Rocky Mountains Road Trip Overview

Rocky Mountains Road Trip Overview
Stanley Idaho, Sawtooth Mountains, Salmon River
For over a year, I was unable to travel because of Covid-19. Finally after taking two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I could leave the confines of my comfortable home. By the beginning of May, it was still difficult to travel internationally because of country restrictions. So, I decided to check out parts of the Rocky Mountains in places I’ve never been or vaguely remember from decades ago, such as the Yampa River flowing through Echo Canyon in Dinosaur National Park…
Dinosaur National Monument, Echo Canyon, Yampa River
the incredible Grand Tetons on Jackson Lake…
Grand Tetons, Jackson Lake
Yellowstone National Park with its abundant wildlife.…
Buffalos in Yellowstone National Park
Glacier National Park with its Blackfeet outdoor art installations…
Blackfoot Horse Statue, Glacier National Park
Hells Canyon, straddling the Snake River in Idaho and Oregon, an ideal spot to drive an UTV.
Hells Canyon, Snake River, UTV

Trip Itinerary

My friend Mike, whom I grew up with, and I carved out 16 days for this 3,000-mile trip (not counting driving in parks and towns). This trip required over 50 hours of driving without stopping and was a combination of local roads and interstate highways. We could’ve easily done it in a three or four-week period, if we had time. We took Mike’s Tundra with an eight-foot bed, which had ample space for our camping equipment, luggage and food.
We used canvas to cover everything but would’ve been better off if we had used a shell for security and avoided having to tie things down every day.
We didn’t travel all of the Rocky Mountains, which would’ve taken months, but we did a loop in the Northern Rocky Mountains from Denver, where most of my family and Mike live. If you were to fly into Salt Lake City and start from there, you could save a day or two and it would be essentially the same trip.
We camped some…
Grand Teton Campsite
and stayed in hotels, especially if it was cold or a good camping site wasn’t nearby.
Here’s a map of the places we stopped in.

We structured our trip around these destinations:

  • Dinosaur National Monument on the border of Colorado and Utah
  • Grand Tetons in Wyoming
  • Yellowstone National Park, mostly in Wyoming, with strips in Montana and Idaho
  • Glacier National Park in Montana
  • Coeur d’Alene Lake in Idaho
  • Boise, Idaho where our friend David and Megan live
  • Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho
Along the way, we were able to visit a number of interesting towns and cities including Bozeman MT, Butte MT, Missoula MT, Whitefish MT, Spokane WA, Sun Valley ID, Provo, UT and Grand Junction CO.

Best Time For This Trip

We left on May 1, which was about two weeks too early because parts of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks were not open because of snow. Also, there were fewer campsites open. July and August are peak months for the parks. This is especially true for Yellowstone, which is the first U.S. National Park and one of the most visited, partly because of its amazing geothermal features.
Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
So early June is the best time for spring and September for fall.

Future Blogs

This was an amazing trip that I can’t wait to share with all of you in great detail. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing each and every part of the trip and the stunning photos I was able to capture. To get notified when my next post comes out be sure to follow @ExploringEdTravel on Instagram, Facebook & TikTok! Also, if you haven’t yet make sure to subscribe for the newsletter at
Ed Hotchkiss
Ed Hotchkiss

My goal is to travel to all the countries of the world. I count 197 countries, starting with the United Nations list of 193 and adding Taiwan, Vatican, Kosovo and Palestine. For the rest of my life, I want to see and experience as much of the world as possible, while documenting it in photographs and observations.

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