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  1. Default Denver to San Diego - Overnight Trip

    Hi All

    I'm planning on driving from Denver to San Diego in August. This will just be an overnight trip with a rental car.

    Nothing crazy, but I would like to get some ideas of a cool route to take full of great scenery for some good pictures.

    I'm not really too interested in stopping at a bunch of places to see weird things, unless it's really something worthwhile.

    I do want to drive alongside/through The Rockies, obviously, but I am open for any and all suggestions.

    Maybe head north from Denver into Wyoming, then west, then south through Utah then Nevada to Cali?

    While I won't really be in a crazy rush, it is just a one day trip since I have leave Denver on a Thursday and have to check into my hotel in San Diego on Friday.

    Any ideas? Much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,558

    Default Unfortunately...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The simple truth is that Denver to San Diego is almost 1,100 miles by the most direct all-Interstate route: I-70 to I-15 (and/or I-215). That is literally two full days of driving with only minimal stops. Seriously, if you can't leave Denver until Thursday (Morning, I presume) and have to check into your hotel in San Diego on Friday (Evening, I presume), that's all you have time for.

    Fortunately... I-70 through western Colorado and eastern Utah is one very scenic route through the Rockies, and you can make a couple of short stops along the way, but that's it.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,045

    Default One option.

    Maybe head north from Denver into Wyoming, then west, then south through Utah then Nevada to Cali?
    This is a non starter and I would ignore time estimates from mapping programs as they don't have to deal with 'real world' delays and things such as food, rest and fuel. I agree with Buck that the most direct and quickest route is your best option although if I could get on the road early and arrive late I would be tempted to take I-70 to US191 and then head south and take US163 through Monument valley to US160/89/I-40/I-17/I-8. It's an option but it would be 2 long days on the road with limited lodging where you need it. Cameron trading post is just beyond what we would recommend for a day on the road and being close to the Grand canyon may not have availability. Unless you are a seasoned road tripper I would stick with the direct route.

  4. Default

    Thanks guys. Appreciate both responses. I was originally planning on just going straight through on I-70.

    While I'm actually excited about the drive (I do enjoy long drives by myself and this would be the longest I've done), this isn't the main part of my trip.

    I just figured if I could fit something cool into the mix, I'd do it.

    But if I-70 already has great scenery, then that should be just fine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,525

    Default

    You will need to plan an overnight around Cedar City, UT.

  6. Default

    Arguably, the stretch of I-70 west of Green River is the most beautiful highway in America, as it slices through the San Rafael Swell.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,525

    Default

    Note that this stretch of I-70 has no services or cell service for 108 miles - between Green River and Salina. Plan accordingly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,844

    Default

    I am currently IN the Denver area and heading for San Diego. This is a route I do often, so I am very, very familiar with the three main routes that folks use to get between the two.

    The shortest is I-70 to I-15, no question about that. It will take you through the Rockies. Your halfway point is (as GLC pointed out), Cedar City. There is a plethora of motels in every price range there, some with better facilities and upkeep than others. It is almost 600 miles to Cedar City from where we are in Denver (Aurora/Centennial area), then almost 500 miles from Cedar City to wherever you are going in San Diego. 600 miles is a very, very long day, and since you have a climb to get into the Rockies, it will take 10-11 hours. The next day could be interesting, traffic wise, as you will encounter traffic in Las Vegas and LA. But there is a beautiful section in there, from just south of St. George, UT, through the corner of Arizona in the Virgin River Gorge.

    Take the time to stop at some of the rest areas in the mountains west of Denver, or at one of the towns. You can breathe some wonderfully fresh air. Also enjoy the "hanging freeway" in the Glenwood Canyon area. It's just beautiful and a man-made feature that is just amazing.


    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,844

    Default

    I just posted photos of my trip down I-70 recently. Scroll down to post #35 on this page, for the start, or read Post #34 for the narrative before looking at the photos.

    Photos of scenic I-70 in CO and UT.



    Donna

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