Girl in Colorado National Monument

If you are in a hurry and aren’t up for a road trip, there are five daily flights from Denver (DEN) to Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) via United Airlines. It’s only an hour flight to Grand Junction Regional Airport. However, if you are looking for an excuse to get behind the wheel to relax and zone out to your favorite tunes, then we have the perfect road trip for you!

There are many benefits to taking a more leisurely and experiential route. This Colorado road trip itinerary is for those who want to turn the city-to-city journey into a trip of its own and traverse a picturesque route across the most scenic part of Colorado before arriving in Grand Junction. 

You can easily tackle this entire road trip and arrive in Grand Junction in time for a good night’s rest. You’ll find the most variety and affordable lodging options anywhere in Colorado, which really helps the travel budget. This will not only save you money, but also allow you to stay in Grand Junction a couple of extra days to explore! Grand Junction lodging includes over 3,000 hotel rooms, hundreds of vacation homes, and numerous RV Parks & Campgrounds.


Begin in Denver 

Picture of Denver Sunset Peaking Through Building

Start your trip off in Denver, the capital city of Colorado. Known as the Mile High City, because of its 5,276 feet elevation above sea level.

Things to Do in Denver

There are lots of ways to stay busy in Denver. If you are the artsy type, visit the Denver Art Museum taking in their expansive collection spanning over 70,000 works. Or walk through the neon fantasy world that is Meow Wolf Convergence Station. Denver is also home to Colorado’s most popular professional sports teams (Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche) – making Denver a great place to catch a game.

Denver Eats

What is Pepto Bismol pink, has a historic fountain outside, cliff divers inside, and was recently purchased by the owners of the South Park television show? Casa Bonita! This iconic restaurant is newly opened with all the fanfare you would expect – a must-see to kick off your road trip and provide you lots of conversation and laughs for the miles ahead. Looking for a historic downtown experience? Head to historic Larimer Square for a diverse selection of eateries, including the famed spot Rioja, known for its locally sourced Mediterranean dishes. To quench your thirst, pop into one of Denver’s many breweries, like the unfussy Station 26 Brewing Co. or the iconic Wynkoop Brewing Company, Colorado's first brewpub.



Bison Image

You can stop right off the highway at the Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve to view a herd of bison which are direct descendants of the last wild herd of Bison in the U.S. They originally came from Yellowstone National Park in 1914. Take Exit 254 and look on both sides of the highway, as the Bison are able to pass under I70 via a tunnel so they have access to pastures on both sides. If you long to get a little closer to a Bison for a photo op, visit Downtown Grand Junction, where Chrome on the Range is the most popular life-size sculpture among the 150 that line the sidewalks of Downtown. This famous year-round art exhibition is called Art on the Corner.



Picture of Traintracks through the Mountains

This historic town is known as the Silver Queen of Colorado. Tracing its origins back to the Colorado Gold Rush and the eventual Silver Boom, Georgetown was an important site in the 19th century.

Georgetown is one of the few funky mountain towns on I-70 between Denver and many ski resorts. Idaho Springs offers a similar vibe to Georgetown and is also along I-70 en route to Grand Junction from Denver. 

Things to do in Georgetown

Take a stroll down Sixth Street to admire an assortment of buildings dating back to the 19th century, including the Hotel de Paris, a well-preserved inn, turned museum, that highlights Colorado’s heritage. 

For more history, step aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad steam engine and tour an old silver mine. You’ll feel you’re in the Old West! The railroad is a favorite for families and nature lovers, especially in the early fall when the aspen trees turn bright yellow. 

What to Eat in Georgetown

Despite its small size, Georgetown has a variety of eateries spanning fine dining to pub grub. For a slightly upscale take on Colorado classics, book a table at Cooper’s on the Creek. For good food accompanied by live music, head to the 511 Rose, where Chef Smith plates fresh ingredients and house-smoked salmon. On a sunny day, grab a lakefront drink at Cabin Creek Brewing


Glenwood Springs 

Overhead of Glenwood Springs Town

From the Silver Queen of Colorado, head west towards Glenwood Springs. Famous for its mineral hot springs, the town has long been a resort destination and has much to offer in terms of natural beauty. 

Glenwood Springs Things to Do 

Glenwood Springs’ main claim to fame is its hot springs. It is even home to the largest hot springs pool in the world! After relaxing in the springs, get your adrenaline pumping at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park or embark on a climbing adventure at the Glenwood Canyon. Finally, you don’t want to miss one of Colorado’s most exquisite sights, the picturesque (and Instagram-worthy) Hanging Lake. Plan ahead, because you need a reservation.

Places to Eat in Glenwood Springs

Between soaking in the hot springs and taking in the wonderful scenery, there are many local restaurants to try in Glenwood Springs. For simple food done well (and served alongside unique cocktails), grab a table at The Pullman. Another gem in the heart of town is The Italian Underground, which has thrived for over 30 years, serving up classic Italian fare made with local ingredients. 


Grand Junction 

Overhead of Grand Junction

After driving about 75 minutes west from Glenwood Springs, you’ll arrive at your final destination, Grand Junction. As a lively and thriving city, Grand Junction has a bit of everything: art and culture, history, a delicious food scene, and awe-inspiring nature to explore. 

While we may be biased (we love our hometown!) you don’t have to take our word for it, as the New York Times named Grand Junction one of the 52 Best Places to Visit in 2023.


Things to Do in Grand Junction

View of one of the many red-rock spires in Colorado National Monument

Located along the Colorado River, at the base of the Grand Mesa and near Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction is a mecca for outdoor recreation. Hike or bike along the amazing red rock trails of the Colorado National Monument or explore the pristine high-altitude Grand Mesa National Forest. Discover Grand Junction’s many museums and cultural attractions that highlight the history of this unique city. 


Where to Eat in Grand Junction

Pictyre of a Table at Taco Party

Delectable dishes from around the world can be found in Grand Junction’s Downtown, which is also packed with breweries and tasting rooms from local area wineries. 626 on Rood is known for its upscale American dishes in a modern setting. For a unique twist on a foldable favorite, Tacoparty offers an ever-changing taco menu spotlighting local seasonal ingredients in every dish. Their James Beard-nominated chef, Josh Niernberg, also owns JoJo’s Dinette and Bin 707 Foodbar. Pour Fellows dining+drafts+drinks is a sports-style restaurant with big screen TV’s and over 20 beers on tap. If you prefer your meal with a little bit of an accent, check out Bistro 317 for some French cuisine that will have you saying oui oui. 


Spots to Stay in Grand Junction

Overhead of Two Rivers Winery

Grand Junction has a variety of accommodations for guests, including 32 hotels, 284 vacation homes, and various RV parks & campgrounds. Check out the comfortably spacious rooms at the Downtown Springhill Suites or the stylish boutique Hotel Maverick. Grand Junction’s newest boutique is in a historical building in Downtown, called The Hotel Melrose. For a B&B experience, the owner of Castle Creek Manor welcomes you each morning with a homemade breakfast and tips on what to do in the Grand Junction area. For easy access to the Colorado National Monument, stay at Two Rivers Winery & Chateau for an immersive vineyard, wine tasting lounge and B&B experience.

Discover Grand Junction, Colorado

Picture of People Walking Through Downtown

In a single 250-mile road trip itinerary from Denver to Grand Junction, you can dine with a dive show, go back in time to the Old West, soak in hot springs, and explore the Colorado National Monument, affectionately called the Heart of the World. Now, that’s a Colorado road trip!

For more ideas for your trip to Grand Junction, check out the top 23 things to do in Grand Junction or peruse through the ad-free Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide.