A 2,200-Mile American Road Trip in 50 pictures

After completing a 2,200-mile American road trip solo across the great southwest, my mind is blown. It was not until moving abroad that I came to appreciate the nature and cultural wonders that our great country has to offer. The United States of America is just bursting with so many, that it is hard to explain with words. Many of these places I didn’t even know existed until recently. Here is a run through of my trip in pictures. I start and end in the same suburb of Mira Loma, California.

 

Mile 77

Interstate 15 (near Barstow, CA)

i-15 - American Roadtrip
Just outside of civilization is a wonderful bridge where you can take in this view. It is a corridor on i-15 where people are coming and going to Nevada.

 

Mile 109

Calico Ghost Town (near Barstow, CA)

Calico Ghost Town - American Roadtrip
One of the best preserved ghost towns in the wild west. Thanks to a very generous donation by the Knott family, it has been restored to its original greatness.
Calico - American Roadtrip
I wonder if they actually put those signs outside of bars.

Calico 3 - American Roadtrip

 

Mile 247

Las Vegas, Nevada

Venitian Canal - American Roadtrip
The Venitian Casino is by far my favorite. Now that I have visited the city of Venice, I am surprised how accurate this casino replicates it.
Mirage Volcano - American Roadtrip
The Mirage Volcano show is a free display of pyrotechnics in front of the Mirage Casino. I don’t know if it is new, but I had never seen this one before.
Bellagio Fountains - American Roadtrip
Despite it being a bit cliche, this free water show is still one of my favorites on the Las Vegas strip. Seriously, Macao needs to take notes, because it is nowhere near as fun as Las Vegas.

 

Mile 506

Grand Staircase – Escalante (near Kanab, Utah)

Grand Staircase - Escalante - American Roadtrip
With nearly 1.9 million acres of land (7700 square kilometers), there is beauty at every turn. There are over a dozen amazing hiking trails, some of them in the great American wilderness.

 

Mile 588

Antelope Canyon (near Page, Arizona)

Antelope Canyon - American Road Trip
Antelope Canyon was actually the inspiration to go on this road trip. Even with my terrible photographer skills, you can see how beautiful it is.
Antelope Slot Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a “slot canyon” which has a very minor crack to let light, wind, and water in. The limited light provide an AMAZING effect.

 

Mile 601

Horseshoe Bend (near Page, Arizona)

Horseshoe Bend - America Road Trip
My first two visits to the Grand Canyon were nothing like this. While I did enjoy the north rim, this view lets you really appreciate the magnitude of it all.
Grand Canyon Horseshoe Bend - American Road Trip
The Horseshoe Bend of the Grand Canyon is where the Colorado River makes a 270 degree turn around a portion of the canyon. It is an extremely rare treat that such a magnificent view only requires a 1/4 mile hike! Unfortunately, you really need a wide lens to get the entire bend on camera, so come prepared wouldbe photographers!

 

Mile 615

Lone Rock Campground (near Page, Arizona)

Lone Rock - American Road Trip
My first night out in a tent turned out to be one of the best. Lone Rock is an isolated lakefront campground with very few visitors.
Lone Rock Night Beach - America Trip
Those are not smudges in the background! This long exposure shot actually got some stars in the background!
Stars Lone Rock - American Road Trip
This doesn’t do justice to the spectacle that was the night sky over Lone Rock. My sole reason for buying a tripod was to photograph stars, but unfortunately, I’m not very good at it.

 

Mile 720

Navajo Nation Sunrise (Northeast Arizona)

Navajo Nation Sunrise - American Road Trip
Many American “scenic roads” have what are called “view points” where you can stop and enjoy the scenery. It is a great place to stretch out too if you have been driving for a while.

 

Mile 811

Clouds over New Mexico (near Bloomfield, New Mexico)

Clouds New Mexico - America Roadtrip
Had to fill up before Chaco Canyon. They warned me that there is no gas for 60 miles in any direction.

 

Mile 901

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (south of Farmington, New Mexico)

Chaco Culture - United States Road trip
Chaco Culture used to be one of the largest meeting places of Pre-European America. Around 1000 AD, it was booming with great houses built by the Pueblo Native Americans, but visited by the Hopi, and Navajo among others. This place loss importance around 1250 CE, long before the first colonists.
Supernova Petroglyph - US road trip
My 5-hour round trip hike was rewarded with this legendary petroglyph. It is a drawing from around 1054 AD where the Pueblo Indians witnessed and drew a giant explosion in the sky. The same explosion is noted by Europeans, Arabs and the Chinese, but likely viewed all over the world. It was a supernova about 6000 light years away that gave birth to what we now know as theCrab Nebula. It is said to have been so bright, you could see it in the daytime for three months and was about a third the size of the moon at night.
Chaco Cactus - USA Road Trip
Desert plant life can be just as beautiful as what you see in a forest.

 

Mile 935

Exiting Chaco Canyon by Dirt Road (near Farmington, New Mexico)

Dirt Road Chaco - US Roadtrip
Getting in and out of Chaco Culture National Historical Park requires driving through 15 miles of dirt road. At this part, the road crosses a wash, which means that during heavy rains, you are stuck either inside or outside of the park.

 

Mile 1034

The Road to Mesa Verde (near Mancos, Colorado)

Mesa Verde Road - USA road trip
The road that leads to Mesa Verde National Park by missionaries Dominguez and Escalante in 1776. They were using a Spanish guide and local Indian help to establish a road that linked New Mexico’s missions with those in Monterrey, California.

 

Mile 1090

Mesa Verde National Park (near Cortez, Colorado)

Pueblo Cliff Dwellings - American Road Trip
The Native Americans in the Mesa Verde area made their villages on grooves on the side of cliffs. The Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde are over a thousand years old. Mesa Verde National Park is the only cultural National Park in America, and the US’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mesa Verde 2 - US Road Trip
Panoramic view from the top of the Mesa Verde Plateau.

 

Mile 1244

Wilson Arch on Hwy 191 (near Moab, Utah)

Wilson Arch Moon - American road trip
I got very sleepy on the road and pulled over on the nearest pullout. I didn’t expect to sleep under such an amazing arch, a good 30 miles away from any town or sign of civilization. This sunrise picture has the moon sneaking in on the top right. This place is apparently popular, as I had many truckers pull over and sleep in the same spot. The night views were also amazing!

 

Mile 1290

Arches National Park (near Moab, Utah)

Delicate Arch - Roadtrip USA
The delicate arch is an icon of Utah, so I just had to see it. The moderate hike in the morning was totally worth it as the crowds picked up later in the day.
Double O hike - Road trip USA
The path to see the Double O arch leads you to this high rise path with cliffs on both sides. It is definitely not for those with acrophobia.
Double O Arch - American road trip
The final arch in one of the most photogenic hikes I’ve ever been on. The famous Double O Arch in Arches National Park.

 

Mile 1334

Black Dragon Canyon (near Green River, Utah)

Black Dragon Canyon - Road Trip United States

 

Mile 1522

Surprise Snow on the way to Bryce Canyon! (Panguitch, Utah)

Snow Panguitch - American Road Trip
A surprise snow storm hit. It was incredibly difficult to drive when the sun went down, but I woke up to this!
8 inches of snow - US roadtrip
Eight inches of snow fell that night, making for a beautiful landscape.
Dixie National Forest Red Canyon - American road trip
The Red Canyon of the Dixie National Forest got a quick cap of snow that was quickly melting.

 

Mile 1552

Bryce Canyon National Park (near Bryce City, Utah)

The Hoodoo Amphitheater of Bryce National Park - American Road Trip
I think I was responsible for the snowstorm the night before. My only regret going on this road trip was that I wasn’t going to see Bryce in the snow. I got my wish. The Hoodoo Amphitheater of Bryce National Park was more amazing than I imagined!
Thor's Hammer Bryce National Park - Road trip USA
This rock is properly named, “Thor’s Hammer.”
The Hoodoo Amphitheater of Bryce National Park 2 - American roadtrip
Another view of the amphitheater from Bryce Point.

 

Mile 1703

Zion National Park (near Springdale, Utah)

Checker Board Mesa Zion NP - American road trip
This “Checkerboard Mesa” was formed by millions of years of erosion.
Driving through a Pass - Merican road trip
One awesome thing about Zion is how you can drive through the mountains and canyons.
Mule in Zion - Merikuh road trip
Mules and horses are for rent, and are required for certain hikes.
Emerald Pool Waterfall in Zion National Park - America road trip
The Emerald Pools of Zion and I have a long history. Eight years ago, I did this hike and sprained my foot at the top. Not only did I have to hop on one foot downhill for a mile and a half, but I was also hundreds of miles from home and had to drive. I was actually scared to attempt this hike again, despite it being relatively easy. While I did lose my footing a few times, it went smoothly without a hitch.
Turkey in Zion - American road trip
A turkey appeared out of nowhere and joined the hike for a while.
Deer Zion - American road trip
A family of deer also made a surprise appearance, stopping traffic for a while.

 

Mile 1732

Virgin River Trading Post (Virgin, Utah)

Virgin Trading Post - America Road Trip
In the American West, there are many places that served as trading posts between Native Americans, the newly formed nation of the United States, and New Spain / Mexico. Some of these have been preserved for historical sake, in many cases becoming overpriced souvenir shops.

 

Mile 1915

Casinos of Primm (Primm, Nevada)

Primm Casinos - America Road Trip
As soon as you cross the border of California into Primm, Nevada, there are a bunch of casinos for eager to gamble Californians. What I didn’t know until this trip was that it is the same on the other side of the border with Arizona, and at a much grander scale since Las Vegas is over a hundred miles from the AZ state line.
Primm rollercoasters
This looked fun, but I am still hesitant to ride it by myself.

 

Mile 1979

Mojave Desert (near Baker, California)

Mojave Desert in California - America roadtrip
Took a turn here on a whim and man, what an amazing drive.
Mojave Desert Joshua Trees - California Road Trip
Here is a closer look at a Joshua Tree. These desert trees are unique to this little corner of California and are actually denser here than in Joshua Tree National Park.
Star Car
At the trailhead of one of the only trails in the desert was this pretty cool car. The owner seems to have made a map of the heavens on his car. I am not an astronomer, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of it, but it looks pretty good!
Union Pacific Mojave Desert - road trip
This Union Pacific train conductor must have the most scenic ride in the country.

 

Mile 2028

Sand Dunes of the Mojave Desert

Kelso Sand Dunes Mojave Desert - America roadtrip
The Kelso Sand Dunes is in a part of the desert also known as the “Devil’s Playground.” I can’t believe it took me so long to venture into this desert wonderland.

 

Mile 2213

Home Again (Mira Loma, California)

Mira Loma, California
While it might be normal in your day to day, nothing feels quite as good as sleeping in your bed after a long trip.

 

The Map!

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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6 thoughts on “A 2,200-Mile American Road Trip in 50 pictures

  • April 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm
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    Great pictures and unbelievable experience! Believe me or not, but the road trip through some states in America has been on my bucket list since I was 16. I hope to finally see the Antelope Canyon which is one of the most beautiful things on this planet in my opinion.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2014 at 9:16 am
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      When I was looking at professional photographer galleries, every one of them had at least one picture of antelope canyon. I was sold at that point. It is definitely worth the hype, and it is much taller than I expected.

      Reply
  • April 27, 2014 at 5:22 am
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    Wow, stunning shots – makes me want to do that road trip!

    Reply

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