Before heading out on your Idaho Falls to Des Moines road trip, make sure to explore the Museum of Idaho and the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho. As you leave Idaho Falls, head east on US-26, and then, go north on US-191. You'll head back southeast until you reach I-80, which you can follow to your destination. Along the way, you will pass two national parks, a few national sites and state parks that will allow you to experience nature. Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, so make sure to take in the gold-domed capitol building while you are in the area.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is often overlooked because Yellowstone is nearby, but it is one of the most gorgeous parks that you will find in the country. It became a national park in 1929, and there is a lot to explore inside the park. There is a 42-mile scenic drive that you can take advantage of to give you views of the mountains and the lakes in the park. You can hike one of the many trails in the park, ranging in length from less than a mile to more than 25 miles. You can also take a relaxing kayak ride in the lakes or enjoy some time fishing. Make sure to visit Mormon Row to grab some amazing pictures of the sunrise. There is also a small log chapel in the park that offers Sunday morning services to visitors.
Yellowstone National Park
On an Idaho Falls to Des Moines RV road trip, one of the iconic stops that you can make is Yellowstone National Park. The first national park, Yellowstone sits on top of a dormant volcano. This park has more geothermal activity than any other place on the globe. To explore the park, you can drive around the Grand Loop, which is a 142-mile scenic drive that passes eight of the park's most striking features. Make sure to stop and visit Old Faithful, which erupts at least every 120 minutes. Other highlights include the Upper Geyser Basin, the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Lower Geyser Basin, the Norris Geyser Basin, and Mammoth Hot Springs. You can also hike Mount Washburn, which is more than 10,000 feet. You can fish in Yellowstone Lake, so make sure to bring your fishing gear.
Glendo State Park
Glendo State Park is one of the first parks that you will encounter during this road trip. It is 22,000 acres, and it surrounds the Glendo Reservoir, which makes it an ideal place for anglers and water enthusiasts to enjoy. This is the location of some of the largest fishing tournaments in the state, but if you are not into fishing, there is a 1.5-mile swimming beach that you can enjoy. There are also more than 45 miles of trails that you can hike during your visit. Ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing are available to enjoy during the winter months.
Guernsey State Park
Guernsey State Park comprises more than 6,000 acres. In the park, you can enjoy hiking the 14 miles of trails, and there are 12 miles of biking trails to explore as well. Horseback riding is allowed on some of the hiking trails. Since this park also has a reservoir, boating and fishing can be enjoyed in the park. There are also swimming beaches that you can enjoy if you would like to relax and swim during your visit.
Lake Anita State Park
Lake Anita State Park in Iowa is one of the last stops that you can make on this trip. The park is about 1,060 acres in size, and it has a 171-acre lake where you can enjoy water activities. There is a dock that anglers can use and two boat ramps that make it convenient to get your boat into the water. There is also a swimming beach where you can cool off in the summer. The park has 5 miles of trails you can explore that wind around the lake.
Fort Fetterman Historic Site
Fort Fetterman Historic Site is a restored officer's quarters that is open to the public during the summer. In 1882, the U.S. Army abandoned this post, but visitors are able to walk the grounds and explore the buildings. The site allows you to learn more about the history of the fort through artifacts and exhibits that can be found in the buildings. There are also hiking trails in the area that you can explore.
Scotts Bluff National Historic Monument
Scotts Bluff National Historic Monument is 3,000 acres. The bluff is 800 feet above the North Platte River, and it serves as a landmark for emigrants who used the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail and the California Trail. It also is a trail that modern travelers use today for hiking. During your visit, you can hike to the summit of the bluffs and get a view from the top that looks out over the river.
Wildlife Safari Park
If you like animals, then your road trip itinerary from Idaho Falls to Des Moines should include a stop at Wildlife Safari Park. This is a great way to see animals up close without getting out of your vehicle. While in your car, you can see and feed the animals, and you can also get out and hike some of the trails in the park.
If you like cities that embrace the Wild West, then make sure you stop at Casper for a few days to enjoy all that it has to offer. You can go horseback riding on the Oregon Trail, catch a sunset at Casper Mountain or kayak in Fremont Canyon. Make sure you visit the Interpretive Center to learn more about the past of this city. You can also visit Backwards Distillery to enjoy some cocktails before you rest for the night at one of the many campgrounds in the area. There are also quite a few dump stations in the area where you can offload your gray and black wastewater.
North Platte, Nebraska
North Platte is another city that embraces the Wild West, and it is full of history. While visiting the area, you can check out the Union Pacific Bailey Yard and Golden Spike Tower, the world's largest rail yard. Younger travelers will want to stop at the North Platte Area Children's Museum and Cody Park. Another must-see is the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. At this location, you can tour the mansion, the barn, and other buildings.
If you need a place to rest your head, there are plenty of campgrounds in the area. Holiday RV Park and Campground has a lot of shade, and I-80 Lakeside Campground is located on a lake that is stocked with fish. If you need a dump station, there are several in the North Platte area that are free to use or only charge a small fee.
The largest city you will visit on this road trip from Idaho Falls to Des Moines is Omaha. Known as the “Gateway to the West,” this city is a great place to enjoy a tour, explore a museum or visit a sculpture park. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is over 160 acres, and there is even a 70-foot shark tunnel that you can explore. Other highlights include the Durham Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, Lauritzen Gardens, and Saint Cecilia Cathedral.
If you need an Omaha campground, there are plenty in the area that will meet your needs. Places like the Louisville State Recreation Area, the Walnut Creek Lake Recreation Area, and Bob Hardy RV Park allow guests to use their dump stations free of charge. This will allow you to make sure you have an empty wastewater tank before reaching the end of your trip.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Idaho Falls to Des Moines, 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 Idaho Falls or Des Moines.