For all the nature lovers out there who are looking for your next escape, we’ve got some great ideas for your next foray into the great outdoors. Get your hiking boots ready, because no matter if you prefer a day hike or a full-on backpacking trip, you’ll find a number of incredible options throughout North America.
If you’re thinking about accommodation for your next trip, a campervan hiking road trip could be the ideal choice. It’s less expensive than hotels or motels and more convenient than tent camping. Plus, you can keep all outdoor gear right in the vehicle so you’ll never forget it.
After a long day (or multiple days) of physical exertion on the trails, there’s nothing better than putting your feet up in the comfort of your own campervan.
Here are some of the best sites where you can indulge your love for backpacking and hike right from your (mobile) doorstep.
Pinnacles National Park earned its name from towering, domed rock structures that seem to bulge out of the earth. A lot of the geology in the area is due to its proximity to the San Andres Fault Line. Located east of the Salinas Valley, it’s the perfect place to feel like you’ve ventured off the beaten path.
One of Pinnacles National Park’s greatest draws is that it offers the chance to do some cave exploration on its hiking trails. Balconies Cave Trail takes you on a 9.4 miles roundtrip through a creek, stunning rock formations, and the unlit Balconies Cave. It truly is an adventure; just remember to bring your flashlight!
The High Peaks trail is another unmissable one, as it takes you to the higher rock formations. Here you’ll see some colorful vegetation and mineral wash on the rocks. There are even etched-footsteps to climb up in some steep portions of the trail, definitely a fun challenge.
It’s easy to find a car camping home for the night at Pinnacles Campground. Located right in the park, the RV campsites have hookups, water, and paid showers available.
Mount Rainier’s icy glaciated peak seems to hide the fact that it is still an active volcano. Washington’s iconic mountain allows nature to thrive around it. You’ll see varied ecosystems from subalpine wildflower meadows to ancient forest draped on Mount Rainier’s lower slopes in this national park.
A haven for hikers of all levels, the park has several beautiful day hikes. Burroughs Mountain Trail is an example that will take you up along Emmons Glacier to the highest point on a trail at 7,402 feet. For a more leisurely hike that will still get you a gorgeous view of the Cascade mountains, try the Sunrise Rim Trail, which has a slightly lower elevation.
For the expert hikers and campers, the Wonderland Trail beckons. The entire trail is 93 miles and takes about 10 days to complete for the expert backpacker accustomed to backcountry camping. It encircles Mount Rainier and is a challenge with a steep elevation gain that rewards with its scenery; get your sleeping bags ready for some nights under the stars.
The state park offers campgrounds where you can find a spot for your campervan, and they each offer something different in terms of the ecosystem – from flowery fields to river rapids. However, none of the sites have hookups. Mounthaven Resort in Ashford is a convenient alternative just 1/2 mile away.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Another glacier site on our list, Montana’s Glacier, preserves 1 million acres of glacier-carved peaks and valleys, pristine turquoise lakes and streams, and dense forests. It truly is a perfect place for a camping trip out in nature.
The number one hiking trail here is Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars. This 7-mile trail takes you to the glacial melt lake through giant cedars and hemlock forest. Imagine day hiking through the peaceful greenery and past flowing glacial steams, isn’t it relaxing?
Another must-do is the Hidden Lake Overlook. It’s a pretty easy hike over gravel and paved walkways. Other than the gorgeous blue lake, you’ll have a chance to spot some mountain goats hopping on the rocky slopes.
Most of the hikes in the area are concentrated around Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s a bonus if you enjoy cycling, as this route is on the biking bucket list of many cyclists.
Put your feet up at the end of the day at West Glacier Village. It’s the nearest full-service RV campsite just steps away from the park.
San Juan National Forest, Colorado
San Juan National Forest features Colorado’s largest mountain range and is known for amazing high elevation hiking and extensive backcountry camping opportunities. The highlights of the area include subalpine forests and the bluest alpine lakes.
Blue Lakes Trail will bring you to the aforementioned turquoise alpine water in creeks and Lower Blue Lake, as well as Mount Sneffels views. The 7.6-mile hike is of moderate grade and easy accessibility. For those who prefer a longer hike, continue to Upper Blue Lake for even more fantastic sights.
The Ice Lakes Trail invites you to explore even more of the alpine wonderland. The 8-mile hike takes you to two lake basins, through wildflower meadows and numerous waterfalls.
While you’re at San Juan, take some time to explore the historic mines. Several trailheads were formed thanks to the remnant roads of that era. The mining town of Ironton and the nearby Colorado Boy mine offers an interesting insight into the area’s past.
Camping is more rugged here, and sites usually don’t have hookups or showers, but most campgrounds have drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
This is one national park that needs no introduction and draws visitors from around the world. The marvel of nature is split into the North and South Rim—both of which offer rim trail hikes that have spectacular views of the inner canyon, some on paved trails.
It is also possible to hike into the Grand Canyon. Prepare to spend hours gazing in awe at the gigantesque gorges and formations around you.
For backpackers, it is probably a dream to do a Rim-to-Rim multi-day hike; these expeditions typically last 4-days. Be prepared for some backcountry camping and have equipment ready, as the Grand Canyon has a beautiful but harsh and unforgiving environment. Ultralight backpacks and a water filter are definite musts.
You can have the Grand Canyon right at your doorstep by staying at Trailer Village RV Park. It is the only in-park RV camping site with full hookups, and it’s incredibly close to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
Siuslaw National Forest, Bend, Oregon
Oregon is known for its views and waterfalls. We want to highlight one that’s notoriously difficult to find.
Devil’s Staircase Wilderness in Tidewater, Oregon, is found deep in the heart of Oregon’s coastal rainforest, nestled between the Smith and Umpqua rivers. This is not a simple walk in the woods. The Devil’s Staircase is a rarely visited waterfall beneath an ancient forest.
It’s so steep and rugged, and there’s no official trailhead. We recommend that you only attempt to go to the Devil’s Staircase Waterfall with an experienced person with good route-finding skills who has been there before. Some organizations like Oregon Wild lead trips.
This can take more than a day’s trek; however, it’s untouched beauty is something adventurous hikers may want to seek out.
Other great hiking opportunities in Oregon can be found at Sawyer Park.
The Farewell Bend River trail loop is an easy three-mile loop showing off impressive forest and river views. Green Lakes is another local favorite. The moderate 4.5-6 mile trail to the three green lakes offers plenty of waterfalls and wildflowers, so you’ll always have something to see on your hike.
North of the park is the Deschutes River Trail (DRT). This takes you over 12 miles of trails along pristine portions of riverfront with pine, juniper, and ponderosa forests. At a point, you’ll cross a canyon where the river runs below—a sight well worth the journey.
Set up your home base in Bend at Crown Villa RV Resort, a variety of on-site amenities will welcome you back after a full day of hiking. Full hookup sites, hot tub, laundry, and even a dog park are available.
As you can see, aside from various day hikes to multi-day excursions, the United States also provides a wide array of different sights and scenery. All that’s left is to pick a destination for your next getaway into the wild.
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