Two weeks ago we took one of the most amazing and memorable road trips we’ve had in a long time. From our home in Northern Nevada, we completed a 2,661 mile loop in nine days and traveled through Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. It was a trip we had been planning since the beginning of the year, and it did not disappoint.

Glacier National Park has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time. In addition to the stunning scenery and glassy alpine lakes, there is something enchanting about the truly wild area. I’ve run into my fair share of wildlife growing up in Lake Tahoe, but the idea of grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, big horn sheep, and moose in the same area you are camping, is pretty exciting.

When we started to plan, we had our sights set on Glacier as the main destination. Then, as we further studied our route and maps, we fell in love with the idea of hitting two other parks that are up that way, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. It was a bit ambitious, but we felt that since we were up that way, we needed to fit them in since we had never seen either.

Our final itinerary consisted of two days driving to Glacier, two nights in Glacier, one day driving to Yellowstone, one night in Yellowstone, one day driving to Grand Teton, one night in Grand Teton, and two days driving home.

Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton Itinerary

  • Day 1: Drive from Reno, NV to Cold Springs Campground, ID – 514mi
  • Day 2: Drive from Cold Springs Campground, ID to Wayfarer Campground, MT (Flathead Lake) – 480mi
  • Day 3: Drive from Wayfarer Campground, MT to Bowman Lake Campground (Glacier) – 71mi
  • Day 4: Relax, hike, fish, and paint at Bowman Lake – 0mi
  • Day 5: Drive from Bowman Lake through Glacier via Going to the Sun Road to Hood Creek Campground, MT – 396mi
  • Day 6: Drive from Hood Creek Campground, MT to Canyon Campground, WY (Yellowstone) and stop at Old Faithful/Upper Geyser Basin – 179mi
  • Day 7: Drive from Canyon Campground, WY to Jackson to Lizard Creek Campground, WY (Grand Teton) – 163mi
  • Day 8: Drive from Lizard Creek Campground, WY to Elko, NV – 461mi
  • Day 9: Drive from Elko, NV to home – 293mi

We packed as much in as we could and made sure to see some major attractions at each stop along the way. In hindsight, we probably should have allowed more time at each park to fully take it in. However, given our work schedules, we made what we could work with one week off. We spent a lot of time in the truck driving, and less time exploring the beautiful areas. Either way, it was a great trip and we found some amazing spots we can’t wait to explore more… with a little more time planned for each.

Check out the video below to follow along as we make our way through the parks, find some great places to camp, and find lots of wildlife… including a grizzly (that was camera shy).

First night at Cold Spring Campground, ID. Wez approves.
Second night at Flathead Lake, MT.
Third and fourth nights at Bowman Lake, MT. The sunsets at this lake were absolutely stunning!
Another sunset at Bowman Lake, MT.
Jackson Glacier, Glacier National Park.
Fifth night at Hood Creek Campground, MT.
Milky Way at Hood Creek Campground, MT.
Sixth night at Yellowstone National Park, WY (not pictured at Canyon Campground where we actually stayed).
Early morning bison at Yellowstone National Park.
Morning Glory, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.
Heart Spring with geysers in the background, Yellowstone National Park.
Night 7 at Lizard Creek Campground, Grand Teton National Park, WY.
Early morning views of Grand Teton with some haze from the west coast wildfires.

There is no better way for me to charge my batteries than spending time on the trails. Sometimes it’s a backpacking/hiking trail and other times it’s a 4×4 trail. This past weekend we hit a new trail that we found after studying maps and making a list of possible destinations. After a little more research and reading some online forums, we settled on what might be one of my favorite campsites we’ve ever stumbled upon.

We left right after work on Thursday and rolled into camp at 7:00 pm. We got there at the perfect time because within 15 minutes, there were three other groups that were pulling in for the night. According to one camper we met, we scored “the spot.” It was lakefront and under a few trees that provided some good shelter from the afternoon sun.

In this video, we share more from our little weekend camping trip where we hike, make some delicious meals in the Dutch oven, and relax under the starry skies.

Our pop-up truck camper home at 9,400′ for the weekend.
It was a full moon, but before the moon rose, we were able to take in the beautiful milky way.
The road is definitely not for the faint of heart. According to some campers that have been coming here for years, this is “groomed.”
This might be one of the most beautiful slices of paradise we have hiked to. No one around but the frogs.
Headed home and over the creek crossing.

On this episode of the Taco Roamer, we cover part 1 of our 10-day journey through Southern Nevada, Utah, and Northern Arizona. We start with our first night in Red Rock Canyon, NV, before heading east to Utah and Zion National Park, including a little muddy 4×4 adventure. At our campsite in Zion, we make some Chicken Pad Thai and breakfast pancakes by the Virgin River before heading on to our next stop outside of Kanab, UT, where we explore some cool slot canyons, make sourdough in the camp oven, and explore the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

In this video, we head out to Joshua Tree National Park on the maiden voyage of our new four-wheel pop-up camper named “Rose”. We explore some of the park’s back roads, make biscuits and pizza in the camp oven, take a hike to Barker Dam, and spend lots of hours in the camper playing Yahtzee before we decide to come back a day early due to some unrelenting wind. Buckle up and come along for this weekend’s adventure to one of our favorite National Parks!

Let me start off by saying I am using the term “hiking” really loosely here. This is definitely more of a walk. But, I have learned that different people have different definitions of hiking, so keeping with the theme of my site, we’ll go out on a limb and call it “hiking.”

This trail is located in the hilly neighborhoods of San Clemente, CA, and as the name would suggest, follows a ridgeline with million dollar homes on one side and dry rolling hills on the other. The trail is paved with small dirt side trails for mountain bikers or hikers.

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Just to the west of the sleepy little town of Lone Pine, California lies an incredible area to explore on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, Alabama Hills. This sparse area studded with cool rock formations and high desert flora is also the gateway to the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, sitting at 14,505′. This is also happens to be where Brian and I got engaged after a long and magical (and sometimes painful) week on the High Sierra Trail.

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Nestled between the neighborhoods in Orange, CA lies 340 acres of beautiful park known as Peters Canyon Regional Park. Here, you’ll find a decent size reservoir, miles of hiking and biking trails, and great wildlife and bird watching opportunities. There is also another thing that you’ll find lots of… people.

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In the hills above southern Orange County, you’ll find an abundance of trails for hikers and mountain bikers alike in the San Juan Capistrano Recreational Trail System. One of the more popular trails because of its stunning views and flagpole at the end is Patriot Hill, which is also fondly called the Rollercoaster Trail because the many ups and downs.

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In the north end of Joshua Tree National Park, you’ll find one of five fan palm oases in the park. Here, there are cracks in the hard earth’s surface that have forced water to the top and provide the opportunity for beautiful and lush fan palms to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable environment. The shade, water, and vegetation creates a welcome sight for desert critters and hikers alike.

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A little over two hours east of Los Angeles, you’ll find Joshua Tree National Park and some of the most incredible desert landscape in Southern California. The park runs 60 miles west to east and 30 miles north to south. Within its boundaries, there are two separate and distinct deserts – the Mojave and the Colorado. In the northeast Mojave desert section, you’ll see whimsical Joshua trees and large boulder formations that look like they belong on Mars. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful section of the park. In the southwest Colorado desert area, you’ll find a much more vast landscape that makes you feel like you are the only person on earth.

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This is the second year in a row that we have decided to skip the crowded beaches and head to the mountains for a very quiet Fourth of July. When we planned this trip several months ago, we thought, ‘what’s a better place than heading to American Lake in Desolation Wilderness to celebrate our country’s birthday?’

I had stumbled upon American Lake five years earlier when on a backpacking trip to nearby Lake of the Woods. I remember thinking it would be a great place to camp and made a point to return there, which is exactly what we did this weekend and it could not have been more perfect.

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“Third time’s the charm” has never had as much meaning as it did this past weekend. The last two years in a row I have had permits to backpack Big Pine Lakes, but for reasons due to weather, fire, and Elton John, they have all been cancelled (and yes, Elton was totally worth it on his Yellow Brick Road tour). This past weekend, those backpacking dreams came true and I laid my eyes on what might be one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen.

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My soul was seriously thirsty for some fresh air in my lungs and dirt under my feet. You see, I’m currently in Orange County, CA about to approach one of the hardest weekends of my life. This weekend we’ll say “goodbye” to my mom at her funeral followed by the burial on Catalina Island.

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Scout Lookout and Angels Landing boast some of the most picturesque views of Zion Canyon in the whole park. With sweeping 360 degree vistas, you can easily understand why this is one of the more popular hikes in the park. There are no permits required for this trail, and in the summer, you can see lines of hikers dotting the cliffside. We hiked the trail in the middle of January during a short three-day road trip. While the crowds weren’t as bad as they are in the summer months, there were still a fair amount of other hikers when we started at 1:30 pm.

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Utah is an amazingly beautiful state from north, south, east, and west. With a state that has so much to explore, we had no shortage of things to do in our three short days spent in southwestern Utah. The hardest part of our brief trip was narrowing it down to a few key things and deciding what we would have to wait and do until our next trip. Another factor at play was the weather since it is the middle of January. Luckily, we had some nice days, but there was a fair amount of snow and ice to contend with from a previous storm.

All-in-all, our three days in Utah could not have worked out better. Some of our adventures were: hiking to Scout Lookout and Angels Landing, wading through the Narrows, exploring Belly of the Dragon, playing on the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, scrambling up to (and down from) the Kanab Sand Caves, viewing Bryce Canyon at sunrise, and wandering through Snow Canyon.

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With winter quickly approaching, I was glad to be able to get in one last backpacking trip before the snow flies in Lake Tahoe. Temperatures are already pretty chilly in the Sierra, so we headed to Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is a beautiful stretch of protected land approximately 1 hour north of San Francisco. The beaches are pristine, the bluffs impressive, and the views extensive. It is definitely a beautiful place to visit whether you are backpacking or just exploring for a day. We were also blessed to experience beautiful weather for mid-November.

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Guess what?! On August 17, 2019, Brian and I did a thing! We got married! After getting engaged on Mt. Whitney last summer and a year of planning, we had the most amazing wedding in Crystal Cove, CA. I’ll write another post on that after I have wedding pictures, but in the meantime, I have to share how amazing our honeymoon was in Fiji!

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The Sierra Nevada mountains have always had piece of my heart… and now, more than ever. Since I was a child, I’ve called these majestic mountains home. I grew up in Lake Tahoe, nestled in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada range. I’ve covered countless trails, explored many peaks, and camped under the stars. However, it wasn’t until I hiked the High Sierra Trail (HST) that I truly had an appreciation for everything that makes these mountains so magical. Not to mention, I promised the love of my life my hand in marriage from the top of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at the end of our trip!

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Last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Yosemite with Brian and a few of our friends. I had driven through Yosemite before, but had never hiked here, which was something truly humbling. We hiked the Half Dome trail, which was about 15 miles with 4,000 feet of vertical gain. The trail climbs past Vernal and Nevada Falls, meanders past the beautiful Merced river, and then makes the final ascent toward Half Dome. It was definitely one of the most demanding hikes I have ever done.

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I’m still on a high from my backpacking trip on the Lost Coast Trail this past week. You can read about that adventure here. One of the things that I didn’t include in my original post is what I ate, but it is definitely not something to be overlooked. Finding delicious ways to stay fueled on the trail can be tricky, but with a simple dehydrator, you can make some awesome recipes, like the one below.

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