Are you so sick of travel pictures? Well, if you are…good news, this is the last one. I am going to answer some of your practical questions regarding living in our trailer for a month.

What kind of trailer do you have and what do you use to pull it? It is a 25 foot 1966 Avion. We drive an older Suburban and it pulls fine.

6.14trailerlife-8

Does the trailer have heat and air? It has air, but we didn’t use it on this trip. Oklahoma is so much hotter, so we might use it more when we camp locally. It does not have heat, but we used a portable heater when needed. I don’t do well in cold weather, so we don’t plan on camping when it is really cold.

Does it have a working shower and toilet? No. It has a shower and toilet, but they aren’t connected to anything. We used the showers and restrooms where we camped. Not every place had showers, but every place had a version of a toilet. Remember, we are okay with rustic. This did mean we did not take showers daily (or even every other day at times), which would really bother some people. The weather was cold so we didn’t sweat much and a baby wipe can go a long way for cleaning;)

How did you plan out your trip? We picked a handful of key locations to park the trailer (Tetons, Shoshone, Glacier, etc.) and used those as our base camp to explore local areas. We didn’t plan much other than that. Once we arrived we talked to locals and park rangers. Since we had about 5 days in each spot, we were able to really explore and take our time. We never felt rushed, which made a big difference in the overall feel of the trip. Due to finances, we didn’t do many things that cost money…lots of hiking and nature exploring instead.

When you drove how many rest stops did you take? Too many. At one point I thought about making every person under the age of 12 wear a pull-up. Instead we just made a million and two potty breaks. Since our kitchen was connected to our car, we tried making sandwiches and such in the trailer during long drives instead of getting fast food. We’d just pull up to a grocery store, park far from the store and eat lunch at the table in the trailer.

How many clothes did you pack? Did you do laundry? We don’t have tons of clothes because I do laundry everyday anyway…so we don’t need a lot. I packed everyone 2 pairs of pants, one long sleeve shirt, and one jacket. The boys took several pairs of shorts and t-shirts. The girls took several dresses. We packed light, but should have packed more cold weather items. I packed a bunch of tank tops and only wore them twice. Under the beds in the trailer are plastic bins where I stored our clothes. We did laundry whenever we could find a washer and dryer…which was a handful of times.

6.14trailerlife-3

What did you eat? We only ate at restaurants a couple of times, which is more than we do at home. We shopped at local grocery stores and markets. I tried to stock up at each location so we weren’t trying to find something each day. I fixed most of our meals using a griddle or electric skillet in the trailer. We also used the campfire for several meals. Most campsites have picnic tables so we ate outside instead of in the trailer the majority of the time. The trailer has a full size refrigerator, so we were able to have cold goods. When we went from one place to the next I put all our cold items in insulated bags with frozen water bottles. We washed dishes at our campsite or at designated places at the various campgrounds. The kids did lots of dishes. My mother-in-law LOADED us up with snacks before we left, so I never had to think about buying those. We still have some left!

6.14trailerlife-6

We did pack our ‘fancy’ coffee machine and I had my normal yogurt concoction for breakfast every morning. Keeping little routines like those helped it feel more like home.

6.14trailerlife-11

How did everyone sleep and what did the sleeping arrangements look like? Sleep was great. The kids liked all being in one room each night. We were so active all day long and didn’t get in the trailer for bed until late each night, which meant everyone pretty much just crashed. We had a big bed up front for Chris and me. We created a large bed across the back for the kids – 4 slept on the top and one below (top part is pictured below).
6.14trailerlife-16.14trailerlife-106.14trailerlife-2

What were your biggest expenses? Gas. I’m not even sure what we spent on gas. We mainly did free things and we bought a national park pass so it would be a one time fee since we will use it again this year. Our grocery bill was about the same and RV parks are much cheaper than hotels. Gas was our biggest expense.

How did the kids do? They did so great. They are all getting more mature and independent, so that helped big time. Our oldest daughter is the only one that verbally said she missed home, though I am sure the others might have too. Of course there was fighting and arguing, but no more than we deal with at home. The cold days where we were in the trailer were the hardest. The boys wanted to wrestle and it was just a tiny space for that. One day I had them create a Wrestling Rules & Consequences Contract that they all signed. Really though, it was a beautiful time for our family. I’m not one for pretending life is perfect, but to say that the trip was just dreadful and we couldn’t wait to get home would not be true. It will live on as one of our family’s fondest memories.

6.14trailerlife-96.14trailerlife-12

I’m not sure that I answered every question. It was hard finding them all throughout those older posts. If you have another one, ask it on this post and I’ll try to answer those when I get back from Africa!

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  • SueB - Loved reading all about your trip. Made me relive some of our camping trips a few years ago in our motorhome. Gas was always a huge expense but i loved being able to cook meals in it and having our own bed and bathroom. It’s a great way to travel and are some of our fondest memories as well.

  • Beth - Ashley, I LOVED reading about your trip. I’m sorry to see it completed! How often do you see your family doing epic trips such as this one?

  • cindy - what a wonderful trip…..were you aware of where hospitals or urgent care centers were in case of an emergency? other than the shower and toilet lack, i think i might like camping in a trailer like yours. i’m not so okay with rustic. :D

    oh, what about bugs and little critters? were they a problem?

  • Michelle Hill - I have to be honest, I’m making sad faces over here when I read the line about being the last “travel post”. I felt like I was on this trip with you guys for the whole month…even if it was just in five minute snippets everyday). The pictures are just stunning and I can imagine the comments and memories your children will bring up when they are older about this trip.
    Thank you, thank you for sharing this adventurous and wonderful moment in your lives with us.

  • Mek - Love all your trip posts and pictures! Would like to ask about LO’s meals during the trip? Does she still depends on juices or she already can takes on soft foods?

  • cindy - LOVED hearing about your trip! Sad to hear this is your last post about it! What wonderful memories made – thanks for taking us along!

  • Ujjaini - I think preparing food at the campsite is the best thing. And it often tastes so much better, somehow!

    http://imyownmuse.blogspot.com/

  • Taylor - I love reading the insights on your trip. Definitely some great tips for future camping/road trip expeditions whether you’re with kiddos or not.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • ashley jensen - Sounds like the camping we do! We have taken many bucket baths before instead of showers and during the summer we just take a bath in the river. Gas is definitely the biggest expense! That is basically all it costs for us to go camping since we take food from home. And yes camper rates are WAY cheaper than hotels! We are thinking about going down to the coast next year and would definitely take out trailer instead of staying in a hotel!

  • jill - How long were you gone total?

  • jenny - wow! you are such an inspiration! you really make me want to go on an adventure like this :) and the trailer remodel… fantastic… i never would have even thought of doing something like that to make it feel more like home! i absolutely love all the little touches you add (ex: chalkboard that said “let’s go on an adventure”, katie daisy camping print, and so much more!!!).

  • AshleyAnn - Jill we were on the road about a month on this one. Chris

  • AshleyAnn - Mek, Thanks for asking, she did great on the trip. Still a lot of soft foods but she picked up some new eating habits on this trips that were great. What was a little crazy on this trip is that we didn’t even pack the blender for smoothies which was a huge thing for us! Chris Campbell

  • AshleyAnn - Cindy, In most places there were facilities some what close but honestly that is a real challenge to being out further in the wilderness. Even if you do know about those types of facilities they are just not pragmatically close. Some of the national parks have first aid stations and such but what you maybe referring to in a hospital or urgent care are probably several hours away. We brought a lot of our own first aid supplies. On the bugs and critters we really didn’t have any problems. In bear country, you don’t leave anything outside of the trailer except for maybe camping chairs while you are gone from your campground or at night. Inside the trailer, we intentionally put out some ant baits and such because we heard that could be a issue at some of the campgrounds. We never really had a problem with them though. Chris Campbell

  • AshleyAnn - Beth, Ashley was planning our next one before we even made it home! As of right now we have talked about trying another one next summer but now that we have the trailer outfitted we are looking at the spring and fall because of the beautiful weather but also the lesser crowds. We have the bug! Chris Campbell

  • Julia - Dear Ashley,

    what I’m going to write now is something I meant to tell you for a long time, but especially since your Camping trip.
    I think you & Chris are like the most awesome parents, I’d love to be a member of your beautiful family and if I ever have children, it would be Grand for them when I’d be just a half as good Mum as you are.

    You are a great person! I’m thankful for your existence, because my day always gets a Little bit happier looking at your photographs and reading your posts. :)

    Love,
    Julia/17/Germany

  • susie - Wish there was a place in Air-streams to put dirt bikes and the kayak in. The kids want to take a trailer of toys so we have been tenting it. Too bad gas is so expensive, that’s always our biggest expense too.

  • AshleyAnn - Susie, I wish we would have had bikes on this trip too. I have seen a lot of attachments that can hook on the back bumper of a trailer for bikes. My kids would have really enjoyed that. Our neighbor, at Jackson lake had his Kayak’s on his roof rack of his truck. That is the nice thing about pulling a trailer is you do have a lot more room for things in your main vehicle that you are pulling it with. As always more stuff usually creates more hassle but if it is important to you those things are not too difficult to pack along! Chris Campbell

  • Laura S. - I will never get tired of seeing your beautiful travel photos. It has made me want to plan a road trip for my 50th birthday with my gal pals. I have two years to plan the whole thing. You really inspired me. I think you could really write a budget travel blog and get paid big time for it!

  • sayonada - two (adult) friends of mine recently drove cross-country and i told them that it sounded like a nightmare to me. but this actually makes it sounds wonderful and do-able. thanks so much for sharing!

  • Diana - I too am sad to see this is the last trip post! I grew up going on camping vacations with my family (except in a pop-up camper usually, and we’d fit all 8 of us in there!) and so many happy memories coming back seeing your trip. I think those trips are one of the best things my parents did for us and I’d bet your kids will feel the same some day. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Kristin - You’ve made me fall in love with idea of taking our own epic trip. I’m dying to see Wyoming & Montana more than ever now. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

  • Amber - I’m with someone else who said oh no, last camping post! I’ve loved them! When my husband and I graduated college we road tripped 10,548 miles all the way around the US (but very rustic, tent style). We love road tripping but are crushed because our youngest (2) gets horribly car sick, so we can’t go anywhere. How did the kids handle the actual driving part? Do you have any car sick issues? What did they do in the car while you drove? Thanks!

  • Julie - I have loved following your adventure! We have just started tent camping as a family this year (we have three kids) and we love it. I love that you didn’t sugar coat the realities of not showering often (we love baby wipes when camping, too!) and choosing to do free activities. We just got back from a several night stay in south Texas at Big Bend National Park. Amenities are few, but it was beautiful and I would go back in a heartbeat. We’ve got the camping bug :)

  • haverlee - I always love reading your detailed, daily life type posts! I don’t know why. Your humility and strength continually bless me. Also, you totally rock that hat, you cute thing, you.

  • Kristine - Ashley,
    I have absolutely loved reading these posts about your trip! My hubby has been wanting to plan an out west trip for years and years, and so i have forwarded many of your posts to him! Your trip was the perfect combination of “roughing it” and, well, not roughing it. :-) We plan on going now with our four kiddos in two summers (that way our youngest will be 5 and a little more independent). I have saved all of your post and beautiful pictures to refer back to. Oh, and I just love how you decorated your trailer, it was so sweet.

    Kristine :)

  • Jeannine - Ashley and Chris – Loved reading these posts about your trip! My husband and I have been talking about doing yearly road trips with our girls once they’re a little older :) (They’re only 2 and 8 months right now) Oh and LOVE your trailer. Totally inspired!

  • Janet Phillips - I have so enjoyed seeing your photos and reading more about your trip. We are getting ready to take our six children on a road trip out west to many of the same places and it is so fun to see a family who has already done it. I’ve picked up some ideas here and there from what you have shared and I am getting even more excited. Thanks for chronicling your trip!

  • Brittney K - Ashley, thank you so much for sharing with us. Really it is so inspiring to see how you embrace everyday life with your clan. You inspire me to be a better mom. Thank you!

  • Cathy - Ashley – It has been great reading about your family adventures. We bought a camper 2nd hand last year also and are so thankful for the closeness it brings to each other and to God’s wondrous creation. Had a question regarding decorating – do you have throw rugs on the floor? We are looking for something that would be washable.

  • Sarah - What an amazing trip, I have loved following along with you! My husband and I took a trip to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole a few years back. It was beautiful, but I was so worried about bears the whole time we were hiking(especially on the less busy trails) and we didn’t even have our kids with us! Do you have any tips or advise that you picked up about hiking/camping in bear country? I would love to go back with my girls someday! Thanks for sharing your epic road-trip with us! :)

  • Laura Y - Ashley and Chris – Thanks for all these posts. I have loved reading them. My husband and I now live in OKC but we both grew up in Wyoming and Colorado and have been missing how easy it was to travel to some of those locations.

    Quick question: What is the carrier that you are using for Little One in the hiking photos? We are expecting baby #2 soon and I am trying to decide on a good carrier that can last us as she ages.

    Thanks!

  • AshleyAnn - Laura – it is an ergo carrier….worth every penny :)

  • Frances Locke - I love this post and, well, all the posts about your adventure. My husband and I are considering something similar before the summer is out, and I appreciate how you kept it real about laundry, bathing, etc. All in all the way you described your experience is so inspirational. Thank you!

Okay, so some of you asked about how we hike with kids. Here’s the deal…we live in Oklahoma not a mountain state. We don’t have all the gear you are supposed to have. We don’t have ‘hiking’ shoes or ‘hiking’ clothes. We just like hiking and exploring. Chris and I enjoyed getting ‘lost’ in places before we had kids, so naturally once we had kids we just started bringing them along. As a younger couple I remember people telling us to “enjoy it now because when you have kids you won’t be able to anymore.” Or something along those lines. They were wrong. In some ways we enjoy things even more now that we have kids. When it comes to hiking and camping it is different with kids, but not less fun.

The biggest difference in hiking with kids for us has been letting the kids dictate the hikes. Chris and I would like to do longer, more difficult hikes but there will be a season for that again one day. Right now we are focusing on relishing the time together on an adventure and building a love for hiking in the kids. I am by no means and expert on hiking, just a mom that enjoys it. So this post is my unprofessional (can you be a professional hiker?) advice.

Things to always pack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • More snacks than you think you will need (in a bag)
  • A ziploc bag to hold your snack trash
  • Camera
  • Carrier (for the times your toddler gets too tired)

What we wear (since we don’t own true “hiking” gear):

  • Layered clothes…shorts and t-shirts
  • Tennis shoes or flip flops (flip flops because we are Okies and we think they are a multi-purpose and multi-weather shoe)
  • Hats (when we remember)

Now some of my random tips:

Keep it fun: cross through water, go over and under things, change up the terrain to keep things exciting

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Change it up when tired: when someone complains of getting tired, we try new things like walking backwards or taking turns being the leader6.14hikingwithkids-5

Embrace the adventure: instead of fleeing to the car to avoid rain or wind, teach them to discover shelters and ways to hide out until summer showers pass. This is us hiding under a few (sturdy) fallen trees from a short rain shower. The kids giggled the whole time and it made for an unforgettable hike.6.14hikingwithkids-6

Go slow and let their imaginations enjoy the playground: these two found the “world’s largest slingshot” and we spent a good 15 minutes in this one spot as they played6.14hikingwithkids-76.14hikingwithkids-86.14hikingwithkids-96.14hikingwithkids-10

Set break destinations: instead of stopping each time someone needs a break, we usually pick a distance up ahead and all aim to make it to that spot for a little break. We take lots of breaks!6.14hikingwithkids-11

Snack Breaks: we don’t snack at every break, but we do snack a lot – way more than if Chris and I were hiking alone.6.14hikingwithkids-13

Be playful – the goal is to enjoy the hike, not just reach a destination: the more fun we make the hike, the more excited the kids are about hiking. The more excited they are, the farther we get to hike. The kids found this hollowed out tree and pretended it was their shelter from a bear (Chris)6.14hikingwithkids-15

Say “yes”: If it doesn’t involve hurting nature or disturbing wildlife…say yes. We teach our kids about leaving no trace and letting wildlife be wild, but we also want their senses to come alive when hiking. We don’t just want it to be a long walk. If they want to stick their head in cold mountain streams or try to jump from rock to rock – we try to say “yes” more than “no”.6.14hikingwithkids-16

Keep the long term goal in mind (if you have one): We have some big trips and big hikes in our future dreams. There are places we want to go with the kids when they get older that will require them being able to carry their own backpacks, with all their gear, for miles. We can’t just wake up with teenagers and expect them to do it if we never put in the ground work. These young years we aren’t focused on long hikes or having all the right gear. We are focusing on sharing our love for nature and the outdoors with our kids. We are soaking up this time, even if the hikes are short…they are good. I’d rather have a short hike with happy kids than a long trek with complaining. And on the short hikes, if the complaining starts…we try to smile and come up with a new way to bring out the laughter.6.14hikingwithkids-12

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  • Stephanie - Loved seeing your trip photos. My husband and I are hikers and campers, we live in MN and are planning a boundary waters canoe area (BWCA) trip for our family (girls 2&4). We love a kids bluegrass/folk band called the Okee Dokee Brothers. They wrote two adventure albums. If you like that kind of music your family might love them. We enjoy them because they actually sound good musically and have fun lyrics. It’s the only kids music we have :) Thanks for sharing your trip. Ps. I love your camper updates.

  • Aubrey - I know next to nothing about hiking, but you guys make it look so fun! I love that you’re providing opportunities for adventure and exploration with them and laying the groundwork to prepare them for things you and Chris would love to do with them when they’re older. Smart! :)

  • Debbie - Thank you for sharing your tips and photos on hiking. I really enjoy following your blog.

  • Michelle Hill - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again.. you and chris are model human beings and parents. A true inspiration! Your stories and pictures inspire me everyday to be the person, mother and wife I hope to be in the future. I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing!

  • mel - Great tips!! As a family of six (with three teenagers), our kids have grown up hiking. Every summer we go on a multi-day backpacking trip. My kids look forward to it all year. It’s surely hard work, but we do it as a team. It gets us outside in God’s creation, away from technology, and it’s always an adventure! You need no skill to hike, just put one foot in front of the other. :)

  • Elise O. - Thank you for your perspective on parenting. This is so inspiring to me! Your blog is one of my very favorites because you seem to enjoy your family so much and are so positive about your kids and parenting. This blog post makes me look forward to the day that I have children and can include them in the things I enjoy!

  • Meg - Thanks!I am so looking forward to going on hikes with my kids. I think I turn it into too big of a deal and I need to have more fun with it and take the pressure off the situation. This post was a great reminder of just that.We don’t need to be pros or spend a fortune on gear. I am curious. Do you pack a little first aid kit? It seems like I would want to have a few bandaids and maybe some antiseptic and a few other little things.

  • Seamingly Sarah - I second the bringing more snacks than you think you need! I would like to know how others keep the slow and fast kids together or at least not fighting at having to stick to the other one’s pace during the hike?

  • Meryl - Some great ideas–thanks! Our little guy is only 3, so we’re still keeping it short, but love the tip to change it up when he gets tired.

  • Alice H - I dislike when people say that about enjoying things before you have kids. I love having my kids involved in almost everything I do. Thanks for your tips!

  • susie - Great tips! I am hoping you do a post on food! It will probably be similar as what we pack, but I am always looking for new ideas.

  • kimberly oyler - firecracker in that work out outfit is killing me. she looks way cuter than i do.

  • Kelly - Fun pictures! Look very similar to a lot of ours :) The one piece of “equipment” I would suggest investing in is Keens sandals for all! They’re the perfect hiking shoe!

  • Paige - This is actually really helpful, thank you! We are at the stage where its more of an introduction into something we (well, me) love. We have to allow for fun and stopping. Also, the snack idea is great and I’ll remember next time. At age 8 and 5, I guess I just want them to think back to our camping and hiking and remember it was fun. Bigger and better hikes later.

  • Kelli - Do you guys use bug spray? I live in MN and the bugs are terrible this year, and I just can’t seem to find anything that works really well on my kids… (2yr old & 5mo old)

  • Diana - Your trip is so inspiring to read about! Thank for sharing it!

  • Ry Simmons - Love!!! We take little hikes with our kids (2,3,&4-years-old) and we just love it. Great advice with lots of snacks & breaks!! We also take small bags for them to collect leafs & rocks throughout our hike – keeps them busy and happy. Rock on, sister ;)

    PS… love your blog!!!

  • Taylor - Wonderful tips!!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • amy cornwell - I love this post! It’s spurring me on to do more hikes with our kids, because Dave & I love to hike and adventure together. You’re so right that we can’t just expect them to grow up being able to do long hikes, they have to work up to it. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - You guys are awesome! I love parents that say, yes, more than no. We’d love to take a hike with you guys someday (well, I should say, I would, I haven’t mentioned it to any of my family (as the idea just popped in my head), but they like to hike and especially love homeschoolers, so I think it would be pretty great). I love the walking backwards idea, and I’m going to show my kiddos “the world’s largest slingshot”, so cool. Hiking is one of our favorite forms of exercise as a family. We were debating on taking our first backpacking trip to Isle Royale this year, but the longer we wait, the more each kid will be able to carry or even walk more (we’ve got two pretty young ones), so it is on the back burner for this year, since we had so many other things going on, and there is only a little bit of window to go.

  • Kaitlyn - Awesome post! What type of carrier do you use for little one? Does Chris normally carry her? I’d love to take my one year old out on a hike but haven’t figured out a way. She is a whopping 35 pounds so I’m not sure how far I personally could go with her on my back! I’d love some tips!

  • Crystal - This is great! Thanks!

  • AshleyAnn - Kaitlyn, We use an Ergo Carrier and I normally do the carrying and had her on my back with this. We have used it pretty much for all of our kids so we have definitely got our money’s worth out of it over the almost 10 years! It has good padding and saves the back a little. It says that its max weight recommendation is up to 45 pounds.

    ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier, Black/Camel

    Chris Campbell

  • Julie B - Perfect timing for this post! (I realize you are in Africa and might never see this, but I’m commenting anyway!).

    We are heading out with our 5, 3, and 1 year old next week to North Carolina. We plan to do lots of outdoor things including hiking. I will definitely use your tips. And we were planning to use our ERGO for the baby. Best carrier ever!

  • {bits & pieces} - […] fun and encouraging look at how to hike (or go on nature walks) with kids! Auntie Leila says that this is pretty much the advice she’d give, if she were to give it, […]

  • Se7en's Fabulous Fun Post #230 - se7en | se7en - […] Really enjoyed Under the Sycamore’s Hiking with Kids non-professional tips!!! […]

  • Kaitlyn - Thanks Chris! I actually a carrier at a yard sale this weekend! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love that! Just say “YES”!

  • Natalie C - That bear picture is just the best!

  • Friday Favorites | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] Simple, yet insightful tips for hiking with kids. […]

  • Stoich91 - Wonderful tips, wonderful photos! I can’t help but notice how healthy your kids are in this photo compared to the kids I see daily at a theme park! lol Thank you so much for sharing, hope I can do this one day with my munchkins!

Several of you asked about our itinerary for our big road trip. I told Chris I feel like I need to make a million disclaimers before sharing this. Chris and I have both traveled overseas and can handle primitive/rustic living conditions. We are both pretty low-maintenance and can ‘go with the flow’. We travel that way. With a big family, we also try to do cheap and free. Mainly free. So, for whatever it is worth, here are some of the places we went and stayed. I don’t recommend them for everyone, but we sure had an incredible time! Most days we woke up and decided what we would do that day…we had a very loose ‘plan’ which allowed us to explore as we found things.

For the most part, we picked one location to camp and then explored several surrounding areas. This method worked well for us.

Below is the itinerary for our trip with a few notes (the blue font designates it links to a post I wrote during our trip):

Steamboat Springs, CO

  • we explored all over this town and surrounding areas for about a week. You can find tons of things to do on the city website.
  • Fish Creek falls – great hike for young kids
  • Sarvis Creek – drove until the road ended and then hiked (really rough, single lane road)
  • Pearl Lake
  • Steamboat State Park
  • Botanical Gardens – kids loved this
  • Dumont Lake – closed access (but we found a way in;))
  • Hiked to the top of the ski slope – drove up as far as we could, then hiked
  • Alpine Slide – my kids loved this
  • Horseback riding – my son and I made a date of this, he soaked it up

Wyman Museum- Craig, CO

Dinosaur National Park (CO, Utah) – we missed this because we got there too late, but it looks cool to explore

Flaming Gorge- Utah

Grand Tetons – it was really cold and snowing while we were here, so we didn’t do as much hiking and exploring as we would have liked

  • Colter Bay – we stayed in a handicap accessible spot in the campground that are a first come-first serve basis if not used. This spot was more spacious than the RV park spots. We really liked Colter Bay.
  • Jackson Hole
  • Jenny Lake
  • South Yellowstone Entrance/Old Faithful area (accessed this part of the park from where we stayed in the Grand Tetons)
  • West Yellowstone (the town) – great taco bus, Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center

Shoshone National Forest

Glacier National Park

  • Avalanche Lake hike – 4 miles, but so worth it
  • Running Eagle Falls – super short walk to the falls
  • Lake McDonald
  • Polebridge
  • Bowman Lake – wish we could have spent more time here (bring bug spray, lots of mosquito), the road is bumpy gravel and single lane (4 wheel drive would be nice)
  • Glacier Campground RV park – this park allows for reservations, so we booked it instead of searching for one in the park. Free laundry service and showers – we really liked this one.
  • Whitefish – we got to visit The Red Caboose – so good!

West Montana

  • Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Bozeman, Montana

  • Palisade Falls
  • Museum of the Rockies
  • Sola Cafe – we just tried the tea & lemonade bar before heading out of town…everything looked yummy though
  • Granny’s Gourmet Donuts – FireCracker got to make her own donut, totally worth it just for that. The donuts were yummy too.

Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Mount Rushmore (take the trail that leads up closer to the monument)

And some of my favorite phone pictures from the trip.

7.14schedule-1

Chris uses the Trip Advisor app tons too….and Google Maps:)

I’ll post more details about living in the trailer and hiking with kids. If you have any questions about our itinerary, you can ask them below. I’ll be in Africa when you read this, but Chris or I will try to answer your questions at some point.

 

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  • Tara - Love this! So inspiring. We are planning to explore some southern states in the next year in our travel trailer. I’m a little nervous on how we (as a family of 6) will manage going from an over 4,000 sq ft home to a 33ft trailer. I would love to see some behind the scenes pictures and tutorals on how to pack, organize, keep the trailer clean, etc.

  • Pamela - Africa? Where in Africa??? Anywhere close?

  • grace - it’s our dream vacation (to hit up all the national parks).
    If possible, could you show a map of where you went? I just want to see how much land you covered.

  • Amanda @ Click. The Good News - Wow- the trip of a lifetime! So glad we readers got to share in this with you- not only the incredible scenery, but the true joy and happiness of your family exploring these places.

  • Heather - Sounds like such an amazing trip – exactly what my husband and I hope to do when the kids are a little older. Our dream is to get an RV and travel around the U.S. during the summertime, so I’m really looking forward to how you all made it work.

  • Kimberly Oyler - thanks for typing all this out! now to just find a roadtrip buddy (or a husband ;))

  • Laura S. - What a glorious trip for your entire family. So happy to hear you are all safe and sound at home. I truly enjoyed every post and picture.

  • Ujjaini - I want to go on an American roadtrip very soon. This is very helpful!

    http://imyownmuse.blogspot.com/

  • Trisha - Memories for your kids that will last a lifetime! LOVE your blog!

  • Agnes - Please share how long your trip took.

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - I’ve always wanted to take the kids to Dinosaur National Park, among many others on your list. I will definitely be bookmarking this post! One of these days we will head out west to explore more. We went to Mt. Rushmore in fall of 2012, it snowed when we arrived and it was awesome, except Mt. Rushmore wasn’t very visible. We stopped back a couple days later and it was clear, so we were able to see its glory, and get some nicer photos. But we were on a time crunch, so next time we will definitely do the trail. We visited Crazy Horse too, which was pretty amazing and chocked full of history. Looks like you guys had an amazing trip. Love seeing all the beautiful photos and reading the stories.

  • Katie Founds - These are so much fun, Ashley! And it was such a joy for me to look at; these are the places I spent my childhood exploring, the mountains I miss so much during this weird season in Kentucky. I love seeing glimpses of you guys as parents and your crazy kids. It’s a ministry in pictures, to be sure :)

  • Ashley - What a great family trip! It inspires me.

  • Sarah - I love following your blog! God Bless you and your adorable family. I was curious if you had any advice on how to find campsites that worked with your Avion and it’s clearance? All of your campsites looked beautiful and remote. We have a similar camper and don’t want to always have to drive into to more formal campsites and have to pay for the hook up’s, etc. to park it. Did you use a phone app or book? Thank you for your help!

  • annaO - My family took a similar camping trip when we were all a little older than your kiddos. We’re from Kansas and went up through Nebraska, South Dakota (saw Mt Rushmore), Montana (Billings and Devil’s Tower), Wyoming (Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and Jenny Lake!) and down through Colorado. These posts have brought back so many memories. I’m 31 and that’s still by far my favorite vacation. I’m so glad you are willing and able to give your kids these experiences. Kudos to you!

  • AshleyAnn - Thanks Sarah! On this trip, since it was one of our first with a trailer, we really tried to reserve sites as best as we could ahead of time for our trailer. We have not really “boondocked” but I believe in a lot of the national forests that it is an option too. If you really like rustic, we saw several folks just parked in the woods, still in designated areas but there I believe for free. I recommend doing the research before you go on the internet and having some set base camps that you can reserve initially. You could then leave a couple of days open where you could move to a different location after you scout out the area. Chris Campbell

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love your ‘plan’. It sounds just my speed!

  • Courtney Ward - Ashley,
    You are the type of mother I hope I can be one day. I love reading about your growing family, your faith, and all of the adventures you guys take. The pictures you take are so incredible. Thanks for your blog!
    Courtney