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Adventurous Getaways in the West

Hit the road—water parks, forest canopy tours, and dinosaur trails beckon.

  • Tyrannosaurus rex skull, image
    Photo caption
    Go hunting for Tyrannosaurus rex skulls on Montana's Dinosaur Trail.
  • evergreen aviation & space museum, image
    Photo credit
    Photo: Courtesy of Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
    Photo caption
    You can't miss the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Just look for a building with a Boeing 747 on the roof.

Need inspiration for your next trip? Think big—T. rex big—when you follow Montana’s Dinosaur Trail (, with 14 stops at state parks, dig sites, and museums, including Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies, home to one of the largest dinosaur fossil collections in the world. Here, a few more ideas to get you rambling.

  • The little-known town of Green River, Wyo., in the state’s southwestern corner is making a name for itself as an outdoor headquarters. Its river-based attractions include a tubing channel and a whitewater park. You can also hop on a mountain bike and speed along single-track trails at the Green River Bike Park.
  • If Northern California calls, consider an exhilarating three-hour adventure from Sonoma Canopy Tours. The experience takes you from treetop to treetop on a guided course of zip lines and sky bridges through towering stands of coast redwoods off the Bohemian Highway near Occidental, California, a little town where the forest opens up to reveal inviting shops and restaurants.
  • Drive southwest into the Willamette Valley from Portland and civilization quickly gives way to bucolic wineries and tiny towns. And then, wham!—you come upon an enormous glass-walled building with waterslides pouring down the front of a Boeing 747 perched on the roof. You’re looking at McMinnville’s Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and its Wings & Waves Waterpark complete with 10 slides, a wave pool, and exhibits about the power of water.
  • There’s more slippery fun at Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Waterpark, just north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. (The theme park reopens May 7, 2016, and the waterpark on June 4, 2016.) The Ricochet Rapids washes riders down an almost vertical tube, swirls them around sharp turns at high speeds, and then tumbles them to a splash landing.

This article was first published in July 2011 and updated in February 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.