Updated: Oct 27, 2019
5 days spent road tripping in Colorado and Utah, stopping at three National Parks, a National Monument, and spending an evening in Denver. We did this trip in late March, and there was snow in the mountains still. Check out our itinerary and go on this awesome road trip yourself!
This was our first road trip with our camper van. Although it wasn't even close to being finished, we had a bed, and that's what mattered the most! We took full advantage of this by taking a few road-side naps.
Day 1 - Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park
Rent snow shoes from YMCA or local outfitter during winter/spring
Bear Lake Trail (.5mi)
Alberta Falls (2 mile loop)
Emerald Lake Trail (3.1 mile hike)
Estes Park Tram
4:00- Leave Rocky Mt. National Park
6:15 pm - arrive at Silver Plume campsite
Day 2 Arches Nat'l Park
Leave Silver Plume, CO
Hanging lake: 2.8mi (or skip if you want more time in Arches)
Arrive at Arches: Arches is an out and back National Park. It's very doable to see a majority of the park in one day. Listed below are the arches we hiked to see.
Castleton Tower’s Climbers Campsite: Moab, Utah, 38.642319, -109.376765
We do not recommend staying at this campsite. It was packed and the road to get in was very uneven! It would be best to pay for a site near Arches. But, if you need a free campsite in this area, this one is an option. Just arrive early and be prepared for lots of pot holes!
Day 3 - Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nat'l Park
Arrive at Black Canyon
Exclamation Point trail (2.9mi, north rim)
Painted Wall hike (.2mi, do around sunset)
Camp at BLM land in Montrose, Colorado. 38.53065, -107.720228
Unfortunately we didn't do good enough research on this park because it was closed until late spring! We did get to go the visitor center and catch a few glimpses of the canyon. The above list is what we had planned to do in the National Park. We'll definitely have to stop a different day. I hear this park is awesome for star gazing!
Day 4 Pike's Peak/ Garden of the Gods
9:00 am - Leave campsite
2:00 pm - arrive at Pike’s Peak
St. Peters Dome trail (1.2 mi)
Garden of the Gods
Perkins central garden trail (1.1mi loop)
Stay overnight at Bass Pro Shop (1hr 20mins from GoG) in Colorado Springs 39.02371, -104.826538 if you are sleeping in a camper van/ RV (You can stay one night in the Bass Pro parking lot on the southwest side there are about 11 RV/Semi spots and they have view of the Rockies)
This was the best free campsite we could find in the area, but there are some paid campsites as well if you are tent camping or use a pop-up camper.
Day 5 - Denver
9:00 am - leave Bass Pro Shop
10:00 am - arrive at Denver
Denver Central Market
Denver Pizza Company
Ozzi’s Ice Cream
We loved visiting Colorado and dipping our toes into the state of Utah! We will definitely be back, preferably in a warmer season when there won't be as much snow in the mountains. We've still got quite a few Parks to hit up in both of these states!