My Trip Home from Big Bend National Park – An Epic National Park Adventure

On the way to Big Bend, I camped in Hot Springs National Park, stormed through endless logger roads of Mark Twain National Forest and camped there one night, enjoyed the Ozark NSR, Buffalo NR, Cane River Creole NHP, stormed through the Big Thicket N Res, backcountry hiked and camped in the wilderness of Pedernales Falls State Park during a thunderstorm, and marveled at the Lyndon B. Johnson NHP and the town of Fredericksburg. I thought that was a road trip, but it proved to be a small practice run for what was to come.

Once I headed for Sedona and entered Big Bend Country, I knew I had entered a different world. Far from the upper midwest surrounded by grass and pine trees. I was in the land of rolling desert, rumbling with severe thunderstorms and prickly desert plant life.

Fast forward 4 months to the moment I was leaving Big Bend National Park, a month long road trip began. For now, I’ll leave you with a list of most of the places I visited. Later I’ll elaborate in more detail of those that had the biggest impact on me.

  1. Big Bend National Park
  2. Black Gap Wildlife Mng Area
  3. Split Rock
  4. Green Mountain
  5. Glass Mountains
  6. Fort Stockton
  7. Red Bluff L
  8. Carlsbad National Park
  9. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  10. Lincoln National Forest
  11. White Sands National Monument
  12. Apach Sitgreaves National Forest
  13. Rainbow Forest Museum
  14. Petrified Forest
  15. Painted Desert
  16. Painted Desert Inn
  17. Route 66 Highway of Dreams
  18. Meteor Crater National Landmark
  19. Kaibab National Forest
  20. Grand Canyon South Rim
  21. Desert View
  22. Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribe Park
  23. Moenkopi Plateau
  24. Dinosaur Tracks
  25. Cedar Ridge
  26. Echo Cliffs
  27. Bitter Springs
  28. Navajo Bridge
  29. Marble Canyon
  30. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
  31. Kaibab Plateau
  32. Grand Canyon North Rim
  33. Grand Canyon Lodge
  34. Glen Canyon Dam
  35. Paria Plateau
  36. Big Water
  37. Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument
  38. Kanab
  39. Coral Pink Sand Dunes
  40. Zion National Park
  41. Dixie National Forest
  42. Bryce Canyon National Park
  43. Highway 12 National Scenic Route
  44. Escalante Petrified Forest SP
  45. Calf Creek Rec Area
  46. Circle Cliffs
  47. Capitol Reef National Park
  48. Wayne
  49. Henry Mountains
  50. San Rafael Desert
  51. Dirty Devil
  52. Lake Mead
  53. Glen Canyon National Rec Area
  54. Cataract Canyon
  55. Fry Canyon
  56. Red Rock Plateau
  57. San Juan
  58. Natural Bridges National Monument
  59. Manti La Sal National Forest
  60. Bears Ears National Monument
  61. Church Rock
  62. The Needles
  63. Canyonlands National Park
  64. Wilson Arch
  65. Canyon Rims BLM Rec Area
  66. La Sal Junction
  67. MOAB
  68. Arches National Park
  69. Canyonlands of the Ancients
  70. Cortez
  71. Mesa Verde National Park
  72. La Plata Mountains
  73. Rockwood Hermosa Trimble
  74. San Juan National Forest
  75. Weminuche Wilderness
  76. Box Canyon Falls
  77. Uncompahgre National Forest
  78. Montrose
  79. Curecante Needle
  80. Blue Mesa Reservoir
  81. Gunnison National Forest
  82. Powder Horn Rec Area
  83. Rio Grande
  84. La Garita Mountains
  85. UFO Watch Towers
  86. Baca National Wildlife Preserve
  87. Great Sand Dunes National Park
  88. Great Sand Dunes National Preserve
  89. Sangre De Cristo Mountains
  90. Browns Canyon National Monument
  91. Rocky Mountains
  92. Colorado Springs
  93. Castle Rock
  94. Denver
  95. Estes Park
  96. Rocky Mountains National Park
  97. Apapaho National Forest
  98. Medicine Bow Routt National Forest
  99. Apaho NWR
  100. Medicine Bow Mountains
  101. Roosevelt National Forest
  102. Great Divide Basin
  103. Rock Springs
  104. White Mountains
  105. Big Sandy Reserve
  106. Sublette
  107. Old Forte Bonneville
  108. Shoshone National Forest
  109. Upper Green BLM Rec Area
  110. Gros Ventre Range
  111. Snow King
  112. Bridger-Teton National Forest
  113. Jackson
  114. Wind River Range
  115. Grand Teton National Park
  116. John D. Rockefeller JR Memorial Parkway
  117. Yellowstone National Park
  118. Absaroka Range
  119. Gallatin National Forest
  120. Pahaska Teepee
  121. Old Trail Town
  122. Cody
  123. Bighorn Basin
  124. Shell Falls
  125. Bighorn National Forest
  126. Granite Pass
  127. Wolf Mountains
  128. Buffalo
  129. Johnson Campbell
  130. Blackhills National Forest
  131. Deadwood
  132. Silver City
  133. Mt. Rushmore
  134. Crazy Horse Memorial
  135. Jewel Cave National Monument
  136. Wind Cave National Park
  137. Rapid City
  138. Badlands National Park
  139. Buffalo Gap National Grasslands
  140. Pinnacles Overlook
  141. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  142. Prairie Homestead Historic Site
  143. Sturgis
  144. Ft Meade BLM Rec Area
  145. Whitewood
  146. Rock Mountain Rec Area
  147. South Fork Grande
  148. Bowman Haley Res
  149. White Butte
  150. Billing Slope
  151. White Lake NWR
  152. Black Butte
  153. Little Missouri National Grasslands
  154. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  155. Medora

From there I hopped on the highway and headed home. The drive from Medora was breath taking and worthy of photographing. North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the fall season are incredible and worth visiting. For me, I didn’t have the time available to explore these states more. I wish I had, but my trip had already given me much more than I ever expected. I went home a very happy man.



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