Denver, Colo. to the Grand Canyon Road Trip

The Cliff Palace tour at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

The Cliff Palace tour at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Discover hot springs, ruins and the Old West on this 1,375-mile road trip.

Trip Overview

There are few road trips that take you to the base of 14,000-foot peaks, the heart of red-rock canyons, the front door of ancient ruins, the rim of the Grand Canyon and the rejuventating waters of Colorado’s hot springs like this one.

Start in Denver to sample the Mile High City’s thriving food and art scene. Then head west to Glenwood Springs, Montrose and Silverton. Farther south explore ancient ruins and artifacts in the Mesa Verde National Park area.

Cross into Arizona, stopping at Tuba City for a glimpse into modern-day Navajo life. Continue to Flagstaff, a university town, and then the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

On your way back, visit Durango, take a dip in Pagosa’s hot springs and explore Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Download PDF

Road Trip Itinerary

Start: Denver, Colo.

Along the Way: 6 Hot Springs Soaks Between Denver and the Grand Canyon

Glenwood Springs hot spring pool. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Glenwood Springs hot spring pool. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Colorado is dotted with incredible hot springs and steamy pools. Dip into some of the state’s best on your road trip from Denver to the Grand Canyon.
Read more.

Stop 2: Montrose, Colo. and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

The Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Just 13 miles from the heart of downtown, canyon walls plunge an awe-inspiring 2,700 feet to the Gunnison River below and create a haven for fishing and boating.
Read more.

Stop 3: Mesa Verde National Park and 3 Nearby Hidden Gems

Canyon of the Ancients under the stars. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Canyon of the Ancients under the stars. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

Explore ancient cliffside communities inside the park. Then venture out to the surrounding archaeological sites, farm-to-table restaurants, and vineyards.
Read more.

Stop 4: Monument Valley

View from Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley at the Arizona-Utah border.

View from Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley at the Arizona-Utah border.

Located on the Arizona-Utah border near the Four Corners region, lies sandstone buttes on an iconic stretch of land in the Navajo Indian Nation. Stay at The View Hotel for a room overlooking the Mitten Buttes.
Read more.

Stop 5: Navajo History in Tuba City and Window Rock

Exhibit at the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, Ariz. Photo by Donovan Hanley courtesy of the museum

Exhibit at the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, Ariz. Photo by Donovan Hanley courtesy of the museum

See an intimate glimpse into Navajo history and modern-day life at the Explkore Navajo Interactive Museum or visit Navajo headquarters in a large hogan.
Read more.

Stop 6: Grand Canyon South Rim

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views.
Read more.

Stop 7: Farmington, N.M.

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

Valley of Dreams Badlands in New Mexico’s Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness near Farmington

Ancient history, a local brewery and an overnight in a cave make Farmington a great stop on your way back from the Grand Canyon.
Read more.

Stop 8: All Aboard the Train from Durango to Silverton, Colo.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad on its way back to Durango over the Highline shelf. Photo courtesy of Durango Area Tourism Office

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad on its way back to Durango over the Highline shelf. Photo courtesy of Durango Area Tourism Office

The heart of these two Colorado mountain towns is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Take the round trip or opt for the shorter Skyway Tour.
Read more.

End: Denver