The journey from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park covers sections of California, Arizona, and Nevada. It features some of the most romantic histories of the region, with Sacramento representing the heights humans attained and the Grand Canyon as a spectacular example of the foundations of nature upon which humans build. Along the way, there are ample opportunities to visit national and state parks and to enjoy fascinating cities full of points of interest, intriguing shops, and outstanding restaurants. This section of the country provides an interesting contrast in terrain. You cross fertile valleys, reach high elevations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and drive through the beautiful deserts of the Southwestern United States. To enjoy the history, terrain, and people that live here, follow this road trip itinerary from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park.
Yosemite National Park
The first national park within easy reach of the direct route on your Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park road trip is Yosemite National Park. When you reach Merced, take a detour to the east for 40 miles to reach the park. One of the most visited parks in the system, Yosemite covers 747,956 acres of incredible beauty. On the way to the entrance, you get a hint of what you are about to experience as you drive through forests of redwoods reaching for the sky. Once you get to the park, you find a fantastic collection of vertical rock-face cliffs, waterfalls, rocky outcrops, and trails that dive into and out of the forests as they ascend the numerous peaks in the park.
Sequoia National Park
Directly south of Yosemite National Park lies Sequoia National Park. If you want to see towering redwoods, this is the park to visit. Here you find the largest redwoods on the planet, some of which are over a thousand years old, clinging to the rocky outcrops and steep slopes that make up the 461,901-acre park. While the trees are amazing, the hiking trails that pass amongst them take you to incredible views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountain peaks. The sky is an extravaganza of stars at night, many of which you never see in an urban setting.
Joshua Tree National Park
Located 499 miles into your Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park road trip is Joshua Tree National Park. The park covers 792,510 acres of terrain with elevations from 536 to 5,814 feet. Despite the varied terrain, the entire park is an arid desert. Named for the unmistakable twisted trees that occupy significant sections of the park, Joshua Tree National Park is a living laboratory on the effects of climate change. When you visit, you find scientists roaming through the desert recording changes in flora and fauna in the park, which is home to one of the frailest environments on the planet.
Death Valley National Park
The legendary Death Valley National Park is a spectacular addition to any road trip from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park. With an elevation of 252 feet below sea level, this 3,190,451-acre park is one of the lowest land points on the planet. Temperatures skyrocket here, so be prepared with extra water before entering the park. For those adventurous individuals who want to get close to the park's features, hiking trails run along craggy cliffs and through flat-floored deserts. Despite the heat, scientists discover new evidence of life in this desert every year.
Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Situated 47 miles southwest of Sacramento, Brannan Island State Recreation Area is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy the first couple of nights on your road trip from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park. This fascinating spot in California's San Juaquin Delta provides an excellent challenge for adults and children attempting to travel the maze of rivers that the park protects. Most travelers rent a motorized boat, canoe, or kayak at the camp store to ply the waters. Some even join the numerous windsurfers to skim across the incredibly calm waters.
Castaic Lake State Recreational Area
When you reach San Bernardino, stop at Castaic Lake State Recreational Area for a day or two to enjoy one of the last watersport places you will cross on your road trip from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park. Here is your last chance to get thoroughly wet before venturing into the mountains and then into the deserts of the Southwest. Take advantage of its proximity to San Bernardino to replenish your RV supplies and eat at one of its many restaurants.
Valley of Fire State Park
When you reach Las Vegas, take a detour of 50 miles to the northeast to visit Valley of Fire State Park. As Nevada's oldest state park, it covers 46,000 acres of distinctively red desert. The color comes from the red Aztec Sandstone formations that formed over 150 million years ago. Numerous petroglyphs located inside the park indicate that Native Americans lived and thrived long before settlers entered the area. While the settlers attempted to cultivate the soils found in the park, their methods proved fruitless, and they left behind the remains of their homesteads.
The Haggin Museum
When you get to Stockton, CA, 49 miles into your Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park RV road trip, stop by the Haggin Museum. The art collections at the museum include some of the finest 19th-century painters in the world. A significant portion of the museum is dedicated to local history with displays on Stockton's founders and those who influenced its development since that time.
Original McDonald's Site and Museum
In San Bernardino, a crossroads located 437 miles into your road trip from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park, stop to see the Original McDonald's Site and Museum. The site focuses on presenting the 1950-1960 era when it all began. Here you see memorabilia from those days, including the uniforms, menus, and the first prizes issued to customers.
National Atomic Testing Museum
Las Vegas, 564 miles into your Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park road trip, is one of the most fascinating destinations in the country. Take the time to visit the National Atomic Testing Museum — an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. The museum focuses on the development and testing of the nuclear arsenal, particularly on the testing that took place in the desert north of Las Vegas.
While Stockton is only 49 miles from your starting point in Sacramento, it is a great place to stop, eat, and shop for those essentials you forgot in the excitement of taking the first leg of your trip. If you have a chance, stop by Angelina's Spaghetti House for a pasta meal that will stick with you for miles down the road. While you are here, use one of the numerous dump stations to clean your tanks or one provided at one of the many RV campgrounds in the town.
San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino sits on one of the major crossroads in California. It is a popular pitstop for truck drivers, buses, and rail traffic. When you get there, stop at one of their popular restaurants to find out why. Restaurants like The Pin Seafood House and Smacked Burger Shack provide excellent food and get you in and out quickly, just like they do for those who are constantly on the road. While you are here, take advantage of one of San Bernardino’s dump stations. If Castaic Lake State Recreation Area is full, there are several other campgrounds nearby where you can stay.
Las Vegas, Nevada
When you reach Las Vegas, you are near the end of your road trip from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park. Once a way station in the desert for travelers, this town has grown to become one of the fabled destinations in the country. While you are in town, take in the sites, visit a casino to see how the other half lives, and stay at one of the city's incredible campgrounds. Before you leave, take the time to clean your tanks at one of the numerous dump stations the community offers.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Sacramento to Grand Canyon National Park, 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 Sacramento or Grand Canyon National Park.