Taking a San Jose to Denver RV road trip crosses some of the most wondrous topography in the United States. From the sandy beaches of the California Pacific Coast through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, across the high deserts of Nevada and Utah, and into the Rocky Mountains where Denver rests, the trail travels through a variety of gorgeous scenery. Along the way, short detours lead you to amazing national and state parks where the natural geology of the area shines. To put time in perspective, San Jose was founded by Spanish priests in 1777; during that year, the American Revolution was struggling to succeed, experiencing defeat after defeat before the Americans reared up and destroyed the British at Trenton, NJ. California and the west were just a dream at that time, but now can be experienced by road trip travelers on a San Jose to Denver route.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Before venturing east on your San Jose to Denver road trip, go north 250 miles to the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Located in northwestern California, this park preserves the original landscape that once covered most of the state. High craggy cliffs, several volcanoes, extensive lava fields, fuming mud pits, and impressive geysers are evidence of the boiling cauldrons that lie beneath the surface. Conversely, deep fertile valleys, carved by glaciers and water through thousands of years, provide rich ground for native plants and animals. Great forests of redwoods, firs, and pine cover mountainsides where trails lead hikers to breathtaking views.
Kings Canyon National Park
When you reach Sacramento, 116 miles into your San Jose to Denver RV road trip, take a 170-mile detour south to visit Kings Canyon National Park. Carved out of the California interior wilderness, this park holds some of the most extensive redwood groves existing today. Deep canyons, soaring peaks, wild streams, and crystal blue lakes greet visitors getting away from urban sprawl to refresh their spirit by experiencing nature. Visitors can tour the park themselves or connect with certified guides and rangers to hike well-maintained trails. Guests often swim or fish in the streams and lakes, finding a calm here that may be missing in the work environment at home.
Canyonlands National Park
After crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains into Nevada and reaching Salt Lake City in Utah, you have completed 765 miles of your road trip from San Jose to Denver. In Salt Lake City, turn south to take a 240-mile detour to the least known national park in Utah, Canyonlands National Park. Rivers carved deep canyons through Utah’s high desert in this park, leaving an astonishing landscape. Incredible views of rivers and towering cliff faces greet visitors at every turn. Whether you love fishing, hiking, horseback riding, or observing an untouched paradise, this is the place for you.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Your road trip itinerary from San Jose to Denver brings you into Denver from the north via Cheyenne, WY. When you reach Denver, extend your trip 100 miles northwest to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is a celebration of the Rocky Mountains—the great dividers of the country. Mountain peaks reach over 14,000 feet into the sky while valleys carved by glaciers and streams delve deep into the land. Forests of pine, fir, and cedar reach to the heavens as visitors hike beneath their canopy. Year-round planned activities greet guests who come here to hike, fish, swim, snowboard, or ski.
Henry W. Coe State Park
Henry W. Coe State Park, about 32 miles southeast of San Jose, is the perfect spot to test out your RV before beginning your San Jose to Denver road trip. The park’s terrain is a mix of rugged mountains, deep valleys, rivers, and forests. Stopping here lets you become familiar with your RV in a tranquil place where you can fish, hike, swim, rock climb, or canoe down whitewater creeks.
Curt Gowdy State Park
Within 150 miles of the end of your road trip from San Jose to Denver lies Curt Gowdy State Park. Stopping to rest at this state park gives you a reprieve from traveling the road after over 1,000 miles of driving. The 3,395-acre park is situated midway between Laramie and Cheyenne, WY, in the foothills of the Laramie Mountains. With three reservoirs located within the park's borders, guests experience great fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. Hiking trails run throughout the park and around the reservoirs providing striking views along the way.
Chatfield State Park
A short distance south of Denver sits Chatfield State Park. Visitors love this 3,895-acre park for its wide-open spaces, rolling hills, incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, and its immense reservoir. With 26 miles of hiking trails, this park provides access to areas beyond the campground view. The cool waters of Chatfield Reservoir are a great spot to take a dip when the weather is hot and the fishing at the reservoir is excellent.
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
To begin your journey, stop at Mission Santa Clara de Asis on the Santa Clara University campus. The mission is the original church built by Franciscan monks who founded San Jose in 1777. Today, the mission is the student chapel for Santa Clara University students. Visiting this location provides a firm foundation for your journey through time on your road trip from San Jose to Denver.
National Pony Express Monument
While you are in Salt Lake City, pause your road trip from San Jose to Denver long enough to visit another moment in time. The National Pony Express Monument commemorates one of the most romantic eras in American history when brave riders and their ponies climbed mountains, endured deserts, and swept through valleys to deliver mail from St. Joseph, MO, to Sacramento. CA. This event typifies the American spirit that overcame incredible odds to connect people to each other.
History Colorado Center
Tie everything you saw during your San Jose to Denver road trip with a visit to the History Colorado Center in Denver. This modern museum uses hands-on and high-tech equipment to bring the past to the present. Displays include the geological formation of the lands from the Pacific Coast to Denver, the historical events that transpired to build the city of Denver, and a look toward the future of the area.
The first major city you pass through on your road trip from San Jose to Denver is Sacramento. Located 116 miles into your journey, the city is the capital of California and a bustling industrial center. Amazing restaurants, shops, and museums are everywhere in this city. RV traffic is increasing each year as visitors come to experience the area. With the increased traffic comes the demand for more dump stations, which the city fulfills. More and more campgrounds are appearing each year to satisfy the influx of RVs.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is known for being the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a major American religion, but its incredible architecture, its beautiful flower gardens, and its stunning topography provide plenty of interest for visitors who are not of the Mormon faith. With RV traveling being a convenient means to see the country, Salt Lake City is seeing more visitors. There are plenty of dump stations available for travelers. Along with the dump stations, the city hosts a number of lovely campgrounds to accommodate visitors.
The last major city that you visit on your road trip from San Jose to Denver is Cheyenne. This city is one of the first towns created in Wyoming by railroad builders. It is surrounded by wide-open plains and picturesque mountains and sits alongside Crow Creek and Dry Creek, which provide abundant water. Since its inception, Cheyenne has grown to be an important shipping and communication center, bringing an increased population. Businesses like restaurants and shops thrive here, and museums commemorate a colorful past. A number of people traveling the plains pass through Cheyenne, so you will find convenient dump stations and campgrounds available.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Jose to Denver, 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 San Jose or Denver.