Itinerary: National Monuments of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming
The history and geological features of the Rocky Mountains meet on this itinerary through northern Utah, southwest Wyoming, and eastern Idaho. With Fossil Basin in the middle of this itinerary, be sure to spend an extra layover day here, off the road and on all kinds of adventures. Start and end your trip in the hub of Salt Lake City. You’ll move through beautiful, wild landscapes and get a glimpse into what they looked like before history.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Just 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City Airport, you’ll find this national monument featuring a beautiful trail to the cave system and guided cave tours. Located in an alpine environment, this unique cave system is colorful and defined by fault-controlled passages. Visitors to Timpanogos Cave National Monument can tour the caves or even take an intro to caving class.
Dinosaur National Monument
Walls full of dinosaur fossils and petroglyphs stand at Dinosaur National Monument, a display of the passage of time in this landscape. This destination has a lot to offer in the way of learning and exploration, as well as adventure! Spend your first night here and get to know the national monument and the community surrounding it, known as Dinosaurland.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Located on the Utah-Wyoming border a beautiful 90-minute drive to the north, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area offers incredible scenery of blue waters and red cliff walls. The recreation opportunities are never ending. Fishing, hiking, boating, biking, and scenic drives throughout the vast area. Settle in and explore for a day or two!
Fossil Butte National Monument Visitor Center
Known as America’s Aquarium in Stone, Fossil Butte National Monument is a the site of an ancient sea that slowly dried up, leaving behind impeccably preserved fossils in the mud. Stop at the visitor center first to learn how all of this mountain desert landscape became what it is and the gems that were left behind. The interpretive displays and tours to dig sites will fascinate travelers of all ages.
Fossil Butte National Monument
Armed with an understanding of the sea that once was, you’re ready to explore the rest of the monument. Hike the trails and imagine what this aquarium looked like before time. Though there is no camping permitted inside the national monument, the public lands nearby offer uncrowded dispersed camping ideal for stargazing. Fossil Basin also has friendly communities, interesting attractions, and lots of outdoor recreation, so spend a few days in the Fossil Fish Capital of the World.
Craters of the Moon National Monument
From one ocean to the next, your next stop is a sea of lava stretching across the Idaho countryside. Strange and beautiful, Craters of the Moon National Monument was created by lava from a volcanic eruption 2,000 years ago. Trails, scenic drives, and even cave tours are also featured in Craters of the Moon.
Golden Spike National Historic Site
The final spike of the Transcontinental Railroad was driven in at Promontory Point, Utah. The site has been commemorated here, at the northern end of the Great Salt Lake. Seeing this historic site followed by the next will certainly give you an appreciation for the way you’ve traveled this route through these three states.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
Think about how quickly information and people move across America today. Now, consider the Pony Express Trail. Visit part of the riders’ route and a monument to the trail on the Pony Express National Historic Trail on your final stop.
From underwater worlds to prehistoric volcanoes, early trails and first-ever railroads, this route will bring Rocky Mountain history to life.