As the largest city in Eastern Washington, Spokane is an exciting vacation destination. Of course, traveling to the Pacific Northwest is also exciting. A Minneapolis to Spokane road trip will give you the opportunity to visit spots like the North Dakota Badlands, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton national parks and much more. While some think of this route as being dry, many state parks, like North Dakota’s Grahams Island and Cross Ranch state parks, prove the opposite. When you get to Spokane, a city of roughly 220,000 residents, you'll want to check out Spokane Falls in the city’s downtown or explore the Cheyenne Trail.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, North Dakota, contains three different areas, with each featuring fantastic activities. Head to the Elkhorn Ranch Unit to see the cabin where President Roosevelt lived his last years. You can take a 14-mile scenic drive at the North Unit to see bison throughout the day, but you may want to save this drive for first thing in the morning or at sunset to see the deer as well. One of the best short hikes in the North Unit leads to a prairie dog town while others lead to dry creek beds. Head to the South Unit to go on a 36-mile scenic drive or go hiking along trails leading to some of the highest peaks in this park. Park rangers often host special programs in the South Unit.
Wind Cave National Park
Plan to stop at Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs, South Dakota, on your Minneapolis to Spokane road trip. This is one of the most complex caves found in the world. You will want to see the box work, which consists of thin blades of calcite crisscrossing at interesting angles. Be sure to also check out the cave popcorn. No two of these small nodes of calcite are the same. You will also want to see frostwork that looks like thin needles. When you enter the cave, pay attention to the wind because its unique barometric conditions give this cave its name. Once you are back at ground level, follow the hiking trails to see this park’s bison and elk herds.
Yellowstone National Park
Many people have Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park on their bucket list. During a Minneapolis to Spokane RV road trip, your main route will only be an hour from this amazing destination. Old Faithful erupts about 17 times a day. It will send around 6,200 gallons of water approximately 160 feet skyward when it erupts. While there is stadium-style seating at Old Faithful, consider walking around to its backside and watching from the boardwalk. Many people also want to see Yellowstone’s canyon. While you can follow the crowds to Artist’s Point, consider parking in the Upper Falls parking lot and following the trail across two scenic wooden bridges to the Lower Canyon to see the waterfall from a unique vantage point. While there are many points where you can soak in the hot springs, you may be able to see bison soaking in the steam by walking across the road from Mud Volcano. This park is also a fantastic place to see the Yellowstone River.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park near Moose, Wyoming, is a popular place you will want to see on your road trip from Minneapolis to Spokane. While there is a beautiful drive through the center of the park, consider driving along the 4-mile, one-way North Jenny Lake Scenic Drive to see stunning views of this popular spot. The Jenny Lake area is an excellent place for a hike where you may see bears munching on huckleberries. Head to the Oxbend area to see moose, beaver, river otters, osprey, and American white pelicans. This park is a fantastic place to go on a Snake River rafting trip. Try to go at sunrise to see the most activity before the animals hole up for the day. Go on a trail ride led by the park’s vendor to see Emma Matilda Lake. Enjoy a fantastic sunset by going on a jeep tour.
Mount Rainier National Park
Consider extending your road trip from Minneapolis to Spokane to visit Mount Rainier National Park near Ashford, Washington. While you will have to drive about 330 miles off the route, there are fantastic things to do at this state park. Consider starting your visit at the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center where many great hiking trails start. You will also want to check out the daily programs held at this location. Take the drive up to Sunrise, which is the highest point in this park accessible by car to see the many sites in the Cascade Range. You will also want to head to the Stevens Canyon Entrance to hike along the 1-mile Grove of the Patriarchs Trail. After you trek across the suspension bridge, you will see trees with almost 40-foot diameters that are around 300-feet tall.
Grahams Island State Park
North Dakota has many state parks where you can see area wildlife and learn more about the state. If you love fishing, then add Grahams Island State Park near Devils Lake, North Dakota, to your Minneapolis to Spokane RV road trip. Use the boat ramps to launch your vessel onto Devils Lake, which is a great place to go walleye and yellow perch fishing. This location is a prime spot in the early spring or late fall when other areas might not be enjoyable to fish because it is easy to find windbreaks. During warmer weather, the lake is a fantastic place to go swimming. Prove who is the top athlete in your traveling group with a game of horseshoes or volleyball.
Cross Ranch State Park
Stop near Center, North Dakota, to visit Cross Ranch State Park on the Missouri River’s shores. Over 10 miles of hiking trails through cottonwood groves run along the Missouri River. Anglers will want to follow the 2.9-mile Matah Trail to find the perfect spot to catch catfish, bass, pike, walleye, and trout. You can also use the boat ramps to launch your motorized or non-motorized vessel on the river.
Little Missouri State Park
If your trip happens between May and October, be sure to stop at Little Missouri State Park near Dickinson, North Dakota. The scenery at this park is extremely rugged, and you'll experience the best of the views when you hike along some of the 47 miles of trails. Since people who visit other North Dakota Badlands locations typically do not stop here, it is a fabulous solitary place to explore on horseback or foot. The scenic drive along the valley’s rim is stunning, and you will find many opportunities to pull over and take photographs.
Mount Spokane State Park
Washington's state parks showcase the lakes, rivers, and other features of the Pacific Northwest and are a must-see as well. Mount Spokane State Park near Mead, Washington, is a fantastic place to go mountain biking. There are over 100 miles of hiking trails, with some of the best leading to Quartz Mountain’s summit, where you can see Washington, Idaho, and Canada on a clear day. An excellent option for hikers with less experience or time is the 3-mile hike that runs along Burping Creek. This park becomes a favorite in winter because of its snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and sledding opportunities.
Finn Creek Open Air Museum
Finn Creek Open Air Museum near New York Mills, Minnesota, is an 18-acre park that pays tribute to the Finnish culture. Visitors can see many historical buildings and other artifacts from people from Finland who settled in Minnesota.
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum
Explore more than 12,000 years of human history in North Dakota by strolling through the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. See the world’s largest giant squid fossil and the fossil from an underwater turtle almost as giant as most electric cars. Explore many artifacts and exhibits related to the Plains Indians, including a glass earth lodge. Special events often happen in the amphitheater at this destination in Bismark, North Dakota.
The Route of the Hiawatha
The Route of the Hiawatha is a 15-mile biking and hiking trail running over old train tracks that starts near Wallace, Idaho. This path, which crosses the Bitterroot Mountains, has 10 train tunnels and seven sky-high trestles. You can rent bikes nearby.
Bismarck, North Dakota
As North Dakota’s capital, Bismarck is home to many fun destinations. Be sure to check out the McDowell Dam Nature Park, the Dakota Zoo, and Superslide Amusement Park. Chances are that you will be very thankful for the great campgrounds in Bismarck, like Bismarck KOA Journey, Hillcrest Acres Campground, and Colonial Motel & RV Park. It's a good idea to stay here because you will want to jam so many fun activities into your itinerary, and camping in the city makes it easy. You may also want to use Bismarck RV dump stations, like Freeway 147 Truck Stop, A Prairie Breeze RV Park, and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.
You may want to go hiking in the Rimrocks, visit the Yellowstone Art Museum and tour the Western Heritage Center in Billings. Enjoy the beautiful scenery at many Billings campgrounds, like Yellowstone River Campground, Grandview Campground & RV Park, and 7th Ranch RV Camp. Before continuing down Interstate 90, consider using Billings RV dump stations, like those found at Big Sky Campground, Yellowstone River Campground, and Pierce RV.
Missoula is a cool city and a perfect layover stop for RVers. Explore history at Fort Missoula Museum, go hiking in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, and ride on the Carousel for Missoula. Missoula campgrounds, like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort and Bearmouth RV Park, offer superb amenities. RV dump stations in Missoula, like those available at Jim & Mary’s RV Park and Deano’s Travel Plaza, are great places to dump your tanks before continuing further into the Northern Rocky Mountains.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Minneapolis to Spokane, 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 Minneapolis or Spokane.