Going on a Boise to Las Vegas road trip can be a great way to reconnect with nature. You may want to start your trip by heading northeast from Boise about five and a half hours to see Yellowstone National Park before beginning your journey south. If you love wide-open spaces under starlit skies, you'll want to stop at Great Basin National Park. There are fabulous state parks to visit along the route, such as Bruneau Dunes State Park, where you can go sledding on the sand. You'll also want to visit many points of interest along the way, like the Tule Springs Fossil Beds, where camels, lions and mammoths once roamed. Many small and midsize towns are waiting for you to explore and camp before you reach the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Yellowstone National Park
While you'll have to go several hours in a different direction, visiting Yellowstone National Park during a Boise to Las Vegas RV road trip is quite possible. On this route, consider entering the park using the west entrance. After you enter the park, drive 14 miles ahead, and you'll come to a fork in the road where you'll need to go north or south. Heading south brings you to the Lower Geyser Basin, which includes Great Fountain Geyser. Even farther to the south are Old Faithful and the park area containing the most geysers per square mile. If you head north at the fork, you come to the Norris Geyser Basin, which is home to Steamboat Geyser, the tallest in the park. You may also want to take a hike to see Fairy Falls, go fly-fishing in the rivers and take the scenic drive through Firehole Canyon.
Great Basin National Park
If you love peaceful surroundings, then Great Basin National Park near Ely, NV, is the perfect place to stop on your Boise to Las Vegas road trip. Several trails lead to beautiful mountain vistas. The bristlecone pines near the tree line are the longest-living trees on earth, and you'll want to see them by strolling along the 2-mile interpretative path. Go fishing for brook and brown trout in Lehman Creek or Baker Creek. For a truly unique fishing experience, head to Baker Lake, which stays frozen with ice almost all yearlong. It offers outstanding fly-fishing for cutthroat and brook trout. You won't want to leave this park without seeing the pictograph caves; the drawings in these caves may have been created between 1000 to 1300 B.C. by Fremont Indians.
Bruneau Dunes State Park
The tallest single-structure sand dune in North America is at Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho. It stands about 470 feet tall, and you should rent a sand sled from the park’s office to go sledding on it. The lake at the bottom of the dune makes a great place to go fishing. You can also attend summer and fall stargazing parties on Friday and Saturday nights. This state park is a fascinating place to go hiking and horseback riding.
Thousand Springs State Park
Several smaller units make up Thousand Springs State Park in Idaho, and you'll want to take time to explore as many as you can because they each hold unique experiences. Complete the 1-mile hike at the Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve near Wendell, Idaho, to see one of the world's largest springs. Then, continue your hike to see the stunning waterfall. Head to Billingsley Creek near Hagerman, Idaho, to go on a horseback ride in the indoor arena or go fishing. If you love hiking, then put Mallard Gorge on your list as you'll love watching the water crash through the gorge on its way to the Snake River.
In 1917, entrepreneur Minnie Miller arrived on Ritter Island, and she created one of the most legendary dairy farms in Idaho. You'll want to go on a guided tour of this farm and learn more about her life. The Kelton Trail in the Magic Valley is another awesome place to go hiking as it follows part of the Oregon Trail, and you can still see some wagon ruts. Watch the water crash down into the Snake River at about 250 cubic feet per second by visiting Niagara Springs, which is located near Wendell, Idaho.
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park near Panaca, Nevada, offers a unique place to go hiking along a 4-mile loop trail to see the soft bentonite clay formations left behind by volcanic activity. This park also offers a shorter 1-mile hike that takes you to the highest peak in the park.
Valley of Fire State Park
You'll certainly want to include a stop at Valley of Fire State Park near Overton, Nevada, on your road trip itinerary from Boise to Las Vegas so that you can see the sandstone outcroppings. Stop at the visitor center to learn more about this park's geology, ecology, prehistory and history. You may want to take a scenic drive along Mouse’s Tank Road, which takes you by some of the most famous formations in this park. There are many hikes where you can see the fantastic colors of this park, and White Domes, the Fire Wave, Pink Canyon and Rainbow Vista are among the best ones. Leave time to climb the stairs up Atlatl Rock to see some of the oldest petroglyphs in this park.
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho is one stop that you won't want to pass up on your Boise to Las Vegas road trip. Here, you can see how the lava flows interacted with cinder cones and sagebrush to leave fascinating scenery behind. While you can go backcountry hiking at this preserve, there are many short trails with interpretative signage along them designed to help you see the impact the flowing lava left behind and how the preserve works to protect these interesting areas. You'll want to explore the four caves along the Caving Trail as well. This park is a fantastic place to visit in the winter because the loop through the park is closed to traffic and groomed for cross-country skiing. You can also go snowshoeing on your own or by joining a ranger-led program.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
It's hard to imagine a time when mammoths, lions and camels were more common than the lights on the Las Vegas Strip, but you'll be able to get an idea of what this looked like by stopping at the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. Bring your camera to capture images of the unique rock formations at this site that you can explore by hiking near the Big Dig site excavated in 1962.
Interact with animals and birds from around the world at SeaQuest Las Vegas in the Boulevard Mall. Different package options are available, so walk through the aviaries, where a bird may land on your head, swim in the tank filled with reef sharks or feed a crocodile.
Twin Falls, Idaho
You can find many delightful adventures in Twin Falls, Idaho. This city is home to the Herrett Center for the Arts and Sciences, and Shawnee National Forest is nearby. Consider campgrounds in Twin Falls like Rock Creek Campground, which does a beautiful job of balancing a natural environment, or Nat-Soo-Pah Hot Springs & RV Park, where you can soak in the hot springs. Twin Falls RV dump station options include Anderson Campground and Twin Falls 93 RV Park.
If you love history, you won't want to miss stopping in Ely, Nevada, as it is home to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and Renaissance Village. Ely campground choices include Valley View RV Park, Prospector Casino RV Park & Hotel or other nearby top Nevada campgrounds. You can find Ely RV dump stations at Cave Lake State Park, at the Prospector Casino or other nearby Nevada locations.
Stroll down Historic Front Street when visiting Wells, NV. Wells campground options include Angel Lake RV Park and Mountain Shadows RV Park. You may also want to consider campground options in Elko, Nevada. RV dump stations can be found at Flying J Travel Plaza and Love's Travel Stop.