The United States is a fairly large country and with all of that size comes the great potential for road trips. Road trips have been an iconic part of American for decades and through airline travel may be more popular than driving, the cross-country trek still has a place for travelers, especially RVers.
If you’re more of a western road tripper boy, have we got the road trip for you. The western border-to-border road trip starts you near the Mexican border near Tucson, Arizona and shoots you all the way through Nevada, Idaho, and Montana before finally ending (or beginning) at the Canadian border. If you’re planning on taking a road trip like this, it’s best to know the right information. That’s why we’ve put together this road trip guide to take you border to border, western style.
About the Western Border-to-Border Road Trip
This road trip starts in Tucson, Arizona, and ventures all the way up to Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. This is road trip will take you to many different climates from high desert to subalpine meadows so you need to make sure you and your ride are fully prepped. Let’s get on the road with our first stop/starting point.
First Stop: Tucson, AZ
Where to Stay in Tucson: Catalina State Park
This lovely State Park holds 120 sites all outfitted with water and electrical hookups with a convenient dump station nearby. That’s not to mention the BBQ grill and picnic table that come with every site as well. Catalina State Park is pretty spiffy for State Park facilities. You’ll have showers, restrooms and some other amenities and features like exhibits right in the visitor center.
What to Do in Tucson
Of course, a good way to get started exploring Tucson is right at the State Park. Use the miles of trails for hiking, biking and however else you see fit. Other great outdoor opportunities around the area include Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park. If you need to get inside to escape the heat you can try the Pima Air and Space Museum or the Gaslight Theater. Get some sights in before you really hit the road.
Second Stop: Phoenix, AZ
Where to Stay in Phoenix: Desert Shadows RV Resort
Any park that takes home 10s across the board on their Good Sam RV Club ratings is one that certainly is top notch. That’s what you get at Desert Shadows RV Park with their great RV sites and numerous amenities. The RV pads themselves come with all three major utility services on even concrete pads. Talk about facilities, Desert Shadows has what you would expect with immaculate shower and laundry facilities but also boasts a 20,000 square foot clubhouse, indoor heated pool, and spa and plenty of organized activities.
Be careful, if you stay at Desert Shadows you may want to stay for a long while.
What to Do in Phoenix
You’ll be ashamed if you don’t take some time out to go see the lovely blooms and landscapes of the Desert Botanical Garden or the great views from Camelback Mountain. If you love the desert outdoors, you can also try out South Mountain Park or through a private tour. You can let the kids let off some steam at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or let some steam off yourself through a ballgame at the gorgeous Chase Field. When in doubt in Phoenix, get on board a hot air balloon ride.
Pit Stop: You will cross over historic US Route 66 during this portion of your journey. Take in the sights as the thousands of spirits of road trips past usher you to hit the road like never before.
Third Stop: Las Vegas, NV
Where to Stay in Las Vegas: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort
If you’re going to do it big, Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort is highly recommended. This luxurious RV park ties right into the feel of big money in Vegas. You can experience some of that luxury right on your RV pad outfitted with full utility connections. You’ll rest easy at the resort-style pool, the 50s themed diner, spa, and fitness center or any of the other four-star amenities knowing that the park is gated and staffed 24/7. Plenty of luxuries and amenities at Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort.
What to Do in Las Vegas
What isn’t there to do in Las Vegas? The magnificent Las Vegas is all yours for however long you see fit to visit casinos, see some incredible live shows and performances or eat at some of the finest establishments in the country, sometimes all under one roof! If you’d rather get out and enjoy what Las Vegas was like before all the development you’ve got a good area at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Las Vegas is your oyster.
Fourth Stop: Baker, NV
Where to Stay in Baker: Whispering Elms Campground
Whispering Elms Campground is a combination motel/campground/RV park and a fine place to stay as you continue on your journey north. RV sites are big and level with 30 and 50 amp electric as well as water and sewer utility hookups. There are bathhouses to clean you up from the drive or excursion and you also have a dump station. You also have the Elms Bar where you can grab a cold one while playing darts or shuffleboard. Make sure to step outside a night to catch a load of the thrilling night sky of Baker.
What to Do in Baker
The number one reason for the Baker stop is to experience nearby Great Basin National Park. Like most other National Parks, it's best to get out on foot to experience the neat properties of this park. Great Basin is known for its fabulously alive night skies as well as the wonders of Lehman Caves. Take a day or two to explore the park and make sure you check out the park’s bristlecone pine trees, at over 5,000 years, they are some of the oldest living organisms on Earth.
Fifth Stop: Ketchum, ID
Where to Stay in Ketchum: The Meadows RV Park
No worries, if you have a larger rig as the Meadows RV Park in Ketchum, can accommodate RVs up to 60 feet in length. These lovely and spacious sites come with both 30 and 50 amp electrical inputs as well as water and sewer utility hookups. Feel free to use the bathhouse and laundry facilities to clean yourself up before heading to the Ketchum/Sun Valley area.
What to Do in Ketchum
The Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho area is full of plenty of fun things to do and see, mostly in the outdoor realm. You are at the doorstep of the great forests and mountains of the Sawtooth Wilderness area as well as close to the on-the-water fun of Redfish Outlet Lake. The king of the area is Bald Mountain and if that seems like too daunting there are numerous other peaks to conquer as well. For those who aren’t too outdoor-oriented, there are plenty of art galleries, dining options, and shopping to be found in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area.
Pit Stop: Your next stop is not too far away from Yellowstone National Park. It is out of the way for this road trip but if you’ve never been to Yellowstone, now might be a great opportunity.
Sixth Stop: Butte, MT
Where to Stay in Butte: Butte KOA
RVers seek out KOAs across the country due to their convenience and amenities and it’s no different with the Butte KOA. You’ll, of course, have your regular features such as RV pads with full utility service connections as well as hot showers and laundry facilities but you’ll also get those other KOA conveniences like pool access, camping supply store, playground, and dog park. Get a get good rest before the final stretch of the trip.
What to Do in Butte
Butte is another outdoorsman paradise so you can get your fill before journeying to your last stop. Our Lady of the Rockies and Berkeley Pit are the area highlights but you won’t have any trouble heading in really any direction to find outdoor fun. There is also great history in the area especially when it comes to mining. Check out the Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook and the World Museum of Mining to get an idea of the some of the area’s rich history.
Last Stop: Coram, MT
Where to Stay in Coram: North American RV Park and Yurt Village
The last stop on your western border-to-border adventures comes at the northwest corner of Montana at North American RV Park and Yurt Village. This highly rated campground comes with electrical, water and sewer hookups to go along with their excellent bathhouse and laundry facilities. There are plenty of amenities available 24/7 from the guest lounge including kitchen appliances, DVD players, satellite TV and more. Grab some supplies from the camp store before enjoying the relaxed forested setting.
What to Do in Coram
Your final stop in Coram is close to the Canadian border and close to the unspoiled beauty of Glacier National Park. Take the time to relax at the park before setting off in Glacier for some hiking, biking or wildlife viewing. If you’re a little burned out on hiking, you can also try the Amazing Fun Center for some lazy river floating or the Glacier Highline for some zip lining around the area. If after this whole trip you need a stiff one check out the Glacier Distilling Company.
When to Go
This road trip takes you through many different climates so you need to try going at the right time. To make the brutally hot temperatures in Arizona and Nevada a little softer as well as the colder climates up north a little warmer you should try making the trip around late spring or early summer.
This guide is a great way to get started on a western border-to-border road trip. Use this as a guide but feel free to shake up the routes or destinations as you see fit. The road trip is all about experiencing cool things on the road so make sure your road trip is perfect for you.