Vacation Planning Maps

From multi-day and multi-city itineraries, to scenic drives filled with history and wildlife, we have a route for you! Choose a selection from one of our three drop-down menus to plan a route to and around the park.


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Denver to the Grand Canyon North and South Rims

Rocky Mountain Magic

Combine alpine scenery and high-altitude hot springs with the desert landscapes and cultural sites of canyon country on this 1,831-mile, 12-day loop.

Start: Denver

Day 1
Denver to Glenwood Springs, CO: 157 miles

Begin your tour by heading straight into the high Rockies on I-70, passing the ski meccas of Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail. Continue west to Glenwood Springs, a lovely town known for its hot springs, water sports, great hiking to Hanging Lake, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs Colorado. Courtesy photo
Click images to enlarge

Day 2
Glenwood Springs to Montrose, CO: 153 miles

Drive I-70 to Grand Junction, then take US 50 south to the natural wonders of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Here, you can hike along the rim (or down into) the world’s deepest narrow canyon—at its deepest, the canyon walls plunge 2,722 feet to the river below. Bunk in Montrose for the night.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Photo by Lisa Lynch

Day 3
Montrose to Mesa Verde National Park: 141 miles

Today’s drive on US 550 south and CO 145 south takes you to historical rather than geological treasures at Mesa Verde National Park. The park protects Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings built between 600 and 1300 AD. Head back to hotels and dining in Cortez, Dolores, or Mancos.

An aerial view of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park. Courtesy photo

Day 4
Mesa Verde NP to Page, AZ: 257 miles

Follow UT 162 west to Bluff in Utah, then US 163 south through Monument Valley, a spectacular collection of buttes made famous by many an old Western. Continue on US 160 west and AZ 98 west to Page, a fun town on the shores of Lake Powell. Go swimming, rent a houseboat and cruise the lake, or explore natural formations like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon (Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours leads trips there and in other slot canyons nearby).

Monument Valley at the Utah Arizona border

Lake Powell

Upper Antelope Canyon near Page Arizona. Photo by Joshua Benally

Day 5
Page to Grand Canyon National Park North Rim: 125 miles

Drive south on US 89 to US 89A north to AZ 67 south through Jacob Lake to see the grandest canyon of them all. Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim is higher, quieter, and accessible from mid-May to mid-October. Hike, look for soaring condors, or kick back on the porch at Grand Canyon Lodge to enjoy the view. Campers can pitch a tent near the rim at the North Rim Campground.

Hiker at Bright Angel Point on the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Day 6
Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim: 211 miles

Though the canyon is only 10 miles across, it takes 5 hours to drive to the busier, more built-up South Rim by backtracking to US 89 south and taking AZ 64 west from Cameron. This website is packed with ideas for what to do when you get there—if you have more time, spend it here.

Sunrise at Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Day 7
Grand Canyon South Rim to Flagstaff, AZ: 88 miles

Spend the day exploring the park, then go south on US 180 to AZ 64 south to Williams, home to myriad attractions like the Grand Canyon Brewery, Bearizona Wildlife Park, Grand Canyon Deer Farm, and the Grand Canyon Railway. Swing east on I-40 to Flagstaff, where you can visit the Lowell Observatory, check out the Museum of Northern Arizona, hike in Walnut Canyon, or get an adrenaline rush at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. Another option: Take US 180 straight to Flagstaff and stop at Lava River Cave en route.

Route 66 goes through Williams, Arizona

Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff Arizona

Day 8
Flagstaff to Farmington, NM: 275 miles

Tour Arizona’s northeast corner today on US 89 north to US 160 east across the Navajo Nation. Major stopping points include Tuba City (see dino tracks nearby), Navajo National Monument (Ancestral Puebloan dwellings), and the Four Corners Monument (be in four states at once!). Finish in Farmington, a hub for outdoor adventures, Native American cultural events, and the arts.

Valley of Dreams Badlands in New Mexico's Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Day 9
Farmington to Durango, CO: 51 miles

Head back into Colorado on US 160 east and drive to Durango, a Western-flavored town beloved by outdoor recreationists. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains and full of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and fly-fishing, Durango is well worth a day of exploration.

Option: Hop on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a super-scenic ride on a historic steam train.

Durango-Silverton Train in autumn.

Day 10
Durango to Alamosa, CO: 149 miles

Get ready for relaxation: Just ahead on US 160 east lies Pagosa Springs, home of a series of naturally heated hot pools, plus a spa, at the Springs Resort. Continue on to Alamosa, where you’ll find several scenic historic railroads, offbeat attractions (such as an alligator farm and UFO watchtower), and the popular San Luis Valley Brewing Company.

Pagosa Hot Springs Resort. Courtesy photo

Day 11
Alamosa to Buena Vista, CO: 101 miles

See a piece of the Sahara in Colorado at today’s destination, Great Sand Dunes National Park. These towering dunes make for unique hiking, sand sledding, and, in early summer, splashing around in a beach-lined Medano Creek. After your stop, take US 285 north past Salida to Buena Vista, both charming small towns on the Arkansas River and centers for kayaking and hiking.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Day 12
Buena Vista to Denver, CO: 123 miles

Conclude your tour with a scenic cruise along US 285 back to Denver. Extra time? Enjoy the capital city’s many attractions, including museums, art galleries, a downtown whitewater kayaking park, Elitch Gardens amusement park, and the Denver Zoo.

End: Denver

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