This road trip will take you through Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and California on your way from the Big Sky country of Montana to the oceanside city of San Francisco. It will take two days, and if you have the time, you can add many wonderful sites to your Bozeman to San Francisco RV road trip itinerary. There are many national and state preserves that are near your route. By planning well, you can turn your journey into the trip of a lifetime.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the U.S. and was created in 1872. Yellowstone is a vast area that is spread over the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, with most of the park in Wyoming. The park is home to numerous geysers and hot springs, the most famous of which is the geyser "Old Faithful," which regularly vents steam and water approximately every hour and a half. Inside the park, you will discover a widely varying landscape of diverse habitats, such as hot springs, geysers, canyons, forests, meadows, and rivers, which can be reached by walking along the more than 900 miles of hiking trails. There are 67 species of mammals, the most of any national park in the contiguous U.S. These include bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, moose, white-tailed deer, bison, mountain goats, and pronghorn antelopes. There are also black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, coyotes, Canada lynx, mountain lions, and wolverines. A popular attraction within the park is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which is almost 20 miles long and a mile wide. The Yellowstone River runs through the canyon and is the longest undammed river in the U.S.
Yosemite National Park
Established in 1864 as a national park, Yosemite National Park has been providing people with incomparable experiences in one of our most beautiful parks. Within this 1,200-square-mile national park, there are waterfalls, meadows, valleys, towering rock formations, and a grove of ancient sequoias. The most famous of the old-growth giant sequoias is "Grizzly Giant," a giant sequoia that is thought to have taken root around 200 AD. The Grizzly Giant has a height of 209 feet and a circumference of 52 inches. Famous natural attractions include the rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome and other sites like the scenic viewpoint of Tunnel View and the falls of Bridalveil Fall. Ansel Adams brought Yosemite National Park to the forefront of the public mind in 1927 with his brilliant photograph of Half Dome. Adams used a Korona camera to take a picture of Half Dome after a strenuous hike and used a yellow filter first and then a red filter to darken the sky and brighten the snow.
China Camp State Park
China Camp State Park is the site of a former Chinese shrimping village of immigrants who were laborers at a nearby ranch. The village reached its heyday in the 1880s and sported a marine supply store, three general stores, and a barbershop. However, anti-Chinese laws soon restricted the immigrants, and the camp fell into disuse. Today, China Camp has numerous recreational activities for all that include hiking, riding horses, biking, swimming, and boating. The park has a varied habitat of salt marsh, meadows, and oak trees that offer plenty of interesting views while in the park, and there is a campground with 30 walk-in camping sites (no hookups). One of the original camps has been preserved, and there is an onsite museum that details the history of the park.
Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is a 62,000-acre park in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The park seeks to protect the desert tortoise and its habitats. Visitors to the park have many opportunities for exploring the area, including hiking along more than 38 miles of trails, biking on a three-mile paved pathway, riding horses on 15 miles of equestrian trails, camping, and viewing several species of wildlife.
Cooney State Park
The fishing is always excellent at Cooney State Park, and anglers can count on getting a good catch of rainbow trout and walleye that are stocked every October. Ice fishing is also a popular pastime in the winter. During the summer, you can water-ski and engage in numerous boating activities, and there are three boat ramps, docks, and a fish-cleaning station. Many visitors come to spot different species of birds like Franklin gulls, American kestrels, and short-eared owls.
Custer-Gallatin National Forest
The Custer-Gallatin National Forest is south of Bozeman and near Big Sky. The forest contains 3.1 million acres that are divided into seven ranger districts and is considered to possess some of the most diverse landscapes in Montana. There are six separate mountain ranges within that include the Beartooth, Bridger, Crazy, Gallatin, Madison, and Absaroka ranges. The Beartooth Range is home to Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana. The forest connects to Yellowstone National Park and is a gateway to the iconic national park.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see site while you are in San Francisco. The bridge was opened in 1937 to the public and was the tallest and longest bridge of its day. The bridge spans the mile-wide Golden Strait between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay and is 4,200-feet long and 746-feet wide. Both ends of the bridge are in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has many scenic trails and viewing points. The visitor center has informative displays, and there are free walking tours offered by city guides every Thursday and Sunday. A main draw for visitors is the chance to see such a large example of Art Deco architecture and to be impressed with the huge cables that support the bridge.
Lying across the border of Nevada and California deep inside the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe is a beautiful lake that has been a popular resort destination for many years. Emerald Bay State Park is on the southwest shore and is home to Vikingsholm, a 1929 mansion built in a Nordic style. You can also visit Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the northeast side, and everyone will have fun playing on Spooner Lake and Sand Harbor Beach before they head out onto the Tahoe Rim Trail. Finally, be sure to visit the site of the Shoshone Falls, a cascade that falls over 200 feet along the Snake River. There are several great viewing vantage points, including a platform that extends out over the water.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Idaho Falls is located alongside the Snake River and features the Greenbelt, a large system of trails that connect with the city parks and a waterfall. If you add this city to your Bozeman to San Francisco road trip itinerary, you can visit the Museum of Idaho, which has an interesting display of various artifacts linked to the Lewis and Clark exhibition. Yellowstone's Edge RV Park is next to the Yellowstone River, and you can access the river easily from the RV park. Twin Falls is about halfway on your road trip from Bozeman to San Francisco, and if you need to use a dump station, there are many choices.
Besides being home to several well-known casinos, Reno has a number of art galleries, museums, zoos, arboretums, and parks that you can visit while on your Bozeman to San Francisco road trip. Lake Tahoe is also nearby and is worthy of taking the time to visit. River Rest Resort is near Idlewild Park and the Truckee River, and there are walking trails alongside the river. As this is a well-traveled area, you can be assured of easily finding a dump station for your RV.
Sacramento is the capital of California and is located at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers. The city has a rich history, and you will enjoy visiting the Old Sacramento district that had its beginnings in the Gold Rush era. You can take a wagon ride and walk along several wooden sidewalks. Be sure to tour the California State Railroad Museum. The Cal Expo RV Park offers access to many amenities and attractions and is near the American River Bike Trail. If you need to use a dump station, there are many available options.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Bozeman to San Francisco, 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 Bozeman or San Francisco.