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Road Trips Through The American West - Exploring The Wild West

Road trips through the American West offer a breathtakingly scenic and memorable experience. With vast expanses of rugged terrain, majestic national parks, historic landmarks, and charming towns, the American West is a road tripper's paradise.

Author:Iram Martins
Reviewer:Frazer Pugh
Apr 08, 2023
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Road trips through the American Westoffer a breathtakingly scenic and memorable experience. With vast expanses of rugged terrain, majestic national parks, historic landmarks, and charming towns, the American West is a road tripper's paradise.
From the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone National Park, there's no shortage of awe-inspiring destinations to explore.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the best road trips through the American West and what makes them so special.

Unique Roadside Attractions To See On A Road Trip Through The American West

The American West is full of unique and interesting roadside attractions that are worth stopping to see. Whether you're driving along Route 66 or taking a scenic route through the mountains, there are plenty of quirky sights to see.
Here are a few unique roadside attractions to add to your road trip itinerary:
  • Cadillac Ranch- Located in Amarillo, Texas, this roadside attraction features a row of ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own spray paint and leave their mark on the cars.
  • The World's Largest Ball of Twine- Located in Cawker City, Kansas, this roadside attraction features a ball of twine that weighs over 20,000 pounds and is over 40 feet in circumference.
  • Four Corners Monument- Located where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet, this monument is the only place in the United States where four states meet at one point. Visitors can stand in all four states at once.
  • The Wigwam Motel- Located in Holbrook, Arizona, this motel features teepee-shaped rooms that are made to look like traditional Native American dwellings.
  • Wall Drug- Located in Wall, South Dakota, this roadside attraction is a sprawling complex that includes a Western-themed shopping center, restaurant, and numerous photo opportunities.
  • Giant Praying Hands- Located in Webb City, Missouri, these 33-foot-tall hands are made of steel and concrete and are meant to symbolize the power of prayer.
  • The Thing - Located in Dragoon, Arizona, this mysterious roadside attraction is a large shed that houses a strange and mysterious object that has been baffling visitors for decades.
  • The Corn Palace- Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, this building is covered in murals made entirely of corn. Each year, the murals are changed to reflect a new theme.
  • Leaning Tower of Texas- Located in Groom, Texas, this roadside attraction is a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was built as a water tower for the town but was never used for that purpose.
  • The Integratron- Located in Landers, California, this dome-shaped structure is said to have mystical powers and is a popular destination for those seeking spiritual experiences.

Best Time Of Year For A Road Trip Through The American West

The American West is a vast and varied region, so the best time for a road trip will depend on where exactly you plan to go and what you want to do.
Here are some general tips to help you decide the best time of year for a road trip through the American West:

Summer (June-August)

This is the most popular time for road trips in the American West, as the weather is generally warm and dry. However, it can also be crowded and expensive, especially in popular destinations like national parks.
If you plan to travel during the summer, be sure to book your accommodations and activities well in advance.

Fall (September-November)

Fall is a great time for a road trip in the American West, as the crowds tend to thin out and the weather is cooler and more comfortable. Plus, the fall foliage can be stunning in many parts of the region.

Winter (December-February)

Winter can be a great time for a road trip in the American West if you enjoy winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. Many ski resorts in the region are located near major highways, so you can easily incorporate some skiing into your road trip. However, be prepared for snow and icy conditions on the roads.

Spring (March-May)

Spring can be a tricky time for a road trip in the American West, as the weather can be unpredictable. However, if you time your trip right, you can see some stunning wildflower displays in places like the California desert or Arizona's Sonoran Desert.
Overall, the best time of year for a road trip through the American West will depend on your interests and itinerary. Do some research and plan ahead to ensure you make the most of your trip.

Scenic Routes For A Road Trip Through The American West

A road trip through the American West offers stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and numerous attractions along the way. Here are some of the most scenic routes to take for an unforgettable journey:

Pacific Coast Highway

Starting in Southern California and running north to San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) offers breathtaking ocean views, rugged cliffs, and charming seaside towns.

Route 66

Also known as the "Mother Road," Route 66 takes travelers from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, passing through iconic landmarks and nostalgic roadside attractions.

Utah Scenic Byway 12

This 124-mile route in southern Utah offers views of red rock formations, forests, and canyons, including Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Colorado's Million Dollar Highway

Running through the San Juan Mountains between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado, this scenic route features hairpin turns, steep cliffs, and stunning mountain views.

Beartooth Highway

Connecting Red Lodge, Montana, to Cooke City, Wyoming, this mountain pass offers views of alpine forests, glaciers, and snow-capped peaks.

The Great River Road

Running along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana, the Great River Road offers scenic views of the river, as well as charming river towns and historic sites.

Route 395

This highway runs through eastern California, offering views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Mono Lake, and the ancient Bristlecone Pine forest.

Route 50

Known as the "Loneliest Road in America," Route 50 runs through Nevada and offers views of desert landscapes, ghost towns, and quirky roadside attractions.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Located in Glacier National Park in Montana, this 50-mile road offers stunning views of mountains, glaciers, and valleys.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Running through Virginia and North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers views of the Appalachian Mountains, forests, and waterfalls.

Top National Parks To Visit On A Road Trip Through The American West

A road trip through the American West offers some of the most stunning views and natural wonders in the world. The region is home to several national parks, each with its own unique landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor activities.
Here are some of the top national parks to visit on a road trip through the American West:
  • Grand Canyon National Park- Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular natural wonders in the world. Visitors can take a scenic drive along the South Rim or explore the park's trails and overlooks.
  • Yosemite National Park- Yosemite, in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, is known for its massive granite cliffs, waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees. It's a great place to hike, rock climb, or simply take in the breathtaking views.
  • Yellowstone National Park- Yellowstone is the world's first national park and is located mostly in Wyoming. It's famous for its geothermal features, such as Old Faithful, as well as its abundant wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, and bison.
  • Zion National Park - Zion, in southern Utah, is known for its towering sandstone cliffs, deep canyons, and stunning vistas. Visitors can hike the park's many trails or take a scenic drive along Zion Canyon.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - Located in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can hike, fish, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery.
These national parks offer some of the best experiences and breathtaking scenery that the American West has to offer. A road trip through the region is a great way to experience them all.

People Also Ask

What Are Some Must-see Roadside Attractions On A Road Trip Through The American West?

Some must-see roadside attractions on a road trip through the American West include Cadillac Ranch in Texas, the Hoover Dam in Nevada, Monument Valley in Arizona, and Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

How Many Days Should I Plan For A Road Trip Through The American West?

The length of a road trip through the American West depends on the specific route and destinations. However, a trip of at least 10 days is recommended to see many of the highlights.
Yes, some of the most scenic drives for a road trip through the American West include Highway 1 along the California coast, Route 66 through the Southwest, and the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado.

Final Thoughts

Road trips through the American West offer breathtaking scenery, iconic landmarks, and unique experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.
Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or adventure seeker, the American West has something to offer everyone.
From the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast, there are endless possibilities for exploration and discovery on a road trip through this beautiful region of the United States. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
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Iram Martins

Iram Martins

Author
Iram Martins is a seasoned travel writer and explorer with over a decade of experience in uncovering the world's hidden gems. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Management from the University of Lisbon, Iram's credentials highlight his authority in the realm of travel. As an author of numerous travel guides and articles for top travel publications, his writing is celebrated for its vivid descriptions and practical insights. Iram’s passion for cultural immersion and off-the-beaten-path adventures shines through in his work, captivating readers and inspiring wanderlust. Outside of his writing pursuits, Iram enjoys learning new languages, reviewing films and TV shows, writing about celebrity lifestyles, and attending cultural festivals.
Frazer Pugh

Frazer Pugh

Reviewer
Frazer Pugh is a distinguished expert in finance and business, boasting over 6 years of experience. Holding an MBA in Finance from Stanford University, Frazer's credentials underscore his authority and expertise in the field. With a successful track record in executive roles and as a published author of influential articles on financial strategy, his insights are both deep and practical. Beyond his professional life, Frazer is an avid traveler and culinary enthusiast, drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and cuisines. His commitment in delivering trustworthy analysis and actionable advice reflects his dedication to shaping the world of finance and business, making a significant impact through his work.
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