Planning a Denver to Las Vegas drive is one of the best routes to take through the southwestern region of the USA and there is truly no better way to explore the American southwest than by car. Beautiful mountain ranges, natural landmarks, cute towns, incredible National Parks and exciting cities are all well connected via an extensive network of highways, so if you give yourself a couple of days in a well-stocked car, you’ll find endless possibilities of things to do.
One popular route that will take you throughout the southwest and provide a wide variety of interesting stops to make along the way is a Denver to Las Vegas Drive. These two cities are amazing destinations to visit independently, but by driving from Denver to Las Vegas, you’ll be able to experience all that the beautiful Southwest has to offer and get a little off the beaten path.
Planning a Denver to Las Vegas Road Trip
When planning a Denver to Las Vegas drive, it is important to have an itinerary in mind and an idea of how far you plan on driving each day and where you’ll make stops. The drive itself is beautiful and there are so many incredible things to see along the way, but there are definitely stretches where there aren’t any gas stations or towns to stop at to refuel, use the restroom or get food.
Plan ahead and make sure to take advantage of the resources in bigger towns so that you’re well-prepared for the barren stretches.
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How Far is Denver to Las Vegas?
Denver and Las Vegas are about 750 miles from each other and connected through the I-70 West and the I-15 South, and these are the primary roads you’ll be taking to get from Denver to Las Vegas.
If you were to drive straight there without making any stops, you could arrive in under 12 hours and do it all in one long day, but I wouldn’t recommend that, as you would miss all the incredible things the southwest has to offer! In order to fully take advantage of your road trip and stop in some interesting places, it would be best to stretch out this road trip over a few days.
Best Denver to Las Vegas Drive Stops
And now, a list of some of the best stops on a Denver to Las Vegas Drive. Of course, this list is simply a jumping-off point, and you can pick and choose which stops most appeal to you and fit in with your travel timeline, but for some ideas of great stops in between these two iconic cities, read on!
1. Denver, Colorado
While Denver is the starting point for your road trip, it is absolutely worth staying and exploring for a day or so before you hit the road. Denver has so much to offer visitors and has grown into such a dynamic, interesting, and fun city over the years.
Stay downtown and explore Larimer Square (Denver’s oldest and most historic block), 16th Street Mall, and Union Station to get a good grasp on the energy and layout of the city. As far as activities go, Denver is home to many incredible museums, galleries, independent boutiques, fun dining concepts, and cool bars and nightlife.
I’d recommend checking out the Dairy Block and Milk Market near Union Station. This carefully crafted city block (and diverse food-hall situated within it) showcases the innovative spirit of Denver. After you’ve explored the city, make sure to get a good night of sleep at any of the many hotels downtown so that you can be up early and ready to hit the road!
2. Georgetown: Georgetown Loop Railroad, Colorado
From Denver, you’ll get on the I-70 West and begin your drive into the mountains. The drive along I-70 is beautiful and watching the terrain change as you go higher and higher will be amazing in and of itself, but before you get too well situated on the road, make a stop in Georgetown, Colorado.
This small, historic mining town is so charming and old-fashioned, you’ll truly feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you walk up and down the main road. Pop into a cute café for a cup of coffee and a pastry before heading to the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
It is definitely worth taking the time to go for a ride on the railroad — the old-fashioned boutique train takes passengers on a loop through beautiful mountain terrain and provides stunning views, all the while transporting you back to a time in which railroads were the primary means of transportation.
3. Vail, Colorado
After stopping in Georgetown and getting well acquainted with the beautiful mountains of Colorado, continue down the I-70 West for another hour until you reach Vail, one of the most famous ski destinations in the world.
If you’re a skier or snowboarder, I’d absolutely recommend staying in Vail for a full day or two so that you can experience the incredible mountain, but if winter sports aren’t your thing, you can still have a great time walking around the village at the base of the mountain.
There are plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and other activities. Vail is definitely a must-see if you want to get a taste of an authentic Colorado ski town.
4. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Just about another hour down the I-70 West, you’ll reach Glenwood Springs. A visit to this town on a Denver to Las Vegas drive, is well worth it, as it is home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. A dip in the sprawling hot springs is a perfect and relaxing way to spend a few hours after all the driving and exploring you’ve done so far.
If you decide to stay in Glenwood Springs for more than just a few hours, consider checking out Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
This amusement park situated at the base of a mountain provides a fun and unique way to take in stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, downtown Glenwood Springs is a fun place to wander around, with local breweries, some great restaurants, and shopping.
5. Fruita, Colorado
Our next stop is another hour and a half west of Glenwood Springs. The small town of Fruita, Colorado is definitely lesser known but worth a quick visit to. You’ll notice while driving into this town that the mountainous landscape you’ve been driving through thus far begins to change into more of a desert, indicating that you’re getting closer to Utah.
Fruita, named because of its humble origins as a fruit-producing region for the state, has evolved into a full-blown town with many unique activities to offer visitors.
You can elect to take a quick hike, mountain bike, or just explore the town on foot, but no visit to Fruita is complete without stopping at one of the various fruit stands around the entrance of the town that sells fresh, local fruit by the basket. If it’s summertime, make sure you pick out some peaches — you’ll be amazed at how sweet and juicy the Fruita fruit is!
6. Cisco, Utah
After stopping in Fruita, continue down the 1-70 West for another 45 minutes. You’ll cross over into Utah and come across Cisco, a small town that was formerly a livestock and cattle depot but is now an eerie, abandoned ghost town. Cisco is worth a visit to, as it illustrates how the modernization of transportation impacted the economy of small towns in the American West.
The abandoned houses and buildings situated in the barren desert landscape of Utah is equal parts interesting and spooky, which makes it a popular spot for photographers and artists. Grab a camera and explore the ghost town for a few hours to get a glimpse into what life might have been like in the early 1900s.
7. Arches National Park, Utah
Next on the list of must-see stops on a Denver to Las Vegas drive is Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. This stop is about an hour drive from Cisco and veers a little off path of Nevada, but it is absolutely worth taking the extra time to see.
Arches, named so because it is home to over 2,000 natural stone arches, is an absolutely incredible National Park with such a unique landscape, you’ll feel as though you’re on a different planet. Wander around the park, either on foot or in the car, for a while in order to take in the absolutely breathtaking rock formations.
8. Mystic Hot Springs of Monroe, Utah
After visiting Moab, get back on the I-70 West and make sure to fill up your tank, get some food, and use the restroom before embarking on the next part of the journey… for the next few hours, there will be long stretches of absolutely nothing. After three hours on the road, you’ll come across one of the first towns you will have seen in a while — Monroe, Utah, home of the Mystic Hot Springs.
The Mystic Hot Springs include eight soaking pools of various heat, plus larger pools for proper swimming, all situated in a beautiful, rocky landscape that provides spectacular views. A soak in the natural mineral hot springs is a perfect way to de-stress and unwind after the longest stretch of uninterrupted driving you will do on this road trip.
9. Fremont Indian Museum and State Park, Utah
Just a half-hour from the Mystic Hot Springs is our next stop, the Fremont Indian State Park and Museum. This state park is the site of the ruins of one of the largest known Fremont Indian villages and is home to many incredible and interesting Native American artefacts.
Spend a few hours trying to decipher the rock art carved into the cliffs, checking out the preserved remains on display in the museum, and wandering the sprawling trails of the park.
10. Zion National Park / Angel’s Landing hike, Utah
After visiting the Fremont Indian Museum and State Park, you’ll get off the I-70 West and begin driving down the I-15 South- this is the highway that’ll take you straight to Vegas! But before you arrive in Sin City, make one final stop at Zion National Park- another absolutely incredible National Park that truly showcases the unique beauty of the American Southwest.
For the daredevil, consider going on the Angel’s Landing hike — this five-mile hike is one of the most popular in Utah, known for its absolutely incredible views as you hike across a steep and narrow cliff ledge. But be warned — this hike is not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights! Even if you decide not to do the hike, you’ll still find wandering around Zion to be a fantastic experience.
If you don’t have time to make it to Zion during your Denver to Las Vegas drive, you can also take a day trip to Zion here while you’re in Las Vegas. This tour available on GetYourGuide includes transport, lunch and admission to Zion National Park.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada
From Zion, the I-15 South is a straight shot to Las Vegas, but there is not much in between these two stops, so again, make sure to fill up with gas and be ready for another long stretch of driving with little access to services.
You’ll cross into Nevada after about an hour, and in another hour and a half, you’ll have made it to Vegas! For your Las Vegas itinerary, there are endless options of things to do and places to explore. Make sure you allocate a few days to spend here, wandering the strip, seeing shows, shopping, taking some day trips and perhaps even trying your hand at gambling!
Where to Stay on the Denver to Las Vegas Drive
There is a lot to see on a Denver to Las Vegas road trip and, therefore, you could easily spend many days making all the stops between these two cities. However, if you want a couple of good places to rest your head on the Las Vegas to Denver drive, then we recommend stopping over in Vail, Colorado and Moab, Utah.
These are great stopover points any time of year as Vail is a beautiful mountain town and Moad is the prime jumping-off point to explore the incredible Arches National Park.
Of course, hotels, motels and hostels aren’t your only accommodation options available on the drive from Denver to Las Vegas. Airbnb can be a great choice if you’re looking to stay in your own apartment or home — like this cute tiny house in Moab — or a private room in a local’s home to save cash — like this private room with ensuite just outside of Vail. There are also countless properties available in Denver and Vegas and everywhere in between. Click here to browse Airbnb properties
However, is you’re after a traditional hotel or hostel and wondering where to stay on the Denver to Las Vegas drive, have a look at these suggestions:
Where to Stay in Denver
Ember Hostel — If you’re travelling on a budget or solo, then this hostel is a great choice. They offer both dorm beds and private rooms, have great common areas, and have clean facilities. Click here to see their availability
Holiday Inn Express Downtown Denver — A good option if you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable hotel that is well-located in downtown Denver. There are numerous rooms available and there is a free breakfast included in the rate. Click here to see their availability
Westin Denver Downton — Another great hotel option in downtown Denver, well-located for exploring all that the city has to offer. They have numerous clean and comfortable rooms available along with other amenities to ensure you have a lovely stay. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Denver hotels
Where to Stay in Vail
Montaneros in Vail, A Destination Residence — This hotel is a great choice if you want to be close to the action of Vail but also want space and your own self-catering facilities. There are a range of apartments available here that can suit any size of party and the Montaneros itself offers countless amenities to make sure that your stay is a great one. Click here to see their availability
Lodge at Lionshead — If you’re after a chic lodge at the base of Val mountain, then this is a great choice for you. There is a large choice of apartment-style rooms available for all types of travellers and numerous other amenities to make your stay in Vail cool and comfortable. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Vail hotels
Where to Stay in Moab
Adventure Inn Moab — This classic boutique motel is an excellent place to stay in Moab, especially if you’re travelling on a tighter budget. They have a handful of clean and comfortable rooms available, free parking on site, and self-service laundry facilities. Click here to see their availability
Comfort Suites Moab — A good option if your budget is higher and you’re looking for a few more amenities in your accommodation. This hotel has a number of great rooms available, a heated pool on site, and free parking for hotel guests. Click here to see their availability
Airbnb — If you’re looking for unique or more affordable accommodation in Moab or anywhere on the drive from Las Vegas to Denver, then Airbnb is a great option. There are countless options available on the platform from entire properties — like this trendy tiny house in Moab — to private rooms in a local’s home. Click here to see the best Airbnbs in Moab.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Moab hotels
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
Sin City Hostel — A great option for budget and solo travellers, this hostel is well-located, clean and comfortable. They have numerous dorm beds available and the staff organise social events most nights. Click here to see their availability
Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino — A good mid-range option, this hotel/casino is located right on the Vegas strip. They have many rooms to choose from, a number of restaurants on-site, a heated swimming pool and breakfast included in the nightly rate. Click here to see their availability
Bellagio — One of the most iconic Las Vegas hotels, this is a great high-end option to end (or begin!) your Denver to Vegas drive. There are countless luxe rooms available, a Cirque du Soleil show on-site, and one of the best casinos in Sin City. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Vegas hotels!
As you can see, a Denver to Las Vegas drive is one of the best and most interesting ways you could explore the Southwest US. With so many unique and interesting stops in between these two major cities, you’ll find that time on the road flies by.
When travelling in the USA, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning a drive from Denver to Las Vegas? Have you been on a Las Vegas to Denver road trip? Let us know in the comments!