Alright, so it’s no secret that one of the best things about living in the Mile High City is the incredible access to jaw-dropping nature in virtually any direction. This list of road trips from Denver covers all of the compass as you drive to uncover some of the most scenic spots in the USA.
From the mighty Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the red rock deserts of the American Southwest and even the rolling hills of South Dakota, you can get virtually anywhere with this list of the best road trips from Denver.
With so many different Denver road trips to choose from, you’ll have an action-packed itinerary ready for any time of the year. That’s the real beauty of Denver’s conveniently central location.
I’ve lived in the Mile High City for over 12 years. Throughout my time, I’ve done countless incredible road trips from Denver. I’m lucky enough to be a full-time outdoor writer for my day job, so embarking on a nature-filled road trip is part of my job. It’s my mission to give you real, local insights so you can travel like a seasoned pro, and not a tourist.
About this guide to Road Trips from Denver
Inside this guide to the most amazing road trips from Denver, you’ll get expert travel advice about how to beat the crowds along the hottest road trip stops in Colorado and beyond. Here’s what to expect:
- A look at when is the best time to take a road trip from Denver
- The list of the best road trips from Denver to do in a weekend (less than 6-hour drive)
- A look at the best road trips from Denver if you have 4 days (6 to 9-hour drive)
- Where to go on a week-long road trip from Denver (9 hours and up)
- Additional planning resources
When is the Best Time to Take a Road Trip from Denver?
Here’s a little secret about Colorado: literally any time is the best time to take a road trip from Denver. It really depends on what you want to accomplish during your trip and where you’re looking to go.
In general, fall and spring are lower seasons for tourism (and winter – depending on the destination), so if you’re looking for a quieter road trip, these seasons are excellent, especially for the desert and mountain destinations.
Summers are great for mountain locales and as long as you get an early (like 6 am) start at popular Colorado hikes, you’ll have some solitude. Avoid the desert in the summer since it’s deadly hot and not super enjoyable.
Winters can be not as accessible if your plan is to visit the mountains. However, if you’re into ski resorts in Colorado, then winter is certainly the time to travel. I find Moab to be really lovely in winter since it’s virtually empty, but it is cold so pack accordingly.
A Map of the Best Road Trips from Denver
Use this map of the best road trips from Denver to check out where the open road can take you. Whether you have a weekend, days, or weeks there’s an adventure just around the corner.
The Best Road Trips from Denver to Do in a Weekend
If you’re short on time, there’s no lack of day trips from Denver. However, if you have the itch to go on a weekend trip from Denver, these fantastic locations have quite a bit to offer. Each of these road trips from Denver is less than 6 hours away.
1. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Did you know that the largest sand dunes in North America are actually found at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado? Yup, these mystical dunes bubble up from a sacred Native American spring and have, over time, became a huge landmark with over 30 square miles of dunes.
Marked by a seasonally flowing stream (during springtime) these incredible dunes are well worth the visit. Climb to the highest dune – Star Dune, or backpack for a night on the sea of sand.
Watch the night’s sky come to life in this designated Dark Sky area. The views of the dunes from the park’s campground are a must-see too.
The park costs $25 to enter. This is one of the few dog-friendly national parks in the US.
Local Tip: If you plan on visiting multiple national parks in one year, consider picking up the America the Beautiful Pass.
Drive time from Denver: 3 hours 50 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 329 miles
2. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
For a skier’s getaway, look no further than the laid-back town of Steamboat Springs. Situated on the border of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, you can enjoy some of the best tree skiing in the entire mountain west.
If skiing isn’t your thing, don’t worry the Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the perfect Colorado hot springs to soak in. You can also indulge in snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and relaxing in town.
During the summer you can opt to go on an ATV ride, hike to Fish Creek Falls or have an adrenaline-pumping day riding down the mountain bike park at Steamboat Resort.
Drive time from Denver: 3 hours
Drive distance from Denver: 156 miles
3. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
At the edge of Glenwood Canyon, you’ll find an adventure town teeming with hot springs, high-flying gondolas, and a hike that will put you in the heart of a fairytale. Glenwood Springs is a must-do stop on any Colorado road trip itinerary.
Known as one of the most scenic spots in Colorado, Hanging Lake is a bucket list destination. Permits are required to oggle at this unbelievable lake, but they aren’t too hard to come by with a little advanced planning (psst…earlier times mean fewer crowds).
After your hike, you can soak in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. If you still have some hikes in you, be sure to check out some of the amazing nearby hikes in Vail too (perfect for your drive out or back). Explore the town and enjoy Glenwood Springs – one of the best weekend getaways in Colorado.
Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 157
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
As one of Colorado’s best mountain towns, you can’t go wrong with a weekend in Breckenridge. Home to Mt Quandary, one of the easiest 14ers in Colorado you can try your luck with a summit attempt along with one of many other incredible Breckenridge hikes.
Come to town for a festival weekend and enjoy the bright, cheery atmosphere of this mountain town. Eat at Ollies or the Breckenridge Brewery for a post-hike meal.
There are plenty of awesome things to do in Breckenridge for summer, and a visit to the famous wooden troll should be at the top of your list. Other amazing activities include SUPing, Kayaking, biking (road and mountain bikes), as well as camping.
If you have a 4WD vehicle with clearance, make your way up to Crystal Lake for sunset, one of Colorado’s best alpine lakes.
Local Tip: Some of the best free camping near Denver can be found along the many 4WD roads near Breckenridge.
Drive time from Denver: 1 hour 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 81 miles
5. Moab, Utah
Arguably one of the most exciting Denver road trips, Moab makes for a fantastic weekend getaway. From incredibly scenic drives in Moab (don’t miss Gemini Bridges) to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, there are plenty of jaw-dropping things to do in Moab to keep you occupied for a weekend (or three).
Both Mesa Arch and Delicate Arch at sunrise are a must-see, along with other incredible hikes in Arches National Park. For things to do in Canyonlands, you can check out the Grand View Point in the Island in the Sky District of the park or tackle the challenging White Rim Road (advanced permits required).
Rock climbing in Moab is a long-time tradition and everyone needs to climb and rappel off of the Looking Glass Rock at least once (you can hire a guide). If climbing isn’t your thing, consider an adventurous backpacking trip to Druid Arch in the Needles District of Canyonlands.
Drive time from Denver: 5 hours 30 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 355 miles
6. Buena Vista, Colorado
Pronounced “Bew-na vista” this cozy mountain town is a local favorite. Known for its stunning Colorado 14ers (14,000-foot peaks), river rafting, and fishing there is plenty of activities in Buena Vista to keep you occupied.
Home to some of the best free camping in Colorado, this mountain town is one of the more budget-friendly road trips from Denver. There are plenty of reservable (and stunning) Colorado campgrounds too if you prefer to know where you’ll be sleeping.
Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 15 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 123 miles
7. Taos, New Mexico
For a funky, art-filled weekend with Native American cultural flare, head to the town of Taos, New Mexico. Visit the Pueblo to learn all about the first stewards of New Mexico ($16 per person for entry). This stunning living pueblo is a cultural hot spot.
Afterward, head to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge or take a hike down to the natural Black Rock Hot Springs. For eats, head to the Taos Mesa Brewing. This funky Earth Ship brewery features live music, games, and great food.
If you want to dive deeper into the art scene, continue onwards to Sante Fe where you can browse world-class art galleries and even visit fun interactive art such as the Meow Wolf exhibit.
Drive time from Denver: 5 hours 25 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 309 miles
8. Grand Junction, Colorado
Grand Junction, Fruita, and Palisade are arguably some of the most under-rated road trips from Denver. Perfect if you want to head to the desert in winter, but don’t want to shlep it to Moab, the Colorado National Monument is an epically beautiful place to go for a hike or catch a sunset.
Rattlesnake Arches offers some of the best early-season backpacking routes in Colorado. While the spring and fall months Fruita comes to life with epic mountain biking rides, races, and festivals.
Palisade hosts a variety of peach farms and Colorado wineries for those that want to relax after a hike with some vino. Staying on a fruit farm is a real treat that can’t be missed.
AirBnBs tend to be really reasonably priced and you can easily spend a weekend exploring Grand Junction. As the locals say, west slope – best slope.
Drive time from Denver: 4 hours
Drive distance from Denver: 243 miles
9. Vedauwoo Recreation Area, Wyoming
Another easy getaway from Denver, Vedauwoo makes for an excellent weekend road trip from the Mile High City. First, you don’t have to contend with I-70 mountain traffic, but you’ll be world’s away from the city.
This wild landscape appears out of seemingly nothing. Tall, wide, and whacky rock formations jut out of the plains. The state park includes plenty of hiking, climbing, and mountain biking to explore these odd lumps of rock.
Off-width climbers from all over the world flock here to get beat up on the jagged routes. If climbing isn’t your thing, you can bike, hike, and drive around the odd formations. After you’ve had your fill of the weird, head into Laramie for a bite to eat and check out the Lairame Base Camp gear shop.
Plenty of dispersed camping options are available and there is one campground.
Local Tip: Check the wind forecast before heading out – Vedauwoo gets painfully gusty.
Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 15 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 430 miles
10. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
Alright, so you may be raising an eyebrow about heading east out of Colorado, but Lake McConaughy is a pretty special place. In fact, it’s the closest you’ll ever feel to the ocean anywhere within a weekend’s drive from Denver.
Don’t let the sleepy farm towns fool you, Lake Mac is a happening place. Ample boating, fishing, beach camping, and watersports await you in this slice of Americana.
The sugary soft sand of Sandy Beach is a must-see. This place can get pretty rowdy with RVs, but there’s always a soft spot to pitch a tent (or have a giant tractor tow your rig onto the beach). For those that prefer a roof over their heads, the North Shore Lodge has trailers and cabins to rent.
Local Tip: If the weather is yucky in the mountains, this is usually one of the best road trips from Denver to escape the dreaded summer storms.
Drive time from Denver: 3 hrs 30 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 229 miles
12. Rocky Mountain National Park
Okay, so this is one of the shortest road trips from Denver, but with so many amazing things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll definitely want to book a weekend here.
Home to some of the most scenic drives near Denver, you’ll certainly want to check out the famous Trail Ridge Road. Avid hikers must do the Emerald Lake hike for sunrise while those who want more of a challenge might want to check out nearby Sky Pond too.
There is ample wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park and one day in Rocky Mountain should let you see a variety of animals from elk to marmot. For the best wildlife experience, plan on arriving early and hitting up the best Rocky Mountain NP hikes early in the morning before they get busy with people.
Local Tip: In 2021 there is a required reservation system in place for Rocky Mountain until mid-October.
Drive time from Denver: 2 hours
Drive distance from Denver: 66 miles
Get to Know the REAL Colorado.
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Amazing 4-Day Road Trips from Denver
If you can get 4 days to explores the best road trips from Denver, then you’ll want to check out these incredible destinations. Since the drive times are over 6 hours, you’ll want at least 2 full days to explore these must-see hot spots.
13. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Grand Canyon, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park certainly delivers drama. The solid granite walls plunge into the Gunnison River a staggering 2,700 feet below the rim.
It’s an impressive site and very beautiful to experience. You can hike to Exclamation Point (aptly named) or Gunnison Point. Just be sure to pick which side of the canyon you want to explore since they are separated by a 1 hr and 45-minute drive.
Alternatively, you can take a boat through the heart of the canyon and see just how imposing the walls are from the water.
Local Tip: Explore one edge one day and the other the next. With a lot to do nearby, this road trip from Denver is best done in 4 days.
You can base yourself in nearby Montrose, Colorado which gives you access to a variety of other destinations (like the San Juans) if you’re on a longer journey or you can opt to stay at one of the rim-side campgrounds (we enjoyed the South Rim Campground).
Drive time from Denver: 5 hours and 10 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 311 miles
14. Thermopolis, Wyoming
The sleepy town of Thermopolis, Wyoming may have never shown up on your radar. But missing this town would be a mistake.
This whacky destination is home to the Hot Springs State Park. Featuring odd crystal formations spilling into the Big Horn River, a suspension bridge, and a local buffalo herd, it’s a worthwhile weekend trip. There’s even a cooled pool where you can go for a soak after you’re finished exploring this unusual hot spot.
Drive time from Denver: 6 hours 11 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 407 miles
15. Mesa Verde National Park
As one of the best national parks in the US, Mesa Verde needs to be on your bucket list. Home to the ancient Ancestral Puebloan People, this is one of the best ruin sites that you can access in the US.
The mysteries of the great civilizations of the American Southwest are utterly captivating and Mesa Verde encompasses that spirit. Be sure to check out the Cliff Palace and Balcony House to experience the engineering marvels and great feats people went through to live in this environment.
Although you can’t enter many of the dwellings in order to preserve them, the viewpoints are utterly jaw-dropping. A guided ranger tour is also a must, so you can really learn about the unique history of this area.
Drive time from Denver: 6 hours 42 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 369 miles
16. Zion National Park, Utah
As one of the most beautiful national parks, the stunning canyons of Zion National Park are a bucket list item for many people. The lush canyon floors contrast with staggeringly large red rock canyon walls.
You’ll find many of the best hikes in Utah within Zion National Park and for good reason. The landscape just bursts with color. Be sure to check out Angel’s Landing and the Subway to get a sense of the park from up above and down below.
Local Tip: If you want to enjoy the scenic drives in Zion, you’ll need advanced reservations.
Drive time from Denver: 9 hours 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 636 miles
17. The San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Honestly, you’ll need a lifetime to truly explore the magic of the San Juan Mountains. Telluride, Silverton, and Ouray are the three major towns in the area to have a home base.
Telluride is isolated (one major way in and out) but embodies a quintessential mountain town. Some of Telluride’s best hikes include the stunning Blue Lake as well as Bridal Veil Falls – one of Colorado’s best waterfall hikes. Thrill-seekers should give the Telluride via Ferrata a try.
Adventurous drivers can make their way over Black Bear Pass, the most dangerous road in America (4WD required) to get to nearby Silverton and Ouray.
Here you’ll find incredibly beautiful scenery including the Million Dollar Highway and the Alpine Loop – two of Colorado’s most scenic drives. The Million Dollar Highway is accessible by passenger car, while the Alpine Loop is a must-do adventure with a side-by-side rental.
The Ice Lake Basin hike offers up picture-perfect mountain scenery (closed in 2021). With plenty of dispersed camping, cabin lodging, and campgrounds nearby, there is accommodation for every type of adventurer.
Drive time from Denver: 5 hours 30 minutes (Ouray)
Drive distance from Denver: 333 miles (Ouray)
18. White Sands, New Mexico
Living up to its namesake, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico features gypsum crystal sand that’s as white and soft as it gets. This super-small park is easily accessible from the highway which makes it an easy add-on to other nearby Denver road trips such as Sante Fe and Taos.
What I love about this park is that it’s really striking and almost unbelievable in the surrounding landscape. You’ll want sunglasses even in cloudy weather. Unfortunately, you can’t stay in the town, but Alamogordo is the nearest town.
Drive time from Denver: 9 hours 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 599 miles
19. Grand Staircase Escalante, Utah
As one of the Continential US’s last frontiers, Grand Staircase Escalante is a desert hiker’s paradise. Of course, be prepared for desert hiking with all of the essentials at this off-the-grid location.
Head down Hole in the Rock Road for some of the most iconic slot canyons in Utah. This area is super remote with limited cell phone service and zero services. If you plan on desert camping, be sure to check in with the Escalante Ranger Station (in Escalante) to get the latest conditions and your free camping permit.
Peak-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon are a great adventure for the newbie canyon explorer. Avid backpackers will want to check out Reflection Canyon, one of the best hikes in Escalante.
This off-the-grid locale is perfect for the avid desert dirtbag. You’ll want a vehicle with higher clearance to reach the end of Hole in the Rock Road, where you can peep into Glen Canyon and see the stark contrast of smooth red rock and deep water.
Drive time from Denver: 9 hours
Drive distance from Denver: 533 miles
20. The Wind River Rage, Wyoming
If you’re embarking on one of the longer road trips from Denver through Wyoming, you may notice the stunning, rugged Wind River Range. Honestly, it’s hard to miss this incredibly jagged mountain range.
These remote, untouched peaks inspire climbers, hikers, and backpackers from all over the world. Boulder, Wyoming is the nearest town (best burger ever after a few days in the Winds!).
Most people come here for remote backpacking and alpine climbing. The Cirque of Towers and Titcomb Basin are classic routes. Seneca Lake and Dad Lake are two other (easier) routes to explore too.
Drive time from Denver: Approximately 7 hours 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 411 miles
21. Monument Valley, Utah
Located in the Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley is on virtually everyone’s bucket list. Be sure to drive the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway, and hike the Wildcat Trail. You can even hire a Navajo guide to learn more about their heritage and the sacred nature of their land.
There are also a few Ancestral Puebloan cave dwellings and rock art pieces to visit as well.
This is a dark sky territory and you can certainly get serious with your astrophotography skills. Nearby Mexican hat and Valley of the Gods offer up some unique geology and scenic driving if you’re interested in getting off the grid in the desert.
Local Tip: You’ll likely want to combine this stop with another road trip from Denver for a complete 4 days.
Drive time from Denver: 8 hours 5 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 504 miles
Note: The Navajo Tribal Park is currently closed until further notice due to COVID 19.
22. Bryce Canyon National Park
If you want to experience where the mountains meet the red rock desert, then spend a few days exploring Bryce Canyon National Park. Tall, red-rock hoodoos or rock spires jut out in every direction in this stunning canyon system.
You can easily beat the crowds and experience Bryce Canyon in one day, but two days will allow you to explore more leisurely. If you’re looking to tackle the best hikes in Bryce Canyon, then a few days will allow you plenty of time to explore.
Local Tip: Spend a day in Escalante, then head to Bryce Canyon if you want a taste of the desert from different regions.
Make sure to catch a sunrise at Inspiration Point and then head on a hike through the hoodoos on the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop Trail. The natural Bridge is a show-stopping viewpoint that shows you just how rock can be eroded by the wind.
There are plenty of places to stay, including a campground in nearby Bryce. If you’re looking to camp, there are free, dispersed campsites right near the park entrance or you can opt to stay in a Bryce Canyon National Park campground (reservations required).
Drive time from Denver: 8 hours 40 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 540 miles
23. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone is arguably one of the most famous national parks. Unique geology gives way to explosive geysers and gem-colored pools. Not to mention all of the rich minerals attract all sorts of wildlife from grizzly bears to wolves.
This park gets JAM packed, so it’s essential to start before dawn if you want to get ahead of the crowds. You’ll want at least 2 days to fully experience the park. Of course, see a geyser such as Old Faithful and make a stop at the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs.
But also be sure to check out Artist’s Point – the “grand canyon” of Yellowstone. The lesser-visited west side of the park brings you the best chance to spot wolves (be sure to arrive early).
Local Tip: There is a LOT to see in and around Jackson Hole. Consider making this a week-long trip so you can experience the entire area.
Drive time from Denver: 8 hours 50 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 543 miles
24. The Black Hills, South Dakota
From Mount Rushmore to the iconic Devil’s Tower the Black Hills Region of South Dakota is worth some exploring. There are ample opportunities to camp, hike, and explore the pine forests of the Black Hills.
This is also Sioux territory. A fierce Native American tribe that holds tight to their heritage, so if you’re interested in learning about the complex (often upsetting) history of Native Americans in the American West, then the Black Hills are for you.
Don’t forget to visit Wind Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park for a fun-filled few days in South Dakota.
Drive time from Denver: 6 hour 10 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 374 miles
The Best Week-Long Road Trips from Denver
These drives are quite a schlep, but if you’re looking to take an extended Denver road trip, then you can’t go wrong with these long drives. Some of the areas have so much to do, you’ll want a week away.
25. Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona
Kanab and Page are about an hour and a half apart, but they each offer a slice of incredible desert landscapes that can’t be missed. In fact, you can find many of the best hikes in Utah right along the border, halfway in between these two destinations.
If your mission is to explore the Glen Canyon Recreation Area by boat or the famous Horseshoe Bend, then Page should be your home base. If you’re more interested in desert drives and hikes, base yourself in Kanab, Utah.
Local Tip: The time changes for part of the year in Arizona, so keep your GPS handy to tell the time!
There are plenty of things to do in Page or Kanab. A fan favorite is certainly the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch trail (permits required). Buckskin Gulch is a whopping 15-miles long – the longest known slot canyon in the world. Even just 5 miles into this never-ending labyrinth is a must-do.
Other amazing hikes near Page or Kanab include the famous Wave (permits required) and Antelope Canyon.
For desert drives, make your way to White Pocket (4WD required) and see weird and whacky wave formations – a great alternative if you can’t snag an elusive Wave permit.
Drive time from Denver: 9 hours 30 minutes (Kanab), 10 hours (Page)
Drive distance from Denver: 610 miles (Kanab), 627 miles (Page)
26. Big Bend National Park, Texas
If you want to experience a different side of the desert, then make the long drive to Big Bend National Park in Texas. One of the top National Parks to visit in winter, Big Bend is a real Texas beauty.
Since there is no major town nearby, the park often gets overlooked. But what it lacks in infrastructure it makes up for in beauty. Backpacking options exist for the avid desert dweller, but otherwise, there are plenty of hikes and scenic drives.
Break up the drive by making stops at Santa Fe (halfway) or Carlsbad. Or opt to hit the high point of Texas – Guadalupe Peak (8,250′) in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Local Tip: Lop back to Denver via Durango and the San Juans for a complete road trip from Denver.
Drive time from Denver: 14 hours, 41 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 861 miles
27. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
For out-of-this-world beauty, no place comes close to the inspiring landscapes at the Grand Canyon. The sheer size of this immense canyon is virtually impossible to comprehend. The national park is split into two sections, the North and South Rim. Since there are no bridges over the canyon, you’ll have to drive over 4 hours to reach each rim.
There are many different things to do in the Grand Canyon from donkey rides to rugged backpacking trails. Simply pick whatever suits your mood and go for it.
If you’re looking to experience the best Grand Canyon Viewpoints, you’ll want to make time to visit each side of the Canyon. The famous South Rim gets all the press thanks to the impossibly steep drops, but it’s the quieter North Rim where you’ll find impressive viewpoints like Point Imperial (pictured) and Cape Final.
Don’t miss out on the amazing North Rim of the Grand Canyon hikes. Since this side of the park sits 1,000 feet higher than the south side, you’ll get a true bird’s eye view of the canyon system.
Local Tip: The North Rim is only open from May 15th through October 15th due to snow.
Drive time from Denver: 12 hours 15 minutes (north rim)
Drive distance from Denver: 749 miles (north rim)
28. Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley National Park near Las Vegas
There are a surprising amount of day trips from Las Vegas that involve getting deep into nature. You shouldn’t miss Red Rock Canyon. You’ll find incredible hiking, desert mountains, ancient ruins, and world-class rock climbing along the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive just 30 minutes from Sin City.
Or spend the day exploring Valley of Fire state park where you can embark on short hikes that crawl across rocks as red as hot coals or take the scenic drive through the park.
If you’re up for more exploring, consider spending two days in Death Valley National Park. As one of the largest national parks in the US, there is quite a bit to see. From the stunning Dante’s View (5,575′) to the lowest point in the US – Badwater Basin (-282′) you’ll have plenty of ground to cover.
Don’t miss out on these Death Valley hikes (just leave early and bring plenty of water) to experience this whacky landscape. Take a scenic drive down Artist’s Drive to see the mineral-stained rock formations that cascade to the valley floor.
Who knew Sin City had so many unique landscapes?
Drive time from Denver: 11 hours 20 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 749 miles
29. Red Rock Country in Sedona, Arizona
If drooling over red rocks and deep green pinion pines is your thing, the Sedona is your place. There are plenty of amazing Sedona hikes to check out, including the famous vortex hikes – where you can (possibly) feel special energy.
Even if you aren’t into the woo-woo stuff, the scenery is stellar. It’s expensive to stay here and camping is hard to come by, but it’s worth it to drool over the endless beauty of the red rocks.
Hike to the famous Devil’s Bridge for sunrise (recommended to beat the crowds), then drive the famous Schnebly Hill Road (4WD required).
Nearby Oak Creek has plenty of reasonably priced eats and the Bell Rock hiking area – home to a few of the best hikes in Arizona – delivers big on sunset views. Cap it all off with a new age massage and you’ll have the complete Sedona experience.
Local Tip: Avoid this place during the summer and Spring Break – it gets epically crowded!
Drive time from Denver: 11 hours 35 minutes
Drive distance from Denver: 706 miles
30. BONUS: Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California
Alight. So technically Lake Tahoe is a 2-day road trip from Denver. It’s far – like mega far. However, since you pass by many of the best road trips from Denver (like Moab, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, and more) it’s a great Denver road trip if you’ve got 10 full days.
There are so many summer activities in Lake Tahoe. One must-visit hot spot is Emerald Bay where you can choose from a variety of Lake Tahoe hikes to suit your mood. Afterward, take a refreshing dip in one of Tahoe’s best beaches, then catch a sunset at the famous Cave Rock.
The next day you can opt to explore the best views of Lake Tahoe – a true jewel of the mountains. Yes, the water really is that blue. You’ll want to spend at least 3 days in Lake Tahoe to make the most of your time.
Drive time from Denver: 16 hours
Drive distance from Denver: 1,011 miles
Additional Road Trips from Denver Planning Resources
Planning a camping road trip from Denver? I’ve got you covered with these additional planning resources: