Even if you never get off the interstate on a Denver to Moab road trip, you will see some breathtaking scenery. You will, however, want to take time to visit national parks where you can go hiking, biking, canyoneering, climbing, and much more. There are also terrific state parks along the way that you will want to stop and explore. Additionally, there are fantastic attractions to see and cities to visit. Therefore, your best plan is to take your time on a Denver to Moab RV road trip.
Rocky Mountain National Park
When you get to Idaho Springs, Colorado, you may want to go north for about 1.5 hours to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. There are over 350 miles of hiking trails for many different ability levels at this park, which covers over 415 square miles near Estes Park, Colorado. Bikers can ride on any road open to vehicle traffic. Many choose to ride along the Trail Ridge Road to test their lungs as 11 miles of this road are above the treeline. The vertical flat-faced cliffs are a favorite climbing spot. Anglers can fish at over 156 lakes. They can use a spin rod, but there are many terrific places to fly fish, including The Loch, Mills Lake, and Sky Pond. Some of the best fishing in this park requires an angler to hike four to six miles before casting.
Arches National Park
Right before you reach your destination on your road trip from Denver to Moab, stop and see the 2,000 natural stone arches at Arches National Park. Consider taking a scenic drive through this park located about six miles north of Moab. Alternatively, go on a hike to see the arches closer, especially in the Windows section as it has the highest concentration of arches. The hikes led by park rangers offer an outstanding way to learn more about this unique location. Many people enjoy biking through the area on paved and unpaved roads. Rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore more isolated areas of this park, or rent a horse to enjoy the landscape at a slower pace. In all, Arches covers almost 120 square miles.
Canyonlands National Park
Four distinct areas divided by rivers make up Canyonlands National Park. The closest to your Denver to Moab road trip route is the Island in the Sky section, which is located about 32 miles west of Moab. It is also a terrific place to start your visit because rangers regularly give geology talks, allowing you to learn more about the park. Before leaving this section, hike to see the Mesa Arch, which hangs out over the edge of a cliff. The Cedar Mesa section is another outstanding section to visit because of its colorful sandstone spirals. Rangers also give guided walks in the Horseshoe Canyon, where you can see rock art believed to be at least 1,500 years old. This park section is also a fantastic place to go horseback riding along the old wagon roads that the area's earliest pioneers used. Stick around to join the rangers for their informative evening programming in the Needles section.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
If you love the undeveloped wilderness, then Golden Gate Canyon State Park near Golden, Colorado, is a stop you will want to incorporate into your road trip itinerary from Denver to Moab. This park offers outstanding hunting for elk and deer if you are lucky enough to be one of the few participants drawn by lottery. While hunting is not available during the summer months, you can do many other things at this state park. Stroll along the Visitor Show Pond Trail to see the interpretative signage telling you more about the park's plants and animals. Go hiking along the 12 named trails through aspen groves and open meadows. This park offers many great fishing spots, and the pier at Kirby Pond is ADA compliant. The Mule Deer Trail is a terrific place to go horseback riding through open meadows often filled with wildflowers. It also runs through an evergreen forest and an aspen grove.
Staunton State Park
Staunton State Park near Conifer, Colorado, is a fantastic place to stop and explore during your road trip from Denver to Moab. If you have limited mobility, check out their unique track chair program that allows you to transfer to one of their chairs with large tread to go hiking with a volunteer on many park paths. Most of the 30 miles of trails at this park are multi-use. In addition to being open to biking, there are miles of trails open for horseback riding. Go trout fishing in the Davis Ponds or Elk Falls Pond. This park is home to over 20 caches, so you can have fun geocaching as well. You may also want to take a few minutes and plan a visit to other Colorado state parks.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park contains five sections near Clifton, Colorado, and each offers direct access to the river. State officials stock rainbow trout in large quantities in the spring, and they restock many of them in the fall. Follow the short trail along the Colorado River at the Angels Island unit to see bighorn sheep and wild horses. Look and listen to spot owls, bald eagles, osprey, and other birds. Several of the units have paved bike trails connecting to other area bike trails.
Green River State Park
Green River State Park near Green River, Utah, is often used as a starting point for 120-mile floating trips through the breathtaking Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons. The Green River is a favorite with anglers, who often catch largemouth bass in the water. Golfers love the nine-hole golf course. Be careful how you hit your shot, though, or the river and the mature cottonwood trees may come into play. Alternatively, you may want to play the 18-hole disc golf course. Instead of turning south near Thompson Springs, Utah, head straight for about 29 miles to reach this park.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Located about 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, Dead Horse Point State Park is a fantastic place to escape from the large crowds at the national parks while still enjoying the red-rock scenery. Sit at the point that gives this park its name, and you can see for miles. Mountain bikers often come to this park as there are fantastic trails to follow. Some of the paths involve riding on slick rock while others are dirt or sand. Hiking trails up to 1.5 miles long provide outstanding scenic views.
Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests
There are many things to do in the 1.5-million-acre Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests. The nearest headquarters to your Denver to Moab road trip route is in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Hundreds of miles of trails make this a popular spot with mountain bikers, and those who choose to ride on roads also find many terrific opportunities. Stroll along with a volunteer from the Denver Botanic Gardens to see wildflowers from June through August on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Alpine Gardens Loop, or follow hundreds of miles of trails on your own. This part of the forest boasts numerous fishing areas, with some requiring hikes to reach. You may want to consider following the Chicago Lakes Trail as it goes by two lakes that are great fishing spots. Numerous areas are open for off-roading and horseback riding. If you are looking for a scenic drive, then head to the former silver-mining town of Georgetown. There, you can follow the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway through meadows and forests where you are likely to see bighorn sheep butting heads to prove their dominance.
White River National Forest
Covering more than 2.3 million acres near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, White River National Forest contains 10 peaks over 14,000 feet. This forest offers many things to explore, including over 2,500 miles of mixed-use trails. Head south about 40 miles to visit the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is a fantastic place to go hiking around Maroon Lake. The Upper Colorado River offers terrific canoeing and floating opportunities. People looking for wilderness will want to visit the Trapper Lake area. A report filed in 1919 is responsible for the federal government eventually declaring this and the many regions around the country as designated wilderness areas where it is against the law to build roads because of their scenic beauty. There are many areas where you can swim, water-ski, and enjoy other activities.
McInnis National Conservation Area
McInnis National Conservation Area contains the second-largest concentration of natural arches in the world. Follow the extremely crooked Old Spanish Trail road through this area to come to many pullovers where you can see pictographs and petroglyphs. People enjoy watersports on the 22 miles of the Colorado River running through this conservation area. It is a fantastic place to go mountain biking, especially along Mack Ridge. You can also ride along part of the Kokopelli Trail or use this as a starting point and ride the 25 miles to Moab.
If you have always wanted to explore a ghost town, then Sergo Canyon is the perfect opportunity. Climb through the canyon to see the remains of the old coal-mining town, including partially standing remains of the general store, boarding house, and mine. The easy-to-hike trail also leads to outstanding rock art.
The High Rockies, including Breckenridge, Colorado, are a fantastic place to explore any time of the year. While most popular during winter, mountain biking, wildflower viewing, and hiking make this a fantastic stop anytime. Consider High Rockies campgrounds, like Tiger Run RV Resort and Paradise on the River. Breckenridge RV dump stations are available at Upper Blue Sanitation District, Tiger Run RV Resort, and other Colorado locations.
Grand Junction, Colorado
Grand Junction is on Colorado's western slope, and you can find a lot of things to do near this location, including visiting orchards and wineries, touring art galleries, and playing golf. Top-notch service and beautiful settings at Grand Junction campgrounds like Junction West RV Park and Grand Junction KOA make it a great place to spend the night. Find Grand Junction RV dump stations at both these campgrounds and at the Colorado Welcome Center in Fruita.
Thompson Springs, Utah
Many of the campgrounds in the Thompson Springs area have stunning views of the red rocks and arches. Consider camping at Desert Moon Hotel and RV Park or Ballard RV Park. You can find Thompson Springs RV dump stations at West Winds Truck Stop, Green River State Park, and other Utah locations.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Denver to Moab, 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 Moab.