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Yellowstone National Park, pool in Wyoming, USA

Ultimate National Parks

Visit Rocky Mountain NP, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Grand Canyon NP & Monument Valley.

the ultimate three week national park road trip

21 Nights from £2,799pp
i
‘from’ prices are based on off peak travel, 2 people sharing a standard car, economy flights and 2-3* Hotels. All trips are completely bespoke so just tell your expert any requirements you have.

Our Ultimate National Park itinerary explores stunning mountain and desert scenery over three epic weeks. Take this epic road trip adventure, which starts and ends in Denver, and visit one amazing National Park after another. This is a busy but perfectly planned itinerary; however, please let us know if you have any additional time to spend or if you’d like to remove any destinations for a slower pace.

Key road trip highlights:

  • Self-drive through 5 incredible States! Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and (briefly) Arizona
  • Visit a whopping 13 National Parks!!! Including 6 bucket list National Parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. 
  • Explore 7 further National Parks – Rocky Mountain, Wind Cave, Badlands, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes.
  • Discover further places of outstanding beauty, including Mt Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Garden of the Gods.
  • Witness an abundance of wildlife throughout, including Bison, Buffalo, bighorn sheep, bears, elk and bobcats.
  • What’s included? Direct flights with a premier carrier, accommodation, car rental and a detailed road trip pack.
Ultimate National Parks route with The American Road Trip Company

Our Favourite Hotels

We’ll suggest properties to match your preferred budget, be it low-cost, mid-range or high-end luxury that you’re looking for. We can also mix it up so you’ll experience a range of standards and experiences along your road trip.

Canyon Lodge & Cabins , Yellowstone

Hotel:

Canyon Lodge & Cabins

Location:

Yellowstone National Park

The View Hotel, Monument Valley

Hotel:

The View Hotel & Cabins

Location:

Monument Valley

Bright Angel Lodge, Inside the Park at The Grand Canyon

Hotel:

Bright Angel Lodge

Location:

The Grand Canyon

Cliffrose Lodge Springdale, Zion National Park

Hotel:

Cliffrose Lodge Springdale

Location:

Zion National Park

Under Canvas Grand Canyon

Hotel:

Under Canvas Grand Canyon

Location:

Grand Canyon NP

Hoodoo Moab, Arches National Park

Hotel:

Hoodoo Moab

Location:

Arches National Park

Thompson Denver Hotel, Denver

Hotel:

Thompson Denver Hotel

Location:

Denver

Teton Mountain Lodge, Jackson

Hotel:

Teton Mountain Lodge

Location:

Jackson

Road Trip Itinerary

All of our American road trips can be tailored to meet your requirements. Do you have more or less than 21 days for your road trip? No problem, we can bolt on extra nights to allow more time to explore or shorten the number of destinations as required.

1

Arrive in Denver, Colorado

Fly direct from the UK to Denver, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains area of America. Collect your car at the airport and head into the Mile High City for a night and acclimatisate before you hit the open road to visit the region’s abundant natural wonders. If you prefer to avoid the city, then we can arrange an overnight at the Denver Airport before you head straight to Rocky Mountain National Park the following day.

Location:

Denver, CO

Drive:

0 Miles

Denver Capitol building, Colorado, USA
2

leave denver for rocky mountain national park

Denver sits 5,000 feet above see-level, and during today’s drive you’ll climb to over 12,000 feet high. Cruise along the highest paved mountain pass in the United States, Trail Ridge Road starts in Estes Park, it then crosses the Continental Divide before dropping down to Grand Lake on the far side of Rocky Mountain Park. Along the way, wildlife viewing opportunities will hopefully include Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Bears and even Mountain Lions.

Location:

Rocky Mountain NP

Drive:

98 miles

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, best places in Rocky Mountains
3

rocky mountain national park to cheyenne

Spend most of today exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, looking for wildlife and epic mountain views as you go. In mid-afternoon, you’ll depart from the Estes Park gate and start the drive up to the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota. To break up the long drive, you’ll overnight in the Wild West town of Cheyenne. When you reach Cheyenne, be sure to take a photo with some of the giant cowboy boots dotted around the town.

Location:

Cheyenne, WY

Drive:

134 miles

Buffalo, National Parks Explorer plus
4

mount rushmore in south dakota's black hills

The faces of four former American Presidents look out over the country they helped create. Carved out of the side of Mount Rushmore during the 1930s, this granite sculpture is the largest in the world. Classic movie buffs will remember the part Mt Rushmore played in the iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie North by Northwest starring Cary Grant. Although Mt Rushmore is the most famous destination in the Black Hills area, you’ll need an additional day or two to explore this picturesque area and the natural wonders that reside here.

Location:

Mt Rushmore, SD

Drive:

274 miles

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, USA
5

a full day exploring mt rushmore's neighbours

We believe South Dakota’s pretty Black Hills is arguably America’s most underrated destination. Badlands National Park (pictured), Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park are just some of the stunning sights and experiences you can enjoy here. Want to find out what a Pigtail bridge is? Then, you must drive the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway to the Needles and experience the hairpin curves firsthand.

Location:

Mt Rushmore, SD

Drive:

0 miles

Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Scenic road at sunset. Join The Team
6

leave mt rushmore for devils tower and bighorn nf

Made famous by Steven Spielberg’s classic film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, Devils Tower National Monument is simply spectacular, it’s a must-do destination for anyone driving west towards Bighorn National Forest and then Yellowstone. Keep a close eye on the tower, as you can often witness climbers scaling the 1,267-foot butte. Overnight, you can stop in Buffalo, Sheridan or at a Dude Ranch in Ucross. Just let us know which option you prefer.

Location:

Bighorn NF

Drive:

248 miles

Devils Tower, Wyoming, USA - Devils Tower
7

cruise west on bighorn scenic byway to cody

Pass through Bighorn National Forest, which features even more remarkable wilderness, including Shell Falls, a lovely waterfall that sits along today’s route. Cody is an absolute gem of a cowboy town; founded by iconic cowboy Buffalo Bill, Cody features Western-themed events, including summer rodeos, staged shoot-outs, parades, and even pow-wows.

Location:

Cody, WY

Drive:

167 miles

Texas Cowboy
8

two and half glorious days in yellowstone national park

Today, you’ll reach the world-famous and wonderful Yellowstone National Park. Founded back in 1872, Yellowstone is the world’s oldest and first National Park. Home to millions of years of geological history and an incredible range of wildlife, including bison, bobcats, grizzly bears and more. Yellowstone should be on everyone’s bucket list, so act fast as the best lodges book up quickly here, and securing the correct accommodation is really important. As with every destination on every trip, we’ll work hard to ensure you stay in the very best locations.

Location:

Yellowstone NP

Drive:

94 miles

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA - A herd of bison moves quickly along the Firehole River
9

day two exploring yellowstone national park

A second full day to further discover Yellowstone’s natural wonders and plentiful wildlife. Unbelievably, half the world’s geysers are found here, including the most famous, Old Faithful. This iconic natural wonder spurts water over 90 feet in the air almost every hour. Enjoy taking in one of the National Park ranger-led talks or walks that depart daily from Old Faithful Lodge. Further essential points of interest include the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley and Lake Yellowstone.

Location:

Yellowstone NP

Drive:

0 miles

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, Faithful Geyser
10

from yellowstone to grand teton national park

Spend the morning and early afternoon concluding any remaining Yellowstone sightseeing before heading south on the short drive to Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton is epic and more than holds its own against its more famous neighbours found along this Rocky Mountain road trip. Grand Teton National Park offers a rich mix of extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes and stunning alpine terrain; to just call it beautiful would be an understatement.

Location:

Grand Teton NP

Drive:

40 miles

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, Western USA
11

a full day to enjoy grand teton's scenic vistas

Grand Teton National Park is home to numerous scenic drives, including Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, Teton Park Road and Signal Mountain Sumit Road. Want to stretch your legs for the rest of the day? Easy hiking options include Taggart Lake, Phelps Lake Overlook and Lunch Tree Hill, with the latter offering spectacular views of the Teton Range. Numerous opportunities exist for those wanting a more challenging walk also.

Location:

Grand Teton NP

Drive:

0 miles

Grand Teton National Park
12

teton mountains to dinosaur national monument

Spend the morning enjoying the crystal clear waters and staggering mountain scenery of Grand Teton National Park, you’ll then cruise south on scenic roads to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Dinosaurs once roamed this corner of America in vast numbers, and at Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal, their remarkable remains are still clearly visible to this day.

Location:

Dinosaur NM

Drive:

280 miles

Vernal UT - Dinosaur National Monument
13

Visit Arches NP and Canyonlands NP

Drive south to outdoorsy Moab. The main highlight is Arches National Park, with its iconic red-rock landscape. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. Arches really is a wonderland of geological proportions not found anywhere else in the world. Canyonlands is crammed with a colourful terrain eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado and the Green Rivers. Nearby Dead Horse Point is a State Park made famous for being the filming location of the iconic final scene in the Oscar-winning film Thelma and Louise.

Location:

Arches NP

Drive:

217 miles

Arches National Park in Utah, USA, Delicate Arch, Western America
14

the third of the mighty 5 - capitol reef national park

Utah is home to five, yes five, of America’s very best National Parks. Known around the world as the Utah Mighty 5, which will be your favourite I wonder? After a four-hour scenic drive down to the southern half of Utah, you’ll spend the afternoon exploring the least visited of the five – Capitol Reef National Park.

Location:

Capital Reef NP

Drive:

215 miles

Capitol Reef National Park - Barn surrounded by red rocks
15

discover beautiful bryce canyon national park

Take the short drive west to Bryce Canyon National Park, famous for its unique geology consisting of horseshoe-shaped amphitheatres carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colourful limestone rock into bizarre shapes, including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called “hoodoos”.

Location:

Bryce Canyon NP

Drive:

108 miles

Bryce Canyon National Park, Southwest USA
16

bryce canyon national park to zion national park

Another short drive today, over to the third of Utah’s Mighty 5, Zion National Park. Arguably the best of the lot, Zion National Park is stunningly beautiful. Emerald-coloured pools, lush green trees, and rust-red canyon walls are all on show in this picturesque valley. This combination of colours is a visual delight, and the Park’s trails offer the chance to explore nature at its best.

Location:

Zion NP

Drive:

86 miles

Zion National Park in Utah, USA, Las Vegas to The Grand Canyon
17

a further day in heavenly zion national park

A second full day to wander along the trails and take in the geological wonders of Zion National Park. The brave and athletic among you may wish to tackle the epic Angel’s Landing trail, culminating at a lofty perch boasting magnificent 360-degree views over the valley below. Alternatively, walk the famous ‘Narrows’, often knee-deep in water. Tonight, enjoy a meal at Zion Lodge or in the neighbouring town of Springdale, which has plenty of local options to choose from.

Location:

Zion NP

Drive:

0 miles

Zion National Park, Utah, USA
18

zion to unforgettable grand canyon national park

The world’s largest and most well-known geological wonder is simply staggering. Two billion years in the making, the Colorado River has forged a mile deep, 18 miles wide and 277 mile long gouge into northern Arizona. Whenever possible, we try to place clients at the lesser visited North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as we believe this location offers the very best views of the Canyon. Furthermore, Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim is packed with rustic charm.

Location:

Grand Canyon NP

Drive:

122 miles

Grand Canyon, Arizona trip, USA - Tourist hiking the Grand Canyon on a Southwest USA Holiday
19

into the wild west - monument valley and more

Head northeast to Page, home to Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyons, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. During late afternoon, you’ll drive onto Monument Valley in Navajo Native American Territory. This magical place is an epic experience at any time of day, but it’s particularly stunning at dawn or dusk. This western movie set landscape turns a thousand shades of red, making this a truly unforgettable place to visit.

Location:

Monument Valley

Drive:

248 miles

Monument Valley, USA. 3 Mittens, Arizona Road trip
20

Mesa Verde NP

Leave Utah and re-enter Colorado in its most south western corner. Next up is Mesa Verde National Park, and whilst it has beautiful unspoilt nature and vistas to share with you, it’s best known for the well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings that still stand here, most notably the massive Cliff Palace.

Location:

Mesa Verde NP

Drive:

135 miles

Telluride, Colorado, USA
21

Great Sand Dunes NP

Drive east to the old western railroad town of Durango, and after a quick lunch stop and exploration, continue east to the final National Park on this road trip. Great Sand Dunes National Park is a beautiful place and a favourite of the team here. It’s best explored and viewed at sunset and sunrise when the sand is coolest underfoot, and the shadows caused by the dunes are at their most dramatic. Tomorrow, you’ll rise early and watch the sunrise over the dunes and the mountains beyond before returning to Denver to catch your flight home. If time allows, then an hour stretching your legs at Garden of the Gods (pictured) in Colorado Springs is well worthwhile.

Location:

Great Sand Dunes NP

Drive:

214 miles

Garden of the Gods - Rocks and rainbow

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Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find answers to most of your questions right here. If you still need assistance, Feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be sure to get back to you promptly!

Can I Add Extra Nights To The Road Trips?

Not a problem. If you are lucky enough to have extra time to explore more places or add more rest days, then just let us know and we’ll adjust your trip to match your preferred timescale.

Must I Have Travel Insurance?

We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance for your holiday to cover you against medical expenses, theft and other financial costs. Should you need to cancel before travelling, some insurance policies may pay out for any loss of funds that have been paid to us and which cannot be refunded under our cancellation policy.

Can I Do A One-Way Rental?

Many of our trips have a different end destination than the starting point, so this is not a problem. Please note a fee sometimes applies for one-way rentals between other regions or states, which will be paid to the supplier directly when collecting the vehicle. We’ll endeavour to inform you of this charge within your quote.

Am I Limited To Certain Hotels Or Chains?

No, far from it. We work with a range of properties from 3* to 5*, so we can adapt the trip to match most budgets. We have access to rooms in more than 800 hotels, motels, lodges and B&Bs across North America.

How Old Do I Need To Be?

The minimum age to rent a car is 21 in the United States or Canada, although, in addition, any drivers under 25 years of age will generally incur a surcharge.

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