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By The Numbers - Gas, Hikes, Food, & Financials - National Park Road Trip Money Guide - Summer 2009

This post is all about the numbers of the trip. I kept pretty detailed records of every expense, fill up, and hike just for this exact purpose.

So, without further ado, take a look at the following statistics.


  • Our longest drive in one day was 955 miles and took us 24 hours.
  • Average cost per mile = .132¢
  • Average miles per gallon = 21.61 in a  Honda Pilot SUV.
  • Drove approximately 5600 miles.  
  • A total of $749.17 in gas.
  • Used 281.5 gallons of gas.
  • Average price per gallon = $2.84


  • On our hikes, we gained close to 5 miles / or 25,000 vertical feet (one way) over the span of the entire trip.
  • Our most ridiculous pace over a sustained period of time occurred on our last hike; the Grand Canyon. Down and up totaling 18 miles, we maintained an average speed of 3.3 miles and had completed the hike in: 6 hours and 30 minutes with breaks, 5 hours and 30 minutes without.
  • Our longest hike occurred in Grant Teton National Park, where we hiked approximately 26.3 miles in about 13 hours.
  • Our average hike length was 14  miles.
  • We hiked a little over 205 miles in just over a month.


  • We spent a total of $334.77 on food, counting the couple of times we ate out. So, we each spent $167.39 on food for 31 days. Not too bad at all. That works out to $5.40 per day. Considering we didn’t starve, that is a pretty good deal.
  • We ate 24 packs of Ramen, 18 servings of pasta, 3 jars of peanut butter, 3 boxes of cereal, 9 cans of tomato sauce, 32 cans of tuna, and close to 50 Power Bars.
  • We each ate over 140,000 calories each over the entire trip. (Assuming an average of 4,500 per day for 31 days = 139,500). Normally over a 31 day span a normal person would eat (assume 2,200 calories per day) 68,000 calories.


  • Car Maintenance = $200
  • Miscellaneous expenses (housewarming gifts, movies, maps, etc.) = 230.63
  • Camping = $357.73 for 21 nights in National Parks, the other 9 nights we couch surfed at friends’ houses. That works out to an average of $17.03 per night.
  • National Park Pass = $80.00 (A must if you are visiting more than 3 parks. They are each from $15 to 25$ a piece, so they add up fast.)
  • Gas = $749.17
  • Food = $334.77
  • Total Cost = $1,952.30 or $976.15 per person for 31 days of road trip awesomeness, or around $31.49 per day.
  • And below you can see a breakdown of our expenses by percentage. We were kind of surprised by how much gas cost. While we did drive a fairly large SUV because we needed the space, if one were to double the mileage we got, you could cut that cost in half. Although I don't know if all our gear would have fit in a prius.