My husband and I are about to embark on a drive from Denver to Los Angeles over 2 weeks. Here’s our Colorado to California southwest road trip itinerary! Each point on the map represents at least a one night stay, with a few extra nights in each of the major cities.

Colorado to California: Southwest road trip itinerary

  1. Denver, Colorado
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
  4. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  5. Monument Valley, Utah
  6. Page, Arizona
  7. Grand Canyon, Arizona
  8. Las Vegas, Nevada
  9. Los Angeles, California


Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

  • Start with some sightseeing in Denver. Be sure to see Larimer Square and the Colorado State Capitol.
  • Drink craft beer at one of the city’s many microbreweries, such as Wynkoop Brewing or Ratio Beerworks.
  • Drive out to Red Rocks Ampitheatre to experience this geologically formed, open-air amphitheater.
  • Check out the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave for a taste of the Wild West.

Where to stay: Hotel Indigo Denver Downtown

Garden of the Gods, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Great Sand Dunes NP, and Mesa Verde NP

  • Drive south to Colorado Springs.
  • Explore Garden of the Gods, where you can hike around amazing rock formations.
  • Head south to Great Sand Dunes National Park to marvel at the massive dunes.
  • Hike a half mile to see the hidden Zapata Falls.
  • Go west to Mesa Verde National Park and see cliff dwellings where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived.

Where to stay: Embassy Suites Colorado Springs

Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah

  • Check out the spot where 4 states meet at the Four Corners Monument.
  • Drive into Utah via Monument Valley where you can see impressive rock formations.
  • Hike the Wildcat Trail, a 3.3 mile easy hike which takes around 2 hours.
  • Visit Goulding’s Trading Post Museum, a famous locale for Old West movies.

Where to stay: Goulding’s Lodge

Lake Powell

Page, Arizona

  • Drive to the town of Page, Arizona, which sits just below the Utah border.
  • Explore Antelope Canyon, a naturally beautiful slot canyon with deep orange-colored walls.
  • Visiting the picturesque Horseshoe Bend for an amazing photo opportunity.
  • Do a cruise on Lake Powell, the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States.

Where to stay: Days Inn Page

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon, Arizona

  • Drive towards Grand Canyon Village (South Rim).
  • Stop in at a few vistas along the way, such as the Desert View Watchtower and Mather Point.
  • Get some exercise by walking the South Rim Trail, a 7 mile flat hike from Grand Canyon Village.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, do a helicopter tour which will give you the best views of the canyon.

Check out our epic guide to visiting the Grand Canyon!

6 tips for visiting Las Vegas on a budget

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Drive to Las Vegas, stopping in at Hoover Dam on the way.
  • Take a photo in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
  • Watch the fountains do their thing at The Bellagio.
  • See one of the many shows that frequent Las Vegas, like the Blue Man Group or Cirque du Soleil.
  • Do some non-casino activities, like the Neon Museum or the Pinball Hall of Fame.

City guide: 6 tips for visiting Las Vegas on a budget

6 things you absolutely must do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

  • Check out the Hollywood sign and the spread of city lights from Griffith Observatory after sunset.
  • Throw a theme park day at Disneyland.
  • Do the tram tour at Universal Studios to see the sets where movies and TV shows are made.
  • Spend an afternoon in Hollywood seeing the Walk of Fame and Chinese Theatre.
  • Do a movie star homes tour to see where the rich and famous live.
  • Walk along the Venice Boardwalk and take a trip on the ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier.

City guide: 9 things you absolutely must do in Los Angeles

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