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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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 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 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!
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!
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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 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!