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Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

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Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.


In August I will be driving from Philadelphia, PA to Denver, CO (solo). I will be leaving Philly either August 12 or 13, depending on the itinerary. The catch is I have to be in Denver by 1-2pm on August 15th, but do not want to get to Denver much earlier than that. I have an established camping trip from Aug 16 - 19, will probably stay in Denver on Aug 19 and then hit the road for the return trip home. On the trip home I will be stopping in Madison, WI for 1 or 2 nights to visit friends, and then must return to Philly by no later than Aug 25.

I would love some ideas for when/where to stop along the way that would accomodate the need to be in Denver at a certain time. I have done this and other long-distance hauls before, and don't mind long stretches driving, but I know I will need to stop to sleep, yet I was hoping to take a more scenic/southern route on the way out. I don't care to spend time stopping in the cities, I would rather maximize drive time, but have a primarily scenic route.

On the way back the plan is to either go straight to Madison from Denver, or take I-90 and stop somewhere in between.

Any help or ideas would be appreciated!! Thanks.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

Most direct route is I 70. We have driven that route before from St. Louis and have relatives who have driven it from Indy.

You will go thru cities which ever route you choose. Not a whole lot in Kansas except miles and miles of farmland and not a whole lot in the western part of the state or the eastern part of Colorado for stopping except for Goodland, KS.

Are you saying you would like to take a more southern route like I 40? That route will take you down thru the mountains of VA and TN then across TN to Memphis, Little Rock, OKC and on to ABQ then you can head up to Denver. It will take you about 10 hours or more longer in driving. Have driven part of that route also.

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2. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

I would definitely plan on staying in Goodland the 14th. That puts you about 5 hours from Denver.

I-70 is it, there is no southern way to Colorado. Having said that Kansas does have its more interesting topographical features. I find the Flint Hills to be quite beautiful and there are some other various roadside stops along the way that will surprise you.

It's about 10 hours from St. Louis to Goodland, so St. Louis seems like a logical stop on the 13th.

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3. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

Great, thanks for the replies. I have done the straight I-70 route West to East, as well as the I-40 going East-West, but all I-40 would add too much time. The idea for stopping in Goodland is exactly what I was looking for. Maybe it would have helped to start at Denver and work my way backwards. I was hoping for a more scenic route that wouldn't add too much time but I think the St. Louis and Goodland stops are my best bet...maybe I'll take a detour at some point depending on timing.

One further question, is a straight haul from Philly to St. Louis reasonably do-able?


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4. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

Philly to StLouis in one day? No way- that's over 800 miles (14 hours with out considering stops for gas or food).

I would stop one night in Pittsburgh, one night in Dayton and stay one night in St. Louis, but I have little patience for driving,so between my desire to sightsee and have a nice sit down dinner every night, driving to Denver would take me five days.

The most agressive trip I could stand would be to do Philly-> Indy on day one, Indy -> Kansas City on day two and KC-> Denver on day three.

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5. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

Nephils, as to your route home, may I suggest to go North out of Denver, swing thru the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, etc., then hop on I-90, (stop at the Badlands), and its a "straight" shot to Madison.

As for scenery, the great plains, no matter where you cross are pretty boring with a few nice spots along the way. As for "driving straight thru", that depends on you more then other peoples opinions, (no offense meant), I used to drive from Mpls. to Austin, Texas, every year non stop, (gas, food, bathroom, not included). And I always left after work. I'd do the same drive to get home. So really that's up to what you are comfortable with in driving.

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6. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

I have driven Philly to St. Louis in one day 3 times. Once by myself and once with another adult and 2 kids. I takes about 12 hours not including stops or construction. I like to drive as it seems you do too so it should be a doable trip. If you are looking for a cool thing to do in St. Louis going u in the arch is amazing, and at the base it it is the Lewis and Clark museum. If you stop in the visitors center in Kansas, they w ill give you the historical stops along I70 - there are some cool things in Kansas to see right off the Interstate. There is lots of construction on I70 so you might want to generate and download the AAA TripTik which gives you alternate roads to avoid delays. Have fun and safe driving!

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7. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

nephils, let’s see, half day drive on Thursday August 15 into Denver from point X. Either two or three days drive to point X from Philly, preferably a southern route.

I feel like I own stock in I-64 because this is the second time this day I’ve recommended it.

You could drive to Harrisburg or Baltimore depending upon where you are in Philly. Either way get to Hagerstown Maryland, west a few miles on I-70 to Hancock Maryland, continue west on I-68 to Morgantown West Virginia; then south on I-79 to Charleston West Virginia where you pick up I-64 west to St. Louis where you pick up I-70 for Denver.

It adds about an hour to St Louis. Not only is it more southern but scenic and a nice driving road all the way.

If you want to leave on the 13th and drive hard two and a half days, I’d say overnight near Louisville rather than St Louis, then Salina Kansas both about 10 + hard driving, about 13 hours on the road each day, then another 6 hours into Denver. You could make Hays the Kansas stop, cutting about an hour off the third day ride to Denver.

Or, leave on the 12th, same route, a rather sane first night near Charleston West Virginia, equally pleasant ride to St. Louis second night – maybe the other side if you don’t like cities – next Hays, and then 5 hours into Denver on the 15th.

Liking cities or not, I don’t think you can avoid St. Louis or KC without wandering over some back roads. Morgantown, Charleston, Lexington, and Louisville, are not big bad towns. It’s pretty country.

8. Re: Philly to Denver - need advice on stops and drive time.

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