Visit national parks, that’s what you do when you have 2 weeks of vacation. We made no reservations. Our goal was to visit Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. The road map was packed in the 4×4 truck with camping gear, water, and a cooler of food. This is a flashback in time of October 2015.
Day 1- National Parks
This was a long day of driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Sequoia National Park. We like to visit the ranger stations where we go and ask the rangers for the best places to hike and camp. This day was our lucky day. The ranger asked what type of vehicle we had and if it had a trailer. We said just a 4×4 truck. They sent us back down the road we came in and around to an old-growth forest. The trees were huge, so big that a 4 person tent could be set up on a trunk of one of the cut-down trees. We set up camp in the Southwest portion of the park and hiked on multiple trails to waterfalls and walked along streams.
Woke up and as I crawled out of the tent, I saw 2 deer about 10 feet away from me. I watched them for a while until they ran off. That was a wonderful way to wake up in a forest. This day we hiked Sawtooth Mountain. We enjoyed the area so much that we decided to stay another night.
Packed up camp and headed to a campground on the Northwest side of Sequoia. Here is where you can drive under/through enormous trees. There were many short hikes that we enjoyed.
Day 4 – National Parks
Day 4 we drove through Yosemite National Park valley. I liked visiting the museum and ranger station. We took a bus for a hike. There were a lot of different hikes of different lengths (mileage) to go on. We choose to camp on top of Yosemite. It was very busy everywhere we went.
Nice drive to camp in a forest south of Lake Tahoe. Each location we visited we would find a hike to explore the area.
The forest ranger station was not crowded at all. When we went inside, the ranger was surprised to see us. We were her first visitors of the season. She let us know that there was a bike race in town that would cause us to have a 6-hour delay. She shared how to go around the race path. There was a nice campground on the Northside of Lake Tahoe that we stayed at.
Hunter found on the map a lava tube called The Subway, therefore we made our way to it. I like caves/ lava tubes that you can hike in. Remember to bring a really good flashlight and extra batteries because it is dark.
As we left The Subway, we saw signs for a pioneer day event at McArthur Falls. We did not know what McArthur Falls was. Hunter found it on the map and we decided to go check it out. Boy were we in for a wonderful surprise. We approached the entrance and the ranger came out to talk to us. We asked what was the event and the ranger shared with us the list of activates that included making candles, chili making, etc. Bonus, it was a free admission day. The ranger told us about the short hike to a waterfall. The waterfall was huge!!
Camped at McCloud Falls this was also beautiful. As you can tell from past adventures like 8 Beautiful Waterfalls on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada that we like waterfalls.
It was a long driving day because we drove across Oregon and into Idaho. The land looked very dry. We choose to stay in a hotel that night because there were a very bad forest fire and extreme smoke warnings.
We headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The night temperatures had started to drop into the 20’s degrees Fahrenheit and windy. Hunter was nice and agreed to stay at an awesome ski resort. Since it was off-season, we got an amazing last-minute deal on a phone application that we tried out.
Day 10 – National Parks
Day 10, we drove to the Grand Tetons and took some photos.
Next, we headed into Yellowstone National Park. We arrived early and stayed ahead of the many tour buses. FYI, bring a chair to wait for Old Faithful. It can take a while to see some action.
Also, stop at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are a lot of stairs. The stairs were grated and you could see down below your feet. I got a bit scared but I still made it to the bottom of the staircase to see the falls.
We opted to stay another night in Jackson Hole at the ski resort because they gave us another night at the same great rate. As an added note, it snowed that night. BRRRRRR….
Even though we had more time, we decided to head back to Phoenix, AZ and drive back that day. We used the extra days as recovery days.
National Parks Road Trip from Arizona
Have you gotten back from a vacation and needed extra days to recover?
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38 thoughts on “National Parks in an Eleven Day Road Trip from Phoenix, Arizona”
Such a fun experience. I would LOVE to take a long road trip like that!
If you do, take a day off every few days.
I have a couple of friends that have made it their goal to travel and camp in every National Park in Canada and the US. Shared this with them.
I’ve only checked out McArthur Falls on this list. There’s a few I’ve added for the future. Thanks!
That is a fantastic goal!
I would love to see McArthur Falls in person. They look amazing. These parks are on our list to visit when we get out west.
Waterfalls are fun to view.
What an awesome road trip! I have a goal of visiting every single national park so of course I must pin this for later!
That is a wonderful goal. I am excited to read about your adventures too.
I love Yellowstone National Park. It is so amazing!
Yes it is.
I am going to save this post for the big family road trip my husband wants to take to all these parks. I love the day by day info. Very helpful.
Feel free to spend more time at each location.
What a fun and packed trip! You visited some of my most favorite places…Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, the Grand Tetons…such a fun adventure! Honestly, I am very impressed how much you managed to see in 11 short days! Great post! 🙂
Us too. We were very fortunate.
What a great road trip. We used to live in California and would do trips like that with the kids. Great pictures.
California has a lot of wonderful places to visit.
Wow…that is an impressive road trip! Our national parks are so beautiful and all with their own personality.
Yes, we enjoyed how they all are different.
I am really itching to visit more National Parks, so I love seeing all the ones y’all went to. I’ve been to Sequoia and Yosemite, but not the others. I really want to see Yellowstone, and thanks for the tip about bringing the chair to wait!
You are welcome. 🙂
What I love most about camping is spotting animals with our toddler. Seeing the wilderness though his eyes is so fun. Deer are always so fun to spot
Yes, they are.
Wow what an amazing road trip. The Subway lava tube sounds scary but very interesting.
Bring a strong flashlight and you will do great.
What gorgeous photos and views! I would love to take this exact trip!
Yay, glad the locations are of interest.
This looks like an amazing trip. The National Parks out west are definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.
We are working our way north and east next.
What a busy trip!! I can’t believe McArthur falls. that was totally unexpected!
This looks like a great outdoor trip! I have seen some of these areas, but some are new to me. I will have to try them!
Glad you learned of new areas.
Looks like an awesome trip you took. Can’t wait to get out there and check it out.
It sure was.
What an adventure with great stops! We are planning to do Arizona and Utah in April for Payton’s birthday. I need to get with you and make sure we see all of the best! You guys are experts out there for sure!
Excellent, we would like to share ideas.
Lake Tahoe is one of my most fave places on earth! Super clean and water so blue. What a great adventure!
I agree Lake Tahoe water is very blue.