72-Day National Park Road Trip Route and Map

It's been officially 3 days since I came back from the road trip.  I'd like to share my travel route in case you are also interested in such a trip sometime in the future.  It's well worth it!  In total, we spent 72 days, traveled 11K+ miles (18+ km), 11 national parks, countless national forest, national grassland, and some national monuments and state parks.  I've jot down over 40 journals, and shared my travel stories and photography tips, check them out here.

Day 1 - 57: Eastbound from SF to Chicago (click here for google map details)

Map_Roadtrip Eastbound SF to Chicago

Map_Roadtrip Eastbound SF to Chicago

Map_Roadtrip Westbound Chicago to SF

Map_Roadtrip Westbound Chicago to SF

Some unique experiences to note.

We spent 3 days driving long distance, each over 8.5 hours, and still managed to take some good sunset pictures on Day 60, Day 61, and Day 69

We stayed overnight in the car for 3 times for sunrise. Ironically, none was super successful.

The first time we didn't get the right weather (heavy clouds and drizzle).

The second time too many photographers went straight to the Mesa Arch and almost took all the spots.

And the third time was for moonset but I forgot my memory card in the car (yep, we all make mistakes), and by the time I came back, the moon started to disappear behind the mountains already.

Nevertheless, without these stories, I probably would not have brought back so many unforgettable memories. The great learning is that even with all the uncertainties and the unexpected, we can still make the most out of each day with what's given.

In case you are interested in more logistics, you might be interested in:

Click here to see my 72-day road trip stories and photos.


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