We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Ely, UK
Level Contributor
26 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Hi Folks,

I am flying into Denver and driving to Moab to visit Arches/Canyonlands etc. I've read the drive is around 6 hours and I arrive in Denver late-afternoon on Friday 22 June. I'd like to get a few hours under my belt, stopover somewhere overnight and then take the next day to complete the drive. I'm after some travel advice.

I am a keen photographer (landscapes) and so can someone recommend any "must-see" places on the way that are worth a detour? Is the drive scenic? When it comes to a stopver can someone suggest a place 2-3 hours along the way from Denver? As I'll be in Houston before this trip I'd prefer a small town with great scenery around it. I was thinking of Colorado Springs, but looks to city-like !

Thanks

Graham

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Hi Graham.

Although CS is a great place to visit, it's not on your route from Denver i/a to Moab driving I70 most of the time. BTW this is also a beautiful drive on I70, try to make a couple of stops on your way just off the interstate.

For great scenery and an overnight stay try Dillon at Lake Dillon. It's 2-2.5 hours from the a/p. Depends on traffic. We didnot make many other stops along this route but detoured near Grand Junction for a visit to Colorado NM which was very worth the effort. In Utah take exit 214 and make a short stop in Cisco. Ghosttwon or not? Hope Co experts can give you more info on other places worth a detour.

Tet

Ely, UK
Level Contributor
26 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Hi Tet,

Thanks for your reply ! I'm glad that you pointed-out that Colorado Springs is not on teh way to Moab !!! Knowing me I will make several stops along the way and end up getting into Moab late :)

I will check out Dillon and Lake Dillon. Cisco is definitely on the itinerary.

Cheers

Graham

P.S Sorry I've replied to my own message but can't seem to see how to reply to yours.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

You did fine Graham, just: "post a reply as you did-lol-"

Colorado Western...
Destination Expert
for Ouray, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Montrose
Level Contributor
650 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Your drive along I-70 will take you through Glenwood Canyon on your 2nd day (too far to drive from Denver and still have daylight to enjoy the views). Take the time to stop at a few of the "rest stops" as you are driving through the canyon -- the views are wonderful! Also, these rest stops link to a bike & walking path that follows the river, so that makes for a good opportunity to stretch your legs a bit, and possibly get some good photos while you're at it.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,552 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

I agree with Tet. Dillon and the lake there are absolutely wonderful places. We've stayed there twice before and loved it. We saw a fox along a drive near the lake, too. Yes, the entire drive along I-70 is exceptionally scenic. The stretch between Denver and Rifle may be my favorite stretch of interstate in the U.S. that I can think of. The only problem with Dillon is that it is about 1 1/2 hours from Denver. You said 2-3 hours, but if you decide to stay in Dillon, know you'll have a slightly longer trip the second day. Other places you might want to consider stopping for the night include Vail (more of a ski town), Avon (another ski town, but smaller), and Glenwood Springs (a large town, but with excellent scenery). Vail and Avon are around 1 hour 45 minutes from Denver, and Glenwood Springs is around 2 1/2 hours. Just east of Glenwood Springs, you will be traveling through Glenwood Canyon, a really beautiful place. There is somewhere worth stopping for near Glenwood Springs. There is a place called Hanging Lakes about 7 miles east of Glenwood Springs. Since you're going westbound, you would have to get off the exit right after the tunnel and turn around going eastbound. There is a rest area that I believe says something like Hanging Lakes. From there you can take a 2 mile roundtrip hike up to this beautiful place.

www.localhikes.com/Hikes/HangingLake_0000.asp

Another place to consider stopping (and I would DEFINITELY stop here) is Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction. I wrote something about Colorado NM recently on this site, so I'll just copy and paste what I wrote:

"Colorado NM is very similar to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, if you have been there, with monoliths rising hundreds of feet in the air. From Grand Junction, you can see where the NM is, but you would never know what kind of beauty lies there judging by the view from the city. After driving up to the visitor center and onto the rim, we stopped at one of the overlooks. When I got to the end of the short path (it may have been the Ottos Trail) a peregrine falcon shot through the air above me down into the canyon, probably ~100 mph. It was one of the most incredible (but very, very short) moments of my life. It literally plummeted down just 10-20 yards in front of me. The various formations (such as Pipe Organ, Independence Monument, and Kissing Couple) are really neat. We didn't do much hiking on the trip---we mainly drove the road. But we did stop at all of the overlooks, and we did hike the Devils Kitchen Trail near the East Entrance. I would definitely do this hike. It was rather confusing trying to follow the trail, but it was very cool. Sometime I'd like to do the Monument Canyon Trail. Anyway, you should DEFINITELY go to Colorado NM---it is NOT somewhere to just pass by."

A great place for photography lies on Highway 128, the route you'll probably take going from I-70 to Moab. You follow the Colorado River, and at one point, you'll see the formations known as Fisher Towers with the La Sal Mountains in the background. This is a classic shot.

ejphoto.com/images_of_the_month/UT_FisherTow…

That's about all I can help with the drive from Denver to Moab. If you have any questions about Canyonlands or Arches, I can help out some.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,552 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

winglady also has some great advice here, as always.

Ely, UK
Level Contributor
26 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Winglady,

Thanks for your reply and the suggestion about Glenwood Canyon. It's on my plans !

Ely, UK
Level Contributor
26 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

TNSoccer07,

Thanks for your reply. I think it's Glenwood Springs for sure !

The Hanging lake looks gorgeous and I'll stop for that for sure. I'll check out the NM near Grand Junction.

More and more I'm thinking I will have to pack a lot in a few days. From arriving in Denver to leaving I have 6 days. I hope to have around 4 and half real days in Moab. Initially I was planning on focussing on the Arches with a day or half-day to Dead Horse Park and Canyonlands. But more and more I;m thinking I should make the effort to get to Monument Valley for late afternoon one day...looks so eery ! Ah well, I know I won't have enough time !

Cheers

Graham

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Hi

Just keep in mind DIA is not in Denver but 30-45 minutes east of it. Whatever you do, don't drive in the dark re your intended visit to MV.

It can be done on a daytrip though. (2.5-3 hours one way). I won't mention other awesome sites to visit between MV and Moab....

Tet

Ely, UK
Level Contributor
26 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Denver to Moab - where to stopover

Hi Tet,

Thanks for the tip about the location of DIA.

This will be my first time driving on the RHS of the road, so I am planning on being extra careful and will take my time. Why is driving back from MV in the dark a bad idea? Empty roads?

Graham