Taking an iconic road trip across the United States is a classic bucket list item for so many people. The biggest challenge is determining where to go! This Denver to Moab road trip offers some of the most stunning scenery in the United States as you venture from the mountains of Colorado to the canyons and rock arches of Utah.
Of course planning this epic adventure can be challenging, but in this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know when doing a Denver to Moab road trip. This includes:
- Need to know information about the route
- Best time of year to travel Denver to Moab
- Top things to do and places to stay in Denver and Moab
- Where to stop between Denver and Moab
- Best potential add-ons for your trip to see the best of Colorado
- 2 itinerary options: Denver to Moab in 3 days and Denver to Moab in 7 days
- What to pack for your road trip
- Additional resources and tips to make your road trip a success
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase.
Plan Your Trip from Denver to Moab
Taking a road trip from Denver to Moab offers a lot of opportunities to explore, but there’s a ton of information to learn before you hit the road on this fabulous adventure.
Let’s answer some of those must-know questions and then we’ll dive into the best stops between Denver and Moab to get your road trip itinerary started!
How far is it from Denver to Moab?
The distance from Denver to Moab is 355 miles if you drive straight through. This makes for an easy day drive or an even better road trip as you’ll pass some of the best scenery in the United States during your drive!
How do I get from Denver to Moab?
Of course the fastest option to get from Denver to Moab would be to fly, but you would miss out on so many wonderful things between the two! Flights tend to be pretty reasonable, costing just a couple hundred dollars, and the flight time is just over one hour.
However, the best option to get from Denver to Moab is to drive. You pass through some stunning scenery, and of course once in Moab you will need to have a car at your disposal to see all of the fantastic scenery!
If you want more options, you can take the bus or train from Denver to Green River, and then rent a car for the last 50 minutes to get to Moab.
Need to rent a car for your road trip from Denver to Arches National Park?
Find affordable cars on Discovercars.com.
How long is the drive from Denver to Moab?
A direct drive from Denver to Moab will take right around 5.5 hours to cover the 355 miles. You will spend most of your drive on Interstate 70 (i70). Then once you enter Utah you will be veering South on Route 128 or 191 to head directly into Moab.
If you want to take the more scenic route to Moab, take Route 128 from i70. You’ll pass by Fishers Towers, a series of towers made of sandstone and caked with a stucco of red mud, and Castle Valley, a small town known for its castle-like rock formations.
Most Scenic Route Denver to Moab
As touched on above, there is more than one route to get from Denver to Moab, but the best route will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery. In short, it’s simply:
- Head west from Denver on Interstate 70 until you cross into Utah
- Once in Utah, take Interstate 70 Exit 214 onto Utah Route 128
- Follow Route 128 into Moab
How many days do you need in Moab?
Give yourself at least 3 days in the Moab area. If you are an avid outdoor explorer, you could easily spend a full week in the area. You’ll want at least one day in Arches National Park, one day in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, and another for the Needles District of Canyonlands.
While you could certain do a road trip from Denver to Moab over a long weekend, you’d have to miss a number of stops along the way, and it would leave you longing to return to Moab to take advantage of the rich activities found in the area.
We’ll cover this in more depth below in the suggested itineraries, ranging from 3 days to 7 days.
Best Time of Year to Road Trip from Denver to Moab
If you’re trying to determine the best time of year to road trip from Denver to Moab, it really depends.
Typically, the best time to road trip from Denver to Moab is Spring or Fall. The roads should be clear of snow and the weather is ideal for hiking. An extra bonus in the fall is the changing of the leaves in the mountains – particularly the aspens which turn a bright yellow color. It’s a real treat!
Alternatively, you can opt to go in Summer when most schools are out and travel season is at its peak. Just be aware that summer temperatures in Moab can soar past 100 degrees Fahrenheit making it less pleasant to explore upon arrival in Moab. Pack sun protection and lots of water if you choose to travel in summer!
If you’re an avid skier, you may also be interested in making this trip in the shoulder ski season to try and fit in some skiing in the famous ski towns of Breckenridge, Vail, or Aspen. Just try to avoid the dead of winter when snow and ice can really complicate your trip!
Your Denver to Moab Road Trip Map
Want to know where your road trip will take you? Let’s take a look at a map to see all of the best stops on this popular route from Denver to Moab.
On the map, you can see the stops further off Interstate 70 tend to be what I consider “Optional” as they will add a great bit of time to your drive and travel. However, they are also iconic locations, like Rocky Mountain National Park, the Maroon Bells, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Where to Stop between Denver and Moab
Let’s dive into where to stop on your Denver to Moab road trip!
When driving from Denver to Moab, you will pass some amazing natural sights, as well as some great resort towns. Give yourself time to take it all in and really explore this beautiful part of the United States.
Note that this road trip itinerary from Denver to Moab can take as little as one day if you drive straight through or it can be the basis of a one week itinerary or more.
1. Denver, Colorado: Starting Point
Denver is known as the Mile High City due to its elevation being, you guessed it, a mile above sea level. If you’re just visiting, spend a day in Denver to explore this beautiful capital of Colorado before heading out. After all, there are plenty of stunning sightseeing opportunities in and around the city.
Not to mention if you’re visiting Denver from out of town, you may need a day or so to get used to the altitude to avoid altitude sickness. It’s a real risk out here in the Rocky Mountains!
Best Things to Do in Denver
Here are some of the top things to do in Denver:
- Take a free tour of the Colorado State Capitol (available on weekdays) which sits 5,280 feet above sea level. If you climb up to the rotunda you can see a panoramic view of the mountains in the distance. Make sure to also locate the Mile High Step which has a marker on it.
- Explore downtown Denver including the 16th Street mall, Union Station, the historic LoDo (Lower Downtown) District, and the colorful RiNo (River North) Art District.
- Visit the famous Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre and take a short hike around the giant red rocks in the area.
- Taste all of the local delicacies with a Denver food tour, beer tour, or cocktail tour.
If you’re local to Denver, don’t delay, hit the road!
See all of the Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado.
Where to Stay in Denver
Plan to stay overnight in downtown Denver to make the most of your time before hitting the road to Moab. I recommend staying in Lower Downtown (LoDo) near Union Station or in River North (RiNo), the arts district of Denver. These hotels never disappoint!
Learn more about Where to Stay in Denver: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels.
2. Optional: Rocky Mountain National Park
If you haven’t made it from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park, now is your chance! It will add a couple of hours to your drive but you will be rewarded with stunning views and hiking throughout Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as time to explore the fabulous Estes Park.
Best Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park
Here are three of the can’t miss opportunities at Rocky Mountain National Park and in Estes Park:
- Hike one of the 200+ hiking trails through the park. Two of the best are the 3.3 mile Emerald Lake Trail or the 9.4 mile Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail.
- Drive Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park for stunning mountain views. Note that it is only open in the summer months as they have to wait to clear all of the snow at the higher elevations.
- Check out the famous, haunted Stanley Hotel used as the inspiration for Stephen King’s bestselling novel and subsequent film, The Shining. It’s located in Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Cost: $30 Day Pass or included in the $80 America the Beautiful Annual Pass. If you’re headed to Moab, the Annual Pass is a great bargain as it will get you into all of the National Parks for a year!
Distance from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park: 65 miles / 1 hour 20 minutes
Learn about the 12 Best Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park!
Breckenridge is best known as a world-class ski town. Situated in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find amazing skiing in the winter and great hiking in summer time. In downtown, you’ll find the Historic Main Street offers a quaint mountain vibe with no skyscrapers, chain hotels, or chain restaurants.
Best Things to Do in Breckenridge
Outside of skiing, extreme sledding, and hiking through Breckenridge, there are a few other key things to do while you’re in town:
- Stroll through the picturesque downtown, visiting the boutiques and admiring the crafts and souvenirs.
- Seek out the Breckenridge Troll located just a short walk from central Breckenridge.
- Do a bike and beer tour that takes you through Breckenridge to some of the best breweries and distilleries in town.
- Ride the free Breckenridge Gondola from town up to Peak 8 Base Area for great mountain views and hiking opportunities in the area.
- Descend over 1,000 feet into the ground on a gold mine tour. You’ll get to explore the historic tunnels and try gold panning!
Distance from Denver to Breckenridge: 80 miles / 1 hour 40 minutes
Distance from Rocky Mountain National Park to Breckenridge: 107 miles / 2 hours 30 minutes
Check out How to Find the Breckenridge Troll!
Another great stop when driving from Denver to Moab is Vail, one of the best known mountain towns. If you’re visiting outside of ski season, there are still plenty of other great reasons to stop by this beautiful ski resort town.
Best Things to Do in Vail
Here are the top things to do in Vail, outside of skiing:
- Stroll through the picturesque Vail Village to check out all of the shopping and restaurants in the area. Or, explore it on a 2 hour Segway tour.
- Visit the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden in the United States at 8,250 feet above sea level.
- Fly down the mountains on the Forest Flyer, an alpine coaster, at Vail Ski Resort. It’s an impressive 3,400 feet long and offers a unique way to view the area.
Distance from Breckenridge to Vail: 36 miles / 45 minutes
5. Glenwood Springs
Home to some of the best hot springs in the area, Glenwood Springs is a perfect stop for your Denver to Moab road trip itinerary. You’ll be able to visit some of the most popular hot springs in the Rocky Mountains and have stunning scenery at the fabulous Hanging Lake.
Best Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Some of the don’t miss opportunities in Glenwood Springs include:
- Soak in one of the three hot springs attractions in the area, including Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which is home to the largest hot springs pool in the world!
- Visit a natural geothermal steam bath at Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves.
- Hike up to the beautiful Hanging Lake. This 3 miles out and back hike packs a serious punch with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Fortunately, you’ll be rewarded at the top with stunning views of Hanging Lake and a number of waterfalls. Make sure to get a hiking permit for Hanging Lake in advance!
- Do a half day of whitewater rafting through Glenwood Canyon.
Distance from Vail to Glenwood Springs: 60 miles / 1 hour
Know what to pack for a day hike with the Essential Day Hike Packing List.
6. Optional: Aspen
From Glenwood Springs, you can take a side trip down to Aspen to see one of the most photographed parts of the Rocky Mountains, Maroon Bells.
Unfortunately, due to the limited mountain roads, you’ll need to pass through Glenwood Springs on your way back from Aspen and Maroon Bells, but don’t let that deter you. It’s beautiful and just a short jaunt out of the way!
Best Things to Do in Aspen
Here are some of the best things to do in Aspen:
- Drive the scenic 20-miles through Independence Pass, one of the highest roads in North America. It takes you through hair pin turns, along the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet above sea level. There are plenty of pull offs where you can stop for jaw dropping pictures of the vistas.
- Enjoy the serenity of the John Denver Sanctuary which offers beautiful gardens and a family friendly atmosphere.
- Visit one of the largest and most popular ski areas in the United States at Snowmass. It also has one of the best snowboarding schools in the US.
Distance from Glenwood Springs to Aspen: 40 miles / 55 minutes
7. Optional: The Famous Maroon Bells
Located just 10 miles outside of Aspen, the twin peaks of Maroon Bells rise over 14,000 feet high and are some of the most photographed mountains in North America. Due to their popularity, you’ll need to reserve your visit online before you go.
Best Things to Do at Maroon Bells
At Maroon Bells, you’ll have a number of hiking opportunities, like:
- Walk the easy 1.9 mile trail around Maroon Lake on the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop. It will only take about an hour and is an easy stroll.
- Head to Crater Lake on a 3.5 mile roundtrip hike. Plan about 2 hours for this hike. It only has about 700 feet of elevation gain.
- Hike the 10.9 mile Maroon Peak Trail. You’ll want to plan at least 8 hours for this difficult hike as you’ll climb almost 5,000 feet in elevation.
- If you’re feeling adventurous and have the time, consider an overnight backpacking trip to tackle the Four Pass Loop, a gorgeous 26 mile hike with 7,870 feet of elevation gain. Plan it in two days or split it over 3 or 4 days to really take in the scenery.
Distance from Aspen to Maroon Bells: 6 miles / 15 minutes
8. Optional: Rifle Falls State Park
A quick stop off of Interstate 70 on your way from Denver to Arches National Park and the Moab area, is Rifle Falls State Park. This 48 acre park is best known for its triple 70 foot waterfall, but it also offers ample wildlife and many short hikes.
As the hikes are all moderate, it’s a perfect spot for a family to stop to stretch their legs as they walk the short trail to the waterfall.
Best Things to Do in Rifle Falls State Park
- Hike the Rifle Falls Coyote Trail to the main attraction in the park – the triple waterfall! It’s only 0.7 miles roundtrip and will take under 20 minutes, plus of course time for pictures. You’ll also go by some caverns you can explore.
- Take a longer trail in the park – Rifle Falls Coyote to Bobcat Trails. This trail will take you 3.4 miles out and back stopping by the famed waterfall, additional cascades, and even the cool caves.
Cost: Being a state park, there is a fee to enter Rifle Falls. It’s currently $10 for a daily vehicle pass
Distance from Glenwood Springs to Rifle Falls State Park: 28 miles / 40 minutes
9. Colorado Wine Country in Palisade, CO
Believe it or not, there are quite a few wineries and vineyards just east of Grand Junction in Palisade, 27 to be exact. Stop by one or more to learn about the winemaking process and to taste the wine Colorado has on offer.
Best Things to Do in Colorado Wine Country
Here are the top 5 wineries to check out while you’re in Palisade:
Distance from Glenwood Springs to Palisade: 76 miles / 1 hour 5 minutes
Distance from Rifle Falls State Park to Palisade: 62 miles / 1 hour 5 minutes
10. Optional: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
While slightly out of your way, if you’re doing a road trip from Denver to Moab, you likely enjoy national parks, so don’t pass this one by! It’s located just southeast of Interstate 70 where you’ll be driving and features some of North America’s steepest cliffs, oldest rocks, and craggiest spires.
Choose from exploring the North Rim, South Rim, East Portal, or the Inner Canyon. They all offer different experiences.
- North Rim: The more rugged side of the park is the North Rim. Here you’ll find 5 overlooks you can visit by car, along with two longer hiking trails and one short loop trail. Note that if you’re doing your road trip in the winter, this side of the park will be closed to vehicles.
- South Rim: If you want to visit the more developed side of the park, head to the South Rim. Here you’ll find 12 overlooks easily accessible from the road – and three of which are handicapped accessible! You’ll also have access to four hiking trails. Most visitors come to this part of the park.
- East Portal: Accessible from the South Rim of Black Canyon National Park, East Portal is named for the Gunnison Tunnel and the town that was developed around its construction. Visit this part of the park to wind down a windy, steep road into the canyon. It’s also a popular spot for fishing! It’s worth noting that this part of the park is also closed in the winter.
- Inner Canyon: The inside of Black Canyon should really only be visited by skilled and experienced outdoors people. Because of this, you will have to get a Wilderness Use Permit to visit the Inner Canyon. Find the details here.
Best Things to Do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
This National Park between Denver and Moab offers completely different experiences than you’ll find in the other National Parks along the way. Check out these amazing things to do:
- Drive one of the scenic routes through the park. I recommend doing the South Rim Drive and stopping at the 12 overlooks to take in all the views.
- Check out the best sights along the South Rim, including Gunnison Point, Chasm View, Painted Wall, and Sunset View.
- Hit the hiking trails on the Rim Rock Nature Trail. This 1.5 mile hiking trail offers amazing views of the sheer canyon walls and Gunnison River below. You’ll find the trailhead near the entrance to Campground Loop C and it ends at the South Rim Visitor Center.
- Keep your eyes open for some wildlife spotting. They offer the big and ferocious, like mountain lions and black bears, as well as Mule Deer and Elk, and even Marmots and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
- Stay overnight nearby to enjoy the vibrant night sky in this certified International Dark Sky Park.
Cost: Your most cost-effective option for your Denver to Moab adventure is going to be buying an annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. However, if you would rather pay as you go, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers a 7-day vehicle pass for $30. You can even purchase it online ahead of time!
Distance from Palisade to Black Canyon of the Gunnison: 77 miles / 1 hour 30 minutes
11. Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument has two main entrances located in Grand Junction and Fruita and features over 40 trails ranging from 0.25 miles to over 14 miles. Drive and hike through its 23,000 acres of canyons, plateaus, and massive towers of naturally sculpted monoliths and sheer-walled canyon.
Best Things to Do at the Colorado National Monument
The top three things to do at Colorado National Monument are:
- Drive the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive as you wind up switchbacks to mesa tops and along the canyon walls before descending into the valley.
- Catch sunrise at Grand View or sunset at Book Cliffs View for the best pictures of Colorado National Monument.
- Admire the stunning Balance Rock, a 600 ton boulder carefully perched on its rock tower.
Cost: $25 Weekly Pass or included in the America the Beautiful Annual Pass. It is also covered under the Colorado National Monument Annual Pass ($45).
Distance from Palisade to Colorado National Monument: 33 miles / 45 minutes
Distance from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP to Colorado National Monument: 85 miles / 1 hour 45 minutes
12. Moab, Utah: End Destination
As a city, Moab is pretty underwhelming. As an adventure hub, Moab is amazing. You will be surrounded by stunning nature and within reach of two of the best National Parks in the United States: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Not to mention its just a short drive to the stunning Dead Horse Point State Park.
We’ll break these out into there own buckets as there is so much to do in each location, but you’ll need at minimum a day in each to cover the highlights.
While you’re in Moab, you also won’t want to miss taking a Hell’s Revenge 4×4 off-road adventure or white water rafting on the Colorado River. They’re amazing adrenaline-filled activities that let you really admire the beauty of the area that you can’t see by foot.
Where to Stay in Moab
- Adventure Inn Moab – budget-friendly hotel in Moab!
Distance from Colorado National Monument to Moab: 100 miles / 1 hour 30 minutes
Check out the Where to Stay in Moab, Utah: Complete Guide to the Best Hotels in Moab.
Arches National Park
Located just a few miles from downtown Moab, Arches National Park is the main draw to the city. In fact, you may only be interested in a road trip from Denver to Arches National Park and nothing further, but there’s a lot more to see in the Moab area!
If you want to hit the highlights of Arches, you can do it in just a few hours – particularly if you take a 4×4 tour of Arches NP. However, if you want to see all of the main sights and hike all of the hikes, you need between one to three days. The scenery will really leave you breathless!
Best Things to Do in Arches National Park
Some of the can’t miss opportunities in Arches National Park include:
- Catch sunset at Delicate Arch! It’s a 3.2 mile out and back hike with about 600 feet of elevation gain.
- Head to the Double Arch, which is only about a half mile from the road.
- Admire the Double O Arch with a 4.1 mile hike with almost 700 feet of elevation gain.
Cost: $30 Day Pass or included in the America the Beautiful Annual Pass. There is also a Southeast Utah Parks Pass for $55 that will get you into Arches, Canyonlands, and Natural Bridges National Monument for a year.
Distance from Moab to Arches National Park: 5 miles / 10 minutes
Read more: 6 Best Things to Do in Moab, Utah + a Bonus Moab Itinerary!
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is unique in that it is divided into 4 different districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the Green and Colorado Rivers. This means there are endless opportunities to explore!
Most visitors visit Island in the Sky and if you’re really outdoorsy, you will want to hike the Needles and raft the rivers. The Maze is all backcountry hiking and typically visited for three or more days at a time.
Best Things to Do in Canyonlands National Park
Top experiences for Canyonlands National Park include:
- Be awed by sunrise at Mesa Arch in Island in the Sky. It’s just a 0.7 mile hike to get there.
- Admire the views from Grand View Point Trail in Island in the Sky. It’s 1.8 miles and well worth the effort.
- Hike the Chesler Park Loop Trail in the Needles District. It’s a 10.4 mile hike and will take about 5 hours to complete.
- Explore the White Rim Road via 4WD in Island in the Sky. It offers sweeping views, hidden caverns, and secret canyons.
Cost: Also a $30 Day Pass, included in the America the Beautiful Annual Pass, and the Southeast Utah Parks Pass.
Distance from Moab to Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District: 30 miles / 40 minutes
District from Moab to Canyonlands National Park, The Needles District: 75 miles / 1 hour 20 minutes
Read more: How to Visit Canyonlands National Park: Essential Guide to All 4 Districts
3 Day Denver to Moab Itinerary
With limited time, you can still make the road trip from Denver to Moab possible! You’ll just have to be selective on where you spend your time, cutting out all of the fun optional stops along the way. Here’s one selected itinerary to make it a 3 day trip from Denver to Moab.
Day 1: Denver, Breckenridge, Vail
Begin your adventure with a walking tour of Denver in the morning adding in another couple of hours to see your one or two other must have sights of interest.
Then set off to Breckenridge where you can stretch your legs finding the Breckenridge Troll. Get back in the car for your last push to the quaint town of Vail, where you’ll have a lovely dinner, walk around town, and spend the night.
Where to Stay in Vail
Your best bet with one night is to find a place to stay in central Vail so you can walk around the best parts of the town. I highly recommend the Arrabelle at Vail Square, but another great option is Tivoli Lodge. Check the rate for Arrabelle here and Tivoli Lodge here.
Day 2: Glenwood Springs, Colorado National Monument, Palisade
Start your day by driving to Glenwood Springs and hiking to Hanging Lake. Then head off to Colorado National Monument for some more exploration.
Wind down your day with a glass of wine in Palisade before catching sunset on your drive into Moab where you’ll spend the night to give you a full day in Moab on day 3.
Where to Stay in Moab
With just one night in Moab, treat yourself to Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton where you’ll have stunning views of the red rocks of Moab all around you. Check the current rate.
Day 3: Moab
With just one day in Moab, you’re going to have to be efficient to see the highlights of the area. You can either:
- Choose to deep dive into Arches National Park and see as much as you can with one day – this is what I would recommend.
- Or, you can hit Arches in the morning, head to Canyonlands Island in the Sky in the afternoon, and catch the sunset at Dead Horse Point. This will be a full day, but you will be able to see the highlights all in one day. This of course will leave you waiting to come back for more time in Moab!
If you want to go for the second option, you may want to select a tour to help you see the most in your limited time. There are some fantastic options, like Discover Moab in a Day, which will take you to Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point.
1 Week Itinerary from Denver to Moab
In an ideal world, you would spend about one week doing this road trip. If you are short on time, you can certainly condense it and skip or abbreviate some of the stops as necessary. Or, you can add on additional days to add in the optional activities we still couldn’t fit into a 7 day itinerary from Denver to Moab!
Here is how it shakes out.
Day 1: Denver
Fly into Denver and explore the capital of Colorado for the day. Make sure to visit Union Station, the Denver Capitol Building with its Mile High Step, the 16th Street Mall, and RiNo Arts District before heading out to the famous Red Rock Amphitheater for a hike amongst the red rocks. Then head back into downtown for dinner and drinks at one of its many breweries!
Where to Stay in Denver
Stay downtown at the Kimpton Born Hotel, which is located right next to Union Station, the perfect location for exploring Denver. As an added bonus, you’ll have great mountain views from the Kimpton. Check the current rate.
Check out all the best areas and hotels in Denver.
Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park
Head up to Estes Park and Mountain Rocky Mountain National Park. Spend the day driving and hiking through the incredible scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Where to Stay in Estes Park
Overnight at the famous Stanley Hotel from the movie The Shining for a night you won’t forget or opt for Estes Park Resort or the Blue Door Inn for a more cost-effective hotel.
Day 3: Breckenridge, Vail, and Glenwood Springs
Meander your way through the resort towns of Breckenridge and Vail to Glenwood Springs where you can hike to Hanging Lake and then lounge in the hot springs.
Where to Stay in Glenwood Springs
Spend the night at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort to have the largest hot springs pools in the world, right at your hotel! Check the current rate now.
Day 4: Aspen, Maroon Bells, Colorado Wine Country, and Colorado National Monument
Head to Aspen to explore and visit Maroon Bells. When you’re done there, head to Palisade for Colorado Wine Country to grab some lunch and a glass or two of wine before setting off to Colorado National Monument.
Finish the day off by driving into Moab at sunset to catch all of the red rocks illuminating from the sun. It’s a real feast for the eyes!
Where to Stay in Moab
As you’ll be in Moab for multiple nights, select the accommodation best for you and your budget:
- Backpacker Budget Option: Lazy Lizard Hostel
- Budget Hotels: Adventure Inn Moab | Rustic Inn
- Mid-Range Hotels: MainStay Suites Moab | The Gonzo Inn
- Luxury Hotels: Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton | Red Cliffs Lodge
Learn more about the best places to stay in Moab.
Day 5: Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park
Head to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. If you’re feeling ambitious, try to get there for sunrise at Mesa Arch. Then spend the day exploring and hiking through the park before heading to Dead Horse Point State Park to explore a bit and catch sunset.
Once the sun has set, you can either wait for it to become night time and admire the dark night skies out in the desert or head back to Moab for a nice dinner.
Day 6: Arches National Park
Arches National Park is just outside of Moab, but it offers plenty to do to keep you busy. Work your way through the park checking out all of the fabulous stops and scenery. Try to catch sunset at Delicate Arch before returning into town.
Day 7: The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park
Make the drive to The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park and hike the stunning Chesler Park Loop Trail. This 5 hour hike will let you see some of the best scenery in the Needles District and perhaps best of all – there’s no crowds! A welcome break after visiting the busy Arches National Park!
What to Pack for a Denver to Moab Road Trip
As you prepare for this epic road trip from Denver to Moab, there’s a few things you will want to remember to pack to make the most of your experience.
- National Parks Pass: As discussed throughout this article, there are a lot of national parks to visit in Colorado and Utah, and the fees can really add up. If you’re driving from Denver to Arches National Park, you’ll definitely save some money with the National Parks Pass!
- Sunscreen: During this trip you’ll go from high elevations to the desert facing some brutal sun. Make sure to protect your skin with some eco-friendly sunscreen while you’re outside exploring day after day. Nothing spoils a trip faster than a sunburn!
- Hiking Boots & Trekking Poles: Most of the stops between Denver and Moab have amazing hiking opportunities, but they will challenge you. Pack appropriately by taking hiking boots and hiking poles to protect your knees during all the elevation changes.
I personally LOVE my Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 MID GTX W Hiking Boots. They’ve traveled all over with me. Check them out on Amazon!
- Daypack: Make sure to bring a small bag to also take with you during your daily adventures! Pack it full of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized throughout your trip! I’m an Osprey fan and use their Daylite Daypack.
- Packable Jacket: All those elevation changes and the desert will have you putting layers on and taking then off throughout the day. Take a packable jacket to help you adjust. This Columbia jacket is my go to for all of my trips as it weighs almost nothing, packs down small, and keeps me warm.
Pack smartly with the Ultimate Road Trip Packing List!
Plan More of Your Denver to Moab Trip
This epic Denver to Moab road trip itinerary is perfect for the outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers out there. You’ll love all of the amazing places you’ll find and memories you’ll build on this road trip.
Need more ideas for your Denver to Moab road trip?
Learn more about your road trip destinations between Denver and Moab:
- Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado
- Where to Stay in Denver: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels
- Top Things to Experience in Rocky Mountain National Park
- How to Find the Breckenridge Troll: Hike to Isak Heartstone
- 6 Best Things to Do in Moab, Utah + a Bonus Moab Itinerary!
- Where to Stay in Moab, Utah: Complete Guide to the Best Hotels in Moab
- Everything You Need to Know about Canyonlands National Park
Or, consider a road trip from Denver to Glacier National Park. It’s another amazing road trip option!
Perfect Your Road Trip with These Resources
Now that you have the best route from Denver to Moab, you can focus on the finer details, like what to pack and the best snacks to take. After all, they’re vital parts of any successful road trip!
- How to Plan a Road Trip: A Step-by-Step Guide
- 80+ Good Road Trip Snacks: The Key to Any Successful Road Trip!
- Road Trip Packing List for Expert Travelers: 60 Road Trip Essentials + More Tips!
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I’ve visited some of these places in the winter and it’s amazing to see how they look when not covered in snow 🙂 Definitely worth a trip back!
100% worth a trip back! Although it may be hard to beat the winter wonderland look!
Moab has been on the list for a long time. Now I’ve got the route next time I’m in Denver, thanks!
You will love it! Such a wonderful part of the United States – lots to see around every turn!
Thank you for sharing your experiences from Denver to Moab! I am confident our trip in May will be a great success based in large part to this information. Cheers!
I’m happy to help! It is such a beautiful part of the country – enjoy!!
One of best summaries I’ve seen so far. We are visiting Denver in May. Thank you for your good work.
Thank you! I’m glad you found it helpful. It’s a great part of the country to explore – you’ll love it!!
What a great road trip! Definitely putting this on my list for when I visit my cousin in Denver. She’s an avid hiker and would be up for this, too.
It’s one of my favorite road trips in the United States! So much to see and do, and everything is so close together!
This looks awesome, but we’re traveling from Denver to Phoenix by way of Moab, and have a week. We”ve been to RMNP, so we’ll skip it this time. Given that, how long would you take on the Denver Moab route?
Hi Michelle – What an awesome trip! It really depends what you are most interested in. Moab has some amazing things to do – Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park to name a few.
If you like to hike or explore nature – I’d spend at minimum 3 days in Moab. Then maybe spend 2 days doing the drive to allow you to stop at all the awesome places along the way, and have some time in Denver at the end. If you have to condense, you can try to squish Moab into 2 days or the drive into 1 – particularly if you’re cutting out RMNP.
There’s so many amazing places to explore in that region. I hope you enjoy your trip!