Taking a road trip from San Francisco to Albuquerque in an RV can provide hours of fun experiences and time with your family. There are more than five national parks that are easy to reach along the way, and you can visit some stellar state parks without having to deviate too much from your route. You could travel south and pass through cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix, but the more scenic route will take you west before heading down so that you can hit all of the national parks along the way. Going in this direction will also give you some time in Las Vegas and provide opportunities for some breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a great place to experience some of the best that nature has to offer. The park is nearly 12,000 square miles, and one of the highlights that you will want to see is Yosemite Falls, as it is the tallest waterfall in the world. You will be able to trek up El Capitan, which is about 7,569 feet above sea level at its highest point. If you are not prepared for such a daunting hike, there are plenty of other trails that you can explore in the park.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is an excellent place to visit, especially if you have never seen a sequoia tree up close. These trees are giants, and standing next to one will give you a great perspective of how small humans really are. The General Grant Tree, named the nations' Christmas tree, is located in this park and is one of the world's largest trees. You can take trails to explore the groves, the canyon, or a combination of both. Some of the stumps of the trees that you will encounter are so massive that they cannot be climbed without a ladder.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is another place where you can find lots of sequoia trees. However, if you are looking for an unforgettable view, this park is home to Mount Whitney, which is the highest point in the country; if you stand at its peak, you will be 14,000 feet above sea level. There are well over 800 miles of trails within the park that you can hike, but make sure that you attempt one that best suits your skills.
Death Valley National Park
After visiting the place with the highest point in the country, you may want to head to Death Valley National Park because it conversely is home to the lowest point in the US. Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level. Death Valley is known for its extreme temperatures, so make sure that you have enough water and sunscreen to cover your time spent there. There are also several trails throughout the park that you can attempt on foot, bike, or horseback.
Grand Canyon National Park
One stop on your road trip itinerary from San Francisco to Albuquerque that you must make is Grand Canyon National Park. This is an iconic park featuring unrivaled views of the canyon below. If you are brave enough, you can go kayaking through the canyon in the Colorado River. There are also quite a few guided hikes that you can consider during your visit.
Mount Diablo State Park
To take in some spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay area, make a stop at Mount Diablo State Park. Mount Diablo is slightly above 3,800 feet in the air, and it will give you quite a view if you have the ability to climb the summit. If not, there are also alternative trails that you can hike in the park.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Canyon State Park is another scenic park that is located in California. It covers approximately 27,000 acres of land, and it has stunning desert views and rock formations that are very picturesque. There are several miles of trails within the park, and biking and horseback riding are also popular activities in the area.
Valley of Fire State Park
On your San Francisco to Albuquerque RV road trip, you should make a stop at Valley of Fire State Park just outside of Las Vegas. The park covers about 46,000 acres of land, and the stone formations look amazing as the sunlight hits the rock. It is one of Nevada's oldest state parks, and it features many different trails that you can explore. There is also plenty of wildlife to see in this area. In fact, desert tortoises, which are rare in nature, have even been spotted in the park.
Hayward Japanese Gardens
This is a lovely botanical garden that you will encounter in Hayward, California. It is available for visitors to stroll through and enjoy, but it is also available for special events such as weddings. There are water features throughout the gardens, as well as pagodas that you can stand on and get a fantastic view of the garden surrounding you.
One of the more iconic stops you will need to make on your road trip from San Francisco to Albuquerque is the Hoover Dam. The dam was named after President Herbert Hoover, and it is actually the tallest dam on the planet. In fact, the dam itself is about 726 feet above the floor of the canyon. The dam's purpose is to generate enough hydroelectricity to power the states of Nevada, Arizona, and California. In 1985, the dam became a national historic landmark, and in 1994 it was named one of the seven modern civil engineer wonders in America. While visiting, make sure that you take a tour of the dam to learn more about its history.
Meteor Crater is a museum in Arizona that sits on the location where a meteor hit the earth over 50,000 years ago. The meteor was 150 feet wide, and a rock of this size left a crater that is 550 feet deep and nearly a mile wide. To get a full picture of the event, there are lookout points that you can use, guided tours, and a 4D Theater to explain the event and the aftermath in more detail.
As you are traveling through California, Fresno will be a great place to stop between the national parks and the other destinations you are visiting. While you are visiting, you can stop at Mammoth Lakes or enjoy some time in the California Hot Springs. As you spend time in the area, you will likely need to take advantage of Fresno campgrounds to help you and your family unwind from the driving and excursions.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Once you make it to Nevada, you may be ready to take in the sights and sounds that are more than prominent in the city of Las Vegas. If you are feeling lucky, take some time to gamble on the strip or catch a show. To help you stay rested, be sure to check out the nearby Las Vegas campgrounds. Since you will have been traveling for a while, you may want to find a Las Vegas dump station to offload your black and gray water before continuing on your trip.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the city of Flagstaff, so make it a point to research Flagstaff campgrounds to stay at before you get there. Make sure to visit landmarks like the Coconino National Forest and the Walnut Canyon National Monument before leaving the area. If you are looking to enjoy a music or art festival, stop by Heritage Square. If you are looking for adventure, check out the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course for rope courses and zip-line opportunities.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Francisco to Albuquerque, 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 San Francisco or Albuquerque.