Visitors can reach America’s national parks by plane, train, and car, but one of the most memorable ways to experience the parks is by RV or campervan. With your campervan or RV, you can often stay within the park itself or just outside its borders. This enables you to not only get a close-up view of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, but also spend much less than you would staying in hotels at the parks.
This 3,665 mile itinerary out of San Francisco, includes some of the most spectacular parks in the western U.S., including Glacier National Park, Yosemite, Zion, and Yellowstone.
Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Read on to find out more about each national park and some of the best RV and campervan campgrounds nearby. Then pick up one of our fully loaded campervans and hit the road!
The fifth oldest national park in the country, Crater Lake has been awing visitors (as a national park, at least) since 1902. The park’s main sights include the caldera of Crater Lake, the remains of an ancient volcano; Mount Mazama; and the hills and forests around them. At 1,949 feet (594 meters) deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. Visitors to the lake can swim, waterski, fish, or rent a boat from the marina.
Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area is a great option for RV and campervan camping near Crater Lake National Park. Located about 40 miles southwest of the park, the campground provides a good base from which to explore the park as well as other sights in Southern Oregon. The campground overlooks Lost Creek Reservoir and is surrounded by mountains and large conifer trees. Guests can also enjoy the campground’s 11-mile train system that winds through the forest and alongside year-round streams. There are 151 electrical sites with water, flush toilets and hot showers, a dump station, volleyball court, and fenced off-leash pet area, among other amenities.
With two mountain ranges, more than 130 lakes, over 1,000 species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals, Glacier National Park, located in northwestern Montana, is one of the largest and most spectacular national parks in the country. In addition to its incredible scenery, Glacier National Park is also famed for its rich biological and geological history; the park’s mountains were formed over 170 million years ago and contain some of the best examples of early fossils on earth. The park has over 700 miles of hiking trails, allowing visitors to experience much of the park‘s beauty on foot.
Fish Creek Campgroundis the second largest RV campground in Glacier National Park and one of four campgrounds in the park that takes reservations. It is located on the western side of the park at an elevation of almost 3,500 feet. There are many day hikes near the campground, including the Rocky Point Trail. This forested campground has 178 campground spaces along with flush toilets and potable water.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Established by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the U.S.; it is also widely considered to be the first national park in the world. Yellowstone is famed for its stunning scenery; geothermal features, particularly Old Faithful; and its abundant wildlife. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1972.
Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park is located in West Yellowstone, Montana, a short drive from many incredible sights in Yellowstone National Parkand Gallatin National Forest. The campground is just four blocks from the west entrance gate at Yellowstone National Park, making it one of the most conveniently located RV parks in Yellowstone. There are also dining, shopping, and attractions within walking distance. All of the RV campsites have full hookups with 30 to 50 amp electric, along with water, sewer, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. Pull-through sites are also available.
Located just forty-six miles south of Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton features over 300,000 acres of lush landscapes, alpine lakes, and of course, the rising peaks of the Teton Range. In addition, you might encounter wildlife such as elk, bison, bighorn sheep and even bears while trekking through more than 200 miles worth of trails. With it being so close to Yellowstone, you really owe it to yourself to stop here as well.
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is renowned for its striking red sandstone, varied landscape, and a diverse array of plants and animals. One of the park’s prominent features is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles long and as much as 2,640 feet (800 meters) deep with reddish-colored Navajo Sandstone walls. The park also offers some of the best hiking in the country; there are seven trails here including Angels Landing, considered to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the U.S.
Located just minutes from Zion National Park, Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground features full hookups along with an onsite pool and sauna, hot showers, laundry facilities, internet, and more. The campground also offers a free shuttle bus between March 1st and October 31st that transports guests to and from Zion National Park. Note that this RV park and campground is very popular, so try to make reservations as soon as possible.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
This colossal, ancient canyon, located in Arizona, is considered by many to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world. How ancient is it, you ask? The Colorado River has been flowing through the Grand Canyon for about six million years, but a 2011 theory suggested that an ancient river system created the canyon as early as 70 million years ago. There are many ways to enjoy the canyon, including hiking, rafting, and visiting one of the canyon’s many viewpoints.
One of the RV and campervan campgrounds located within Grand Canyon National Park is Trailer Village RV Park, situated on the south rim. It has 84 RV sites; most have full hookups and 30 and 50 amp available. There are both back-in and pull-through sites as well as showers, laundry facilities, potable water, a dump station, and Wi-Fi at the lodge nearby.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Filled with stacks of boulders, other-worldly trees, gold mining ruins, and more eye-catching sights, California’s Joshua Tree National Park is well-worth a stop on your campervan road trip. Not only is hiking in Joshua Tree beautiful during the daytime, but also when the sun sets; the park offers dazzling views of the night sky.
For those looking for a beautiful, back-to-basics camping spot, consider Jumbo Rocks Campground, a dry-camping campground surrounded by striking rock formations and desert shrubs. Jumbo Rocks has 124 individual/family sites, almost two dozen of which can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet long. Sites have rings and picnic tables. Note that the closest town is about 12 miles away, so this is a place for those who truly want to get away!
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Covering over 1,300 square miles, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are filled with giant sequoias trees, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world. In addition to the Giant Forest, the parks also have sights such as the underground Crystal Cave, Moro Rock, King’s Canyon, and Topokah Falls.
The Dorst Creek Campground is located between Grant Grove and Giant Forest, a convenient location for exploring both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The campground has 218 individual sites and four sites for large groups and can accommodate almost any size RV and trailer, with offers pull-through sites available, as well. There are flush toilets and a dump station at the campground, and showers, laundry facilities, and groceries are available several miles away. Reservations for Dorst Creek are strongly recommended.
Yosemite National Park, California
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite is famed for its magnificent, ancient sequoias; jaw-dropping waterfalls; towering granite cliffs; and more. Visitors can take in these sights in variety of ways, from hiking to fishing to horseback riding.
There are many campgrounds in Yosemite and most allow RVs and campervans; three of these campgrounds take reservations. For those who want to be in the heart of Yosemite, one of the best options North Pines Campground, which is located in the heart of Yosemite Valley. The campground sits on the banks of the Merced River and has 81 single-family campsites for tents, RVs (up to 30 feet long), and trailers. North Pines features paved roads and parking pads, flush toilets, drinking water, and an RV dump station.
As far as road trips go, there are fewer destinations as breathtaking as these U.S. national parks. And, you can easily adjust the trip to head out from any of our three locations: San Francisco, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Where ever you decide you start your voyage, you’re sure to have a fantastic campervan road trip!
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