the mountains near Mount Rushmore, it suddenly came into view, and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been wanting to visit this monument since I was about 20, which is when Jereme and I really started traveling together. It was just pure excitement in the car!

First glimpse of Mount Rushmore

I could probably post a thousand pictures of this monument, but I won’t haha! Even though is was crowded, we really had a good time. I had no idea that there are different trails and areas to view this monument from different angles. One of my favorite parts is that there are different stops along the trail throughout the park with informational plaques about each of the 4 presidents represented (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln). These are strategically placed and when you look up, you get the best view of the president mentioned. The cost to enter the park is a $10 parking fee. There’s also a gift shop, places to grab food/drinks, some of the old tools used to build the monument, and the original plans for the carvings. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Mount Rushmore National Park!

Happy 15th Anniversary to us!

My favorite picture!

The only problem we had the whole day was that a pine cone fell out of a tree, hit Jake on the forehead, and cut it! Hahaha! He was so mad!

After exploring Mount Rushmore we decided to head to Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that Jereme is Native American, so this was special for him. The cost to get into this memorial is $30. It also has a place to eat, which we took advantage of. I love buffets, and it did not disappoint. There’s also different artifacts to look at from the Sioux Indian tribes in the area. We did not take the bus closer to the memorial, but we still enjoyed our visit. I recommend taking binoculars if you aren’t going to take the bus to get a closer look!

Crazy Horse behind Jereme

This is what the memorial will look like when it’s complete! It will be bigger than the pyramids in Egypt!

The drive from Mount Rushmore to Crazy Horse was another scenic drive. We stopped at a lake and explored a little before meeting back up with the Morgans.

We decided to end our day at the National Presidential Wax Museum in Keystone, SD, which is on the way back to Rapid City. It cost around $32 for my family to enter. We all had a great time! Here are just a few of the pictures from inside.



Check out their shirts! Thanks Miss Carrie!

The teacher in me loved this part!

After spending a few hours at Bear Country USA, we decided to head to Keystone to explore the downtown area. It’s a quaint little area with lots of food, drinks, and souvenir shopping! We ate at a Mexican food place called, Guadalajara’s. It was yummy!

Keystone, SD

We had to take a picture in front of this Bigfoot, in Bigfoot shirts!

While we were eating we decided to go check out Rushmore Cave. I think it cost my family around $42 for the cave tour. It’s an entire adventure park, but we just chose to do the cave tour. We had a great tour guide, Kaden and he did an excellent job of telling us the history of the cave. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a cave with so many tight squeezes! I absolutely loved it!

As you can tell, these kiddos loved the cave tour!

From the cave, we went to… you guessed it! Back to the hotel water park!

Day 5: Day 5 was probably my favorite day in South Dakota! I can’t even begin to describe the trail we hiked around Custer State Park. I came across images of the Sunday Gulch Trail and knew we had to do it. I am not going to lie, there were tears shed around the 2.5 mile mark from my oldest kiddo. (We didn’t know he was actually getting sick with a fever/cold at the time). This hike is 3.9 miles long, it’s labeled as a HARD trail with a lot of uphill and downhill hiking, trekking through water, over rapids and streams using rocks or tree logs to get across. It was so much fun, but so much work. I can’t even describe how beautiful the sights were and my pictures just don’t do it justice. We could’ve explored this park for 3-4 days! I didn’t get many shots of us on the crazier parts of the trail because I had to help pass our little one off to Jereme and didn’t want to drop my phone in the water. But trust me, it was so cool! We packed a picnic lunch and found a nice, shady area to eat and then took off. It cost us $20 to get into the park, but that includes a 5 day pass to return. There are bathrooms, a store/souvenir shop, canoe rentals, and probably more than I even saw. After the hike, the kiddos and Jereme jumped into the lake for a freezing cold swim! Helpful Tips: Bring plenty of food and water for the day, wear sunscreen and reapply often, use bug repellent, bring a first aid kit, take a swimsuit or change of clothes/shoes, expect to get wet, and have a blast!

Screenshot of the Sunday Gulch Trail from Jeremy Morgan’s phone


Jett at the end of the hike!

We took the iconic Needles Highway back to Keystone after we left Custer State Park, which is an adventure in itself. It’s over 30 miles long with over 300 curves and switchbacks, pigtails, and tunnels. I had to do the driving because I get so carsick, but the speeds are so slow that I was honestly fine the entire drive. Jereme was the photographer for us this time! Next to our hotel was an Olive Garden and we headed there and I ate pasta for days!

Me driving inside a tunnel

The Morgans ahead of us

After dinner the kids suddenly felt better and had enough energy to close the water park down at the hotel!

Day 6: Today was Friday, June 28th and our little guy’s 5th Birthday! Jake wanted to go on another hike before we had a small pool party/cake for his birthday that night. We decided to explore The Badlands National Park and wow, what a sight! It’s another gorgeous place with land forms that are hard to describe. The only bad part about this day, is that it was so HOT! The temps had been mild, in the 70’s all the other days of our trip, but on this day it felt like we were back in TX! We didn’t stay as long as we wanted to because of the heat. It cost $25 to get into this park and there are several marked trails to take as soon as you park your car. We hiked the Notch Trail which was 1.5 miles round-trip and had a log ladder that we had to climb for great views! Since it was hot, we took a scenic drive through the park back to Wall, SD.

The Birthday Boy!

When we left The Badlands, we visited Wall Drug which was recommended on every blog I came across. To be honest, I could’ve skipped out on this one. It was a neat place, we had great ice cream and bought some cute souvenirs. But it wasn’t a must for my family. For some reason, I didn’t take a single picture at this stop! We then headed back to our hotel and had some birthday cake for Jake’s birthday and spent the rest of the evening at the hotel water park, of course!

I can’t believe we have a 5-year-old!

Day 7: Sadly, we had to check out of our hotel today and start the journey home. We had a really great plan to explore a few different states on the way back to TX. Our plan was to drive to Sturgis and Spearfish Canyon, SD, venture into Wyoming, cut up to Montana to Devils Canyon Overlook, then head down to Casper, WY for the night. Then the following day, we planned to drive down to Denver for lunch, explore Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, before heading to Pueblo, CO for the night. From there we would have a 10 hour drive to our house. We had hotels booked, but God had another plan for us and I’m choosing to look at this situation as a divine intervention. We did get to drive through Wyoming and up to Montana, but right when we got to Lovell, WY our Yukon basically lost all power. We were stranded, luckily right outside of a restaurant full of helpful people, while we had to wait 4 hours for a tow truck to come get us. I quickly canceled all of our hotels and found one in Cody, WY and that’s where we still are, 2 days later. The mechanic said the Yukon should be fixed by noon tomorrow, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be home by Wednesday (July 3rd).

Here is our original plan for the drive home, feel free to use if you’re road tripping from SD – TX!

Rapid City to Devils Canyon Overlook

Devils Canyon Overlook to Casper, WY

Casper, WY to Pueblo, CO

We took the scenic bypass through Spearfish Canyon and I am so glad we did! We stumbled across Bridal Veil Falls by accident and had a quick hike up to see the waterfall up close! Below are just a few of our favorite pictures. Helpful Tips: You have to cross over a large stream to get to the falls. Bring extra shoes, I did great crossing over the rocks on the way to see the waterfall. Then I fell into the stream in tennis shoes on the way back across!

From here we crossed over into Wyoming, not knowing we’d still be here days later haha! This is such a beautiful state, I guess there are way worse places to the stranded.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our drive through Wyoming! As you can tell, we stopped at most of the scenic overlooks throughout this trip.

Once you get close to Lovell, WY, you take a quick right off of highway 37 and drive about 10 minutes and cross into Montana to Devils Canyon Overlook. It was totally worth the drive, this place was fascinating. Some describe it like Wyoming/Montana’s Grand Canyon!

From here our plans changed and that is ok! I have learned a few things during this trying situation. First, my family is pretty great. We all handled this dilemma exceptionally well and nobody panicked. I only cried once and that was when waitresses at the restaurant we were at heard about our situation and paid for our food. I was just overwhelmed with all of the kindness from complete strangers! Second, you can have some of the best thought-out plans, but they can change really quick and you just have to roll with it and stay positive. Third, I have never in my life been more thankful that I live in a small town close to my family and friends! Fourth, I will never take owning a car for granted again. It has not been fun being without one for the past two days!

So there it is, our Texas-South Dakota (and more) itinerary! One day, Carrie may decide to start blogging from her perspective, too! They had a great trip, and made it back to Texas on Saturday night! You’ll want to stay tuned for her trip because they visited Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota before meeting us in Rapid City! And y’all say a prayer for us, hopefully we make it home soon!