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  1. Default Route Suggestions San Diego to Denver in August

    Hi all,

    We will be staying in Breckenridge for a week this summer and I plan to drive there from San Diego with my two young boys. I am looking for a good route. I would like to break this up and make it a comfortable drive, but don't plan on staying in one place more than one night on my way there. I am flexible on how many days I take to get there and will be driving back home as well, so could hit different places or go a different route on my way back.

    We plan on returning to see the Utah area at some point in the future, so this isn't the only chance I will have to come through and I don't need to see things along the way in depth.

    I've done a bit of research and read that the I-15 to Las Vegas might be my first natural stop. Then Vegas through Hurricane and Springdale to Zion would be a good route, stopping in Torrey for the second night and then on to Breckenridge. Of course, I'd like to see a bit of Zion and stretch our legs.

    Do I want to stay somewhere and do Bryce as well, or leave it for another trip? Or maybe just see it on my way home? My boys are good for about 6 hours in the car at a stretch...we are early risers and don't mind getting on the road early.

    Also I've read about a 125 mile stretch in Utah with no services, but haven't figured out where it is....I am sure it is posted along the highway, but would feel more comfortable knowing in advance!

    Thank you all in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    Bryce can be comfortably be seen in half a day, unless you want to do some hiking down in the canyon. It takes a few hours to watch the short movie in the visitor's center, drive down to the end, and stop at the lookouts on the way back out.

    The stretch in Utah with no services is on I-70 between Salina and Green River. If you take UT-12 to Torrey, then UT-24 to I-70, this doesn't really come into play. If you are going to be in Torrey, it's worth taking a couple of hours to drive down to the end of Capitol Reef and back.

    It's worth spending close to a full day in Zion. I'd probably go through LV and spend the first night in St. George, and the next night around Bryce, see Bryce in the morning. You can make it to Torrey and see Capitol Reef same day.

    Bottom line - I-15 to Zion, UT-9/US-89 to Bryce, UT-12 to Torrey, UT-24 to I-70 would be a great route. On the way back, you may want to head down through Moab, see Arches and Canyonlands, then head through Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, then take I-17 and I-8 back to SD.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    San Diego to Denver, something my husband and I have done a number of times in the past 35 years, is about a 2-day drive. To break it up somewhere, Bryce is a good place (as GLC suggested). Or, if you decide to save Bryce for a return trip to Utah, you could break up your trip by stopping in either Cedar City or Beaver overnight.

    Fremont Indian State Park, along I-70 at exit 17 (I think), is quite interesting. Your two children may find it especially "cool" if they've studied about any of the Native tribes in school (usually 3rd and 4th grade).

    The "No Services" section is actually 108 miles, and is between Salina and Green River (as GLC indicated). My suggestion would be to ensure you get fuel at Richfield (generally cheaper than Salina) and Grand Junction (cheaper than Green River). Last time we went through there, we enjoyed a meal at Westwinds Truckstop in Green River. BTW, if you fuel up as suggested in Richfield, check your GasBuddy app (assuming you have one). You may find that gas is cheaper in town at the Maverick station than any of the stations right on the freeway.

    Donna in San Diego County

  4. Default

    Thank you! Lots to think about! I appreciate the information!

  5. Default

    Thank you! Off to go look at the map some more! I appreciate the response!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default How flexible ?

    Being flexible on the way out and back with time makes a big difference, just how flexible are we talking ? I would certainly do Zion and Bryce canyon together and then take a different route home, of which there are many options. Zion is a wonderful place and really deserves a full day visit, or at least get to Springdale on day one [long day] and then spend most of the next day in Zion before exiting towards Bryce, there is a Best Western on the junction of 9 and 89 or you could push on. From Bryce you could take the wonderful UT scenic 12 to 24 through Capitol Reef and then 'aim' for Moab UT. Then you have the choice of visiting Arches for the day and rolling into Breckenridge the following day, or make a brief visit in the morning and on to Breckenridge in the afternoon.

    Coming home. I would cut down to Salida and take US50 over Monarch pass, through Currecanti Nat rec area to Black canyon and then take US550 [The spectacular 'Million dollar highway] through the mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton. Either of these towns would make a wonderful overnight stop. Depending on how much time you have left at this point (it's a straight two day drive home] you could visit Mesa Verde NP, Four corners, Monument valley and Grand canyon.

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