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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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McCall Area

McCall Area

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Roundtrip miles from Boise 215 miles/Total Drive Time: 5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $750

McCall is a short 2.5 hour drive from Boise and contains great lakes to explore and trails to ride on or hike. Ponderosa State Park is a prime place to camp, but you will find numerable other campgrounds in the area.

Hiking Suggestions:

1) Boulder Lake - The Boulder Lake hike is a short 2.5 mile hike to a nice lake tuck into the alpine. You will only gain about 800ft so the hike is not very strenuous. The fish is very good at the lake and if you can manage to get a float tube in then you will have some great success.

2) Loon Lake Trail - This trail is the shortest way to Loon Lake and also the best way to go see the B-26 bomber that sits on the end of Loon Lake. The grade is fairly mellow and you will fast progress.

Biking Suggestions:

The McCall area has a variety of trails to choose from. Hit the lifts at one of two resorts or check out the many short and long trails in the McCall area. There are two ski resorts that run lifts in the McCall area. Tamarack turns on the lifts on June 25th and Brundage turns on June 18th. Tamarack has more flow style trails and Brundage has some more old school style technical trails and has been working hard to add more flow options. Check both resorts websites for the most current trail maps. At Tamarack we recommend Super G for your first run since it will give you a good idea of your ability level compared to the trails. Off of Super G you will find more challenging options including Rock Star and ESR for your second run. At Brundage the classic trail is hidden valley and is worth checking out to get the Brundage experience.

If you want to leave the lifts behind then Bear Basin or Jug Mountain are great options. Bear Basin was all built by the local mountain bike club CIMBA and the crown jewel is the Drain Trail. You can ride the entire Bear Basin trail system in 2-3 hours and it would be easy to pair these trails with some lift service at Brundage Mountain.

Jug Mountain Ranch is another great option just south of McCall. There is a shuttle service on certain days and an amazing restaurant. The trails all start from the club house and this makes a great place to return for some beer and food. The patio at the club house has some amazing views of the valley. On the trail we love Berm-Erine and Doubleshot. The Shoreline trail was just finished and is a great option higher up on the mountain for a little more xc feel.

Do you want to get a little more remote? Then the Eagle's Nest Trail is going to get you away from the main roads and resorts. There are a couple ways to ride Eagle's Nest and the most popular is the short loop. The short loop involves a climb up a dirt road to a pass where you will see the singletrack on the left. The singletrack will then wind and twist down the mountain. At the bottom watch the turns since the trail crosses some old logging roads. For those who want a little more challenging day then you should defiantly check out the rest of the trail in sections depending on your strength. You can do the remaining sections as out and backs or ride around on the road to provide access.

Trail Suggestions:

1) Eagle's Nest Trail - Just outside of Cascade is the Eagles Nest Trail which is a classic in the area. There are a couple ways to ride this trail butthe short loop is the most popular. The short loop involves a climb up a dirt road to a pass where you will see the singletrack on the left. The singletrack will then wind and twist down the mountain. At the bottom watch the turns since the trail crosses some old logging roads. For those who want a little more challenging day then you should defiantly check out the rest of the trail in sections depending on your strength. You can do the remaining sections as out and backs or ride around on the road to provide access.

2) Loon Lake Trail - The Loon Lake trail is a classic backcountry ride in the area with a great alpine lake and then a old bomber to explore on the other side of the lake. This ride is best done in the morning since the dirt road portion can get busy in the afternoon. When you get back to your campervan take the short drive up to Burgdorf Hot Springs for a nice relaxing dip. 

3) East Fork of Lake Fork - This trail is just an out and back, but it is a blast and is one of my favorites for a short ride. The trail does continue beyond what is shown on the map, but it tends to get rougher.


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Baker City Area

Baker City Area

Recommend Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise: 128 miles / Drive time: 2.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

Baker City is a historic town on the Oregon Trail and has lots of history in the downtown area, but is usually passed over by most travelers. There are two main areas to visit in the Baker City area with your Wandervan campervan, the first one is south of town in the Phillips Lake area and the second is north of town in the Anthony Lakes area.

Phillips Lake Area:

Only 25 minutes from Baker City is Phillips Lake which has some excellent campgrounds around the lake and also provides access to the southern part of the Elkhorn Mountains. The Union Creek Campground is a good base to start your adventures with your campervan from. Right at the lake there is a loop trail that circles the lake called the Phillips Lake Trail. This trail is a great trail to hike or bike. If you venture a little further from the lake into the Elkhorn Mountains you can access the Twin Lakes Trail and the Elkhorn Crest Trail. The Twin Lakes are some of the most scenic lakes in the Elkhorn's and you have a high chance of seeing some Big Horn Sheep. Read through the trail descriptions below for some more information.

1) Phillips Lake Trail (North/South) - The Phillips Lake North Shore Trail traverses the northern banks of Phillips Reservoir connecting Mason Dam Boat Launch, Union Creek Campground, Social Security Point, Mowich Loop to a western access point near Hudspeth Lane. Use Hudspeth Lane to connect to the Phillips Lake South Shore Trail. The South Shore trail traverses the southerly banks of the reservoir through grasslands and young ponderosa pine trees. It is a scenic trail and offers outstanding views of the lake and the Elkhorn Mountains. The numerous coves and inlets make it easy to see wildlife. There are only short uphills on this trail and overall it is very easy but be aware there is some exposure along the way. Click on the links in the beginning for maps and directions.

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2) Twin Lakes - To hike to the lakes it is best done from the Twin Lakes trailhead, but be prepared for about 2400ft of climbing. With a bike this trail is best done as a downhill by climbing to Marble Pass on dirt roads and then taking the Elkhorn Crest trail to the start. The trail is very rocky and is full of tight switchbacks with the hardest being the ones right after leaving the Elkhorn Crest. Be very careful and make sure to stop to take in the view! When you reach the lake stop and dip your fishing pole if you're down to catch some trout. Click on the link in the beginning for maps and directions.

3) Elkhorn Crest Trail Loop - This is one of the best ways to see mountain goats and high alpine lakes in Eastern Oregon. This loop has some steep climbing on dirt roads, but you are rewarded with some amazing views since you are riding along the top of the Elkhorn Mountains. This trail is certainly one of the most amazing high elevation trails in all of Oregon! Unlike the central and western Oregon trails, you'll see very few people. Click on the link in the beginning for maps and directions.

Anthony Lakes Area:

Only 50 minutes from Baker City is the Anthony Lakes area and some great camping. You can camp right next to Anthony Lake at the Anthony Lake Campground or the Mud Lake Campground. From both of these campgrounds there is loads of trails to explore. Hiking trails climb into the nearby wilderness area or there are biking trails to explore closer to the lakes and down the road. For kids there are numerable short trails from the Anthony Lake Campground that connect the lower two lakes and make for some great family hikes.

1) Elkhorn Crest Trail - This trail starts near the main Anthony Lakes Campground and climbs into the mountains. The trail begins as a wide and fairly smooth path and will be the most traveled in the first 1/2 mile. After that, the trail becomes rockier and more challenging. Near the top, there are some sections with exposure that you need to be aware of. Bikes can only travel 2.7 miles on this trail since it hits a Wilderness Boundary, but hikers can continue on the trail into the wilderness.

2) Dutch Flat Trail - The Dutch Flat Trail saw a trail crew come through in 2012 and really cleaned up the trail after years of neglect. Now the trail is a great out-and-back or part of a creative loop. As an out-and-back, the trail climbs gently for most of the climb, but there will be rock sections that will keep you on your toes. Of course, these sections have some exposure as well. Near the top, you'll come to Dutch Flat lake where you can take in some great views of the Elkhorn Mountains. If you are doing this as an out-and-back, then you'll know the downhill and the challenging rock sections to watch out for. Beware of the exposure along some of the granite faces where the trail is perched along the side. 


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Stanley Area Adventures

Stanley Area Adventures

Recommended Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 132 miles/Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

Just two and a half hours from Boise sits Stanley, Idaho. Stanley is surrounded by amazing mountains and equally amazing trails. Stanley is a perfect place to take one of our campervans to see the spectacular mountains and lakes. We have been to Stanley numerable times and always have a great time in the mountains. We get a lot of questions about Stanley area camping and biking and where to go with our campervans so I though I would summarize some my thoughts. Plus our campervans fit in a number of spots that won't fit a recreational vehical. Reservations for the area campsites can be made on www.recreation.gov


Redfish Lake Campgrounds – These campsites fill up early during the weekends but you can usually find a spot during the week. Outlet Campground is my favorite since you have beach access and easy trail access. You can always go back to the main highway and camp in Sunny Gulch Campground if you want to be close to Redfish Lake.

Stanley Lake Campground – There are two main campgrounds at Stanley Lake and they both fill up very fast on weekends so you want to try and make reservations. If you are heading up during the week than you may be able to find a spot. There is some primitive camping in the area if you want to stay near Stanley Lake

      
Alturas Lake Campgrounds: Smokey Bear Campground halfway down the lake is my favorite, but it is not reservable so you need to get there early to find a spot. Alturas Inlet Campground is reservable and has a great beach for everyone to hang out on. Right up the road is the Alturas lake trail which is a great hike or bike.

Here are some Stanley Area Mountain Biking Suggestions. Each of the suggestions also has a link to more information and maps.

Intermediate Trails:

Fischer-Williams Creek Loop - Do you love natural flow? Have two to three hours to spare? Fischer-Williams trail will give you a perma-grin for the rest of day, moderate climbs followed by berms sculpted by nature's hand flowing through the trees over only 18 miles. Plus since this is Idaho you can soak in a hot springs afterwards to sooth any tired muscles.

Redfish lake Loop - This is a technical loop and a lot of fun with some good views. There are two climbs on this loop and the option to hike up to the waterfall above Redfish Lake. This loop will take you about 2 and half hours and is a classic.

Swamp Creek/Trap Creek Loop - This is a great loop to ride before you get to Stanley and has an amazing lake at the half way point. The loop can be ridden in either direction. If you plan to eat lunch during prime bug season you will want to bring along some bug spray.

Potato Mountain Loop - This trail experienced some heavy fire activity a couple of years ago, but has really bounced back to the amazing loop that it once was. Fischer-Williams Creek usually gets all the press, but this loop is equally fun and less crowded.
 

Expert Trails:

Big Boulder/Little Boulder - This is a classic ride that will take you high up into the alpine environments of the Whitecloud mountains. The climbing is long, but never grueling and the downhill is sublime. This is a big backcountry ride so it is best to come prepared for any and all issues.

Boundary Creek Loop – You want to start by parking a car at the Williams Creek Trailhead and then ride to the Boundary Creek Trailhead, since you will come out on William’s trail. From Boundary Creek Trailhead across from the Fish hatchery you will ascend for almost 2 and half hours. At the first saddle you will turn right on Little Casino and head towards the Casino Lakes. You will top out around 9000ft and stop for lunch. Don’t forget to look over your shoulders on the climb for one of the best views of Redfish Lake and the Sawtooths. From the top you will descend and turn right towards Warm Springs Meadows and Martin Creek. This descent is very rocky and a blast and will take us down into Warm Springs Meadow. From Warm Springs Meadow you will climb up to the Williams Trail and then Descend on the Williams Trail, which is the best part of the Fischer Creek Loop! At the bottom of Williams Creek Trail you will find your car. This ride takes around 5 to 6 hours.

Boundary/Little Casino – This is a shuttle ride so you will first need to drop some vehicles at the Little Casino trailhead. Then you will start at Boundary Creek trail and climb to the first saddle. From the first saddle at Boundary Creek you will turn left and head down Little Casino. Little Casino is really a hoot and is fast and twisty and you might get misplaced in one of the meadows where the trail tends to disappears. Little Casino will make for a long descent and the ride will take about 4 hours. 

Bowery Loop - You will start of off the Pole Creek Road on the trailhead for Gladiator Pass. The road changes here from 2wd to 4wd so this is pretty obvious where the starting point is. You will ascend to Gladiator Pass and then descend down the South Fork of the Salmon River to the Bowery guard Station. This is an epic downhill and your arms will be pumped by the end.  From this point you have a choice. Hike a bike up the Bowery Trail on ride on the East Fork of the Salmon Rd to the Germania Creek Trailhead. The time required for both choices is almost the same and it just depends on how much energy you have. Once you reach Germania Creek you will ascend up the creek along the trail and then up the dirt road. You will then descend Pole Creek Road to where you parked. This is a big ride and will probably take 6 to 8 hours.


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Bend Oregon Biking

Bend Oregon Biking

Recommended Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 318 miles/Drive Time: 5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

A lot has been said written about Mountain Biking in Bend, OR and the amazing trails available to ride. Bend is a short 5 hour drive from Boise and makes for a great four day trip to get out of town. There are lots of places to take our campervans on your next rental. Wandervans was just in Bend with our campervan to attend the High Cascade 100 with a couple of friends. We were on limited time schedule so we were only able to spend three days there, but had a blast riding, eating, and drinking the local beers. We arrived in Bend on Friday and decided to spend our remaining time at the Mt Bachelor Bike Park. The bike park is pretty new, but they already had a pretty extensive trail system and are planning to add more in the future. The first thing you will notice at the bike park is how at the top the trails are just surrounded by lava rock. This really makes you want to stay on the trail since any deviation off the trail would hurt a lot. Also be aware that there are some sharp lava rock on the trail and I ended up with two flats, but was only carrying one tube. On Saturday we rode in the High Cascade 100 and seemed to cross most of the trails in the Bend area. The trails in Bend are a lot different from Boise and tend to be a lot flatter and roll more across the terrain. Lots of great views on the trail and good food in town. So next time you plan a trip book your campervan and we can help you with trail recommendations and camping spots for campervans.

Here are some of our suggestions for loops in the Bend area.

Beginner/Intermediate:

Deschutes River Trail - This trail is usually ridden as an out and back. This trail is a great beginner trail with a couple short intermediate sections and some amazing views. The trail is very mellow over its entire grade and is butter smooth in a number of sections. The only thing to remember with this trail is that it can get busy during the weekends.

Intermediate:

Funner/Tiddlywinks - This loop can be ridden in either direction, but my preference is always to ride up Funner and then descend Tiddlywinks. Tiddlywinks has some great high speed flow and great table top jumps and drops that are just perfect to ride off of on any all mountain bike.

COD/Stormking - This loop is a very popular loop and has easy access from town. There are no amazing views since you are in heavy forest cover for the entire ride, but there are lots of fun technical sections to try.

Newberry Crater Rim - This loop is a little ways out of Bend, but the views are just amazing. You will be circling a giant volcanic crater from a collapsed volcano. There are two lakes down in the crater that you will see often as you loop around.

McKenzie River Trail - This trail is about an hour from Bend, but defiantly worth the drive. Be prepared for an all day ride and it would be wise to work out a shuttle ahead of time so that way you don't need to ride back up the road. The beginning of the ride has some very challenging lava sections which are the most technical sections of the whole trail. So if you want to shorten this ride a little I would cut out the first section near clear lake.


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Redwoods and Oregon Coast

Redwoods and Oregon Coast

Recommended Stay: 9 to 12 days

Roundtrip Distance from Boise 1540 miles/Total Roundtrip Drive Time: 23 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $1375 to $1675

Wandervans went on a crazy 9 day trip to the Oregon Coast and the Redwoods We saw a lot of amazing places and had some amazing weather. This is a great trip to take in one of our campervan rentals.

Day 1:

We departed Boise on a Friday and set off on a epic drive to the Oregon Coast. We embarked on an 11 hour drive to the coast. With kid stops and meals we must have been driving for close to 13 hours. Our trip took us from Boise to Burns and then through Christmas Valley and out to Medford and finally down to Crescent City before heading north and reaching our destination in Gold Beach. We stopped at Lake of the Woods outside of Medford and decided that would be worth a visit on another trip. Lake of the Woods would be a great place to stop on the way to or from the Oregon Coast. There are lots of reservable sites and some first come first serve sites too.

Day 2:

After a long drive on Friday we were happy to wake up in Gold Beach. We met up with some family at the Turtle Rock RV Resort. There were showers, bathrooms, and some nice cabins for those family members who were not camping. Turtle Rock also provided some easy access to the beach. We ended up spending a lot of the day walking and exploring the beach and rocks right near our camp. If you are seeking something a little more basic there was ample places to pull off along this part of the coast to park a van and just sleep. We enjoyed a nice quite evening around gold beach and just relaxed and took in the ocean.

Day 3: Gold Beach, OR

On day 3 we got an early breakfast before setting out for Rogue River Jet Boats. The company came highly recommended by a family member and we were not disappointed. Our jet boat trip started in Gold Beach with some great seal viewing in the harbor before beginning our journey up the river. The Rogue River started out wide and placid and then we came upon some giant river banks that would be perfect for some campervan camping. You certainly would have to worry about taking a recreational vehicle out on some of these beaches. We took in some great wildlife and had a great lunch along the way at Cougar Lane Lodge which was right next to the Agness RV Park which looked like a great place to stay along the Rogue River. We ended up spending most of the day along the Rogue River and only managed to see a fraction of all the great spots along the river.

Day 4 Gold Beach, OR

On Day 4 we decide to explore Arch Rock area and hike some of the coastal trail. There is ample parking along the highway. You can see the route we took down to the ocean here. We took our time with two kids so most other people could easily do this hike in half the time. The beach at the end of the hike was nicely tucked into cliffs and we spent quite a bit of time exploring the ocean and rocks.

Day 5: Redwood State Park, CA

On Day 5 we packed up and left Gold Beach behind and headed south to Redwoods National Park. We decided to camp in Mill Creek Campground since it has a lot of first come first serve sites and we did not have any reservations. The campground is a quick drive to a lot of hiking and biking opportunities. We ended up exploring the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trail on our bikes and were not disappointed. You really got away from the crowds on the Last Chance section and took in some very remote sections of Redwood forest. After the ride we headed down to the Battery Point Light House in Crescent City and explored some of the tide pools around the lighthouse. After finding sea stars, anemone, shells, and crabs we started to get hungry for some seafood. After some debating we settled on the Fisherman's Restaurant and had a nice meal with the family.

Day 6: Redwood State Park, CA

On day 6 we decided to head over to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The park was only about 10 minutes away from Mill Creek Campground, but we had a spot in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for one night so we had to make the move. Before checking in we checked out the day use area which had a great beach for the kids to play on. We parked in the day use area and ended up taking the nature trail through the campground to the bridge that leads into Stout Memorial Grove. You can see the trail on the campground map here or the entire trail system in the park brochure here. The Stout Memorial Grove was definatly a highlight. It was nice to access it from the campground since it was a little more peaceful near the beach away from the main parking lot.

Day 7 Redwoods State Park, CA

We certainly could not get enough of the Redwoods and fit in a couple more activities before leaving the Redwoods behind. We checked out the Little Bald Hills ride which has you starting in some great Redwood groves before climbing up into a sparser pine forest. As the trees thinned out a little there were some amazing views up on the summits of the Little Bald Hills. After some lunch we headed out to the Battery Point Lighthouse for one more walk on the beach before heading inland. We only ended up riding 2 of the rides in the park and missed three more great rides. More information can be found here on those additional rides. If you go south of Eureka, CA you will also find great riding in the Humbolt Redwoods State Park and in the Paradise Royal Area.

 In the afternoon we packed everything up and began the drive to Cave Junction in Oregon and our stay at Grayback Campground. Grayback Campground was a great place to stay at the bottom of the mountain for visiting the Oregon Caves National Monument. The campground had a nice interpretive trail and some of the sites had river access.

Day 8 Oregon Caves National Monument, OR

We had such nice weather on the rest of our trip and then our luck ran out. We awoke to rain on Day 8. We decided to stick to our original plan and drove up to Oregon Caves National Monument. Once we got to the National Monument we ended up getting only a sneak peak in the main cave since our children are not old enough to visit the whole cave. You will want to make reservations ahead of time for the full cave tour. There were also lots of trails around the monument that would be worth checking. The drizzle and steady rain was not very appealing for hiking with children so we decided to move on and find some place a little dryer. We originally planned to go to Crater Lake National Park on Day 8 after the caves, but they were predicting 3 inches of snow at the park so we decided some place a little warmer might be nice. Western Oregon is known for blue berries so we decided to stop and pick berries as we drove east. We found a nice small farm called Plum Tree Farms that had a great selection of blueberries at some bargain prices.

After getting our fill of blueberries we head towards Lakeview, OR. It was a dry spot on the map and was basically on the way home so we headed that way. Lakeview was certainly a nice little community and there looked like some good exploring for the future in the area. We ended up rolling in late so did not get the full Lakeview experience.

Day 9 Lakeview to Burns, OR

On day 9 we got up early and decided to knock off some more of the drive. We headed to Burns, OR and then head 20 minutes out of town to a nice camp spot up in the trees. We stayed at  Idlewild Campground. For only being 20 minutes outside of Burns it was a great spot to camp with our campervan and was very quite with lots of nice places for the kids to ride and a little hiking trail just outside of the campground.

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Flowcation

Flowcation

Recommended Stay: 7 to 9 days

Roundtrip miles from Boise 472 miles/Total Drive Time: 6 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $775 to $1600

Idaho offers some amazing locations to put together a wonderful mountain bike trip with your family or friends. Renting one of our Wandervan campervans makes for a great way to experience some of the amazing flow style mountain bike trails in the state of Idaho. Here is a possible itinerary for your next trip in Idaho. Click on the bold trail names and locations to get more detailed descriptions.

Day 1:

Pickup your Wandervan campervan in Boise and head on over to the Ada/Eagle Bike Park to get your introduction to Idaho Flow. Plan on spending 2-3 hours here to experience all of the trails. At the Bike Park we recommend you hit Flow Trail, Shake and Bake, Stormin Mormon, and the 4X. After spending some time at the bike park climb into your campervan and head north on Hwy 55 towards McCall and camp at Ponderosa State Park or Lake Cascade State Park.

Day 2-4:

On day 2 wake up in the McCall/Cascade area. Now the trails get longer and you will have to decided how many days you want to spend in the area. We recommend at least two days to hit all of the best trails on your Flowcation. There are two ski resorts that run lifts in the McCall area. Tamarack turns on the lifts on June 25th and Brundage turns on June 18th. Tamarack has more flow style trails and Brundage has some more old school style technical trails and has been working hard to add more flow options. Check both resorts websites for the most current trail maps. At Tamarack we recommend Super G for your first run since it will give you a good idea of your ability level compared to the trails. Off of Super G you will find more challenging options including Rock Star and ESR for your second run. At Brundage the classic trail is hidden valley and is worth checking out to get the Brundage experience.

If you want to leave the lifts behind then Bear Basin or Jug Mountain are great options. Bear Basin was all built by the local mountain bike club CIMBA and the crown jewel is the Drain Trail. You can ride the entire Bear Basin trail system in 2-3 hours and it would be easy to pair these trails with some lift service at Brundage Mountain.

Jug Mountain Ranch is another great option just south of McCall. There is a shuttle service on certain days and an amazing restaurant. The trails all start from the club house and this makes a great place to return for some beer and food. The patio at the club house has some amazing views of the valley. On the trail we love Berm-Erine and Doubleshot. The Shoreline trail was just finished and is a great option higher up on the mountain for a little more xc feel.

Do you want to get a little more remote? Then the Eagle's Nest Trail is going to get you away from the main roads and resorts. There are a couple ways to ride Eagle's Nest and the most popular is the short loop. The short loop involves a climb up a dirt road to a pass where you will see the singletrack on the left. The singletrack will then wind and twist down the mountain. At the bottom watch the turns since the trail crosses some old logging roads. For those who want a little more challenging day then you should defiantly check out the rest of the trail in sections depending on your strength. You can do the remaining sections as out and backs or ride around on the road to provide access.

Day 5-6

Leave the McCall area and head south on Hwy 55 to the junction with the Banks Lowman Rd. Turn left here and drive towards Stanley. If you body is a little sore be sure to stop at Kirkham Hotsprings (Map Location) or Bonneville Hot Springs (Map Location). On the way to Stanley you will have a couple of great trails you might want to stop and explore. The Warm Springs Trail   is a long fast downhill or you can combine the Swamp Creek and Trap Creek Trails into a loop. Once you pass through Stanley you will want to check out the Redfish Lake Trail and the Fischer-Williams Creek Loop. The Fischer-Williams Loop is the classic flow trail in the Stanley area to hit up and will surely produce some good grins. Camp spots are everywhere for campervans in this area, with lots of options to camp next to lakes or rivers. We can recommend specific campsites for your campervan with any booking.

If you are feeling like you need an all day epic rugged and rocky ride then you are in the right place. There are some all day rides in the Stanley area that will leave you wiped out. Two of our favorite big loops are the Boundary Loop and the Bowery Loop. If you want something a little smaller than the Little Casino ride is one worth checking out and will give you a flowing 11 miles of downhill.  Near Stanley you can find a nice hot spring soak in Elkhorn Hot Springs (Map Location).

About an hour and a half west of Stanley on Hwy 75 you will find the East Fork of the Salmon Rd. Down this road you will find some epic riding on the Big-Little Bolder Loop. You can easily camp in the number of primitive sites along the East Fork of the Salmon and do the Big-Little Boulder Loop and the Bowery Loop and then soak in the Bowery Hot Springs (Map Location) at the end of the East Fork Rd.

Day 7-9

Are you still walking at this point? If so you are in for a treat in the Sun Valley area. Traveling south from Stanley you will go over Galena Pass and then descend into Sun Valley Area. You will want to link the Osberg Ridge and Oregon Gulch Trail. This ride is best done as a shuttle by parking at the Oregon Gulch Trailhead and then shuttling up north on Hwy 75 to the junction with the Baker Creek Rd. Then drive up this road to the Baker Trailhead and get ready for some amazing singletrack. There is also the SVMG trail shuttle which will save you some time. You will also want to get your flow on with Forbidden Fruit. This trail is easily accessed and great for a bunch of laps. Before you leave town you will want to check out the Greenhorn-Imperial Loop it is a must ride loop before you finish out your trip.

Do you just need a lift day, then be sure to check out Sun Valley resort? Ride the lift up the mountain and go have a blast on the Saddle-Up Trail and the Bald Mountain Descent.

Ample camping for your campervan can be found north and south of town and there are many possibilities that we can help direct you to on your next rental.


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Ponderosa State Park

Ponderosa State Park

Recommended Stay: 3 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 108 miles/Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $375 to $675

Ponderosa State Park in McCall,Idaho is one of the crown jewels of the state park system and a great place to go camping with a Wandervan campervan. It is recommended to make reservations ahead of time to ensure you will get a great campervan spot. We recommend the peninsula campground for your next trip. There is lots of shade and each site has a water spigot and then bathrooms and showers are conveniently located in a number of spots around the campground. The other campground at ponderosa is mainly targeted towards large recreational vehicles and the spots are much closer and further from the lake.

Bike and Walking paths run around the campground area and there is easy access to the water on a nice beach just a couple of minutes walk from the campsites. You can use the main bike path to access most of the park and explore more bike trails or even check out a couple of the wonderful hikes.

At the northern most end of the park is Osprey Point which has some spectacular views and more great trails. If you are driving or riding on the main park road to Osprey Point you will find a parking lot at the point where the road turns into a one way. From here there are a number of options. You can continue on the road to the high point or explore the Bay Trail which descends to the north. There is also the Ridge Trail or the Huckleberry Trail to try out. There is really lots of great family options all around the park to have fun with and explore. If you need help planning your trip in one of our campervans please email us at [email protected] or call 208-794-7255. You can also visit the park website for more information: http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/ponderosa


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

Rossland BC

Rossland BC

Recommended Stay: 5 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 537 miles/Drive Time: 9 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $575 to $1075

Wandervans began with the idea of creating a way to satisfy the inner wanderlust in us all. We wanted to be the sweet spot in between the tent and the recreational vehicle (RV). The prototype campervan took its first trip to Rossland, BC in Canada. We rode many miles of trails with the Wandervan as our support vehicle.

Rossland had some amazing singletrack and we took advantage of off the beaten track camp spots to sleep in our campervan as we explored everything from the Seven Summits trail to some of the great freeride trails on Red Mountain and around town. Rossland also has a great ski resort call Red Mountain just outside of town that has built a nice network of trails for mountain bikers. They are not yet running the lifts so you will have to ride to the top to get your gravity.

If you visit Rossland during the main tourist season there is a great place to camp with your campervan right in downtown Rossland called Rossland Lions Community Campground. The best part with driving a campervan is you can pretty much fit in any of the spts and the campground. 

Here are some trail suggestions for your next trip to Rossland.

Seven Summitts Trail - This trail has been named an IMBA epic and is one of the best ridgeline trails in all of the Northwest. You will need to arrange a shuttle to do this ride. This ride starts with a steady climb up to the ridge and then will have you traversing across a number of mountains. Be aware that the climbing does not end after you have reached the ridge. The last part of the trail is a fast and steep trail with many tight switchbacks so make sure you save enough energy. There is a couple bail out options along the way if you end up getting tired or injured. The best place to bailout is when you are above the ski area so keep this in mind.

Whiskey - This trail is a more advanced trail and has everything from rock slab rides to drops of varying heights. There are ride around for most of the really big stuff, but you should definably be at least a  strong intermediate rider before attempting this trail.

BS/Monitcola - Descend both of these trails for a great flow and freeride experience. On the bottom of BS you will find a 270 degree berm that is a blast to go around just make sure no one is following two close because you literally cross the trail you take to get into the berm at high speed.

#rosslandbike


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San Juan Islands - Moran State Park

San Juan Islands - Moran State Park

Recommended Stay: 3 to 5 days

Distance from Boise 600 miles/Drive Time: 10.5 hours

Trip Cost Estimate: $575 to $775

Moran State Park is about an hour and a half boat ride from Anacortes to Orcas Island. The State park is one of the crown jewels of the San Juan Islands and has some nice lakes and lots of trails to explore. There are lots of great camping spots for a campervan at the park and some of them are right on the many lakes. If you plan on going during the busy time of year make sure that you make a reservation well ahead of time to ensure you get the spot you want. Many trails are restricted during the summer months to hiking only so make sure you check out the State Park maps and dates before heading out to the park. Most trails then become open to everyone during the off-season which is a perfect time to visit the island when things are a little quieter. Plus you don't need to worry about the rain at night since you will be nice and warm and dry inside your Wandervan campervan.

Combine a visit to Moran State park with a trip to Mt Rainier Area or the Olympic Peninsula to make for a nice long adventure. 

Information about campgrounds in the State Park for your campervan can be found here.

General Tips:

1) Mountain Bike Season in the State Park is from September 15th to May 15th.

2) With some many lakes in the park there are lots of places to swim and picnic areas to hang out at.

Bikeing Trail Suggestions:

1) Moran Lakes Tour - This is a 15 mile tour that will take you all across the state park and provide some excellent views of mountains and mountain lakes. This entire loop can only be completed from September 15th to May 15th so keep that in mind if you are planning a mountain bike getaway to the island. The trail is extremely lush in some sections and there are some amazing trees along the route to take in.

Hiking Trail Suggestions:

1) Mountain Lake Loop - This is an easy 3.8 mile hike around Mountain Lake which has constant views of the lake all along the way at a very easy grade. If you are only going to do one hike in the State Park this is the best one. You can also add miles to this loop by going out to Twin Lakes.

 


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Smokey Mountain 2-Day Epic Ride

One winter day my wanderlust for a big ride kicked in and the maps came out. After poring over the maps we came up with a goal of riding from Featherville to Smiley Creek Lodge and then back again. Big Smokey is the crown jewel of the trails in the Smokey Mountains, 18 miles of singletrack tucked into a valley that is surrounded by roadless forests. The trick was finding a way to the start of Big Smokey. After lots of research we settled on using the South Fork Road and Emma Creek. So on July 12th I met up with Tayler in Fairfield and then we drove into Smokey Junction in the Smokey Mountains.

We unloaded our bikes at Smokey Junction and checked through our gear. I zip tied on a pair of sandals to my handlebar and put my change of clothes in my pack. Tayler was cursing the fact he had left his rain jacket back in Fairfield as the clouds off in the distance looked a little ominous. We decided we were as ready as we could be and set off down the road. The first climb is on the South Fork of the Boise road to Fleck Summit and this went by at a leisurely pace.  As we descended of the summit we knew we were becoming more committed to the loop. The South Fork continued to be in great shape and we ticked off the miles while taking in the surrounding mountains. After about 10 miles on the bike we came to an abrupt change as the road went from wide and smooth to narrow and rocky, but this was a good sign. After a mile or so on the rough road we came to our trail junction with Emma Creek. From here we had over 3000ft of climbing in about 5 miles. Emma creek started off steep and loose and then the trail narrowed up and we were back on our bikes slowly climbing. We got to our first creek crossing and debated getting our feet wet as we looked at a log sitting 6 feet above the river. We decided to go for it and walked slowly across the log with bikes in hand and were mighty happy when we reached the other side. The trail continued to pitch up and we alternated between pushing and riding. The trees parted and up ahead we looked across a massive talus field.  The mountains were majestic and we were amazed at the trail that picked its way through the rocks. There were a couple over the shoulder carry spots, but overall we made good time across the talus. At the other end we looked back over the rocks and then the peaks that formed a spectacular valley. Happy to back on dirt and riding along we stopped for lunch near an avalanche still melting out. After a quick bite we continued the climb and came across some Idaho Trail Rangers doing trailwork from dirt bikes. We thanked them for the hard work and were on our way, not realizing these would be the only people we would see on the trail during our entire ride. The mountains steepened around us and we knew we were going to be in for a big climb very soon. Sure enough the trail pitched up as we passed an old landslide that had carved a 100ft path of destruction down the mountain. We took a quick look at the map and settled in for 800ft of hike-a-bike. The trail was steep and washed out as we pushed higher and higher. Finally an old mine appeared on our left and we knew we were close to the top of the pass. The trail broke out onto an old mining road and we pedaled up to the saddle. All around us lay the remains of mining from the 1800s that was being swallowed up by the forest. At the pass we laid down and let our bodies adjust to the air at 9200ft. After catching our breath we turned onto the West Fork of Big Smokey and were both hoping for as little climbing as possible. We were rewarded with a nice traverse and then turned down the hill. The West Fork of Big Smokey had seen some recent trail work that made the trail very swoopy and fast. The builders left a sea of stumps spaced just wide enough to allowed a bike to pass through. We picked up speed and then took turns in the lead. After all that climbing it was great to be blasting down a fast and flowy trail. The trail came to an end on Smiley Creek Road just at the right moment since our bodies were starting to feel the fatigue of the day. An easy cruise down the road led us out of the tight mountain valley and into the big open valley and views of the Whiteclouds. We ticked off the miles and arrived at Smiley Creek Lodge very dirty. We laid our bikes against the lodge and walked in to check into our room. Once checked in we ordered up some amazing milk shakes and sat at the bar relaxing. Finishing up our shakes we headed to our room a grabbed some much needed showers. After getting cleaned up we both did a little laundry in the sink since we both packed very light and wanted semi-clean clothes for the next day.  We settled in for a nice afternoon and ate dinner out on the patio refueling for the next day. Preparing for an early start we both climbed into bed around 9pm for a planned 6am wakeup. We awoke to the sounds of airplanes landing at the Smiley Creek Airstrip just across the highway. Getting an early start meant the restaurant was closed so we had to settle for some powdered mini donuts before heading out. The ride started on the highway and we easily ticked off the miles to the Salmon River Road. We turned onto the dirt and settled in for an early morning cruise up the road. We had to pick our way across the Salmon River before finally coming to the end of the road. At the end of the road with turned onto the Big Smokey trail and got ready for the final big climb of the trip. We had about 800ft more climbing until the saddle and the big descent.  The trail was an old mining road with one narrow path that was not loose and rocky. At the saddle we felt great to have ticked off the final big climb. Now our 16 mile descent would begin. The trail starts in an amazing meadow that is part of the headwaters of the Salmon River. The Salmon River weaves through 425 miles of Idaho and reaches epic proportions in the Frank Church Wilderness, so it was pretty special to pedal across the little trickle coming out of the meadow. Once past the meadow the trail starts to switchback and descend furiously. Rocks and swooping turns were a blast as we descended and then started to get a little carried away. The grass suddenly got thick and then the trail disappeared along with the bike and we rolled into the grass with the bike firmly sunk into the mud. Luckily we had a nice soft landing in some meadow grass. That crash was the only unintended dismount of the trip which was a good thing, since we picked the softest place to land on the entire trail. The Big Smokey trail is located in a drainage that is surrounded by roadless lands with no escape. We continued descending and picking our way down the mountain. The first four miles of the descent went by fast and we flowed through the trees and over the rocks and then things started to slow down a little. The trail flattened out a little as we proceeded to go up and down small rises. The trail also started to cross the river and our feet became ice blocks in the cold mountain water. This turned out to be the wet part of the ride as we ended up crossing the river and watching as the water came up higher and higher on our legs. After some great technical sections we came to the Junction with the West Fork of Big Smokey and sat down for a snack. We had descended almost five miles and were unsure what the next 10 had in store for us and our bodies. Luckily we crossed the river for the last two times and ended up on the west side of the river. The trail had some amazing variety and scenery. There were super technical rock sections followed by fast and flowy sections with some short ups. Even though someone had cut some trees out earlier in the year we still had a couple trees to hop over, but none of them broke up the flow of the ride. The trail came close to the river and we thought for sure we were going to have a crossing, but luckily the trail had been rerouted to stay on the west side. We admired the trail builder’s handy work as we climbed about 200ft above the river. Descending the new trail section we looked over across the river and were glad we did not have to cross again since it was easily waist high now. The trees seemed to get bigger as we picked our way down the trail and we came to more fast sections tucked under the big trees. With about five miles to go the trail started to open up and the trees got scarcer and the sun got more intense. We passed a hot spring along the trail and just could not bring our selves to stop since we were not sure how it would feel to get back on a bike after a nice relaxing soak and we were a little worried about the forecasted temperatures. We continued onward and rode through more sage brush and open areas until we came to an option. There was a sign for a low and high trail. The high trail looked to have another 300ft of climbing to get above a cliff band versus the low trail which crossed the river. We decided against the low trail since the river had looked so raging earlier. We settled in for the one more climb. Our bodies were a little tired after close to fifty miles of riding over two days so we ended up pushing some of the steeper sections we surely could have ridden most other days. At the top of the climb we looked down the cliff onto the river and out over the ever expanding valley. The descent off the climb carried us the last couple of miles back to the car. As we reached the end of the trail we gave a cheer and though back about the 18 miles of amazing singletrack. No mechanicals and no major crashes to slow us down put us at our cars just before noon after a 6:30am start. All of the vision and planning created an amazingly memorable ride.  The Smokey’s are truly an amazing place to ride with miles of remote singletrack to explore.


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

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Recommended Stay: 5 to 7 days

Distance from Boise 388 miles/Drive Time: 6 hours

Distance from Salt Lake City 321 miles/Drive Time 5 hours

Trip cost Estimate: $650 to $1075


Park Summary

Yellowstone is an amazing Park, but it can get a little crazy in the summer. During the summer months we recommend getting off the beaten path a little to escape the crowds. During the summer driving the park roads during the middle of the day can land you in some serious traffic jams. So we recommend picking some spots and driving to them in the morning and then focusing your time there during the middle of the day when the roads tend to be the busiest.

If you can find time the park is a great place to go to in late May and June or from Mid-September into October.  You can really beat the crowds and take in all of the animals. We recommend a late May/early June trip while there is still snow in the high mountains. This keeps the bison, elk, deer, and wolves in the lower elevations. Pickup your Wandervans campervan in Boise or Salt Lake.

We recommend at least a 5 day campervan rental so you have enough time to see the park. From Boise if you drive out Hwy 20 then you can make a stop at Craters or the Moon to see some amazing lava flows. From Salt Lake you can stop and see the world famous Spiral Jetty on your way north. When going to Yellowstone it is always a good idea to make campground reservation. The first campground you will come to when driving from Boise in Yellowstone is the Madison Campground, this is a great place to stay in your campervan. While in Yellowstone wake up early and walk down to the banks of the Madison River to watch the Buffalo make there morning march up and down the river.

Don't forget to stop by the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and go for a hike down into the bottom to feel the spray. The Lamar Valley is also a great stop for some wildlife viewing.

Yellowstone National Park Map


Camping in Yellowstone

The first thing to think about when camping in Yellowstone is if you want first-come-first-serve or to make a reservation and then you need to understand the length of the campervan you have rented. Our Large campervan is 22ft and we recommend getting a spot for RVs 30ft or less. Our Medium and Small campervans are 19ft so we recommend getting a spot for RVs 20ft or less. 

There are seven first-come-first-serve sites in the Park and most of them are perfect for camervans and have a toilet and access to water. To check on the status on first-come-first-serve go to the middle of Yellowstone's Campground Page. On the reservation side there are 5 more sites and these are all run by Xanterra, these can be reserved ahead of time by visiting this site. The reservable sites are very similar to the first-come-first-serve as far as features, but some of them do have a couple more features. Canyon and Grant Village Campground have easy access to showers.

Camping in Yellowstone is very popular and most campgrounds usually fill up in the park during the busy summer months. Make reservations for the reservation sites as soon as possible since they fill up very fast. Don't despair if you don't get a reservation for a campground instead try your luck at getting a first-come-first-serve site. Plan on getting up early and head towards your chosen campground and plan to arrive before 8:00am, some of the more popular campgrounds can fill up fast. Our suggestion is to just head for the Lewis Lake and Indian Creek campgrounds since they tend to fill up last. These two campgrounds are very nice and we are not sure why they tend to fill up last. It does seem that the sites closest to West Yellowstone tend to fill up first so keep this in mind. Friday and Saturday are the two hardest days to get a first-come-first-serve site.

We have listed out the elevation for each of the campgrounds in the park since this is very helpful in deciding which site to pick depending on the time of the year. If you are going in the middle of July and August then a higher elevation site will be cooler at night. While if you are visiting Yellowstone in the Fall or spring it is nice to be in a lower elevation spot since it will be warmer and you have less chance of getting snowed in.

 

North Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds


mammoth_camp.jpg

Mammoth Campground (first-come-first-serve) 85 sites
Mammoth is the first campground if you are driving in from the north entrance, Mammoth is the only campground open year-round. Since it is a year-around campground it is at the lowest elevation of 6,200ft. This is one of the warmer campgrounds during the middle of summer since you will be camping among sagebrush, and only a few trees for shade. During the spring and fall this is a nice option to stay a little warmer in the evenings. A short trail connects to the Mammoth Hot Springs attractions, and rangers present seasonal programs in an amphitheater. 
 



Tower Fall Campground (first-come-first-serve) 31 sites
Tower Fall Campground is located on the north side of the steep, winding, road to Dunraven Pass. The campground is near the Tower General Store and Tower Fall, where Tower Creek plunges over 130 feet down to its confluence with the Yellowstone River. The campground is located in an evergreen forest, Tower Fall campground is small and very quiet campground at the west end of the Lamar Valley, which is famous for wolf sightings. The general store and the overlook to the Tower Fall waterfall are very close. Campground is open memorial weekend through September. This campground is at 6,600ft in elevation.
 


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Slough Creek Campground (first-come-first-serve) 16 sites
Slough Creek Campground is located in Lamary Valley near some of the best wildlife watching opportunities in the nation park. You will need to drive in on a two mile graded dirt road to access this campground, but it is perfect for campervans. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit with grate. There are some spots located in the trees, and some are in an open meadow, while some of the nicest spots are along the banks of Slough Creek. Since it is such a small campground sites will often fill by 8 am from opening day (usually mid-June) through mid-September. This is a generator-free campground so you are guaranteed quiet, but this also a popular base for anglers and wildlife-watchers. Just remember that many people love this campground since it feels very remote and has a great setting in the Lamar Valley. This campground is at 6,250ft in elevation.
 


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Pebble Creek Campground (first-come-first-serve) 27 sites.
Pebble Creek Campground is in the Lamar Valley and has Absaroka Mountains as your background. The campground is near the park's Northeast Entrance and is one of the parks most remote campgrounds. Open mid-June through September, Pebble Creek offers a more isolated camping experience. Pebble Creek is a small and remote campground deep in the Lamar Valley and is popular for spotting wildlife and fishing.  This campground is at 6,900ft in elevation.


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Indian Creek Campground (first-come-first-serve) 70 sites.
Located south of Mammoth Hot Springs on the road to Norris, Indian Creek Campground is located at the base of the Gallatin mountains with amazing views of Electric Peak. The campground is tucked away from the main park road providing a quieter experience than many other campground locations.This campground sits in an evergreen forest. With mountains, trails, and fishing nearby this remote campground is a great way to experience Yellowstone National Park. This campground is at 7,300ft in elevation.


Central Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds
 


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Norris Campground (first-come-first-serve) 100 sites
Located in a lodgepole forest near the Norris Geyser Basin and centrally located in the park, Norris Campground is a popular destination so we recommend getting here early if you want to get a spot. There are some sites with good shade and a number near the river, but of course these are in the most demand. There is also the Museum of the National Park Ranger and there are also a number of ranger programs going on for all ages. Down on the river you will spot bison and also find them wandering into the campground. You can easily walk from your campervan spot to the Norris Geyser Basin to avoid some of the parking headaches. This campground is at 7,500ft in elevation


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Madison Campground (make reservations on Xanterra Site) 300 sites
Madison Campground is a large campground located at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers join to form the Madison. Madison Campground is the closest campground to West Yellowstone and is also one of the most popular campgrounds in the park. You will find excellent viewing for bison and elk watching. There are also a number of great fly fishing spots. Madison Campground is roughly halfway between Old Faithful and West Yellowstone. There is a ranger station that has a lot of great programs and does a lot of the junior ranger programs for the National Park. If you kids are interested in being junior rangers Madison Campground does provide easy access to the programs. This campground is at 6,800ft in elevation. 
 


Canyon Campground (make reservations on Xanterra Site) 273 Site
One of the parks largest campgrounds is the Canyon Campground, which sits in a lodgepole pine forest just a short walk from the restaurants and other facilities at Canyon Village. There are also lots of services available here including laundry, showers, and evening ranger programs. This campground is open from Memorial Day until the end of September. This campground is at an elevation of 7,900ft.
 


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Fishing Bridge (make reservations on Xanterra Site) 325 sites
This huge campground on the north side of Yellowstone Lake and is basically a large parking lot. This is not the most scenic spot to stay so we would only recommend it as a last resort. There are ranger programs, the Fishing Bridge Museum, Visitor Center, and general store. This campground is open from Memorial Day until the end of September. This campground is at an elevation of 7,800ft.


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Bridge Bay (make reservations on Xanterra Site) 432 sites
Bridge Bay campground is the park's largest campground, but there are some great access points to Yellowstone Lake.  You will be very close to the Yellowstone Lake shoreline and then a short walk to the Bridge Bay Marina. You will also find a general store and evening ranger programs. This campground is open from Memorial Day until the end of September.This campground is at 7,800ft in elevation.


South Yellowstone National Park Campgrounds
 


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Grant Village (make reservations on Xanterra Site) 430 sites
This is another massive campground in Yellowstone and is located on the shores of Yellowstone Lake’s West Thumb. You will find all of the services here including laundry and showers. You are very close to the restaurants, general stores, and visitor center at Grant Village. There are also a number of evening ranger programs. This campground is open from Memorial Day until the end of September. This campground is at 7,800ft in elevation.
 



Lewis Lake (first-come-first-serve) 85 sites
Just inside of the South Entrance you will find one of the last first-come-first-serve sites to fill. The sites are all nice and private and remote. Plus you are not far from the shore of Lewis Lake. This campground is probably one of the least appreciate in the park, but can be a great place to score a campervan spot. Lewis Lake is also famous for Moose so keep your eyes peeled for these creatures. This campground is open from Memorial Day until the end of September. This campground is at 7,800ft in elevation.


 

Camping Near Yellowstone National Park
 

If you are going to be driving into the park late and don't have a reservation then we recomend staying outside of the park and then driving into the park first thing in the morning. The Targee, Gallatin, and Shoshone National Forests run several wonderful primitive campgrounds near the north, northeast, east, and west entrances to the park. Most campgrounds just outside of the park are first-come-first-serve. You will find a wide variety of prices. 

Near the north entrance you will find Eagle Creek Campground on the Yellowstone River. Getting farther from the park you will find Timber Camp and Bear Creek (both free). There is also Big Sky Resort in Montana and they allow free camping in there parking lot up near the lodge.

Outside of Cooke City on the Beartooth Highway you will find Soda Butte and Colter Campgrounds, both of these sites require a campervan or RV. Chief Joseph Campground lies just east of Colter Pass about 4 miles from Cooke City and then further down the road you will find the Fox Creek campground in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest. 

There are two popular campgrounds just past the east entrance and offer riverside camping along the North Fork of the Shoshone River, a campervan is required in since there have been bear attacks. Threemile campground is just 3 miles east from the park entrance and can be reserved ahead of time at recreation.gov. Further east another 5 miles you will reach Eagle Creek campground. 
 

Outside of West Yellowstone you will find two State Parks. Harriman State park and Mesa Falls State park both offer camping and some picturesque settings. Baker’s Hole campground is 3 miles northwest of town and is next to the Madison River. Rainbow Point campground is 5 miles from West Yellowstone on Hebgen Lake (reservations accepted; www.recreation.gov). Among private options in the area, Madison Arm Resort stands out for its lakefront campsites, free showers, and a marina with boat rentals (ww.madisonarmresort.com).

 


Hiking Suggestions:

1) Grand Canyon South Rim - There is never a better spot to get out of your car than along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are lots of great view points along the way and the crowds tend to stick to the paved roads in the park.

Biking Suggestions:

Bring or rent bikes and ride some great trails in the National Park. There are bike rentals at the Old Faithful Lodge if you need a bike for the day.

1) Fountain Paint Pot Loop - Get away from the Yellowstone crowds on this ride. You will get to ride on an old service road that has excellent opportunities to view wildlife and water features. If you want to skip the pavement portion of the loop then simply stick to the service road and do it as an out and back.

2) Lone Star Geyser - The Lone Star trail just beyond the Old Faithful Lodge is a great ride on an old road that will take you to the magnificent Lone Star Geyser. Lone Star Geyser erupts every 3 hours. 


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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion is an excellent destination for a Spring or Fall Trip. There is a number of campgrounds for campervans right near the main entrance that have reserveable sites. Our favorite campground for campervans in the park by far is the Watchman Campground. The special thing about the Watchman Campground is the easy access to the Virgin River, Visitor Center, and the bike path that takes you right into the park.

The bike path known as the Parus Trail is a great way to see the park and will take you from the Watchman Campground up into the park. At the end of the bike path you will come to a paved road that is closed to most vehicle traffic. Continue on a bike and skip the shuttle and you will be treated with some great wildlife. We have seen lots of deer and turkeys missed by the shuttle buses. If you want to skip the biggest hill then just ride the shuttle bus from the end of the bike path to the first stop. There are bike racks on all of the buses if you run out of energy.

While you are in Zion it is worth a side trip to Lake Powell to see Glen Canyon or drive up to Bryce Canyon.

Zion Park Map

Easy Hikes and Family Friendly Hikes:

1) Virgin River Riverside Walk - At the end of Zion Canyon Scenic drive you will find a nice riverside walk along the Virgin River. Round trip from the start is about 2 miles and the path is paved over its entire length so it is easy for families or someone looking for a nice stroll. The views along the way are spectacular and there are plenty of spots along the way to stop and go right down to the river.

2) Weeping Rock Trail - Along the Zion Canyon Scenic drive you will find the Weeping Rock Trail which will take you to the Weeping Rock on a paved path. It is steep in parts, but can be managed by most people. You will find some great views of the weeping rock along with a sweeping vista of the valley below.

3) Emerald Pools - Across from the Zion Lodge along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive you will find a nice easy family friendly hike to the Emerald Pools. At the pools you will see a gorgeous waterfall cascading over rocks down into a glistening pool of water.

4) Canyon Overlook Trail - This trail starts after coming out of the top of the tunnel on the Zion-Mountain Carmel Highway. There is very limited parking for the trail so it is recommend to hike this trail early in the morning to make sure you get a parking spot. The trail does have some dropoffs and hand rails along the way, but it is short and there is minimal elevation gain so if you take your time most people can make it to the overlook.

Intermediate and Advanced Hikes:

1) Angels Landing - This is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park and so it is important to start early if you want to beat the crowds. There is some serious exposure on this trail so make sure you are not afraid of heights before setting out. You will also be climbing almost 1500ft in just 2.2 miles so the climb is relentless. The view at the top is amazing and well worth the hard work to get there.

2) Hidden Canyon - While this is only a short hike you will climb close to 1000ft in only 1.6 miles. This hike is very strenuous and has lots of exposure and long cliff sections, you should be comfortable passing someone while holding onto a chain or do this trail early in the morning to escape the crowds. The views along the way and the canyon are simply spectacular you just need to be prepared.

Zion National Park Camping:

Zion National Park has two campgrounds near the entrance for campervan camping.  South and Watchman Campground are the two main Campervan campgrounds just inside of the National Park. Both have pluses and minuses, but they are both now reservations only campgrounds so make sure to book your sites far in advance if possible. South Campground provides very easy access to the Parus Paved Trail. Both campgrounds are a short walk to the main bus station to catch the bus for the narrows. If both of these camgrounds are full then you can back outside the park and just a short way out of the park is the Zion Canyon Campground. This campground has smaller less private sites, but does have easy access to showers and usually has spots when the other two campgrounds are full.

If you want free Campervan camping then there is Sheep Bridge Road just after passing through Hurricane. Once you cross over the river there are lots of primitive spots along the dirt road. Be aware that the road can get very muddy during heavy rains and will become impassable.

Best Bet for Showers: Zion Canyon Campground just outside of the park gives campers access to there showers. If you are traveling to Bryce there are showers at Mt Carmel Junction in the East Zion RV Park


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Moab

Moab

Moab is a classic destination for mountain biking, hiking, dirt biking, and all sorts of different sports. We recommend visiting Moab from February-May and September-November with your campervan rental. At other time of the year the area can become extremely hot or very cold.

There are so many options for biking and hiking in Moab and many good campervan campsites on or off the beaten path. With a campervan you can take advantage of the numerable off the beaten path campsites that can not be reach in a recreational vehicle (RV).

Tips from the Last Visit:

1) There is a new Gold Bar Rim Trail that allows mountain bikes to remain near the rim edge.

2) New trails have been added in the Klondike Bluffs are including a new favorite called Alaska, Nome, and Homer.

3) The Sovereign Trail system provides some great dirt biking and mountain biking trails that are all well marked.


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