November 5, 2017 0 Comments Hikes & Scrambles, Mountain Biking, Nomad Life, North America, Road Trips, Rock Climbing

Our 11-Week Summer Adventure Road Trip: 5000 Miles of Memories

11 week summer adventure road trip blog

The U.S. and Canada have some pretty amazing mountain ranges to explore. Whether we were hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking, it seemed like we were always trying to reach the summit of some glorious peak, see another alpine lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains, follow a trail through rows of Aspen trees, or scale a rock wall to see expansive views of more mountains. This past summer we set off on an eleven-week adventure road trip through the Western U.S. and Canada.  Our goal was to lose ourselves in the mountains, connect as a family, and find incredible hikes and rock climbing destinations along the way.

We had done a similar trip the previous year in Europe where we did a different adventure every day for 162 days.  Much like that trip, we wanted to see how many adventures we could find, this time in the grandiose nature of America’s National Parks and the Canadian Rockies, both of which we absolutely love.  The hardest part was not getting to do everything we wanted to do along the way.  I’m already planning next year’s summer adventure road trip to go back and do the trails and routes we skipped, but this time I’ll be guiding other families along the way!

Here was what our seventy-six-day road trip up to Canada and back was like.  We’ve written many more in-depth blogs about many of these destinations and activities and you can click on the links within the blog to learn more.

I’ve included where we camped each night, but if we just we vagabonded (better known as free camping or boondocking) then I just noted the approximate place that we slept those nights.  One way we keep our expenses low is by shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I try to stock up on three weeks worth of food supplies at a time.  Click here to get our grocery list and tips for planning your next road trip.  While we don’t eat out very often, we do still like to splurge on inexpensive treats like ice cream or beer in cities that we pass through.  I’ve included some our favorite breweries, sweet treat shops, or cafes that we enjoyed along the way.

As always, we believe that waking up excited to start each day is a key component to living A Playful Life.  Whether it’s flying to a faraway land, jumping behind the steering wheel of your car and heading out on the open road, or finding adventure in your own backyard, we are here to help you Think To Play, Eat To Play, and Move To Play so that excitement and happiness can become the adjectives of your life too.

Starting and Ending Point: San Diego, California

Total Trip Mileage: 5000 plus a few

 

Day 1: Escape Gridlock

We started off late in the afternoon from San Diego and drove towards Yosemite.  If you’ve read my book, 1000 Miles of Memories, you will know we always try to get through Los Angeles in the evening and find a truck stop or rest area to sleep at once we get over the Grapevine.  If you do this, remember that in the summer, the Bakersfield to Fresno area gets really hot so pick a rest area up on the mountain to make it easier to sleep!

 

adventure in the creek in Yosemite
Camping at Summerdale campground near Yosemite on our adventure road trip
sunset while camping on summer adventure road trip

Day 2: Adventure in the Creek

Arrived in Yosemite and grabbed a campsite at Summerdale.  This is a nice, quiet campground with a creek that runs through it, which we played in a lot since it was in the nineties when we were there.  If you want to avoid the crowds of Yosemite, this is a nice place to stay, however, it was a forty-five minute drive into the park to hike.  I usually prefer to camp inside national parks, but since we were only doing one hike and then leaving I didn’t want to deal with the crowds in Yosemite Valley.  If you spend a few days on the Tuolumne side, try to camp at Tuolumne Meadows since there are beautiful hikes right from your campground.

 

view of half dome while hiking Yosemite valley on our summer adventure road trip
Hiking four mile trail in Yosemite valley on our summer adventure road trip
Yosemite Falls on our adventure road trip
Yosemite valley on our summer adventure road trip
Nevada falls summer adventure road trip
kids hiking in Yosemite on summer adventure road trip

Day 3: Hiking in Yosemite Valley

Danny, Gabi, Isabelle and I hiked the 13-mile Panorama trail in Yosemite and spent another night camped at Summerdale since we liked the campground so much.  We loved this hike and the amount of water coming off the waterfalls this year was incredible.  

 

Brewery in Redding on our summer adventure road trip
vagabonding on our summer adventure road trip

Day 4: Driving Day

We drove to Redding and made a quick stop at Wildcard Brewing (on the west side of Redding).  This was a great brewery and very kid friendly. I liked that you could bring in your own food and since we had just stopped at Trader Joes to stock up, we went in with all our favorites-cheese, salami, fig crackers- all washed down with a great IPA.  Then, we headed east and slept at a pullout right before Burney Limestone.

 

Gabi jumping into water at Hatchet Falls on summer adventure road trip
jumping into water at Hatchet Falls

Day 5: Adventure Climbing & Jumping into Waterfalls

Started the day with rock climbing at Burney Limestone.  We liked that this climbing area had a short approach from the side of the road and that the area around the crag was pretty (I literally almost ran into a deer while running back to the car to grab water), however, a few of the climbs were a bit sandbagged.  

In the afternoon, we drove a short distance to play in the water at Hatchet Falls.  Then grabbed a campsite at Burney Falls, which I highly recommend.  It is a beautiful campground with nice roads for the kids to ride bikes and the one mile hike to the lake is pleasant.  Plus, of course, there are is the beautiful waterfall to take photos of and it is a state park so we finally got showers!  

 

Chillaxin at the Burney Falls Campground on our summer adventure road trip
Tati riding her bike on our summer adventure road trip
playing in the lake on our summer adventure road trip
Jiraiya playing on our summer adventure road trip

Day 6: Chillaxing at the Campground

We love seeking out new adventures, but some days it’s nice to just chill by your campsite.  For three whole days, we stayed in this campground (that’s a lot for us) relaxing in our hammock, riding bikes, and hiking to the lake to swim in—and got in trouble for jumping off the dock :/ 

 

Burney Falls on our summer adventure road trip
Family Picture at Burney Falls on summer adventure road trip

Day 7: Photos, Hiking & Biking

Gabi and I woke at sunrise to photograph Burney Falls then went for a bike ride before hiking to the lake to swim again.

 

Jumping into the waterfall pools on our summer adventure road trip
McCloud falls on our summer adventure road trip
Hiking to McCloud Falls on our summer adventure road trip

Day 8: Jumping in more Waterfalls

Got in a quick workout (yep, we travel with weights—gotta Move To Play).  We moved on from Burney and headed towards Oregon.  On the way, we stopped to hike to Middle McCloud Falls and cliff jump into the pools.  This was a nice short hike from the campground, which I do recommend spending a night at if you have the chance.  No showers here, but plenty of trees and trails.

Part of being a nomad is stopping once a week to do laundry.  It’s become a running joke in our family while we travel to point out every time we see laundromats because I love laundry day so much!  We only travel with a handful of outfits and often have to rewear them multiple days so having clean clothes has become such a treat.  That night we slept at a rest area near Klamath Falls.

 

Hiking Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip
Hiking Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip
Hiking Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip
Hiking Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip
Hiking Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip
Crater Lake on our adventure summer road trip

Day 9: Hiking Crater Lake in the Snow

Another part of being a digital nomad is finding wifi to post blogs and run the business.  Although I prefer supporting small businesses and organic coffee, you can’t beat Starbucks’ consistency when it comes to fast wifi, so once or twice a week we spend half a day drinking burnt coffee while working to create our dream (thanks for being part of it btw!).

In the afternoon we made it to Crater Lake.  There was a lot of snow on the ground so we could only hike part of the Garfield Peak but the part we did was incredibly beautiful.  I had been reluctant to stop here and I’m so glad we got to see how blue the water in Crater Lake is (and my kids loved all the snow).  The Lodge on the lake is beautiful and I highly recommend trying to stay here one night if you have a chance.  We didn’t get a chance to look at the campground here since we just drove through for the day.

Instead, we camped at McKay Crossing near La Pine, Oregon.  This campground only has a pit toilet but it’s in the middle of the forest and I loved that this campground was right next to the trail we wanted to do the next day.  

 

camping on a summer adventure road trip
Hiking to Rock Waterslide on summer adventure road trip
camping summer adventure road trip
Camping at Little Lava Lake on our summer adventure road trip
waterfalls on summer adventure road trip
rock waterslide on our summer adventure road trip
Mountain biking on our summer adventure road trip

Day 10: Our Mtn Biking Addiction Takes Root

We just started mountain biking on this trip and started the day by biking the challenging Peter Skene Ogden trail (check out the blog).  Then, we hiked up just a mile on the same trail to the natural rock waterslide in the creek.  In the evening, we drove the Cascade Highway and camped at Lava Lake Campground.  There are many campgrounds along this highway to choose from. Just make sure you bring some form of mosquito repellant. We use essential oils and add extra garlic to our meals to help keep the mosquitos away.

 

Hiking Sparks Lake on our summer adventure road trip
Jumping into Sparks Lake on our summer adventure road trip
sparks lake summer adventure road trip
Hiking Sparks Lake on our summer adventure road trip
sparks lake kayaking summer adventure road trip
Swimming in Lucky Lake on our summer adventure road trip
Elk Lake Summer adventure road trip

Day 11: Hiking Under the Three Sisters Mountains

Today we did two cool hikes– up to Lucky Lake and then around Sparks Lake.  After, we drove to Bend to get Gelato at Bonta.  Camped on a fire access road near Phil’s Trailhead in Bend.

 

Day 12: Mtn Biking Addiction is Growing

Biked at Phil’s Trailhead.  This place has such great single track trails and an awesome pump track for kids.  We then drove to Steelhead Falls and hiked to go cliff jumping at the falls.  That night we camped at the free BLM campground at the trailhead. 

 

rock climbing smith rock on our summer adventure road trip
rock climbing smith rock on our summer adventure road trip
rock climbing smith rock on our summer adventure road trip
waterfalls on summer adventure road trip
waterfalls on summer adventure road trip

Day 13: Climbing at Smith Rock

Rock Climbed at Smith Rock.  Climbed the famous 5 gallon buckets and the Northwest Wall. Camped at Tumalo State Park (hip hip hooray for showers again).

 

Day 14: Did you know that I LOVE laundry day?!

Today was a rest day again.  We took care of all the normal chores like cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and sitting in a Starbucks to get wifi.  Then we slept outside of Skull Hollow Campground so we could get up early to go climb again. 

 

climbing on summer adventure road trip
climbing on summer adventure road trip
climbing on summer adventure road trip
climbing on summer adventure road trip

Day 15: Multipitch at Smith

Gabi and I did an epic multi-pitch climb at Smith Rock— Wherever I May Roam. Then we drove on to Yakima and camped at Yakima Sportsman State Park (not one of our favorite campgrounds, but the Walmart was so loud and we were tired we had to camp here).  If you drive through here, there are plenty of pullouts when you get north of Yakima and into the mountains again.

 

Leavenworth on our summer adventure road trip
Leavenworth on our summer adventure road trip
climbing on summer adventure road trip

Day 16-18: Lots of Climbing

Arrived in Leavenworth (check out the vLog).  This was one of the places we had been wanting to get to for awhile and while the town is a bit too touristy for us, we loved the area called Icicle Creek that is just fifteen minutes from here.  We spent almost a week in this area and developed quite a comfortable routine here. There is a huge pulloff about ten miles up Icicle Creek Road that allows RVs to park at overnight for free.  There are also great campgrounds nearby too that are inexpensive.  We started each day by rock climbing along Icicle Creek Road then went into town to grab a beer (and wifi) at Icicle Creek Brewery and walk around waterfront park or play in the river.  

 

Leavenworth on our summer adventure road trip
Leavenworth on our summer adventure road trip
Leavenworth on our summer adventure road trip

Day 19 -20: Time for Showers

After three days of rock climbing, we decided that we desperately needed showers! So we drove up the road a half hour to camp at Lake Wenatchee State Park.  We spent the next day (my birthday, btw) playing and swimming in Lake Wenatchee. Then, with freshly washed hair, we headed back down to Leavenworth and stocked up on yummy food at their farmer’s market (getting all local ingredients for my birthday dinner) then camped again at the pulloff on Icicle Creek Road. 

 

Day 21: Yep, More Climbing and Swimming

Play and Swim at Waterfront Park and Rock Climb off Icicle Creek Road.

 

hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip
hiking the enchantments on our summer adventure road trip

Day 22: Best Hike EVER

One of the best days of this trip was today when we did the 19 mile thru-hike of The Enchantments.  It was AMAZING!

 

Day 23: Some Blueberries & More Swimming

On our way towards the North Cascades, we stopped to swim in Lake Chelan near Manson.  Then we slept at Trailhead for Cutthroat Lake.

 

Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip

Day 24: A Hiking Marathon

Today was a hiking marathon for us.  Three hikes in one day!  The first hike was a short two-miler to Cutthroat Lake. The second was a gorgeous short hike to Blue Lake.  Make sure to stop at Washington Pass to soak in the views. The last hike was an epic seven miler at Maple Pass. It was covered in snow at the top and it was nearly sunset so we couldn’t finish the loop and had to backtrack, which means it’s back on the bucket list to finish next year. It was so late and we were exhausted, so we just slept at the trailhead for Maple Pass.

 

Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip

Day 25: A Gorgeous Campground

Today was a bit of a rest day 🙂 While driving into North Cascades from the east, be sure to stop at the lookout for Ross Lake.  We accidentally missed the turnoff and didn’t want to waste the gas to drive all the way back up the hill for it.  We were so lucky to get a campsite at Colonial Creek in North Cascades N.P. and did the short hikes around the campground.

 

camping on our summer adventure road trip
food for our summer adventure road trip

Day 26: One of my Favorite Towns

Today was an eating day!  On the way towards Bellingham, stop for ice cream at Cascade Farms—they have delicious milkshakes.  Our destination today is Fairhaven- a quaint little town on the outskirts of Bellingham and one of our favorite towns to stop at.  We had the most amazing soup at the farmers market in Fairhaven two years ago so we went back to try and find them again.  Unfortunately, they weren’t at the farmers market this time, but we still got to go to Drizzle and grab delicious olive oil & vinegar for our salads.  Then headed up the street to a Brewery/Foodtruck.  We camped at Larrabee State Park. Supposedly there is rock climbing here, but we wandered for a few hours and couldn’t quite find it, however, our campsite had a great boulder that we played on. For mountain biking enthusiasts…there are some great and advanced paths from here.

 

Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip
Washington on our summer adventure road trip

Day 27: Biking the Interurban Trail

I love when we can bike from our campground into towns (especially cute ones).  Gabi and I started today by getting up at sunrise to bike the Interurban Trail to get wifi and do some work at the Cafe in Fairhaven. This is a great biking and hiking trail!  Then it was time for chores—laundry, wifi, grocery shopping, and as a special treat, we went to the movies!  If you are in Bellingham, stop at Aslan Brewery—they have great beer and food.  We finished the day by driving into Canada and sleeping near one of the parks in Vancouver.

 

Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip
Canada on our summer adventure road trip

Day 28: Biking in Vancouver

My favorite part of Vancouver, Canada is riding bikes along the water.  There are miles and miles of bike paths that can get you all around the city. Vancouver has a lot of great food options, but on this trip, we discovered the most delicious pies and quiches at Aphrodites Organic Cafe.  We then headed for the Sea-To-Sky Highway and rock climbed at Murrin Park.  This is a great place to stop with kids because the climbing is next to the parking lot and there is a lake to swim in.  For the next few days in Squamish, we found a spot to sleep at on one of the forest roads.

 

Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip

Day 29-30: Rock Climbing The Smoke Bluffs

We fell in love with Squamish as you can read more about here.  The first two days we spent rock climbing at the Smoke Bluffs and finished at Backcountry Brewery with beer and pizza appetizers.

 

Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip

Day 31: Hiking The Chief

We started the day by hiking the three peaks of The Chief, then we drove towards Whistler and slept at Chek Campground.  We actually couldn’t drive the motorhome up to the campground at Chek and instead, just free camped at the bottom of the road. The campground at the top is brand new and right at the base of all the climbs.  I highly recommend this place if you rock climb!

 

Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
Squamish on our summer adventure road trip
https://youtu.be/nNVSdHNLMXY

Day 32: Climb Chek & Bike in Whistler

Rock climbed at Chek then drove up to Whistler.  On the way we stopped at Bridalveil Falls.  In Whistler, we swam at Alta Lake then Gabi and I biked the Valley Trail into town.  Whistler has a huge parking lot for RVs, making it easy to stop and enjoy the mountain town with all its stores and restaurants.  We hadn’t got enough of Squamish so we backtracked (something we never do) and slept at a pullout on the road back down

 

Day 33: I finally got Victor on a MULTI-PITCH climb

Today was the day I finally convinced Victor to do his first multi pitch with me. After we climbed at Chek, we hiked around Brom Lake to do the rope swig here.  Note: if you hike from the north side of the parking lot you have to swim across the lake to do the rope swing, but if you hike from the south you can walk right to the rope swing (a much better option if you have younger kids).  Then, we got to a campsite at Alice Lake for two nights.  This is a great campground in the forest with biking, a lake, a playground, and free hot showers!  

 

Day 34: Mountain Biking

Played at the campground all day and sealed in our new addiction to mountain biking when we rode Cliff’s Corner.  

 

Day 35: Climbing

More adventure around the campground and then back down to Squamish to climb more.

 

Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip

Day 36: Mtn Biking

We started the day at the Farmer’s Market in Squamish—one of the best we’ve been to then got wifi at the Squamish Library (as a note, if you are a digital nomad and get tired of drinking burnt coffee at Starbucks, we’ve found that most libraries have great wifi and make it an easy place for us to work while our kids use the computers or read).  We finished the day biking the trails near Squamish before sleeping back at the forest road.

 

Day 37: Trifecta Day- Hike, Rope Swing, & Rock Climbing

It was time to start the long drive to Banff, but not before stopping to hike and rope swing at Brom Lake again (because it was just so much fun).  Then, we rock climbed Nordic Rock in Whistler.  We loved how easy it was to access this crag and that it had a couple really fun easy routes 5.7-5.9.

Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip

Day 38: A short leg stretcher to break up a long drive

We spent the morning getting some work done at Mount Curie coffee shop in Pemberton (make sure to buy a bag of their Pallet Coffee—it’s so good!) before driving across the Interior Plateau of Canada.  This is a long drive and reminds me a lot of Utah.  Stop at the Seton Overlook to stretch your legs.  We slept at the Canadian Tire (most Canadian Tires allow you to sleep overnight for one night and a lot of them have RV dump station and water to refill).

 

Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canada summer adventure road trip

Day 39: Hiking in Glacier National Park

Today we did a great hike, Great Glacier, in Canada’s Glacier National Park— we hadn’t planned on stopping here on the way to Banff and were so happy that we did.  This area has a lot of beautiful hikes (many of which are strenuous) and we could easily have spent three or four days here.  Note though that there aren’t any stores nearby so arrive prepared.   We camped inside the national park at Illiceliwate Campground (I highly recommend this one).

 

Canada summer adventure road trip
Canadian National Parks Road Trip: Adventure Through Canada's National Parks With Your Family
Canadian National Parks Road Trip: Adventure Through Canada's National Parks With Your Family

Day 40: Two Easy But Gorgeous Hikes

Time for some Prehab Workouts to offset all the hiking and climbing we’ve been doing (see Vic’s Coaching Series for our Prehab Workouts) Then off to hike to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park (another bonus stop for us and one we are so glad we detoured to do).  We also hiked the perimeter of the gorgeous Emerald Lake. That night we camped at a pullout on the side of the road in Icefields Parkway.

Day 41: Three Even More Gorgeous Hikes

Hike to Helen Lake–another one of my all-time favorites (but bring a lot of mosquito repellant). Lunch at Bow Lake. Hike to Peyto lookout to take photos. Hike Johnston Cave. Camp in Canmore at Welcome Center.  Signs say no overnighting, but there were many other vans and RVs in the parking lot.  There is a dump station with water there too.  

 

Rock Climbing Cougar Canyon Creek, Canada: Best Sport Climbing Destinations To Take Your Kids
Rock Climbing Cougar Canyon Creek, Canada: Best Sport Climbing Destinations To Take Your Kids
Rock Climbing Cougar Canyon Creek, Canada: Best Sport Climbing Destinations To Take Your Kids

Day 42: Back to the Crag

Wifi at a French pastry bakery then onto Cougar Canyon to do some rock climbing. Camp in Canmore behind the supermarket where all the other van-lifers were parked.

 

Day 43: A Leg Burner with a Fantastic View

Hiked the East End of Rundle (seriously, this hike climbs almost 3000 feet in a little over 2 miles, but the views were so worth it), We headed back to Lake Louise and slept at the Overflow Parking lot right before town. This is a great option for vans/RVs because it was less than $15 and there was a free shuttle to take you into town or up to Lake Louise.  Read our blog for more details on all the Canada National Parks.

 

Day 44: Another one of the BEST HIKES EVER!

We combined all three hikes around Lake Louise– Lake Agnus Tea House, Devil’s Thumb, and Plain of Six Glaciers.  Read the blog for exact details of how to hike this one. It was awesome and Jiraiya even did it with us! That night we camped at Overflow Parking Lot again.

 

Moraine Lake, Canadian National Parks Road Trip: Adventure Through Canada's National Parks With Your Family
Consolation Lakes, Canadian National Parks Road Trip: Adventure Through Canada's National Parks With Your Family
Canada summer adventure road trip
Canadian National Parks Road Trip: Adventure Through Canada's National Parks With Your Family
Hiking to Plain of Six Glaciers, Adventurers Day Hiking Guide Lake Louise
Hiking to Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, Adventurers Day Hiking Guide Lake Louise

Day 45: Lake Moraine

We needed to get some work done so we took the free shuttle bus to Banff to explore the town (make sure to go to Wildflower bakery).  Then we drove up to Lake Moraine and hiked to Consolation Lake.  Go early or late in the day because parking can be difficult.  That night we slept at a pullout on road from Lake Moraine to Lake Louise.

 

Day 46: Camping at Lake Louise Campground

Today was a bit of a rest day as we only walked from the campground to town and rode our bikes on the trails around the campsite, ready with our bear spray in case we met the owner of the large, berry-filled droppings we’d see on the trail, but no bears crossed our path.  Camping at Lake Louise Campground is nice, but if I went back I’d just stay at the overflow because of the free shuttle to Lake Louise, where parking can be quite difficult.

 

Day 47: Rock Climbing at Lake Louise

Today we wanted to hike to the back of Lake Lousie to go rock climbing.  This ended up being quite a trek with the little kids as it was almost an hour hike to town to get a free shuttle to Lake Louise. Then another hour plus hike to get to the back of the lake. There are a few nice walls here to climb and you can’t beat the views.

 

Day 48: Goodbye Canada, Hello Idaho

It was time to drive to Idaho.  There were a lot of wildfires in Canada at this time so we couldn’t stop and hike in Kootenay like we hoped, but we did get a chance to hop out at Olive Lake to find a Geocache. We crossed back into the U.S. close to midnight and ended up camped next to a beautiful fishing lake.

 

Sandpoint: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
Sandpoint: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip

Day 49: Sandpoint

We met up with some of our friends who had recently moved to Sandpoint, explored City Beach in Sandpoint, and watched the B-52’s play at Sandpoint’s summer concert series.  Make sure to get ice cream at Panhandle if you are in Sandpoint.  We were bummed that we didn’t make time to mountain bike here because it was supposed to have some great trails.

 

Day 50: Post Falls

Before leaving Sandpoint, we hit the Farmer’s Market and got the most delicious berry pie, as well as local produce. Then, we went rock climbing at Post Falls, one of the most family-friendly climbing areas we’ve been to. We also made a thirty minute run into Spokane to stock up at Trader Joes for the next few weeks. It helps me so much to shop there for our long road trips and was certainly worth the detour at 9 p.m.!  Since there aren’ t many campgrounds near here and we wanted to climb again the next day, so we just slept at the Walmart in Post Falls.

 

Day 51: More Climbing at Post Falls

We rock climbed at Post Falls again.  This really is one of the most family-friendly climbing spots we have been to and I loved that Post Falls Brewing Co was a short walk across the bridge. Before driving south towards McCall, we stopped in Coeur D’Alene for ice cream and walked around downtown and along the lake.  It’s a nice town, but a little more posh than we were looking for.  It was pretty late, so we just slept at a rest area on the way towards McCall. We have a lot more details of this week on our blog Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip.

 

McCall: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
McCall: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
McCall: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
McCall: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
McCall: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip

Day 52-55: McCall, Idaho

I am so thankful that Gabi does such extensive research for our trips. I had never heard of McCall before this day and it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.  We were ready for a slower pace of life and the state campground, Ponderosa, was one of the best campgrounds we’ve been to.  It sits on Lake Peyton making it easy to swim in the lake and it’s surrounded by forest with hiking and mountain biking trails.  But the best part was that it was only a ten minute bike ride to town for coffee, beer, and an amazing farmer’s market.  I am stoked that I already have reservations to go back here for next summer.  

 

Day 56

Today we Rock Climbed at the Thinking Spot, which is on the north end of Lake Peyton.

 

Day 57: Sawtooth Mountains

After stocking up on organic corn, grass fed beef, and fresh baked bread at the Farmers Market in McCall, we drove to the Sawtooth Mountains. Along the way we stopped at Kirkham Hot Springs.  That night we camped at Stanley Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains.  All the campsites were full but there is an area right before the lake that you can free camp.  

 

Bridalveil Falls: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Goat Lake, Idaho: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Goat Lake, Idaho: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Goat Lake, Idaho: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Goat Lake, Idaho: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Bridalveil Falls: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Bridalveil Falls: Best Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho

Day 58: Two Incredible Hikes in the Sawtooths

Hike Bridalveil Falls and hike to Goat Lake.  Both should be added to your bucket list 🙂  It was late when we finished so we camped at the trailhead to Goat Lake.

 

Day 59: Redfish Lake

After grabbing a pastry at the bakery in town and wifi at the library, we stopped to do laundry and take showers at the facilities near Redfish Lake. This is a great resource and also has an RV dump station.  We camped at Glacier View that night.  We stumbled upon this campground and got very lucky with one of the only campsites.  This is a great campground.  It’s a very short bike ride from the campground to the Lodge where there is a store and a restaurant, as well as where you can pay to take a boat shuttle across the lake to access some incredible hiking and rock climbing. This will be one of the stops on next year’s Guided Adventure Family Road Trips.

 

Epic Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Epic Day Hikes in the Sawtooth Range, Idaho
Stanley: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip

Day 60: Another Gorgeous Alpine Lake in the Sawtooths

Hiked to Alice Lake.  This one is a must do if you are in the area.  The hike is surprisingly easy to get to an alpine lake.  We camped at a pullout in the outskirts of SunValley (but I would’ve paid to camp at the first come first serve campground here if I had planned ahead since it was at the base of the bike ride. We just arrived late in the night and it was full).

 

Sun Valley: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
Sun Valley: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
Sun Valley: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
Family Rock Climbing in Sun Valley: Trail Creek Road
Family Rock Climbing in Sun Valley: Trail Creek Road
Family Rock Climbing in Sun Valley: Trail Creek Road
Family Rock Climbing in Sun Valley: Trail Creek Road
Family Rock Climbing in Sun Valley: Trail Creek Road

Day 61: Bike & Climb Sun Valley

Mountain Bike Corral Creek and Rock Climb Trail Creek road, where we also camped that night (best free camping spot on this trip!)

 

Day 62: City of Rocks

Mountain bike Corral Creek.  Stop to stretch legs and see Shoshone Falls.  Rock Climbed at City of Rocks  Camped at City of Rocks.  This was a unique campground and had gorgeous nights full of stars and great sunrises. Another stop next year on our Guided Family Adventure Road Trips

 

Milky Way and RV in City of Rocks
Rock Climbing City of Rocks
Rock Climbing City of Rocks
City of Rocks: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
City of Rocks: Idaho Adventure Family Road Trip
Rock Climbing City of Rocks

Day 63: Climbed & Hiked City of Rocks

Hiked and climbed City of Rocks. Stopped to take pictures at Fall Creek Falls.  Slept on pullout on way up towards Victor/Driggs area.

 

Tetons Summer Adventure Road Trip
Tetons Summer Adventure Road Trip
Tetons Summer Adventure Road Trip
Tetons Summer Adventure Road Trip
Tetons Summer Adventure Road Trip

Day 64: Hiking & Biking in Tetons

Hiked to Ski Lake and mountain biked Arrow to Snotel in Tetons (Read our story on Patreon). Then slept in pullout on the way to Yellowstone.

 

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

Day 65: Hiking Yellowstone

Hiked around Old Faithful area, Grand Prismatic, and Yellowstone Lake. Then slept at pullout in Tetons, ready to watch the eclipse the next day.

 

Day 66: Eclipse & Hiking To Alpine Lakes

Afer watching the eclipse, we hiked to Delta Lake (another favorite) then drove toward Park City, sleeping at rest area on the way.

 

Day 67: Rest Day

Easy day of driving, taking a little detour by Bear Lake.  Walked around Park City, then slept at Guardsman Pass.

 

Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip
Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip
Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip
Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip
Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip
Utah Summer Adventure Road Trip

Day 68: Bike & Hike

Another favorite bike ride was Wasatch Crest.  I fell in love with these mountains and could definitely see myself spending a lot of time in them if I lived here.  After our intense bike ride up puke hill, we headed across the street to hike Brighton Lakes.  Then finished the day camped at Redmond Campground.  

 

Day 69: Bike & Climb

We did another bike ride in the area at Solitude ski resort.  I think we bit off a little more than we can chew here, but it was motivation to try to get better at our bike handling skills. After driving down the mountain to restock at Trader Joes, we turned around and headed back into Big Cottonwood Canyon to rock climb. There is a huge, dirt pull off on the back side of Guardsman Pass that we camped at that night.  It has incredible views of the valley below and an obscene number of stars in the sky.

 

Day 70: One Last Intense Bike Ride

This time I drug Victor out into the wilderness to bike the Wasatch Mountains with me.  Biking here is constant elevation gain or loss and we can see how we’d become incredible endurance athletes if we trained at this altitude all the time.  That night we camped at Wasatch Mountain S.P. (not one of my favorite campgrounds but it was only $28 for full hook ups and we needed to regroup before our week-long drive back home).

 

Day 71: Rock Climber Heaven

When we road trip like this, we usually make a lot of last minute plans and detours..some of which end up being the most incredible experiences of our life. Arriving at Maple Canyon felt like that.  If you scour Mountain Project and Climbing Away like we do, you get good at making guesses at which climbing areas will have enough easy climbs for us novice climbers.  This was one such place. We started the day climbing Schoolhouse Wall (great climbs from 5.4-5.10). What makes this place so great though, is that the campground is literally right next to many of the climbing walls.  Since it was a Saturday night, all the sites were full and we had to sleep on the Fire Access Road before the campground, but we were able to get a site for the next two nights.

 

Day 72

Rock Climbed Fast Food Wall (I don’t recommend) and Orangutan Wall which we loved.

 

Day 73

Rock Climbed Craganzenden (climb the 5.8—it’s an easy 120 foot juggy climb) and then climbed Billy the Kid Wall (great for beginners).

Gabi’s awesome researching skills come in handy again, as we get a notice as we are driving out of Maple Canyon (where we had no cell service) that we won the lottery to get one of the few permits to hike the famous Subway in Zion.  Zion is my favorite national park and I was stoked to say the least that we got to hike this one. Read my Patreon story to hear all about how incredible Jiraiya was that day.

Our good karma kept coming our way as we got the last campsite at Watchman Campground (one of my favorite campgrounds) that night.

 

Day 74: I LOVE it here!

There’s something magical about being in Zion (probably why they chose that name).  Everything just feels right when you stare up at the giant rock mountains surrounding you.  We’ve done a lot of hikes here, but still managed to find one we hadn’t done yet– Hidden Canyon Trail.  We had a wonderfully relaxing day playing in the river, biking the Parus trail, and reveling in the fact that we accomplished what we set out to do, which was to lose ourselves in the mountains, connect as a family, and find incredible hikes and rock climbing destinations along the way.

 

Day 75: Hiking the Subway

An epic ending to an epic trip. today,  The oldest four kids and I hiked the Subway. It was incredible!  Another one to add to your bucket list!

 

Day 76: Back To SD

Drove home to San Diego.  Even though we aren’t here much, it still feels like home.

 

Hope this inspired you to get out there and adventure more!  If venturing out on a road trip on your own seems intimidating, join us next summer on one of our Family Adventure Road Trips.  Follow our travels by joining our Patreon and reading about our Adventure Tales.

 

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