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Colorado: as diverse as it is beautiful

Difficulty

955 miles/1537 km

Distance

6 days

Recom. Days

Adventure

Trip type

Europe trip
Anna Bujas

Anna has traveled to over 35 countries and is always looking for the next adventure for her and her dog.

Colorado Road Trip

Map of Colorado roadtrip

Google Maps

Colorado has a diverse landscape of river canyons, arid desert, and snow-covered Rocky Mountains. Visitors to the state are often drawn to its numerous state parks and various outdoor adventures, the landscape providing something for everyone provided you like the great outdoors.

From mountain peaks to desert landscapes to epic sand dunes, Colorado is a state as diverse as it is beautiful. Taking your RV on a road trip through this great state isn’t just a good idea, it’s a great one.

To that end, today we’re going to take a look at a quick, four-day road trip itinerary through Colorado. We’ll hit on all the great outdoor adventures the state has to offer from hiking the Rocky Mountains to boarding the highest dune in the United States. From Colorado Springs to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to Mesa Verde National Park to the Rocky Mountains National Park, here’s one of the best road trips you can take through Colorado.

Picture of landscape from Colorado
Pick-up in
Denver Pick-up center
1

Stop One: Take in the rugged natural beauty of Colorado Springs

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is known for its lively tourist attractions and rugged natural beauty. Whether you’re into food, hiking, shopping, or bar-hopping, you’ll be able to find plenty to do here for couples, families, or solo travelers alike.

Those who love the outdoors will go wild for the scenery. Colorado Springs is home to rushing rivers and jagged lakes, all explorable on foot, by canoe, or via zipline platforms through the trees.

Picture of Colorado Springs

For those who prefer indoor fun, the city is host to a number of malls, theatres, museums, art galleries, and performance halls.

There’s something for everyone in Colorado Springs.

Visiting

Colorado Springs

1

Recom. Days

Main route

71.1 miles

from Denver

1h10min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Garden of the Gods Park

Hike, bike, or climb some of the most breathtaking rock formations in the area. Admission to the park is free.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

$$

Built into a mountain, this zoo is home to hundreds of species including some endangered. Pricing depends on what day and time you visit.

Pikes Peak

The highest summit of the front range of the Rocky Mountains, the sights from this peak aren’t to be understated.

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Eat at

Juniper Valley Ranch

$$

Family-style meals with a homey atmosphere and some of the best fried chicken in the area

Lake Terrace Dining Room

$$$

Sunday brunch here is revered by tourists, locals, and resort guests alike

Shuga's

$$

Sporting an eclectic, globally-inspired menu, the food here matches the decor for its homey but hodge-podge aesthetic

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Parking

Colorado Springs Parking

Metered parking abounds in the more central areas. Metered hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, 1 pm to 10 pm. All other hours are free to park. Meters charge between $1 and $1.50 per hour, depending on how close to the city center you are.

City Admin Building Parking

$

A good choice for longer stays

2 N Cascade Ave Garage

A well-positioned, well-maintained garage. Rates from $1 to $3

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Stay at

Garden of the Gods RV Resort

$$

This RV park sits among Colorado’s historical mountain towns making your RV campground experience ruly memorable. Prices depend on your date of travel

Foot of the Rockies RV Park

Located near downtown Colorado Springs with some of the best views in the area. Prices range from $45 to $55

Pikes Peak RV Park

$$

Snug campground with all the amenities you might need. Prices depend on your date of travel

2

Stop Two: Take in the giant sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado is known for its massive sand dunes and for the seasonal Medano Creek at their base. Its highest dune stands at a towering 755 feet and visitors are invited to climb and explore any part of the 30 square mile dune field.

Picture of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The park is crisscrossed with trails that lead to wetlands, forests, and alpine lakes including Medano Lake, which hosts trout and tundra wildlife. Whether you fancy a hike or want to try your hand at snowboarding on sand, this national park is well worth a visit.

Entrance to the park starts at $25.

Visiting

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

1

Recom. Days

Main route

165 miles

from Colorado Springs

2h33min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Star Dune

This is the highest dune in the United States. Hiking to the peak is a mission but one that’s well worth the effort

Sandboarding

€€€

This is exactly what it sounds like. Hire a snowboard and take to the sand for a bout of extreme sports in the extreme sun

Ranger Program

Attend a ranger program and get to know the area from an expert. These sessions are free and happen three times a week

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Eat at

Oasis Restaurant and Store

This is the only place to eat within 25 miles of the park. It’s open April through October

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Parking

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Parking

$

There are a number of car parks throughout the park, however, some are only accessible via 4wd. You’re best to visit the visitor center before embarking and carefully checking the road conditions before traveling.

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Stay at

Piñon Flats Campground

A National Park Service campground that’s located just one mile north of the visitor center. You’re looking at $20 a night to camp here

Oasis Campground

$$

Located just outside the park entrance, this park has all the amenities you might need. Fees depend on your date of travel

Zapata Falls Campground

Located nearby to the park, this RV park offers primitive camping. Prices start from $11 per night

3

Stop Three: Indulge your inner history buff in Mesa Verde National Park

This unique park is well-known for its incredible history and amazing sights. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people lived and thrived in the cliffs of Mesa Verde and on the mesas. In the modern-day, the Mesa Verde National Park protects the impressive cultural heritage of 26 tribes and gives visitors to the area great insight into the past.

Picture of  Mesa Verde National Park

In this slice of the past, you’re able to tour ancient dwellings, gaze on petroglyphs, and learn more about the area at the local museum. The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, giving visitors something to spot as they explore the surroundings.

The entrance fee to the park is $20.

Visiting

Mesa Verde National Park

1

Recom. Days

Main route

199 miles

from Great Sand Dunes National Park

3h52min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Cliff Dwelling

$

Attend a ranger-led tour of an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling and experience the past like never before

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum

$

This museum is an excellent way to learn more about the area. Take in a movie, explore ancient artifacts, and read up on those who used to live in the area

Petroglyph Point Trail

Petroglyph Point Trail is the only way to see petroglyphs in the park

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Eat at

Metate Room

$$

Just off the lobby of the Far View Lodge, this comfortable restaurant sports excellent views and a great menu

Far View Terrace Cafe

$

A simple, full-service cafeteria with excellent views

Knife Edge Cafe

$

Located in the Morefield Campground, this simple cafe is famous for its all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast

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Parking

Mesa Verde National Park Parking

There is free parking at the visitor center and at the start of each main trail throughout the park

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Stay at

Morefield Campground

$$

The park’s only campground, you ought to plan ahead and reserve a spot early if you want to camp here. Pricing depends on your date of travel

Cortez/Mesa Verde KOA

$$

Just 10 minutes drive from the entrance to the park, this RV park is a great choice if you want to basecamp. Pricing depends on your date of travel

4

Stop Four: Catch a stunning view at Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the highest national parks in the United States. It sports 60 mountain peaks over 12,000 feet with its highest, Longs Peak, capping out at over 14,000 feet. As you can imagine, the views from these peaks are well worth the hike to get to them.

The Continental Divide runs north to south through the park and can be crossed either on foot or via the Trail Ridge Road – the highest paved road within the national park system.

Picture of Rocky Mountain National Park

There are several ecological zones within the park. The highest zone of the park is the alpine tundra where temperatures drop and wildlife becomes scarce. A little lower sits the subalpine region which is known for its forests and lakes. Finally, the lowest region features lush meadows and copious wildlife.

Whether you’re into hiking or climbing, the Rocky Mountain National Park is rife with adventure and stunning views.

Visiting

Rocky Mountain National Park

1

Recom. Days

Main route

415 miles

from Mesa Verde National Park

8 h

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Trail Ridge Road

The highest paved through road in the national park system, this road features dozens of lookouts and is the starting point of many hikes

Forest Canyon Overlook

Stand at 11,716 feet and gaze out over Longs Peak, Stones Peak, Hayden Gorge, and Gorge Lakes

Longs Peak

This hike is extremely strenuous but well worth it for the experience and the views.

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Eat at

Trailhead Restaurant

$$

A mountainside eatery with rustic decor and some of the best burgers and steaks in the area

The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern

$$

Featuring live music and outdoor seating, this is a great tavern with an excellent vibe

Bird & Jim

$$

Offers locally sourced meats and casual, rustic dining. Stop in for a glass of hearty wine with your meal

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Parking

Rocky Mountain National Park

$

Trailhead parking lots fill up quickly so you’re best to get there early in the day for a spot. There’s also parking at the Alpine Visitor Center and some pull-off stops along Trail Ridge Road.

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Stay at

Moraine Park

Striking views of Longs Peak make this primitive campground well worth it for the views. Pricing is between $18 and $26

Aspenglen Campground

Just west of the Fall River Entrance Station in a beautiful pine forest near Fall River. Prices start at $26 per night

Glacier Basin

Primitive camping in a forested setting with excellent views. Pricing starts at $30 per night.

Drop-off in
Denver Pick-up center

68 miles

from Rocky Mountain National Park

1h34min

drive