Depending on your trip’s budget and schedule, you can travel by car, train, plane or bus. Here is more information on each option, in case you need help choosing which is best for your plans.
Heading west from Denver to Grand Junction on I-70 is the fastest route, if you’re planning on driving. The trip totals 243 miles each way and takes about 4 hours, depending on road conditions and the number of times you stop for bathroom breaks, gas and photo opportunities. The biggest perk of making the trip by car is the chance to enjoy the awe-inspiring mountain scenery and distinctively varied landscapes you’ll see as you make your way across the state. From the climb up to the Continental Divide, through the Vail Valley, among others, and then winding alongside the path of the beautiful Colorado River, there are scenic vistas, dramatic rock cliffs and at least a half-dozen geological eras on display. If you’re not pressed for time and you’d prefer to take the road less traveled, another option is to take US-285 South from Denver and then connect with US-50 West. This route is approximately 323 miles and takes about six hours, but you’ll pass through the Gunnison National Forest and alongside the Uncompahgre National Forest on the way, both of which offer amazing views and more opportunities for adventure.
If time is of the essence, the quickest way to travel from Denver to Grand Junction is by plane. There are regular non-stop flights offered by United between the two cities (DEN to GJT), or a one-stop route available from US Airways (connects in Phoenix). Prices for flights vary by day and season, but are usually more costly than driving. Once you arrive in Grand Junction, the airport is only a few minutes away from Downtown. There are car rental options available at the airport, among other ground transportation options. You can also find accommodations near the airport.
In addition, Denver Air Connection operates charter flights Sunday through Friday from Centennial Airport (in the Denver Tech Center) to Grand Junction Regional Airport. Scheduled flight times out of Centennial Airport are 7:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m., and flights out of Grand Junction are scheduled at 8:40 a.m. and 6:35 p.m.
If you really want to enjoy the scenery between Denver and Grand Junction, then a trip by train on Amtrak’s California Zephyr is the perfect mode of transportation. The trip takes about eight hours by train, but the advantage is that no one is stuck driving (read: missing out on all amazing views in order to focus on the road). There are regularly scheduled departures from downtown Denver’s Union Station. The tracks lead from Denver north and west to Fraser, Granby and Glenwood Springs before arriving at the station in Grand Junction, located at 339 S. First Street. Along the way, travelers are treated to incredible views, as well as amenities like the lounge and dining cars. Perfect for a weekend getaway, there are options that depart Denver on Friday morning, arrive Friday afternoon and then return on Sunday. Prices for the train ride are less expensive than flying, generally, and rates vary depending on the day of the week (you’ll find better deals mid-week than on Fridays or Sundays). For the latest pricing, check the Amtrak website.
For the most economical trip that leaves the driving up to someone else, a Greyhound bus is likely the best option. There are a variety of scheduled trips between Denver and Grand Junction available. For a long weekend, you can leave Denver Thursday night and arrive in Grand Junction early Friday morning, then return mid-day Sunday, arriving in Denver around dinnertime. Ticket prices vary by day and date, so check Greyhound's website for the most up-to-date information.