If you want to drive through more than a thousand miles of gorgeous, rugged country, then taking a Seattle to Denver road trip will give you all you want and more. On this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the nation’s most popular national parks as well as some lesser-known but still enjoyable state parks. You’ll also get to see some interesting sights along the road itself as you pass through a variety of different environments. Of course, you’ll also get to experience the cultures of Seattle and Denver themselves at the beginning and end of your road trip.
There are plenty of outstanding national parks on this road trip from Seattle to Denver. Whether you want to see mountains, glaciers, or hot springs, you’ll have a bevy of great options.
North Cascades National Park
From downtown Seattle, you can easily get on Interstate 5, which will take you up to the turnoff for North Cascades National Park. It encompasses part of the Cascade Range close to the Canadian border. In addition to these majestic peaks, you can also explore glaciers, fields of wildflowers, and lovely lakes. Whether you want to hike, kayak, canoe, fish, or bird-watch, you’ll have many great options at this national park.
Mount Rainier National Park
Since Mount Rainier is one of the main symbols of the Seattle area, visiting Mount Rainier National Park on your way out of the area is a must. This active volcano is 14,411 feet tall and is home to more glaciers than any other U.S. peak. Whether you want to hike the family-friendly Silver Falls Trail for 3 miles or the challenging Wonderland Trail for 93 miles, you’ll be able to explore your pick of the 236,000 acres that comprise this iconic landmark and its surrounding areas.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northern Montana close to the Canadian border. While there are, of course, plenty of glaciers on display here, there are also many other ecosystems you can see. Glacier National Park contains 734 miles of park trails that give visitors the opportunity to see more than a thousand different plants and animals. Backcountry camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, and other such rugged activities are favorite pastimes at this "Crown of the Continent."
Yellowstone National Park
While you’re driving through the southern part of Montana, you’ll likely want to drop even farther south and visit Yellowstone National Park. This unique national park actually occupies land not only in Montana but also in Wyoming and Idaho. No other place on earth has more geysers or naturals springs, and Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. Iconic attractions like Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Fairy Falls draw many visitors a year to this 3,500-square-mile national park. You can even see the Rocky Mountains from parts of Yellowstone.
Rocky Mountain National Park
You don’t have to settle for a glimpse of the Rockies from Yellowstone when you can visit Rocky Mountain National Park. This final national park on your road trip itinerary from Seattle to Denver is about two hours northwest of the Denver area. More than 300 miles of trails show off the park’s many waterfalls, lakes, wild animals, and mountains. Whether you’re interested in easy hikes of 0.6 miles, difficult ones of 7 or 8 miles, or something in between, you won’t have a problem finding a gorgeous trail at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Plenty of great state parks await you on your Seattle to Denver RV road trip. Here are a few of the parks you’ll encounter on this route.
Deception Pass State Park
If you’ve decided to travel north to see the North Cascades, then you may want to take a slight detour to visit Deception Pass State Park. Since this is Washington’s most-visited state park, it’s obviously worth a little extra travel. A gorgeous bridge and some lovely hiking trails give guests multiple great views of the Puget Sound.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
If you want to see the official starting point of the Missouri River, then Missouri Headwaters State Park in Montana should be on your list. There are plenty of places available for kayaking, fishing, hiking, and more. You’ll also get to view the Three Forks of the Missouri National Historic Landmark, which commemorates the camping location of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1805.
Glendo State Park
Those in search of a great place to indulge in some water sports will definitely want to check out Glendo State Park. It’s easily accessible from Interstate 25, and it is between Casper and Cheyenne in Wyoming. The park itself surrounds the Glendo Reservoir, which is 22,000 acres of fun for boaters, swimmers, fishermen, and other marine enthusiasts.
Guernsey State Park
Guernsey State Park is connected to Glendo State Park via the North Platte River. These parks are fairly close together, so you can visit them on the same day. Much like Glendo, Guernsey State Park surrounds the reservoir that gives it its name. It’s been designated a National Historic Landmark thanks to its historical buildings and sites.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Just because you’ve almost reached downtown Denver doesn’t mean that you can’t pay a visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This park is located northwest of Golden and southwest of Boulder. Nearly 12,000 acres of forests and wetlands are home to 22 miles of trails and a wide variety of wildlife.
As you’re heading east through Washington on Interstate 90, you’ll have to go through Snoqualmie Pass. This gorgeous scenic route winds its way through the Cascades and takes you past multiple places that offer great hiking and winter sports opportunities.
Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area
Just because you only go through the skinny panhandle of Idaho doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting points along the way. Right before you leave the state, you’ll be able to visit Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area so that you can experience even more winter sports opportunities.
Montana River Guides
If you’ve had enough snow and ice, you can partake of another beloved pastime in this part of the world: river rafting. Montana River Guides is easily accessible off Interstate 90, and the Clark Fork River is also conveniently close by for rafting action.
Crow Indian Reservation
Right before dropping down into Wyoming, you’ll pass through the sizable Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. It includes points of interest like the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, the Custer Battlefield Museum, and the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
Those in search of good, clean summer fun can find it at Water World near the journey’s end. It’s only about 20 minutes outside of Denver, so you can cool off before the close of your Seattle to Denver road trip. Everything from single water slides to family-size tube rides is available here.
Spokane is in the eastern part of Washington and isn’t far from the Idaho border. There are plenty of great RV campgrounds and dump stations in the area should you need them at this point in your road trip. Some local attractions include Gonzaga University, Palisades Park, and Spokane Arena.
Southern Montana has several sizable cities; Bozeman is one of these. It’s home to Montana State University and the Museum of the Rockies. You won’t have any trouble finding quality campgrounds and dump stations to accommodate your camper.
Billings is fairly close to the Crow Indian Reservation. Billings Logan International Airport is right outside of town. The Yellowstone River and some of its numerous parks and campgrounds are nearby. There are also several dump stations in the area.
Cheyenne is close to the Wyoming-Colorado border. Local attractions like the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum are conveniently close to Interstate 25. If you want to clean out your camper before hitting Colorado, you’ll have your pick of Cheyenne dump stations.
Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University and a bunch of craft breweries. It’s located at the base of the Rockies and close to multiple state and local parks. There are also several dump stations and campgrounds in the area.
Buying an RV, maintaining it, and storing it can be hard, expensive work. Renting an RV rather than buying one would keep you from having to shoulder the responsibility of the more than 2,700 miles of wear and tear a trailer would experience on this trip. Whether you want to rent an RV in Seattle or in Denver, you’ll have a great chance of finding your ideal camper match courtesy of RVshare.