Detroit to N. CA Road Trip

9:41 a.m. on February 21, 2013 (EST)
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I'm transferring jobs this summer and will be driving from Detroit to Eureka, CA with my wife and two dogs.  While this isn't the traditional hiking/camping/etc trip you see here, your opinions are what I'm interested in.


I get 10 days to make the trip, and can try and negotiate in another 10 days of vacation time should I choose to.


I'm interested in feedback on places to stop, things to see, and a timeframe of how much time I should dedicate to each location.  Unfortunately backpacking isn't an option, but car camping and day hikes definitely are!  Some of these can simply be a drive-by or drive-though, some can be a day hike, or if its worth spending a few days I'm open to that.


Short-list of must-see locations:

Mall of America (for the wife)

Yellowstone National Park

Glacier National Park

Long-List of Possibilities:

Something in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Mount Rainier

Mount St. Helens

2:01 p.m. on February 21, 2013 (EST)
2,987 reviewer rep
946 forum posts

On a trip going in the other direction, we had a couple nice nights and the day in between at Theodore Roosevelt NP in western ND. We stopped based on a tip from some friends in CA. Wife and daughter went for a guided horseback ride, I went for a long run in the badlands, plus driving around the loop road to look out over the Little Missouri river and other sights. A little petrified wood, bison, clay fired into strange red boulders by natural fires in thin coal seams. Apparently on of TRs favorite playgrounds for a few years. Nice scenery in its own way. Recommended.

We also had an "Interesting" night at some sort of town or state park in Spokane (forget the name), right by a river with some cool rock formations eroded out of the old lave flows, part of the channeled scablands in that part of the country. Interesting because the people in the site next to us had a birthday bash that went into the wee hours, otherwise a nice enough place.

We also stopped in Yellowstone for a couple of nights and did a lot of driving and short hikes in geyser fields etc. and that was all good. I really like Darlingtonia State park for a short stop if you're traveling along the coast in S. Oregon. Darlingtonias are a really cool kind of insectivorous pitcher plant or "cobra lily" growing in a bog with a boardwalk through it. We als had a day hike in the Orgeon Dunes area on that stretch.

Lots to see!

June 20, 2018
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