Beautiful scenery and history await on a Birmingham to Denver road trip, which takes you through six states and across several regions of the country. You can visit a steamboat, explore a cog railroad, and see the repurposed Kansas City Union Station. There are excellent state and national parks to visit along the way to go fishing, hiking, climbing, and more.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Instead of starting your road trip going northwest toward Memphis, consider taking a four-hour detour and head northeast to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This park is home to over 850 miles of hiking trails. If you love history, consider starting in the Cades Cove area, where you can find trails leading to historic cabins, mills, churches, and schools. Following the 16.5-mile Old Settlers Trail takes you beside several creeks where the first settlers built their communities, and you can find lots of evidence, including foundations, chimneys, and a smokehouse. You may also want to hike along the 4.4-mile round-trip Kephart Prong, where you can see evidence from one of the first Civilian Conservation Corp camps that operated in this park from 1933 to 1944. In all, there were more than 23 CCC camps constructed to build the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Kephart Prong Trail also offers stunning views of the Oconoluftee River. There are many opportunities to do other things in this park, including fishing, biking, and taking scenic drives.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is dedicated to westward expansion. This arch, which was completed in 1965, is the tallest one in the world. Eero Saarinen designed the arch, which stands at the site where St. Louis was initially founded. You will want to ride the tram system to the top of this facility to view the scenes from one of the 70 windows on the observation deck. Do not worry if you feel it swaying in the wind as it is designed to sway about 1 inch in a 20 mile-per-hour wind.
Be sure to save some time to visit several of the state parks along your road trip as well! From water adventures to hiking and cycling, there are plenty of ways to stretch your legs during your journey.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, which is located 13 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, borders the Mississippi River. The Audubon Society recognizes this state park as an Important Bird Area, and over 240 species of birds have been sighted at this park. You can watch for some of them while on a paddling adventure on Proper Tree Lake. Kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats are available to rent. This park features three boat ramps, and you can easily launch your vessel here and head for fishing and boating fun on the Mississippi River. Numerous hiking and biking paths run through this park’s 12,539 acres of hardwood bottomland. Challenge your friends to a game of golf on the disc golf course.
Mississippi River State Park
Mississippi River State Park near Marianna, Arkansas, offers seven bodies of water where you can paddle a canoe or kayak. The trails through this park, which is located inside the Saint Francis National Forest, are a great place to go hiking and biking. Follow the one-mile nature trail running along this park’s ridge to learn more about the area’s ecosystem. During your hike, you'll find that each tree is labeled according to type. Learn even more by visiting the interactive exhibits at the visitor center. Before wrapping up your visit, be sure to go fishing in the pond located very near the center of the park.
Roaring River State Park
If you love trout fishing, be sure that Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Missouri, is on your road trip itinerary from Birmingham to Denver. At this park, you can hike along wildflower-lined paths in the spring or under colorful foliage in the autumn. Over 200 bird species have been spotted in this park. Pay a visit to the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center, where you can see some rehabilitated animals and learn more about the Ozark’s colorful history.
Mushroom Rock State Park
As you get near Mushroom Rock State Park near Kanopolis, Kansas, you will notice the unusual mushroom-shaped rock formations rising above the earth’s surface. These unique rocks were formed by beach sand during the Cretaceous Period, which occurred about 100 million years ago. This five-acre park is a terrific place to enjoy a picnic on your Birmingham to Denver RV road trip.
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Before ending your road trip from Birmingham to Denver, stop by a uniquely Colorado state park - Castlewood Canyon State Park. This park near Franktown, Colorado, offers outstanding climbing on walls up to 60 feet tall. There are over 300 documented rock-climbing routes, including many sport-climbing options. As the weather cools, you will find excellent ice climbing routes along Cherry Creek, especially near the waterfall. Following the trails running through this park often offers the chance to see black bears, bobcats, deer, and elk. The unique rock formations and the abundance of wildlife make this an ideal spot for nature photography.
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel traces civil rights history from the 17th century to the present day. The main part of this Memphis, Tennessee, museum is located where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was shot. The second location nearby is where James Earl Ray initially confessed and later recanted that he had shot King.
Titanic Museum Attraction
You will need to drive about 44 miles south of Springfield, Missouri, to reach the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, Missouri. After paying your admission fare, you will be given a boarding pass containing the name of an actual Titanic passenger. You will discover that person’s experiences on the luxury liner while being surrounded by over 400 artifacts from the real ship during your visit. Interactive exhibits, such as feeling an iceberg and walking the Grand Staircase, bring the story to life.
Arabia Steamboat Museum
The Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, showcases artifacts from the Arabia Steamboat, which sank in 1856 and was not recovered until 1988. Among the artifacts that you will see are the world’s oldest pickles, carpentry tools, fine china, and children’s toys. The ship’s location is very close to where the boat sank.
Union Station Kansas City
From 1914 to 1985, Union Station served as the main train depot in Kansas City, Missouri. Since 2002, it has served as a central depot for Amtrack. You will want to visit the 120 interactive science exhibits in the Science Center at Union Station and watch performances by the Kansas City Ballet at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity at this location. Check their special events schedule to catch shows in the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium and the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre.
Memphis offers several campgrounds, including Elvis Presley Boulevard RV Park and Graceland RV Park & Campground, that pay tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Other Memphis campgrounds, like T.O. Fuller State Park, offer beautiful natural surroundings. There are Memphis RV dump stations at these locations and dump stations at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Love's Travel Stop #344.
You can find various campgrounds in Springfield, including Lambert’s Café RV Park, which is located near the iconic restaurant, and HootonTown Canoe Rental & Store near the James River. You will also find Springfield/Route 66 KOA next to a golf course. Springfield RV dump stations are available at Legit West Plains Motor Speedway, TA - Petro Stopping Center, and Branson Stagecoach RV Park.
Kansas City, Missouri
Regardless of what you want to do in Kansas City, you will find a nearby Kansas City campground. If you're going to visit Worlds of Fun, think about Worlds of Fun Village, or if you want to take in a ballgame, consider Stadium Park & Campground. There are several convenient Kansas City RV dump stations, including Missouri State Fair RV Park, Basswood Country RV Resort, and Watkins Woolen Mill State Park.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Birmingham to Denver you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Birmingham or Denver.