Imagine the open road ahead, the sun casting golden hues on the vast landscapes of the American West. This is the essence of a Western US road trip along Highway 89.

From the spirited streets of Flagstaff to the untamed wilderness at the US/Canada border, this 14-day adventure promises an odyssey of breathtaking vistas, awe-inspiring national parks, and encounters with the heart and soul of the regions you traverse. Dive into this two-week plan, and let this itinerary be your guide to a journey you’ll recount for years to come.

14-Day Western US Road Trip: Highway 89

highway 89 western us road trip day 1
This photo by Manuela Durson

Day 1: Exploring Flagstaff, Arizona

Nestled amidst the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, Flagstaff serves as a captivating starting point for your Western US road trip up Highway 89. The city’s rich history can be explored through its well-preserved downtown, with its blend of vintage charm and modern flair.

As afternoon turns into evening, a visit to the Lowell Observatory offers a chance to gaze into the cosmos, paying homage to the very place where Pluto was discovered. With an array of dining options in the heart of the city, your first night promises a delightful mix of culinary delights and Southwestern ambiance.

highway 89 western us road trip day 2
This photo by Colin D. Young

Day 2: From Flagstaff to Zion National Park

Today, the essence of the American Southwest beckons as you make your way towards Utah. As the miles pass by, a short detour takes you to the Navajo Bridge. This bridge is an engineering marvel, offering expansive views of the Colorado River and echoing the narratives of the Navajo.

Upon entering Zion National Park, you’ll be greeted by crimson cliffs and unique rock formations. The Riverside Walk provides a gentle introduction, allowing you to immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty while the Virgin River’s gentle murmurs accompany you. A stay in Springdale, situated just outside the park, positions you perfectly for tomorrow’s exploration.

highway 89 western us road trip day 3
This photo by Jakub Maculewicz

Day 3: Exploring Zion National Park

Dawn in Zion is a sight to behold. Early risers can embark on iconic hikes, like The Narrows, Observation Point, or Angels Landing, offering unparalleled perspectives of the park’s grandeur. These trails challenge and reward in equal measure, with panoramic views awaiting those who venture to their summits.

As afternoon unfolds, a scenic drive through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway showcases a different facet of the park, with its narrow tunnels and sweeping vistas. Springdale’s local eateries, from cozy cafes to elegant dining, provide the perfect backdrop to reflect on a day of wonder and adventure.

highway 89 western us road trip day 4
This photo by canadastock

Day 4: Zion to Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon National Park

The morning drive whisks you away to Cedar Breaks National Monument, a natural amphitheater painted in reds, oranges, and yellows. The viewpoint here offers a chance to breathe in crisp air and marvel at the intricacies of eroded rock formations.

As the day progresses, the journey continues to Bryce Canyon National Park, a wonderland of unique geological structures known as ‘hoodoos’. These spired rock formations, bathed in the sunset glow, create an otherworldly landscape that appears plucked from a fairy tale. As night falls, the park’s high elevation and clear skies make it a stargazer’s dream.

highway 89 western us road trip day 5
This photo by TomKli

Day 5: Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef National Park

Awaken to a surreal Bryce Canyon sunrise, where the play of light and shadow transforms the landscape moment by moment. Post this ethereal experience, the road beckons you towards Capitol Reef National Park. A land of contrasts, Capitol Reef blends petrified sand dunes, arches, and canyons with verdant orchards, a testament to the early settlers’ ingenuity.

The park’s scenic vistas and historic orchards, set against the backdrop of the Waterpocket Fold—a nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth’s crust—create an environment that’s both rugged and serene. As you nestle down for the night, the silence and vastness of the Utah wilderness envelop you.

highway 89 western us road trip day 6
This photo by Sean Pavone

Day 6: Capitol Reef to Salt Lake City

Leaving behind the wild beauty of Capitol Reef, the route unfolds through Utah’s diverse landscapes, leading you towards the bustling urban center of Salt Lake City. Midway, a stop in Provo offers a delightful pause, where you can explore the city’s cultural attractions or simply indulge in a hearty meal.

Upon reaching Salt Lake City, the state’s capital presents a blend of modernity and history. Visit the famed Temple Square, or explore the city’s burgeoning culinary scene. The juxtaposition of majestic mountains framing a vibrant cityscape provides a fitting end to this day’s journey.

highway 89 western us road trip day 7
This photo by Natali Glado

Day 7: Salt Lake City to Bear Lake, Idaho

Begin your day with the sparkling waters of Bear Lake beckoning you northward. Often dubbed the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its striking turquoise hue, Bear Lake provides a refreshing change of scenery. Enjoy activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, or simply taking a serene walk along its shores.

Treat yourself to the local delicacy – a Bear Lake Raspberry Shake, which has become something of a legend in the area. As the day nears its close, make your way to Logan. Nestled in the heart of Cache Valley, Logan boasts a blend of historic charm and natural beauty, making it the perfect place to unwind.

highway 89 western us road trip day 8
This photo by WitGorski

Day 8: Bear Lake to Jackson, WY

The road from Logan unfolds into a breathtaking montage of mountain vistas and rolling hills, culminating in the majestic peaks of Grand Teton National Park. The Teton Range, with its jagged peaks piercing the skyline, offers an inspiring backdrop for the day’s adventures. Activities like boating on Jenny Lake or hiking some of the park’s accessible trails immerse you in its pristine wilderness.

Wildlife enthusiasts might be rewarded with sightings of moose, elk, and bald eagles. As evening descends, consider setting up camp or staying in a cozy cabin, allowing the natural splendor of the Tetons to envelop you.

highway 89 western us road trip day 9
This photo by Pat Tr

Day 9: Grand Teton National Park

A short drive north brings you to the iconic Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the world. Steaming geysers, cascading waterfalls, and expansive meadows set the stage for today’s explorations. Must-visit spots include the Old Faithful geyser, which puts on its spectacular show approximately every 90 minutes, and the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring.

But Yellowstone’s magic doesn’t end with its geothermal wonders. Its vast expanse shelters a rich array of wildlife, from roaming bison herds to elusive wolves. As the sun sets, the Lamar Valley, often termed America’s Serengeti, is a prime spot for wildlife watching.

highway 89 western us road trip day 10
This photo by Anders Riishede

Day 10: Jackson to Yellowstone National Park

As you transition from Jackson to the vast expanse of Yellowstone National Park, your senses will be immediately captivated. Start your exploration with a visit to Yellowstone Lake. As the largest high-elevation lake in North America, its serene waters reflect the grandeur of surrounding peaks. The beautiful scenery offers moments of tranquil reflection.

From the lakeside, venture to the ethereal Yellowstone Canyon, witnessing the raw power of nature as the Upper and Lower Falls thunder into the depths below. The evening presents an opportunity to immerse deeper into the park’s wonders. Consider joining a ranger-led program, an enlightening experience that sheds light on the intricate ecosystems and rich history of this national treasure.

highway 89 western us road trip day 11
This photo by Jake Eveler

Day 11: Yellowstone National Park

With the vastness of Yellowstone, every day promises new discoveries. Today, set your sights on the lesser-known gems of the park. Begin with a drive through Hayden Valley, a prime location for wildlife spotting – from herds of bison grazing on the expansive meadows to the occasional sighting of a bear or elk. As the journey progresses, reach the steaming terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Marvel at the white travertine formations, continuously shaped and reshaped by the geothermal activity beneath. Conclude your day at the charming town of Gardiner. Situated at the park’s North Entrance, Gardiner offers a blend of comfort and convenience, with delightful eateries and accommodations to recharge for the adventures ahead.

highway 89 western us road trip day 12
This photo by Framalicious

Day 12: Yellowstone to Bozeman, Montana

Start your day by exploring the northern expanses of Yellowstone. As you traverse this region, the park’s diverse ecosystem becomes even more evident, offering chances for wildlife spotting and moments of serenity.

By afternoon, transition from wild landscapes to the vibrant city scene of Bozeman. This bustling Montana city captivates with its mix of culture and history. A visit to the Museum of the Rockies is a must. It is renowned for its vast collection of dinosaur fossils and exhibits on regional history. Come nightfall, Bozeman’s array of cozy accommodations beckon, ensuring a restful night.

highway 89 western us road trip day 13
This photo by larry mcmillian

Day 13: Bozeman to Glacier National Park

An early start sets the tone for a day filled with magnificent vistas. As you make your way to Glacier National Park, the scenery gradually transitions, signaling the proximity of this natural jewel. Upon arrival, Lake McDonald awaits. As the largest lake in the park, its shimmering waters and mountainous backdrop create a serene setting for relaxation or perhaps a leisurely boat ride.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the areas near West Glacier offer a range of accommodations, from rustic cabins to well-equipped lodges, setting the stage for the following day’s adventures.

highway 89 western us road trip day 14
This photo by Zack Frank

Day 14: Glacier National Park to US/Canada Border

Kick off the day by driving the renowned Going-to-the-Sun Road, a marvel that provides panoramic views of Glacier’s pristine landscapes. A mid-route stop for a hike to Hidden Lake is highly recommended; the trail offers sweeping vistas and opportunities to spot local fauna. As the afternoon progresses, head north, with the US/Canada border as your beacon.

Reaching this milestone is a moment of reflection and celebration as you conclude your iconic Highway 89 journey. As the evening draws near, you have a choice: venture into Alberta, Canada, for continued exploration, or find comfort in a nearby US town, reminiscing about the adventures of the past two weeks.