If you live near Denver and want to take one of the most beautiful routes in America, you can take a trip from Denver to the Grand Canyon. This route takes you through lush forests and picturesque deserts and gives you the opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief.

The journey from Denver to the Grand Canyon takes about 12 hours. It will take at least 3 days to explore the beautiful White River National Forest and White River Valley, the beautiful Vermillion Cliff Deposits and the Grand Escalante – Escalante and much more.

With so many fantastic landscapes you won’t want to miss, don’t forget to read the whole route to make the most of it.

How far is the Grand Canyon of Denver and how long does it take to get there?

Although there are no major cities on the highway, you will only spend half the journey on interstate highways. So you may encounter moderate traffic in Thompson Springs.

Besides the fact that the journey is long, there are too many places to visit on the way so you can hurry and make your journey. Even if you leave very early in the morning, it’s generally not reasonable to drive around the Grand Canyon and the surrounding monuments at night.

The best option for this trip is to split it into at least two days. This route from Denver to the Grand Canyon is very popular with tourists, so there will be plenty of good accommodations along the way.

Best route from Denver to the Grand Canyon

The best route for your journey from Denver to the Grand Canyon is the scenic I-70 through Colorado and then on various state roads through Utah. Depending on the direction you are heading, you can take one of two different routes once you have arrived in Arizona.

Directions from Denver to the Grand Canyon

Leave Denver on the I-70 in a westerly direction and pass Mount Evans and the beautiful Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the White River. Cross the main intersection and walk past the Colorado National Monument, Dominguez Escalante Canyon National Park and the Makinnis Canyons.

Drive past Thompson Springs, take the US-191 south along Arches National Park and walk through Moab. After passing Canyonlands National Park and crossing the White Mass, you will transfer to USA 163. In Arizona follow the beautiful Monument Valley towards USA 160 (also known as the Navajo Trail).

Choose the right side of the Grand Canyon for your journey from Denver

North ring

Take Shonto Market Highway 98 and follow the road to Paige. Ride on horseback through the incredible Antelope Canyon, past Paige and the iconic horseshoe bend and across the Colorado River Bridge past Glen Canyon Dam. Follow the incredible flight from step 89 – Escalante to Kanaba.

From there take Route 89A and cross the Vermillion Rock, a national monument. The road crosses Lake Jacob and splits into a final scenic section on National Highway 67 before reaching the northern slope.

South ring

Instead of taking Highway 98, stay on the Navajo Trail and drive through Tuba Town. Shortly after you reach Highway 89 – take it south to Cameron, then take Highway 64 along the Little Colorado River, through Grandview Point and southbound.

Colorado River Rafting is one of the best activities on the way from Denver to the Grand Canyon.
Colorado River Rafting is a great experience on the way from Denver to the Grand Canyon South Rim.

Jim Mulluk/Shutterstock.com

Best stops between Denver and the Grand Canyon

Despite the absence of major cities, there are several major highways and tourist towns along this route from Denver to the Grand Canyon, ideal for short stops or overnight stays. If you need a place to relax after a long day of driving and adventure, consider booking a hotel.

Discover the incredible city of Moab

Moab is not only the centre of the route, but also an incredible city to explore for days on end. There are many great hotels in this oasis of red cliffs, but the best one is definitely Hoodoo Moab.

Hoodoo Moab is part of the Curio chain and has all the qualities you would expect from a Hilton subsidiary. In the centre of Moab and just a few kilometres from Arche National Park, this is the perfect place to go ostrich hunting after a day of adventure.

The hotel itself is large and beautiful, and you can do almost anything you want to do, from relaxing in a Jacuzzi or a large outdoor pool to training in the gym and enjoying various shows on site. Dine in a great restaurant or enjoy an evening with a drink at the hotel bar.

The best part of these beautifully furnished rooms is the balcony – lift up a chair and admire the elegant communal pool, the lush trees and lawns of the property and the beautiful red peaks of Mount Moab in the distance.

As you would expect from Hilton Day, the hotel is quite expensive, but this is justified given all the facilities it offers and the long list of things to do in Moab.

A depiction of a sandstone arch in Arches National Park at sunset.
Maximize your stay in Moab by visiting Archie National Park.

Josemaría Toscano/Shutterstock.com

Grand Canyon Luxury & Leisure

When you finally arrive in the Grand Canyon, you want to enjoy a pleasant stay. Although there are great opportunities in the area, the best place to stay is probably the Grand Canyon Hotel.

The luxury of the accommodation is obvious as soon as you enter the hotel – the lobby is beautifully decorated (look at that golden piano!) and makes it a truly magnificent party centre. With fashionable rooms with balconies offering stunning views, this hotel is the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the Grand Canyon.

You can refresh yourself in the lovely indoor pool and let your tired feet rest in the whirlpool. After a tasty walk, enjoy an extravagant dinner in the Star Steak House Canyon or have a cocktail or two at the bar and stay the night. Don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop as a souvenir of this incredible journey!

More importantly, the hotel has excellent transport links – it is located in Tusayane, just 20 miles from the South Slope and less than 10 miles from Grand Canyon Village, the Golden Master and the Bright Angel Trail.

What to see on a trip from Denver to the Grand Canyon

The best way to enjoy this trip is to cover everything you need to see for a few weeks – this route is just great! Of course, there’s more, but these are some of the best places to explore on the way from Denver to the Grand Canyon.

  1. Arafo and Roosevelt National Forests – Located in the Rocky Mountains, these beautiful forests are ideal for hiking, fishing, swimming and more.
  2. White River National Forest – The state’s most visited national forest in Zone has a beautiful green space, an abundance of wildlife and beautiful brown bells.
  3. Dominguez – Escalante National Park – beautiful chain of canyons flowing along the Gunnison River.
  4. Colorado National Monument has unique granite formations, canyon juniper forests and the scenic Rome-Rock Drive mountain road.
  5. Makinnis Canyon National Park – This park is home to the wildlife of Black Ridge Canyon, known for its red rock systems and abundance of natural arches.
  6. National ParkArcs – With more sandstone arches than anywhere else in the world, this park is ideal for hiking and sightseeing.
  7. Dead Horse State Park – The view from the top of Dead Horse State Park over the NP Canyonland and the Colorado River is the highlight of this route.
  8. Canyonlands National Park , famous for its Table Mountains and bats, is known for its challenging cycling area, the White Road.
  9. Old National Monument Canyons – Besides the beautiful canyons, this monument represents more archaeological monuments than any other place in the country.
  10. Monument Valley – with unique sand cigarette butts and red bloody sand, this valley has become the stage for countless classic American desert scenes.
  11. Navajo National Monument – contains the Sandalwood Trail and the houses of the ancestors of the Pueblos.
  12. Antelope Canyon – , which consists of two separate parts (top and bottom) and is best known for the sunlight that overlooks the canyon.
  13. Horseshoe Elbow – This Colorado River Horseshoe Elbow is better known as the Grand Canyon East Ring.
  14. Glen Canyon Dam – This huge dam houses Lake Powell, one of the largest artificial reservoirs in America.
  15. Great Staircase of the National Monument – Escalante – – an incredible succession of sedimentary rocks, this is probably one of the most picturesque monuments in the country.
  16. Vermilion rocks National Monument – – with plates and high sediments considered the product of millions of years of erosion

View of a horseshoe bend at Paige, Arizona - the famous 180-degree bend of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
The Horseshoe Bend is technically part of the Grand Canyon, but it’s a great place to stop on the way to the national park.

iacomino FRiMAGES/Shutterstock.de

Best time to travel from Denver to the Grand Canyon

The best time to travel from Denver to the Grand Canyon is almost always between March and November – in spring you begin to feel the beauty of the national park, and from May to October you can take a shuttle between the rings.

If you try to avoid the crowds or plan a walk in the canyon, you may not want to visit it in summer. Although the temperature fluctuates, at high altitudes it won’t get too hot, but at the bottom of the gorge it’s a different story – the temperature will rise steadily as you go deeper, and could reach a peak of over 100 degrees.

The choice between spring and autumn depends above all on your favourite painting plan – both seasons offer incredible views, unforgettable hiking trails with rich flora and pleasant, temperate weather at any altitude.

If you had to choose, then falling would probably be the best choice. It is not uncommon for high parts of the park (especially near the northern ring road) to be covered with snow well before spring, making them inaccessible.

The Grand Canyon has a lot to offer in all seasons, so don’t exaggerate – remember to drink a lot of moisture in summer and bring blankets and warm clothing for sudden temperature changes.

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