A Salt Lake City to Mount Rushmore road trip is an exciting adventure for any family to enjoy, especially if you make the trip in an RV. As you travel through three states, you can check out several state and national parks. There are also trails, monuments, and ranches to visit along the way. As you head northeast, you will also encounter several national forests and grasslands that will give you a feel of the wildlife and the land that you can find in this area of the country.
Wind Cave National Park
The first national park that you will encounter during this Salt Lake City to Mount Rushmore RV road trip is Wind Cave National Park. In addition to the over 28,000 acres of land that you can explore, there are 143 miles of underground caves in this park. The Jewel Cave, which is the third-largest in the world, is located here. The land was made a national park in 1903, making it the sixth oldest in the nation. Hiking and watching wildlife are common activities to enjoy in the park.
Badlands National Park
Before heading north to Mount Rushmore, you will want to continue east for a bit so that you can explore Badlands National Park. The park covers 244,000 acres of South Dakota, and the rock formations in the park are picturesque and unique. Since the land was once underwater, there are fossils in the area as well. The park also has mixed-grass prairies where you can spot wildlife and plants that live here. Since the park is so vast, there is no light pollution, which makes it a star gazer's paradise.
Echo State Park
Echo State Park, which is one of Utah's state parks, is the newest one in the state. Inside the park, you will find a dam and a reservoir, so it's ideal for boating and fishing. There is a beach area that the kids will enjoy and plenty of hiking trails for the entire family. Biking and horseback riding can also be done on the trails that this park has to offer.
Bear River State Park
The next state park that you will come across during the trip is Bear River State Park. The park covers about 325 acres, and wildlife such as elk and bison can be seen throughout the park. There are plenty of trails that you can hike or ride bikes on to check out some of the scenic overlooks in the park. Wildlife is also plentiful here, so you may get some spectacular pictures with animals in the vista. During the winter, winter sports are also available that you can enjoy during your visit.
Seminoe State Park
Another Wyoming state park that you will drive past during this road trip from Salt Lake City to Mount Rushmore is Seminoe State Park. The park has a reservoir, so water activities are common here. Visitors enjoy fishing off the pier, boating, and swimming on the beach. Several trails can be hiked, biked, or explored on horseback. There are playgrounds in the park for the kids to enjoy and plenty of wildlife that you can spot as you watch your kids play.
Glendo State Park
Glendo State Park is another stop that you will want to make in Wyoming. The park covers 22,000 acres of land, and Glendo Reservoir can be found within the park. The landscape is stunning with pine forests, sandy beaches, and mountains nearby. Anglers and those who like to enjoy water sports will find this an ideal spot. There are also about 12,000 acres of water, so boating is an option in this park. There is plenty of wildlife in the park to gaze at, hiking trails to explore, and winter sports to try.
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is the final state park on your road trip itinerary from Salt Lake City to Mount Rushmore. The park is located in South Dakota's Black Hills, and it is the largest state park in the state with 71,000 acres of land. There is quite a bit of wildlife that call this park home, so you may see deer, antelope, elk, coyotes, prairie dogs, turkeys, and more. The park has five lakes, all of which allow swimming. There are also several trout creeks in the park that are ideal for fishing. Don't forget to explore the miles of trails that are present in the park.
Tracy Aviary and Botanical Gardens
Before you leave Salt Lake City, it's a good idea to visit the Tracy Aviary and Botanical Gardens. It's the largest and oldest free-standing aviary in the United States. The grounds are filled with flowers, and there are plenty of exhibits to explore daily. Nose-to-beak experiences will allow you to get closer to the birds and feed your feathered friends during your visit.
Parleys Historic Nature Park
This is a park that will offer you a first-hand experience with the history of Salt Lake City. You can explore the park on foot, in a vehicle, or on a bike. Some of the historical markers you will find in the park include a tollhouse for Golden Pass Road, the Dudler's Inn and Wine Cellar, a sandstone wall and aqueduct, a narrow-gauge railroad, and more.
Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop
If you are looking for an off-the-grid experience to give you unforgettable memories of your trip, the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop is a must-see stop. The landscape is a breathtaking desert that you can enjoy in any four-wheel-drive vehicle. There are plenty of majestic animals to see at this location, including eagles, hawks, rabbits, coyotes, elk, and more.
Green River, WY
Green River is located in Sweetwater County in the southwest part of Wyoming. It is a great place to fish, kayak down the river, or check out some museums in the city. As you enjoy nature in this city, there will be plenty of campgrounds nearby where you can stay. Also, take a look at Green River dump stations so that you have the chance to empty your grey and black water before continuing on your RV trip.
Another city that you will encounter during this trip is Rawlins, Wyoming. It is a city that has played a big part in the nation's history, and today, there are two historic museums in the city where you can learn about the people who lived or visited the city, like Butch Cassidy and Thomas Edison. There is even a frontier prison museum that is haunted, so if you would like to have a paranormal experience, make sure to spend a day or so in the area. There are plenty of Wyoming campgrounds in the area as well. Before you leave, make sure to take a relaxing dip in the Saratoga Hot Springs.
Hot Springs, SD
As a small city in Fall River County, Hot Springs is a place you will want to visit while you are in South Dakota. There are a wild horse sanctuary and several museums that will tell you more about the history of the city. There is a sinkhole filled with mammoth remains that have been preserved that you will not want to miss. Evans Plunge is an indoor pool filled with natural mineral water from the thermal springs in the area that is said to be a cure-all for illness, so as you can imagine, it is a popular location to visit. If you stay there for more than a day, there are several South Dakota campgrounds nearby that you can consider.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Salt Lake City to Mount Rushmore, 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 Salt Lake City or Mount Rushmore.