Yesterday, we shared three gorgeous road trips to take this winter, today I have two more of the best winter road trips.
Yellowstone National Park sprawls over the Montana-Wyoming border and is a winter wild-life paradise. Winter is the perfect time to see the beauty of the park as far less visitors come this time of year.
Plan for cold weather and bring snowshoes or skis to keep your blood flowing at 7,000 feet when the temperatures dip.
Check out West Yellowstone, the area’s snowmobiling hub. The town also features the excellent Rendezvous groomed nordic skiing area.
Another great option is taking a snow coach from West Yellowstone into the cozy Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Old Faithful area features a dense concentration of geysers and other features plus wildlife such as bison, elk, and wolves.
For visitors that want to take with their vehicles the best course begins at Gardiner, Montana and runs 44 miles, passing Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City. This is the only area of highway in the park that is plowed and open to wheeled public travel this time of year.
To see bison, antelope, elk and several wolf packs visit the Lamar Valley, a sweeping expanse in the northeast portion of the park.
The century-old Chico Hot Springs, about 30 miles north of Gardiner, is a highly recommended stop along the Yellowstone River as you return through the Paradise Valley. Chico has one of the best restaurants in Montana in addition to the natural hot springs pool.
Sunny Sonoran Desert
You could spend the entire winter exploring Arizona’s outdoor attractions, but the Sonoran Desert is not to be missed. It is the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts.
Head to Tucson to join a range of athletes, especially cyclists, who take advantage of the dependable sunshine and bicycling, hiking and running routes.
The Tucson area features five mountain ranges laced with trails, and don’t miss the thigh-burning road-bike ride up to Mount Lemmon to nearly 9,000 feet.
Some of the best trail systems to check out include Sabino Canyon, Rincon Mountains and the Catalina Mountains.
Be sure to check out Saguaro National Park, where you can drive, pedal, or hike through forest of towering cacti up to 200 years old. Saguaros are the largest cactus in the United States.
One attraction not to be missed is a visit to the 21-acre Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Make sure to be at the museum gate in the morning when they open – early is the best time. The grounds include nearly 2 miles of paths, more than 1,200 plant species and 300 animals, including 240 birds.
The Hummingbird Aviary is another attraction not to be missed. Watch as the tiny desert bird’s dart about, sometimes getting close enough you may be able to feel the air distributed by their fast moving wings.