Tamarack Campervan Skiing

Tamarack Campervan Skiing

A two hour drive from Boise is Tamarack Resort and some excellent campervan skiing and snow boarding and some great views of Lake Cascade. One of the best parts of the resort is the lack of lift lines. Every time we have skied at the resort we have never had a line to get on the lift. The resort is ideal for intermediate skiers and riders. There is a great beginner area right near the lodge and you will find no line at all on most days. More advanced skiers and riders will find the most challenging runs off of the summit. 

It is possible to park a campervan overnight in the Aspen Parking lot right near the entrance, we recommend first checking in with the information desk since there may be a small fee. Otherwise Brundage allows overnight parking in there lot for campervans. If you need another place to park overnight you can try the West Face Snowmobile lot right across from the Bear Creek Lodge.

Tamarack Resort Ski Map

Recommended Routes Advanced Skiers and Riders:

Adrenaline and Funnel: Start off Canoe Ridge from the top of the Summit chair. You might have a drop off to get onto the ski run and then you will have a nice steep run in a large snow bowl. 

After You and Me First: To the south of the Summit chair you will find the other advanced bowl this one has some nice ski lines tucked into the trees down the center. These lines are often overlooked on powder days so you may find some fresh stashes.

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

Sun Valley Campervan Skiing

Sun Valley Campervan Skiing

Sun Valley has some amazing skiing at the resort, but also some astronomical priced lift tickets. Our campervans can be part of the solution. Instead of spending loads of money on lodging that you will hardly use since you will be out enjoying the slopes, why not rent a campervan and then ski all day and then go check out the night life before crashing on some amazing beds. 

While Sun Valley Resort does not allowed overnight parking in the ski lots and you are likely to get towed if you park on any of the downtown streets overnight.  For $25/night you can park at the Meadows RV Park. You will want to call ahead to reserve your spot. North of Ketchum there are some lots that you can park in off Hwy 75. The Baker Creek Lot is the first lot you will come to after you leave town. Be aware you can get plowed in during a big snow storm.

Resort Trail Map

Sun Valley Backcountry Skiing:

There is a lots of great Back Country Skiing around Sun Valley. Around the Galena Summit are or near the Bake Creek Rd. Check out this cool video on Peak to Van skiing.

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

Recommended Stay: 3 to 4 days

Distance from Boise 170 miles/Drive Time: 3 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

Craters of the Moon is a lunar landscape dropped in the middle of Idaho. Craters of the Moon is currently a National Monument and we hope to see it designated as Idaho's first National Park in the near future. Craters of the Moon erupted between 14,000 and 2,000 years ago and is one of the youngest lava flows in the lower 48 states. The landscape looks very lunar from a distance and is even harsher when you get up close and personal. Hiking in the park is easiest on established trails near the park entrance or there are some old roads in the southern portions of park that are an excellent way to get away from the crowds. 

The only official campervan campground is right off of Hwy 20 at the main park entrance and is called the Lava Flow Campground. Spots are limited so reservations are defiantly recommended. The campervan campground is right in the middle of the Lava Flow which can be fun for kids to play on, but sections can be very sharp.

Hiking Suggestions:

1) Tree Molds Trail- The Tree Molds hike is 2 miles long and has some amazing scenery as you will get to witness the locations of trees as they were encased by the lava flows. Make sure to stay on the trail since it is easy to get lost in the flows. Here is a map with more information.

2) Broken Top Trail:  This trail is one of the most spectacular trails in the park and as you hike its 2 miles length you will experiance all of the different types of lava flows. Check out this map for some extra details. There are a number of caves along this trail, but you are required to get a permit at the visitors center before entering them so make sure to due this when you enter the park.

 

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

Southern California Adventure (Death Valley/Joshua Tree)

Southern California Adventure (Death Valley/Joshua Tree)

Recommended Stay: 9 to 14 days

Distance from Boise 936 miles/Drive Time: 14.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $1375 to $1675

For the holidays this year we planned a campervan trip to see Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and the San Diego area. We had two weeks of time to accomplish our trip which worked out to be a good length of time for our campervan trip since we did not feel rushed at any of our destinations.

Day 1: Boise to Death Valley

On Day 1 we choose to make the drive from Boise to Death Valley National Park. The route recommended by Google will take you down to Bruneau and south on Hwy 51 and then into Nevada. We did not know what to expect on the drive, but was pleasantly surprised to enjoy some great canyon driving on NV225 and Hwy 51 in between Bruneau and Elko. The roads were snow covered in places, but our campervan did great in the snow and we were glad we were not in anything larger like a RV. The entire route is very sparsely populated so it is important to make sure you have plenty of gas due to the remote nature of the drive. We needed to drive almost 9.5 hours before things started to warm up and then an extra half an hour to our campground. There are three campgrounds in the heart of Death Valley National Park near Furnace Creek, these are the warmest campervan campgrounds in the park during the winter months. Since we pulled in late at night we ended up just pulling in Sunset campground which is basically a large and flat gravel lot and the easiest for just crashing and going to bed. 

Day 2: Death Valley National Park

On Day 2 we awoke in Sunset Campground and realized how barren Sunset Campground is during the day. We packed up and head to check out the other two campgrounds in Furnace Creek. The first option is Texas Springs which has a lot of great sites and was very full so we decided to check out the Furnace Creek Campground. We end up liking Furnace Creek Campground the best since it had some trees that shelter you from the afternoon winds and was right next to the visitor center. We parked our campervan in Furnace Creek Campground and made a plan for the day. We decided to head to 20 Mule Team Canyon and check out the short one way dirt road. The road weaves through some amazing formations and you can pretty much climb anywhere. The campervan did well on the dirt road and we did some great exploring. There is no way you could take a RV(recreational vehicle) on this dirt road and not get stuck. My wife had no problems negotiating the narrow turns. At the end of the road we had to make a trip to Palrump to visit the nearest grocery store, we though we would pass one in Beatty, but all they had was a convenience store. So on your drive from Boise if you need any supplies make sure to stop in Elko, NV. After returning from Palrump we drove our campervan to the visitor center and checked out the exhibits and got a status update on the roads in the park. There had been some flash floods in 2015 that did considerable damage to park roads and this means Scotty's Castle will not reopen until 2019. After the visitor center we headed to Borax Works and then drove through Mustard Canyon. Mustard Canyon was worth the short drive and it was a great place to explore on foot and we explored the yellow colored dried out mud. You can find some wide pullouts along the road and hike up on the mustard colored mud and witness the weird formations formed by water. Driving out of Mustard Canyon in the dark we headed for our campground and a well deserved meal.

Twenty Mile Canyon Road:

Day 3: Death Valley National Park

On Day 3 we awoke in Furnace Creek Campground in our campervan and sat down to plan our days adventure. After some deliberation we decided to go check out the ranger program at the  Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The Sand Dunes are very large and there is lots of places to climb and explore or you can look for the the less seen. We wandered off from the crowds and went searching for some footprints of the animals of the desert. We found lot of tracks that orginated from the green islands among the sand dunes. Lots of fun can be had on the Sand Dunes, but we decided to heat to Mosaic Canyon for a long hike. We dug into the campervan cooler for some lunch before heading out on our 4 mile hike. The road to the trail head is again dirt and would be challenging in an RV(recreational vehicle), but luckily we had no problems as we bounced along on the wash board road. At the beginning the trail it was very busy, but then the crowds thin out as you climbed further into the canyon. Just as you leave the crowds behind the canyon gets wide. Keep on going because the best part of the canyon is about 3/4 of a mile ahead. The canyon then gets very narrow and we had a blast working our way up water chutes and around massive boulders. We had lots of fun to exploring this amazing canyon in the desert. It also worked up a good appetite for everyone as we returned to Furnance Creek for some dinner and a little relaxing.

Day 4: Death Valley National Park

On Day 4 we awoke in Furnace Creek Campground in our campervan to another nice and warm day. We were defiantly basking in the warmth as our family back home relayed pictures of the snow and frigid temperatures. After breakfast we got an early start and headed to bad water basin which is 252ft below sea level. There is a hike you can do out onto the salt flats, but with all the people on the trail we decided to try another spot. So we headed to Devils Golf Course which was just a short drive back on the park road and enjoyed a nice quiet spot as we climbed among the amazing salt formations. There were some spectacular sights to be seen and it was amazing to see what salt can do. After poking around we head to Natural Bridges and again the road to the trail head was dirt and would be challenging in an RV(recreational vehicle), but luckily we had no problems as we bounced along on the wash board road. There seemed to be a common theme in this park and the fact that any of the best hikes required some dirt road driving. We then hiked a short way to Natural Bridge. Unlike other arches I have seen that have been formed out of sandstone this one was a type of conglomerate rock that had been formed by flooding. It was quite the amazing sight. After three days of hiking we decided to take a scenic drive to Dante's Point and we were pleasantly surprised by the amazing view we behold on the summit. There is a short hike at the summit, but the views were just as spectacular from the campervan. We then spent the afternoon in our campsite relaxing and planning our adventure for the next day.

Day 5: Death Valley National Park

On our last day in Death Valley National Park we packed up and headed for the west end of the park and our last hike in the park. We drove towards Panamint Springs and came across some interesting Coyote activity on the salt flats. The Coyotes were sitting on the side of the road and waiting for a car to hit an animal and then they would run out and grab the road kill without needing to do any hunting. It is amazing how these animals have figured out how to survive in the desert. After driving through Panamint Springs we took our second left onto an unmarked road and drove on another dirt road to the Darwin Falls trailhead. The Darwin Falls trail is an amazing hike that starts in a very dry landscapes and then you enter into a desert oasis and will walk among trees and lush grasses as you pick your way to a natural spring and an amazing waterfall. After you enter the trees there are some mandatory creek crossings that you might get your feet wet and you'll also need to do some scrambling over some rocks as you work your way to the end of the trail. The trail is unmarked, but is easy to follow and worth the 2.5 mile hike. Everyone loved the waterfall at the end, but we were wiped out as we returned to the van and started our drive further south. We planned to make it to Silverwood Lake campground that evening and got delayed a little as we drove through a rare southern California downpour. We pulled into our campervan campsite and were so happy to not be sleeping on the ground as giant puddles formed all over the place outside. 

Death Valley Road Tour:

 

Day 6: Death Valley to Carlsbad, CA

On Day 6 we awoke at Silverwood Lake to some more showers and had a lazy morning before setting out for Carlsbad, CA and our campervan campsite in Carlsbad Beach State Park. We managed to avoid most of the traffic and cruised into Carlsbad Beach State Park with plenty of time to enjoy the beach. There are a couple of beach access points within the campground and we choose our site based on how easy it would be to get down to the beach. To access the beach you must descend down a steep staircase to the water. Once on the beach you will have a nice sense of isolation as the cliffs give a nice sense of solitude. 

Day 7: Legoland Carlsbad, CA

Having never been to southern California we had to check out the local sights and attractions. Our first stop was Legoland. We arrived in the parking lot at 9am and were ready to walk in as soon as the gates opened at 9:30. Getting such an early start meant we had very short waits at all of the rides we rode except for one. While the crowds were just entering the park we were in the back of the park getting in multiple rides and then we swapped places with the crowds as we looped back to front to catch those attractions after a late lunch. We were amazed at our good fortune since we got to do all of the rides in the park. Legoland is a great place for kids under 10 and the Lego structures inside of the park are just amazing a fun for all to enjoy.

Day 8: San Diego Zoo

A must do stop on our trip was the San Diego Zoo we had heard so many good things about the zoo and the animals inside that we decided to take a trip down to check it out. The scale of the San Diego Zoo is immense and you could easily fit 10 Boise Zoos into the San Diego Zoo. The exhibits were immense and there were actual bus stops inside the park to help you get around. If you have never been it is worth it to first take the bus tour near the front entrance so you get a good idea of the layout of the zoo. After the bus tour we decided to take the shuttle bus that makes 4 stops around the park and check out all of the animals. It was immense at the zoo and we stayed until 5 just so we could see the majority of the exhibits, we defiantly missed some stuff, but after 8 hours in the park we were exhausted and almost decided to just crash in the back of the camper van.

Day 9: Downtown San Diego

On Day 5 w decided to leave the campervan in the campground in Carlsbad, CA and head south on the commuter rail. A short 5 minute walk from our campsite we were at a train stop and boarding the train south to San Diego. We were a little confused at first since we could not find a ticket booth, but luckily we found tickets online and were on our way south. Once on the train we learned about the famous Holiday Bowl Parade and were glad we had taken the train instead of driving since downtown was going to be packed. We got off at the last stop at Santa Fe Station and walked over to the waterfront to get a spot for the parade. What an amazing parade it was and we were glad to have happened upon it. After the parade we ventured over to the USS Midway which is one of the top attractions in San Diego. The old aircraft carrier is a floating museum and had an amazing of this to see and experience and there was lots of walking. After a great tour we head back to the train for the 1/2 ride back to Carlsbad, CA. We then happened upon Pelly's Fish Market which had some of the most amazing seafood, everything was fresh and tender. There calamari was unlike anything we had tasted before. This was a tiny little gem tucked into a shopping plaza with limited seating so make sure to get there early.

Day 10: Carlsbad to Joshua Tree National Park

On Day 10 we made the drive from Carlsbad to Joshua Tree National Park. We ended up taking the scenic route and came into Joshua Tree National Park from the southern end at Cottonwood Guard Station. We immediately drove to the Cottonwood Springs campground and snagged one of the last campsites in the park. The Cottonwood Springs Campground has nice big sites and lots of pointy objects to run into! We settled into our campground and started to plan our destinations for the following day.

Day 11: Joshua Tree National Park

On Day 11 we started to explore Joshua Tree National Park in our campervan. We started the day with a bike ride out the Pinkham Canyon Road. This road was defiantly the territory of a short wheel base 4wd so we left the campervan back at the campsite while we explored on a bike. It was nice and peaceful out there and a great way to escape the crowds. After 15 miles on the bike we returned to get our campervan in the campground and set off to explore the park and make it to our campsite at Indian Cove. Our first stop was the Cholla Cactus Garden and we were amazed to see how concentrated the cactus were in this one spot. We climbed out of our campervan and walked the short loop hike to check out some of the amazing cactus. Afterwards we got back in our campervan and headed for our camp spot in Indian Cove. We arrived and got setup and then headed out for 49 Palms Oasis and the hike into the Oasis. The hike is a 1.5 miles to the Oasis and you will be rewarded with an amazing sight as you take in massive pine trees nestled in an otherwise dry landscape. We happened to catch the sunset at the oasis and got some great pictures and were glad to have some headlamps to allow us to get back on the trail in the dark.

 Cholla Cactus Garden Panorama

Cholla Cactus Garden Panorama

Day 12: Joshua Tree National Park  

On Day 12 we got out for some more exploring we were a little tired from our previous days exploring so we decided to check out a ranger program at Skull Rock. We had a nice hike with the ranger and enjoyed his program. We learned a great deal about the Joshua Tree and the rocks in the park. It was fascinating to learn that before DNA sequencing the Joshua Tree was thought to belong to Lily family, once the tree had been sequenced they discover that is was a close relative of the Yucca. So in the National Park you will see lots of examples of plants from the Yucca family. The Joshua trees also will only grow at a high enough elevation where they can get a winter freeze so this limits there range. Finally the Joshua Tree does not have an animal that transports it seeds very far so its range is limited. After a great ranger talk we explored the rocks around Skull Rock and then drove further into the park in search of a nice place to eat lunch. Our plan was foiled a little bit as it started to pour so we ended up eating our lunch in the campervan and were glad to have space inside away from the rain. The rain finally let up so we decided to do a short hike to the Ryan Ranch and check out the home site of some brave folks that setup shop in Joshua Tree National Park for over 100 years. We stayed mostly dry on our hike to Ryan Ranch and then had some excitement on the way back as we watched a rescue helicopter attempt to land among the rocks and Joshua Trees, it appeared that someone was rock climbing and fell. We hope the person recovered from there fall and it was great to see the fast response. After that excitement we head back to our campsite in Indian Cove and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

Day 13: 

On Day 13 we began our drive back to Boise and made a couple of stops in Mojave National Reserve. We wanted to stay a little longer in the reserve, but we had heard forecasts of snow in the Boise area so we decided to keep driving north. We are already thinking that on our next trip south we will plan to camp at the Hole in the Rock Campground in the Mojave National Reserve.

 Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve

Joshua Tree National Park Road Tour:

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

Central Idaho Backcountry Skiing

Central Idaho Backcountry Skiing

Within a short drive of Boise you can find numerable locations to go Back Country Skiing and many of them have pull outs or parking lots that can accommodate a Wandervan Campervan. Here is a summary of some possible destinations, but be aware that conditions are variable and these are only suggestions and any route choice should be evaluated depending on conditions. Finally before you venture into the backcountry be sure to check the weather forecasts and also the avalanche forecast for the area. 

1) Mores Creek\Pilots Peak Area: Mores Creek Summit is only an hour from Boise and contains a lot of great options for skiing. You will park at the Mores Creek Summit Snowmobile lot and we recommend parking as close to the main road as allows since the parking area does tend to fill up with snowmobiles. After you park you have lots of options. If you travel North you will head towards Pilots Peak and will find some of the best skiing off on the north and east slopes. If you make it all the way to the summit of Pilots Peak the lines are not as steep as off the eastern side of Pilots. West of Pilots Peak you will find the Freemans area this is best accessed by going west on highway 21 to the first major bend and then going up from the road there. If you want a little longer adventure you can follow the forest service road going south from the main parking lot. Sunset Peak is about a 2 mile skin from the parking lot so you must be willing to work a little harder before you hit the skiing terrain. Once at Sunset Peak you will see the burn area to the east and find the best turns in the burn. There is also a great blog that displays up date conditions for this area so be sure to check it out.

  Sunset Peak.  Route from Mores Creek Parking Lot shown in Purple. Possible ski line in red.

Sunset Peak. Route from Mores Creek Parking Lot shown in Purple. Possible ski line in red.

2) Copper Peak, Sawtooth Mountains: At Copper Peak you will find the closest big mountain skiing to Boise. You will be parking in one of the pull outs right along highway 75. These pull outs can vary in location depending on plow driver, but you will likely have a short hike on the road before you can start skinning. There are number of ways to approach Copper with the most popular starting near the old borrow pit on Newman Creek. There are some very steep and challenging lines off of Copper so make sure you have checked the Sawtooth Avalanche Forecast before heading out. The approach into Copper can take 1 to 2 hours so plan this time into your approach. You can park a campervan overnight in the pullouts and drive into Stanley for food and necessities. The map below is a possible route into Copper Mountain.

3) Thompson Peak, Sawtooth Mountains: Thompson Peak can be done as a long day trip or a multiple day expedition. The best place to park a campervan overnight is at the Stanley Ranger Station. You can either start your ski trip from the Stanley Ranger Station or Redfish Lodge. Starting from the lodge is going to be a little easier. From the parking lot you will have a fairly long ski in, but the route is usually well traveled. There are ample lines all around Thompson and there is something for everyone depending on how extreme you want to get. The map below shows a recommend route in purple for doing a tour around Thompson Peak from Redfish Lake.

thompsontour.jpg

4) Redfish Lake Slopes, Sawtooth Mountains: Just to the north of Redfish Lake are some great skiing slopes that are not far from the lodge and will give you some great runs. Park near the Redfish Lodge and then head north from the road. You will see the slopes right in front of you. Check out the topo map below, the purple lines show some possible ski runs.

redfishmap.jpg

4) Big Creek Summit: The road to Warm Lake is plowed during the winter and this provides an opportunity to ski the Big Creek Summit area. From the summit pullout on the road you can ski on either side of the road. If you cross the road you will find some north facing slopes that will give you anywhere from 600ft to 1000ft run, but the tree cover is fairly heavy so a helmet is defiantly recommended. On the pullout side of the road you will find more south facing slopes with some sparser tree cover, but the snow conditions may no be as good depending on the time of year. Check out the topo map below, the purple lines show some possible ski runs.

big-creek-backcountry-skiing-route-idaho-wandervans-outdoor.jpg

 

5) Collier Peak: The access to Collier Peak can be challenging, but you are probably going to be the only ones on the Mountain. The best way to access the peak is going to cut through the houses on Willow Creek Rd. and then once you hit the creek continue up the creek to the peak. The best place to park is at the end of West Mountain Rd in the snowmobile lot or a plowed pullout. Conditions tend to change from year to year so be prepared for a little exploring. Once on the peak you will find steep slopes on the north side and open faces on the eastern side and southern aspects. If you want some more challenging terrain you can head up into further into the Willow Creek drainage. Check out the topo map below, the purple lines show some possible ski runs.

collier-peak-idaho-backcountry-ski-wandervans-outdoors.jpg

 

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

 

 

Seven Devil Mountains

Seven Devil Mountains

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Miles from Boise 180 miles/Drive Time: 3-4 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $650

The Seven Devils are a great remote spot only a couple of hours from Boise. There are two main ways to access the mountains. The first is from Council off of Hwy 95. The route from Council will take you almost 2 hours and you will end up on the southern end of the Seven Devils and the Black Lake Campground. You can follow the directions found here. Black Lake is a high alpine lake tucked into the Seven Devils and has four camp spots. Chances are you will be the only people at the lake most weekends.

Most visitors go into the Seven Devils from Riggins and drive into the Seven Devils Campground. This route will take you about an hour and directions can be found here. From the Seven Devils Campground you can access a number of trails including the Seven Devils Trail which tends to see the most traffic. If you pass the Seven Devils Campground and continue up the road you can take in a great view from the Heavens Gate Lookout and peer down into Hells Canyon or look upon the many peaks of the Seven Devils.

Overview Map

Hiking Suggestions:

Emerald Lake (Council Side): This trail is also referred to as the Horse Heaven Trail and begins at Black Lake. You can make a quick day hike to Emerald Lake and back within a couple of hours and take in some great alpine lakes and views.

Seven Devils Trail (Riggins Side): This trail is a popular backpack route or can be done in parts as a day hike. It takes you into the heart of the Seven Devils and gives lots of amazing views.

Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.

Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon

Recommended Stay: 4 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 360 miles/Drive Time: 5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $575 to $975

Hood River packs a large variety of activities for any traveler. There is ample mountain biking in the Hood River area, lots of hiking, and plenty of water sports options. Finding a place to park a campervan for the night will be easy in the many campgrounds or off old logging roads. In Hood River you will find plenty of breweries to relax in after a long days adventure and taste the local fare.

Biking Trails:

In Hood River area you can either ride classic singletrack or modern flow/freeride trails.

Post Canyon: This ride is an introduction to the flow style trails found in the Post Canyon area. The trails in this loop are all intermediate and will give you a good idea if you are ready to move up to something more challenging. 

Surveyors Ridge: This ride is a classic singletrack loop with great views of Mt Hood and the Hood area. The descent on this trail has a little bit of everything and will certainly keeping you grinning the whole way down. 

Hiking Trails:

Oneonta Gorge: The gorge is one of the most spectacular hikes in the area, but it is defiantly geared towards the more experienced hiker. Please remember that there is no trail, instead the river is the trail and the trail is in fact a river. You will have cold water to walk through and fresh water dripping out of the vegetation above you. You will need to be able to scale constantly changing log obstructions that will blocking your path.  For all this challenge you will be rewarded with a hike that most others will shy away from. You will start by parking in the designated area next to the Oneonta Bridge, In Cascade Locks, Oregon. From there you scale down the east side of the bridge and start up the river. If you are prepared to be wading through water you shouldn’t encounter anything too dangerous. Directions from Hood River.


#campervan #rv #recreational vehical rental #vanlife #wanderlust 

St George, Utah

St George, Utah

Recommend Stay: 4 to 7 days

Distance from Boise: 639 miles / Drive time: 10 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $575 to $975

St George, Utah is a great destination for a campervan camping trip in the fall and spring. You can combine a visit to the St. George area with a visit to Zion National Park to get the complete red rock experience. 

Mountain Bike Trail Suggestions:

Gooseberry Mesa: This loop really put the St. George area on the map. On this ride you will never have any sustained climbing, but instead lots of little ups that will test your bike handling skills as you roll over miles of slickrock. There is a cutoff road if you need to shorten your ride.

Hurricane Rim Loop: This is one of my favorite loops in the St. George area since you ride along the rim of the canyon for the Virgin river. The trail along the canyon can be technical in spots, but the views are great. As you ride away from the river the trail smooths out and flows nicely across the desert. 

Little Creek Mesa: If you want to get a little more solitude then the Little Creek Mesa trail system would be a good destination. The trails are fun, but you need to be careful finding the parking lot since it can be confusing. The trail system is similar to Gooseberry Mesa, but the trails are a little more primitive. 

 

Hiking Trail Suggestions:

There are lots of hiking options in Zion National Park to explore, but you can also find good options around St. George outside of the Park. One of the best places to hike outside of the park is at Red Cliffs Reserve.

Red Reef Trail: This is a great canyon hike with some amazing views as you ascend into the canyon. The trail starts from the Red Canyon Campground just a little ways off of I-15. You can go as far as you want and turn around when the trail gets too challenging.


#campervan #rv #recreational vehicle rental #vanlife #wanderlust 

Park City

Park City

Recommended Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 371 miles/Drive Time: 5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $675 to $1075

Park City and its trail system have been on the rise over the last 8 years, constantly growing trail miles every year. There are now over 450 miles of trail accessible from town. Just as important as trail mileage is a dedication to maintaining and improving existing trails.  Park City continues to live up to its status as IMBA’s first gold-level Ride Center and was named "Best Town Ever” in 2013 by Outside Magazine. In addition to biking and hiking trails there are numerous place for dining and entertainment after finishing your adventure. 

The terrain is great, the views are great, the dirt is great and the weather is great, but perhaps the best thing Park City has going for it is the overall attitude towards the outdoors throughout the town. From citizens to businesses to government agencies, the outdoors are part of the culture of the place. Amazingly, the trail system is all interconnected, and it’s all accessible within an easy distance from most places.  

 

Biking Trails:

Whether you are looking for lift-served high alpine riding, bike parks, lower level terrain to introduce a friend to the sport or a true backcountry excursion (the surrounding area offers hundreds more miles of additional trails for riders to explore within a short drive) you can easily call Park City home for a whole destination bike adventure. Park City continues to be a model for mountain bike destination development, and it deserves to be on the top of any mountain biker’s list for a visit. For more info you can visit this site.

Wasatch Crest Loop: This is one of the two classic rides from town and is a must do for rider looking for a ride around 25 miles. There is about 3500ft of climbing on the route so you do need to be prepared for an epic ride.

Mid-Mountain Loop: This is the second classic ride from town and is only 23 miles with only 2300ft of climbing. Decided what your fitness level is when you get to town and plan to tackle one of these two rides in the beginning of your trip.

Campervan Camping Options:

Wasatch State Park Campground is just over the hill from Park City and is your best bet for campervan camping near trails with decent access to Park City. From the campground, the WOW trail and Dutch Hollow trails are ridable from camp, and you're only about a 15 minute drive to the top of Guardsman Pass where you can drop into Deer Valley or hit the Wasatch Crest.

Spruces Campground is located in Big Cottonwood and is about a 30 minute drive, albeit a beautiful one, from Park City. From here, you could easily ride up the road and hit the Wasatch Crest to Mill D trail that would finish near camp. Otherwise, you'll be driving to Park City for additional ride options. Note that Big Cottonwood is part of SLC watershed and does not allow dogs.

Jordanele State Park offers traditional campground accommodations and is a quick ten minute drive away from Park City. From camp you are a short ride away from Spin Cycle & Village Trails, and could easily loop into the Deer Valley trail system from here. Note that Jordanelle State Park & campground is very exposed and does not offer much in the way of protection from the sun during the hotter summer months.

River's Edge is a private campground and RV resort with great access to the Middle Provo River. While it's geared towards the fly fishing crowd, it's a good option for those traveling in a campervan that's not too far away fro Park City. Coyote Canyon and Dutch Hollow trails would be accessible from camp via the rode and Park City is a short 15 minute drive away.

Unita National Forest. The most primitive and remote camping options would be located off the Mirror Lake Highway in the Uinta National Forest. While there are a plethora of trails located in the Uinta's few of them are optimal for biking and are best suited for hiking or gnarly adventure style riding. While the Uinta's likely offer the best true campervan camping experience, it could easily be an hour+ drive to singletrack from camp. Note that the Uinta's are prone to bugs in the early summer months.


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Solar Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Are you ready for the 2017 Solar Eclipse? Idaho is going to a prime spot to experience the 2017 Solar Eclipse. The Eclipse will pass just north of the Boise area so you will need to travel into central Idaho to get the best view. Pickup your campervan a couple of days before and make sure to have campground reservations. 

Luckily for us Stanley and Mackey will be right on the center line of the eclipse and experience over 2 minutes of shadow. Cascade is in the path, but north of the center line, so it will basks in the umbra for less than 2 minutes.

Imagine sitting on the banks of Redfish Lake, Stanley Lake, or Alturas Lake and taking in the over 2 minutes of totality.

For even more of an adventure sit on the summit of Mt Borah and enjoy the eclipse in totality. Mount Thompson the highest peak in the Sawtooths is another amazing location to take in the eclipse in totality.

If you need more info and maps we recommend checking out Eclipse2017.org and don't forget to buy your glasses ahead of time!


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Olympic National Park and Peninsula

Olympic National Park and Peninsula

A short ferry ride from Seattle sits the Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic National Park. The area contains miles of amazing beaches and amazing trails to hike and bike on. The western side of the park receives an enormous amount of rain so bear this in mind during your visits, but usually the rain has a drizzly quality to it that does not seem to slow down the recreational activities you might have planned. Plus at the end of the day you will always find a dry place inside of your Wandervan campervan.

The Olympic National Park is the center piece of the peninsula, with many miles of hiking trails to explore and great camping opportunities. 

Hiking Trails:

Hoh Rain Forest: The Hoh Rain Forest is an amazing and lush temperate rain forest that is one of the most lush hikes you can do in the lower 48. The moss and plants seem to grow every where thanks to a steady stream of rain.

Heather Park Loop: Closer to Port Angles is a great loop that will take you through lush forest and by some high mountain alpine lakes. The lakes can provide a nice place for a dip on warmer days.

 

Mountain Bike Trails:

Outside of the National Park you will find trails open to mountain bikes. Here are some recommended trails to try.

Lower Dungeness/Gold Creek Loop: This is a great way to experience some old growth trees in a remote area, but be aware that the trail is narrow and can be exposed in sections. If you are looking for a backcountry adventure then this is a great option.

Lower Big Quilcene: This is a perfect intermediate trail experience for someone looking to experience some old growth forest on the Olympic Peninsula.

Skokomish Lower South Fork Trail: The is a great easy singletrack trail along a river in some old growth trees, it is low enough that it can be ridden year around.

Mt Muller: Up near Port Angeles you will find some more options for trails. Mt Muller is one of the more challenging options and is advanced ride. You will be rewarded with some great views in sections when you get momentary breaks in the thick tree cover.


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Campervan Resort Skiing

Campervan Resort Skiing

During the winter we all want to try out some new destinations to ski at, but the cost to visit and ski some resorts can get extreme. Our solution is one of our campervans with one of or portable heaters to keep the van warm at night and allow you to get first tracks at the ski resorts. Here is the low down on some of the area resorts. We do recommend renting our portapotty for nighttime and early morning bathroom breaks. We also rent sleeping bags to help with the winter cold. Bear in mind you may also need to move the van to allow plow truck access.

We will update this list with updates or additions so check back before your trip. Also if something is not correct on the list then please contact us.

Bogus Basin Resort, ID: You can park a campervan overnight up near the Pioneer Lodge, just be sure to not park behind any gates. Pioneer Lodge opens at 8am for breakfast and then lifts normally open at 9am.

Sun Valley Resort, ID: Overnight campervan parking is not allowed in the ski lots and you are likely to get towed if you park on any of the downtown streets overnight.  For $25/night you can park a campervan at the Meadows RV Park. You will want to call ahead to reserve your spot. North of Ketchum there are some lots that you can park in off Hwy 75. The Baker Creek Lot is the first lot you will come to after you leave town. Be aware you can get plowed in during a big snow storm.

Brundage Resort, ID:  Overnight campervan parking is allow, but you need to checkin with the office and ask them where they want you to park. On busy holiday weekends you may be turned away. If you need another place to park overnight you can try the West Face Snowmobile lot right across from the Bear Creek Lodge.

Grand Targee Resort, ID: Overnight campervan parking is allow in the lower lot at a cost of $20/night. The restaurants are open from 7am to 7pm and there is no bathrooms available outside of those hours.

Silver Mountain Resort, ID: Overnight campervan parking is allowed, but you must checkin with the front desk. It is recommended you get there early since parking is limited. There are lots of services right in town.

Schweitzer Resort, ID: Overnight campervan parking is allow but is limited and there is a cost of $20/night. The overnight spots can fill up fast so make sure to get there before 10am to check in at the services counter.

Stevens Pass, WA: Overnight campervan camping is allowed but is limited and there is a cost of $40/night. There are electrical hookups in the RV Sites.

Crystal Mountain, WA: Overnight campervan camping is allowed but is limited and there is a cost of $35/night. Spots can fill fast so call ahead to save your spot. There are power hookups in the RV sites.

Mt. Baker Resort, WA: Overnight campervan camping is allowed and is free, but there are no hookups and space is limited. Parking is in the upper lot and you must checkin with the office.

The Summit at Snoqualime Pass, WA: Overnight campervan camping is allowed but spots are limited. One night is $15/night or multiple nights are $10/night. There is no power hookups.

Hoodoo Pass Resort, OR: Overnight campervan camping is allowed but limited to 32 sites and it cost $30/night. There are power hookups and also 24/7 bathrooms.

Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort, OR: Overnight campervan camping is allowed but there is only 14 sites and you need to have a snow park pass in addition to paying the overnight fee. There are no power hookups and no services.

Mt Bachelor Resort, OR: Overnight campervan camping is allowed for $20/night. There are showers nearby also if you don't want to go to bed stinky.

Willamette Pass Resort, OR: Overnight campervan camping is allowed. There are 10 spots with electricity for $20/night or those sites without hookups are $10/night.

Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT: Overnight campervan camping is allowed, but you will need to checkin with the lodging front desk to get a pass. 


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North Cascades

North Cascades

Recommended Stay: 6 to 10 days

Round trip miles from Boise 1000 miles/Total Roundtrip Drive Time: 16 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $650 to $1250

The North Cascades are a lot less popular than Mt. Rainier National Park, but it is equally beautiful. There are great lakes to explore and many miles of hiking trails in and around the North Cascades National Park. Outside of the National Park there are many biking oportunities. 

Drive through the North Cascades National Park:

 

Hiking Trails:

There are loads of hiking trails in and around the National Park so it can be hard to choose. Check out some of these suggestions and bear in mind that any trail in the National Park except for the Pacific Crest Trail do not allow dogs.

1)Pacific Crest Trail from Rainy Pass to Harts Pass: This trail can be started at either end and you can go as long or as short as you want. The grades are moderate on this section of the PCT. From Rainy Pass you will reach your first waterfall at about 1.1 miles and then you will really leave the trees behind and have endless ridge top views. You can take your dog on this trail as long as the dog is on leash.

2)Maple Pass Loop: This trail is the best loop trail in the park that can be completed in a day. You will be treated to ridge top views and high mountain lakes and lots of Yellows during the fall.

Biking Trails:

Just outside of the park there are lots of biking opportunities near the towns of Twisp and Winthrop.

1) Martin Creek - The trail will lead you up into the alpine lakes of the Sawtooth Range and some great views in the fall with the bright yellows of the Western Larch trees. The Western Larch is the most spectacular deciduous tree in the west. The Martin Creek trail is the prime jewel of the North Cascades and can also be used to make a larger loop if you are looking for something more adventurous.

 

2) Buck Mountain Loop - Just out of Winthrop is the Buck Mountain loop which is very popular because it provides some great ridge top views of the valley below with mostly easy to moderate climbing. There is a 9 mile down hill that is very fast and flowy and will definatly put a grin on anyone's face.


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Whistler

Whistler

Whistler is a great destination for trips in the summer and a campervan is a great way to visit Whistler at a reasonable costs. There are three campgrounds in the Whistler area, but the Riverside Campground is the only one with easy access to the village from a bike path that runs right through the campground. Whistler is famous for winter and summer activities and hold something for everyone. There is amazing shopping and eating in the village area and then there are trails around the valley or on the mountain to explore. Don't forget about Lost and Alta Lake which have great swimming and SUPing opportunities.

 

 

Biking Trails:

There is a wide assortment of trails at the Whistler Bike Park or in the valley to keep everyone happy.

Whsitler Bike Park Information

Lower Aline:

Upper Aline:

Mid Mountain Down:

Upper Freight Train:

Samarui Pizza Cat/Devils Club/Heart of Darkness

Lower Mountain Down:

Upper Blue Velvet and In Deep:


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Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway Adventure

Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway Adventure

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Round trip miles from Boise 247 miles/Total Roundtrip Drive Time: 6 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $650

Recommended Route

There are few places where you can drive on a dirt road for over a 100 miles and not see any pavement and very few people. This is what makes the Owyhee Uplands Byway unique. Fall is the perfect time of year to embark on a journey on this byway and see some of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states. You will want to be aware of changing road conditions in November, but we are always happy to help you with your planning. In fact a Wandervan Campervan is perfect for this adventure! 

Another way to experience this route is by mountain bike or cyclocross bike. Using the Wandervan as the support vehicle you drive the route while friends ride there bikes. This is an amazing way to experience this route. There are no massive climbs along the route so it is a great start for someone looking to accomplish a gravel century ride.

The BLM has an extensive guide on this route with info and camping information. It is recommended to download this guide before beginning the route since you will not have any cell service in between Grandview, ID and Jordan Valley, OR.

The recommended start is in Jordan Valley, OR and then you will end in Grandview, ID. There are no supplies along the way so you should leave Jordan Valley with enough fuel and food for the entire journey.


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Strawberry Mountains

Strawberry Mountains

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Round trip miles from Boise 376 miles/Total Roundtrip Drive Time: 6 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $650

The Strawberry Mountains just outside of John Day are a short drive from the Boise area and provide an excellent destination for your next campervan rental. To access the Wilderness area it is best to go into the wilderness area from Prairie City and head towards the Strawberry Campground. Directions from Boise can be found here. There are two campgrounds on the road from Prairie City into the Strawberry Mountains. Slide Creek Campground and Strawberry Campground. Both are excellent campgrounds and perfect places to stay with your campervan. On your way back you could take the Prairie Summit road for some excellent scenery. Simply follow the directions outlined here. If you go back on the Prairie Summit road then you can spend a night at the Trout Farm Campground or the Fopian Campground, both of these campgrounds are remote and a quite destinations for your trip.

The Strawberry Mountains also have a lot of Western Larch trees which have needles that change to the color yellow in the fall. This can make for quite the spectacular display.

Hiking Suggestion:

1) Strawberry Lake Trail - From the Strawberry Mountain Campground you will find the Strawberry Lake Trail which has two lakes and a 60 ft waterfall. The total round trip mileage is around 6.8 miles and you will climb about 1100ft to reach both lakes. This is the best day hike in the Strawberry Mountains and will take you to two of the best lakes in the mountains.


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Boise Area Mountain Biking

Boise Area Mountain Biking

Boise is blessed with over 200 miles of trails and a riding season of almost 11 months. When the weather gets warm you can head out up to Bogus Basin or when the snow hits you can ride close to town or even venture out in the Owyhees. There are a couple of campgrounds for your campervan in the Boise area. If you want to stay in town then check out the Riverside Campground. Otherwise you can find space up off of Bogus Basin road during the summertime.

Don't just take my word for it. Read more about Boise area trails in this MTB project article.

Here are some recommended rides for all of the seasons:

Late Spring into Fall:

1) Eastside Trail- The Eastside Trail is the main trunk trail in the Stack Rock trail system. It can be combined with many other trails to form a great all-day ride. The first part of the trail was constructed in 2003 and 2004 on mostly old logging roads from the 50s and 60s by mountain bikers. The trail is fast and swoopy and has a number of stream crossings and technical features. Technical features have been added along the sides of the trail for years to provide some alternatives for more experienced riders.

The main trail is an intermediate trail and can be used to avoid any technical features along the sides of the trail. Technical features are all difficult and some involve log rides or picking your way through tight rock sections.

2) Around the Mountain - The ride starts in the main parking lot near the Simplot Lodge. From the lot you'll start climbing on the Deer Point trail. The Deer Point trail will then connect into the Around the Mountain Trail. Turn right on the Around the Mountain trail and traverse across the face of the Mountain. There are some great views as you work your way up a couple switchbacks before traversing over to the intersection with the ridge road. You'll then cross the ridge road once and then twice as you work your way around to the backside. After the second road crossing, the trail starts a gradual descent followed by some nice bermed corners.

Once on the backside you'll look out towards Idaho City and the Sawtooths. On the backside you'll cross a couple of ski runs and under the Pine Creek Lift alternating between descending and climbing. Once Mores Mountain comes into view you'll start climbing again as you work you way under Superior chairlift. There is one more short descent before the final climb to Pioneer Lodge. When you get to Pioneer Lodge you'll want to descend the Morningstar Trail to get back to Simplot Lodge. 

3) Hard Guy to Dry Creek or Shingle Creek - This is a classic ride in Boise and features some long climbs up Hard Guy before traversing on the ridge road to the Dry Creek and Shingle creek trailhead. From this point you have to decided if you want a wetter ride or a drier one. Dry Creek has numerable water crossing and you will surely end up with wet feet by the end, while Shingle Creek has only one crossing where you might get your feet wet! Both are amazing descents back to town and will surely put a big grin on your face.

Winter: 

1) Wilson Creek Loop - Park at the main Wilson Creek trailhead and head out of the trailhead and over the first hill into the Wilson drainage. Once in the drainage you'll turn right onto the Northwest Passage trail and follow it for a long ways until you come to a right that takes you away from the main trail. This is a side loop that drops you into the Hardtrigger drainage. This side loop can be eliminated if you wanted to save some miles. Once you dip into and out of the Hardtrigger drainage you'll come back out onto Northwest Passage . You'll follow this trail all the way to the road. Once on the road, proceed east towards Bingo. Fly down Bingo and bear right to head towards Reynolds Canyon. Then drop into and ride along Reynolds Canyon is very technical and can result in serious injury if you make a mistake. Please walk the sections you are unsure about.Eventually you'll pop out of Reynolds Canyon and now move across the flat bottoms. The trail goes up and down a couple small hills, but overall remains fairly flat.

This is a great loop and is best done in the fall and early spring!

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Jarbidge Mountains

Jarbidge Mountains

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Round trip miles from Boise 444 miles/Total Roundtrip Drive Time: 9 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $650

The Jarbidge Mountains are just over the Nevada border and best accessed from Idaho. For only being 222 miles from Boise it takes a while to get there because it is only accessed with some minor backcountry roads and requires some miles on dirt roads driving. There is a small town called Jarbidge just before you hit the mountains that has some supplies, and only one small hotel. With limited lodging a visit to Jarbidge is best done in one of our Wandervan Campervans since there are lots of camping opportunities. 

On the way to or from Jarbidge make sure to stop in at Murphy Hot Springs they have a nice pool to relax in after a days adventure. There is also some great food made by the owners of the Hot Springs. The hot springs is located in the bottom of the Jarbidge Canyon so you can't miss it on the way to Jarbidge. 

There are lots of great hikes in the Jarbidge mountains. One of my favorites is the Jarbidge River Trail just outside of Jarbidge. You can go as far as you want on this trail and there is a nice lake at around mile 5 after a long climb. There are seven campgrounds right before and after Jarbidge so there is plenty of selection for your next trip.

1) Jarbidge River - This is a great hike into one of the few alpine lakes in the Jarbidge Mountains. The beginning of the hike starts in a small parking lot and then immediately dumps you into a river crossing. The bridge washed out where you cross right at the beginning and has been never replaced. After crossing the creek you'll basically be hiking on the old road and pass an old campground and the old trailhead. As the years pass the road is really filling in which growth. After the road ends the trail get narrow and really starts to gain elevation. You'll climb up a long valley with many avalanche paths so be prepared if you hit a big tree pile. The last part of the trail steepens out before you finally reach the lake. It is a small lake, but unique in these otherwise fairly dry mountains.


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Driggs Area

Driggs Area

Recommended Stay: 4 to 6 days

Roundtrip miles from Boise 642 miles/Roundtrip Drive Time: 10.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $450 to $850

The Driggs area is a little over shadowed by the Jackson Hole area, but it provides some great places that are less crowded, but just as visually stunning.

Hiking Trails:

1) South Teton Trails - Accessed from Driggs by driving past Alta, WY. This trail provides a nice mellow ascent in the Tetons away from the crowds. You will find stunning lakes and high alpine meadows along the trail.

Biking Trails:

1) Grand Targee Loops - Grand Targee resort has a large network of cross country and downhill specific trails. To get taste of the best XC trails at the Resort I suggest starting from the base area and climbing up Action Jackson to Rocky Mountain Way then turning left onto Mill Creek and then turning right on 38 Special once on 38 Special you will have a long switchback climb. At the top of the switchbacks you will come to the Peaked Trail. Follow the Peaked Trail now and include the Peaked Loops if you need more miles. You will finally descend on the Peaked trail to Andy's Trail that will take you back to the resort base area. This entire loop is just under 14 miles.

2) Mill Creek Shuttle - The Mill Creek is a classic ride in the Driggs area and is best done as a shuttle. You will start the ride at the Grand Targee Resort and climb up Andy's Trail nd then descend Rocky Mountain Way to Mill Creek. There is defiantly some climbing on this ride, but fast riders can complete the ride in under and hour. On the resort property there will be a sign for the Mill Creek Trail that you will follow, but once on Forest Service land it will say Papoose Creek. Don't worry Papoose Creek will become Mill Creek just stay on the main trail and follow the map. There is one right hand turn, but just stay to the left.


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