Denver, Colorado, to Dodge City, Kansas, is a fun road trip that can take anywhere from about six hours if you drive straight through. However, if you take advantage of all the opportunities for exploration, you'll have at least a week's worth of activities lined up. You can easily spend a couple of days in The Mile High City. Rocky Mountain National Park, just 70 miles from Denver, offers gorgeous mountain surroundings. As you travel through the prairies of Colorado and Kansas, there are a few lakes where you can enjoy a day of water fun on your Denver to Dodge City RV road trip. Once you reach Dodge City, you can see Boot Hill and other historical sites of the Old West.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Seventy miles from Denver is Estes Park, on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. It serves as a sort of headquarters for the park. You can plan your Rocky Mountain National Park visit at Estes Park, where you can decide which of the free shuttle buses to take and which sights you most want to see. Each of the shuttle buses offers a different experience of the park, but they all highlight the many beautiful views and hiking trails. There are 355 miles of trails in the park with a range of difficulty levels.
Cherry Creek State Park
As you leave Denver, you'll drive through Aurora, where you can stop at Cherry Creek State Park. Cherry Creek Reservoir is surrounded by 800 acres of prairie with gently sloping hills where you can hike and bike. Boating, Jet Skiing, fishing, and paddleboarding are popular activities at the lake. A large beach with imported sand is a great place to build sandcastles or catch some sun. If your dog is traveling with you, Cherry Creek has a bonus feature, a huge off-leash dog park with a stream for playing in. Your pup will love it.
Barr Lake State Park
Another lake? Yes, indeed, but one with a few different attractions. Barr Lake State Park is known for its premier bird watching. You can walk the trail that encircles the lake to enjoy the view and see many species of birds, including bald eagles, many of which spend the winter at the lake. The park is a wildlife refuge, and there are several viewing centers where you might catch a glimpse of prairie dogs, coyotes, rabbits, foxes, and deer. The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is at the park as well.
Little Jerusalem State Park
Little Jerusalem State Park is in the badlands of Kansas. "Badlands" is an interesting term given to the area by the Lakota people. They called the area the badlands because of the lack of water, extreme temperatures, and rocky terrain. All of this is true, but these badlands also offer incredible views of Niobrara chalk formations. The rugged and spectacular rocky landscape has been said to resemble the ancient walls of Jerusalem, hence the name.
Prairie Dog State Park
Prairie Dog State Park surrounds Keith Sebelius Reservoir, which is a great place to fish. You can see lots of wildlife here, including a large prairie dog colony with its characteristic mounds. Other interesting sights are the only remaining adobe house in Kansas and a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse.
Cedar Bluff State Park
You can find a BMX biking track at Cedar Bluff State Park as well as a reservoir named for the tall chalk bluffs at the southwestern end. The lake has two boat ramps and a sandy beach. From the park, you can enter Threshing Machine Canyon to see names etched into the limestone from the 1800s.
Molly Brown House Museum
Before you leave Denver, an interesting stop is the Molly Brown House Museum in the Capitol Hill district. The eccentric home provides a look at Victorian life. Molly Brown, of course, was the "unsinkable" Molly Brown who survived the sinking of the Titanic. As you go through the museum, you will learn more about Molly Brown's experience on the Titanic, as well as her attempts in the mining industry and her role in the women's suffrage movement in Denver.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has been a natural history museum for over 100 years. It has exhibits about Colorado but expands the local focus to include exhibits about the world and the universe. For example, you can learn about the prehistoric world, wildlife in the area, Egyptian mummies, space, North American native peoples' cultures, and gems and minerals.
Boot Hill Museum
Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City is a treasure trove of the history of the Old West. You can see gunfight re-creations and a can-can show here, but you'll also want to tour the historic buildings and the 1947 Boot Hill Building. Boot Hill refers to men who "died with their boots on," or, in other words, gunfighters. Boot Hill Cemetery is a re-creation; the bodies have been moved, and the markers are simulated, but it gives a great flavor of the area's colorful history.
You could whiz right by Burlington, Colorado, on your Denver to Dodge City road trip, but it's a worthwhile stop. There is a State Welcome Center here if you'd like to learn more about area attractions. Old Town Museum is a collection of buildings filled with antiques and information about the state's history. A popular feature is the can-can show at the bar. Before you leave, you might want to ride the 1905 Kit Carson Carousel, which whirls around to the music of a 1909 organ. There are a few dump stations here you can use also.
Oakley, Kansas, is where you'll find Monument Rocks, one of the eight wonders of Kansas. Also called the rock pyramids, Monument Rocks features chalky formations up to 70 feet tall. A lot of fossils are also found in the Monument Rocks area, so the junior paleontologist in the family will want to make a stop here on your road trip from Denver to Dodge City. If you decide to stay in Oakley awhile, there are quite a few campgrounds and dump stations in the area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Denver to Dodge City, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Denver or Dodge City.