Going on a Portland to Mount Rushmore National Monument road trip is a fantastic way to see parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota. You will be treated to fabulous mountains and plains views as the scenery constantly changes. You can easily stop and see the geysers in Yellowstone National Park and go hiking in the Grand Tetons National Park and Badlands National Park, where you can practice your photography skills. Go fishing at Paradise Point State Park, caving at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, and climbing at Custer State Park. With all these things and more to do on a Portland to Mount Rushmore RV road trip, no one will have time to get bored.
Yellowstone National Park
One of the things you will want to do at Yellowstone National Park is to see the geysers. While Old Faithful often gets lots of attention, this park is home to more than 10,000 geysers and hot springs. Take the Mammoth Hot Springs entrance, and hike along the two boardwalks to explore the upper and lower hot springs, where you can see the Liberty Cap cone raising 37 feet in the air. Then, work your way south, where you will find the Norris Basin and, almost directly across from it, the Artists Paintpots. This is the most active area for geysers in Yellowstone because the earth, just a short distance under these geysers, is the hottest in the park. Continue traveling to the south, and you come to Grand Prismatic Spring, the world's third-largest geyser. See Old Faithful at sunset before using the south entrance to exit the park.
Grand Teton National Park
The Grand Teton National Park is a wonderful place to go on a hiking and climbing adventure. Consider starting at the Lupine Meadow Trailhead, which is located 1 mile down a dirt road from Lupine Meadow. Follow the trail for 1.7 miles through the Garnet Canyon. You will come to a fork in the course. If you are a less-experienced climber, consider going to the left, as this will let you climb Owen-Spalding, Exum Ridge, or Petzoldt Ridge. To find a more challenging hike, go to the right and pass the Platforms camping sites and continue to follow the trail past the wooden bridge to climb the Spalding Falls switchbacks. After you pass the Lower Moraine campsites, you will see the Lower Saddle headwall to your west. This is a great place to go climbing using the fixed ropes.
Badlands National Park
You will want to start your day before sunrise when you visit Badlands National Park because of the unique light bouncing off east-facing formations as the sun rises. There are many great places to go, including the Door Trail, the Norbeck Pass area, the Dillon Pass area, and Panorama Point, but one of the best is the Big Badlands Overlook. The reddish stripes of the Brule Formation created about 33 million years ago are stunning, especially when viewed in contrast to the older gray Chadron Formation. Then, you have the rest of the day to explore this park on foot or scenic drives before the sun goes down at night. Once the sun starts setting, head to take a walk from the east on the Castle Trail, as you will love capturing the light bouncing off the Badlands Wall.
Paradise Point State Park
Paradise Point State Park is 15 miles north of Vancouver, Washington. Stroll along the riverfront beach, and you will find the perfect place for your family to go swimming. The beach is also the ideal spot for shellfish harvesting. Anglers will love freshwater fishing at this location. Then, get everyone back together for a game of disc golf.
Lewis and Clark State Park
Located on the north spur of the historic Oregon Trail near Winlock, Washington, Lewis and Clark State Park is a great place to go hiking. There is plenty of space in grassy meadows to play your favorite outdoor games, and the park features a horseshoe pit.
Hell’s Gate State Park
Take a jet boat ride through one of North America's deepest canyons when you include a stop at Hell's Gate State Park near Lewiston, Idaho, on your road trip itinerary from Portland to Mount Rushmore National Monument. This park is also a great place to go steelhead trout fishing. You will want to leave time to visit the Lewis and Clark Discovery Center, where you can watch films about the famous explorers, see a dugout canoe, and shop in the gift shop. Art lovers will want to see the sculptures along the Snake River at this location.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Stop at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park near Whitehall, Montana, to go on a guided tour of one of the largest limestone caves in the northwest. Families with young children will love visiting the Upper Picnic Area with its 0.25-mile nature trail. If you are looking for a longer option, start at the campground, and follow the 2-mile loop trail to see the DanMor Gypsum Mine. Mountain bikers will love riding along the Cave Gulch Trail's switchbacks, where you will gain almost 1,000 feet in elevation.
Custer State Park
The Needles area at Custer State Park offers an unforgettable climbing experience. Head to Sylvan Lake, and drive along the 14-mile Needles Highway to find many wonderful places to go climbing. One of them that you will want to consider is the Needle's Eye. See if you can find the route to the top of this unique rock formation where water, wind, and freezing cycles have left a large hole.
Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum
Start your journey at the train depot in Chehalis, Washington. You will feel like you have traveled back in time when you climb aboard one of the beautifully restored 1920s train cars for a ride through the Chehalis River Valley. Special events, like Pumpkin Patch and Polar Express train rides, happen throughout the year. Explore the museum filled with train memorabilia.
Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
Stroll through five underground galleries to see artwork and cultural exhibits at Spokane's Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. This museum also contains the Campbell House, which was built in 1898. This museum often hosts special events, and it has an activity center where you can create artwork during particular hours.
International Selkirk Loop
Head north out of Spokane for about one hour to get on the International Selkirk Loop at Newport, Washington. There are several sections to this driving loop running around Selkirk Mountain. Take the highway to the right and follow it to see beautiful scenery in the United States and British Columbia. Along its 200-mile route, you will find several places to stop and explore, including Sandport, Idaho, which has been named one of the best small towns in America for art, and Bonners Ferry, which is home to Kootenai Tribe's casino.
Pryor Mountains Wild Mustang Center
See the wild horses at Pryor Mountains Wild Mustang Center near Lovell, Wyoming. See the animals whose ancestors were first imported from Spain and Portugal over 200 years ago. Learn about the center's efforts to protect them. The scenery at this location is stunning.
Enjoy easy interstate access by camping at Columbia Sun RV Resort, where there are many campground hosts, or choose a quieter getaway where you can soak in the hot tub by camping at Wright's Desert Gold Motel & RV Park. Kennewick campgrounds, coupled with Kennewick RV dump stations like those found at Horn Rapids RV Resort and Wine Country RV Park, make this city the perfect place to stay overnight or longer.
North Spokane RV Campground offers easy access to downtown Spokane, where you will find terrific venues to dine in and attractions to visit. If you are looking for a more natural setting, consider Willow Bay RV Resort & Marina, where you can easily launch a boat onto Spokane River. Regardless of which Spokane campground you choose, you will want to use the Spokane RV dump stations at the Chevron at Legacy Landing or Alderwood RV Express before continuing your road trip from Portland to Mount Rushmore National Monument.
Watch horses grazing in a Paradise Valley meadow right from your site when you camp at Osen's RV Park or stay along the Yellowstone River when you camp at Yellowstone's Edge RV Park. Regardless of which Bozeman campground option that you choose, you will want to use a Bozeman RV dump station before continuing. Consider those at GranTree Conoco or the Rocky Mountain Supply Cenex Station.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Portland to Mount Rushmore National Monument, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Portland or Mount Rushmore National Monument.