The road trip from Provo to Ozark National Forest is loaded with scenic byways and national parks. Provo, Utah, boasts some of the most stunning mountains in the land, and you’ll begin your trip by driving through them in Provo Canyon. On the way, you’ll see amazing geologic formations, and you’ll view the Green and Colorado rivers. You'll also pass by Vail, Colorado, where you'll see the largest ski mountain in Colorado and drive through Kansas’s wheat fields and largest city. At your destination, the Ozark National Forest, you can explore 1.2 million acres of beautiful, varied terrain.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park, so named because of its 2,000 natural sandstone arches, is located just 51 miles from the I-70 junction. Among its natural geologic formations and many hiking trails is the iconic Delicate Arch. The hike to Delicate Arch is moderately difficult and takes about three hours round trip, but the views once you reach the top are spectacular – almost like you’re in a different world. Along the hike, you’ll pass by a wall of Ute Indian petroglyphs. Other less strenuous options for viewing the Delicate Arch are also available. As you drive through the park, you'll see Balanced Rock, the Garden of Eden, the Cove of Caves, Turret Arch, Double Arch, and the Fiery Furnace. Just reading the names is enough to make you want to go.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is the largest and most diverse national park in Utah. Even better, its Island in the Sky district is less than an hour from the I-70 junction, so you just can’t pass it by. The Island in the Sky is a 1,500-foot mesa. Once you’re on top, you see panoramic views of the park, 1,000 miles in any direction. Try seeing the views at sunset for an even more spectacular experience.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Colorado's deepest canyon was elevated to national park status in 1999. The 48-mile gorge is called black because it is so deep and steep that it’s difficult for sunlight to penetrate. The shadows and depth give dramatic views of the Gunnison River, which seems like a tiny stream from 2,000 feet above the water.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most accessible for visitors traveling on a road trip from Provo to Ozark National Forest. From Denver, you’ll take a 70-mile drive to Estes Park, the scenic village that serves as the headquarters for the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Visit the visitor center at Estes Park to plan your visit, and then take one of the free shuttle buses that will take you to hiking trails and through scenic routes.
Dead Horse Point State Park
On the edge of Canyonlands National Park, you’ll find Dead Horse Point State Park. Local legend has it that the point was used as a corral for wild horses in the late 1800s. Something happened that caused the horses to be unattended, and they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River. It’s a sad story (and may be better left untold!), but the views from Dead Horse Point are some of the most photographed in the world. Start with the visitor center and art gallery, and from there, you can access the many hiking and biking trails that allow you to explore this beautiful area of Utah.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
This park is named after the man who developed the five distinct areas of the park: the island acres section, the corn lake section, the Colorado River wildlife area section, the connected lakes section, and the Fruita section. Together, the five sections offer launch ramps onto the Colorado River, swimming, fishing, and even, if you time it right, the Riverfront Concert Series. There are many recreational opportunities to enjoy outside if you include this park in your Provo to Ozark National Forest road trip.
Wilson State Park
Right off I-70 is one of the most beautiful state parks in the nation. In the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, this park offers water recreation at Wilson Reservoir and scenic cliffs and hills along with expanses of Kansas prairie.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Just off I-70 before you reach Denver, a fun stop is the Georgetown Loop Railroad. You can take a ride on the narrow-gauge railroad in open or closed cars. Views of the Rocky Mountains surround you as you take the one-hour trip connecting two mining towns. Halfway through the ride, you can take an optional tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
A landmark for over 100 years, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers information about the natural history of Colorado, the world, and the universe. Permanent exhibits include Prehistoric Journey, Egyptian Mummies, Wildlife Halls, Space Odyssey, Expedition Health, North American Indian Cultures, and Gems and Minerals. Animals and various global cultures are featured as well.
Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz
When you think of Kansas, what do you think of? If your first answer is the "Wizard of Oz," you might want to visit Dorothy's House and Land of Oz. It has a replica of the house where Dorothy lived, and you can see movie artifacts and memorabilia. You can also go through the Land of Oz, an animated journey through the movie. If all this makes you want to see the movie again, you’re in luck. The gift shop has continuous showings of the "Wizard of Oz." This stop is one hour from your route, but it should definitely be included in your road trip itinerary from Provo to Ozark National Forest if you are a fan of the movie.
Shortly after you enter the state of Kansas, you can take a scenic drive to see Monument Rocks, which is one of the eight wonders of Kansas. Monument Rocks, also called the rock pyramids, are chalky limestone formations rising 70 feet tall. Designated as a national natural landmark, Monument Rocks is on private property, so be sure to be respectful.
While the majority of the road trip from Provo to Ozark National Forest takes you through scenic, natural terrain, there are a few bigger cities with plenty of non-camping things to do if you want a little variety.
Grand Junction is on the western slope of Colorado and is in the heart of wine country. It has 27 wineries within the city proper, and you can take a day trip from Grand Junction to several vineyards. The Colorado River goes through the city, and it’s a great place to take a river rafting trip. If you have time, stop by the Creative District to see its more than 100 outdoor sculptures. Grand Junction has many campgrounds with great amenities. There are also multiple dump stations around.
Colorado’s capital city is known as the Mile-High City because its altitude really is exactly 1 mile. In fact, the 13th step of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level. Denver was a gold rush town, and there are lots of museums and old gold mines to give you a taste of that era. Chances are you’ll have sunshine at your campground because Denver has 300 days of sunshine throughout the year. You can choose from any of these dump stations to keep your RV sanitary during your Provo to Ozark National Forest RV road trip.
Wichita is the largest city in Kansas with lots of available campgrounds and dump stations. Among other nicknames, it is known as the "Air Capital of the World" because it is a central production hub for the aircraft industry. A fun museum stop is the Old Cowtown Museum, which recreates 19th-century life with old buildings and guides wearing attire from the era. Another museum of interest is the Museum of Old Treasures, which has a T. Rex skeleton and Egyptian mummies.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Provo to Ozark National Forest, 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 Provo or Ozark National Forest.