Denver to Seattle Road Trip

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This idyllic Denver to Seattle drive will take you to visit seven American cities while passing through five scenic Pacific Northwest states—Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The scenery on this Denver to Seattle road trip is stunning, but it will lose some sparkle when it stops moving because your car breaks down. That’s why hardcore road trip aficionados will be quick to preach just how badly you need a dependable roadside assistance service from a company you can trust.
Jerry is best known for saving users an average of $879 per year on car insurance. But Jerry also offers cheap, reliable roadside assistance with tire and lockout services, jumpstarts, fuel delivery, and more. If you love a good road trip, this is the perfect roadside assistance package for you.
Once you have that taken care of, you’re ready to hit the road!

Key Trip Details

Route from Denver to Seattle
One-Way Distance: 1,379 miles
One-Way Driving Time: 21 hours 23 minutes
Suggested Trip Duration: Five to seven days

Itinerary

This Denver to Seattle road trip will make stops in six towns and cities along the way, including:
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Kennewick, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington
Each leg of the trip includes five hours or less of drive time, but if you’re traveling with another driver you could double up these stops and reduce the total drive time as you see fit. Boise and Kennewick are nice towns to visit, but you don’t need to stay overnight if you’re tight on time.
Of course, you might want to budget an extra day here and there for sightseeing. Grand Junction and Salt Lake City are both especially gorgeous, so if you have a bit more time for your trip, those are good places to extend your stay.
Pro Tip: Don’t drive for more than 8 hours consecutively. Falling asleep behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous, both for you and other drivers. If you can’t take a break for whatever reason, split up the driving with someone else.

Start in Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado boasts one of the most unique and iconic backdrops of any American city—the majestic Rocky Mountains paint the western sky. That breathtaking scenery will accompany you as you enjoy excellent food and incredible attractions in the Mile High City.

Where to stay in Denver

Denver is a large modern city with plenty of great hotel chains to suit any budget, but other hotels in Downtown Denver offer something a little different.
  • The Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast: Reservations fill up quickly in this delightful, three-star B&B in Downtown Denver. With rave reviews, this quaint spot has great rooms and a top-flight breakfast menu. Cost per night: From $150
  • The Four Seasons Denver: Located in Downtown Denver, the Four Seasons Denver is a five-star hotel with world-class amenities and services. It has a five-star price tag, but this is arguably the finest upscale hotel in the Mile High City. Cost per night: From $650

Where to eat in Denver

Denver’s food scene has truly blossomed in recent years, with great options from every corner of the globe. Foodies will want to explore the Mile High City and find their own options, but here are just a few of the best restaurants to try in Denver.
  • Leven Deli ($$): Situated in the heart of Denver’s museum district, Leven Deli is a great choice for breakfast or lunch. Their pastrami is on par with what you might find in Manhattan, and it specializes in meals you can easily carry around town to take on an urban picnic.
  • Root Down ($$$): Root Down’s mid-twentieth century decor makes for a unique environment while you enjoy their fresh, organically produced Americana-adjacent plates. With options for carnivores and vegetarians alike, Root Down is a great choice for brunch, dinner, or cocktails.
  • Mizuna ($$$$): Looking for a more traditional sit-down in a beautiful, upscale eatery? Mizuna consistently ranks amongst the finest restaurants in America, and with good reason. They infuse their creative menu with French cooking traditions to create some of the best food you’ll find anywhere. A three-course meal costs $95 per seat, while the chef’s tasting menu will run you $135 per seat. Cocktails and wine are sold separately.

What to do in Denver

A road cuts through sand-colored mountains in the Continental Divide.
The Continental Divide
You won’t struggle to find things to do in Denver, with museums, theme parks, zoos and aquariums, and more to keep the whole family busy. 
  • The Denver Zoo ($$): Denver’s world-class zoo is home to lions, rhinos, tigers, hippos, komodo dragons, grizzly bears, gorillas, and so much more. It’s laid out nicely, so it makes for a nice afternoon walk on a gorgeous Denver afternoon. 
  • Elitch Gardens Amusement Park ($$$): Elitch Gardens is perhaps the best known of Denver’s several amusement parks. You’ll find roller coasters, water rides, kids’ rides, and so much more. It's difficult to run out of things to do here. But plan accordingly—Elitch Gardens is only open May thru October. 
  • Visit the Continental Divide: Every hiker should include the Continental Divide on their bucket list. Colorado is home to 740 of the 3,100 total miles of the Continental Divide, some of which you can experience right here in Denver.

Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado

243 miles, 4 hours
The route to Grand Junction is incredibly scenic, with gorgeous mountains at one end and stunning canyon views at the other. Once you arrive in Grand Junction, you’ll find plenty to do on the cheap, too. 
Getting to Grand Junction will include a drive on one of the most incredible highways in America: Colorado’s famous Interstate 70. I-70 is an incredible feat of engineering, with stretches of highway rising above the beautiful, mountainous forests and winding through lengthy tunnels. If you love road trips, this is one of the roadways you simply must drive.
I-70 West has plenty of places to stop along the way. So make sure everyone’s phones and tablets are off, and cameras are at the ready to enjoy this incredible drive.
Pro Tip: This highway is beautiful, but it’s also stressful for your car. Be sure to check your brakes before heading onto I-70, avoid speeding on downhill sections, and keep an eye out for runaway tractor-trailers.

Where to stay in Grand Junction

  • Grand Vista Hotel: This incredibly affordable, three-star hotel might look a little dated, but the rooms inside are comfy, clean, and modern. The Grand Vista is conveniently located by the airport with easy access to area attractions. Cost per night: From $67
  • Hotel Maverick: Located near the campus of Colorado Mesa University, Hotel Maverick is an upscale, modern option found right in the heart of the city. Cost per night: From $130

Where to eat in Grand Junction

  • Pufferbelly Station ($): Pufferbelly’s cinnamon rolls are the stuff of legend, making Pufferbelly Station a delicious option for breakfast or lunch.
  • Bin 707 Foodbar ($$): This chic, trendy restaurant offers upscale new American, farm-to-table dining at surprisingly affordable prices. They have a lengthy cocktail and wine menu, too.
  • Le Rouge Restaurant ($$$): A distinct fusion of French and American dishes makes Le Rouge a top choice for dinner in Grand Junction. Their entrees are easily some of the best you’ll find in western Colorado.

What to do in Grand Junction

The big draw for Grand Junction isn’t what you can do in town, but what you can see around it. With several national parks within driving distance of Grand Junction, this is an excellent stop for outdoor fun.
A Grand Junction highway cuts through a Colorado valley.
Grand Junction, Colorado
  • The Colorado National Monument: With jaw-dropping canyon views, the Colorado National Monument cannot be missed. Entry costs $25 per car, $20 per motorcycle, or $15 per individual when hiking or arriving on a bicycle. It’s also open for camping. 
  • McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area: This is a wonderful area for seeing natural rock arches—the second largest collection anywhere in the United States. 
  • Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area: Last but not least, the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is another incredible canyon to visit. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management, you’ll likely encounter wildlife here, so please be careful and observe BLM rules while visiting!

Grand Junction to Salt Lake City, Utah

284 miles, 4.5 hours
Ready to continue on the road to Seattle? Hop back on I-70 West and follow it to US Highway 6 West, just past Green River. US-6 W/ US-191 N will take you to I-15 North, which will then take you to Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City is best known for the Great Salt Lake, from which it gets its name. Like the Dead Sea, the Great Salt Lake is amazing to swim in, as it’s incredibly easy to float in its dense water. It’s amazing to look at from the air, too—consider finding a helicopter or balloon tour around town to see this mesmerizing water from above.

Where to stay in Salt Lake City

  • The Salt Lake Plaza Hotel: The Salt Lake Plaza Hotel is a three-star hotel with four-star accommodations, located smack dab in the heart of Salt Lake City. With clean, comfy rooms, great prices, and a perfect location, the Plaza Hotel is a great place for the family to stay during your SLC visit. Cost per night: from $100 
  • The Grand America Hotel: This beautiful five-star hotel boasts picturesque views from the stately rooms. It also has excellent dining and a world-class spa. Cost per night: From $254

Where to eat in Salt Lake City

  • The Park Cafe ($): Every town needs a classic diner, and the Park Cafe provides SLC with exactly that. The Park Cafe is the perfect restaurant for breakfast and brunch, with an affordable menu of delicious morning staples.
  • The Red Iguana ($$): With two locations around Salt Lake City, the Red Iguana offers authentic, traditional Mexican food like no other place in town. Order the fajitas for a delicious meal. 
  • Table X ($$): The new American trend has certainly made its way into Salt Lake City in grand fashion. Table X infuses local culture and flair into a refreshingly modern menu, all in a comfortable, modern dining space.

What to do in Salt Lake City

Clous and mountains reflect off the mirror-like water of Great Salt Lake.
The Great Salt Lake
  • Explore the Great Salt Lake: This is this city’s biggest draw. Find a beach and go for a swim, or locate a helicopter or balloon tour and see the water from above. These tours fluctuate in price depending on fuel costs, but try calling Geo Heli to ask about availability and current prices.
  • Hogle Zoo: As another top-notch zoo on our list, the Hogle Zoo offers a unique exploration through the animal kingdom. Admission is $16 for children ages 3 to 12, and $20 for everyone 13 and up. Kids under 3 enter free.
  • Loveland Living Planet Aquarium: This aquarium features an impressive catalog of animals, exciting live and interactive events, and even an aquatic-themed yoga class in which sharks try not to judge your poses. Entry is $22 per adult, $19 per teen, and $17 per child, with senior, military, and student discounts.
Pro Tip: Be sure to go shopping at Thanksgiving Point while visiting Salt Lake City. This is a cool indoor-outdoor market space with lots to see and do.

Salt Lake City to Boise, Idaho

339 miles, 5 hours
Boise, Idaho may not be known as a tourist city, but there’s plenty to see and do here—and the drive from Salt Lake City to Boise is stunning.
From SLC, head north on I-15 and then merge onto I-84 West in the Tremonton area. You’ll stay on I-84 West to Boise. This is a very scenic interstate, so make sure everyone is watching out the windows!
Need to make a pitstop en route to Boise? Consider stopping off briefly in Twin Falls, Idaho to take in a quick bite and gawk at the waterfalls. 

Where to stay in Boise

Boise is a great place to break up the long drive, with plenty of family fun and a nice selection of hotels. 
  • The Grove Hotel: A stunning, four-diamond hotel, the Grove offers chic, gorgeous, and comfortable rooms, and it has, arguably, the best hotel restaurant on the Denver to Seattle road trip. Cost per night: From $130
  • The Riverside Hotel: Sometimes the simplest hotels are the best, and the Riverside Hotel showcases this concept brilliantly. This is a world-class hotel with spacious, comfortable rooms and excellent amenities, and it might be the best choice for families. Cost per night: From $150
  • Hotel 43: Hotel 43 is a four-star hotel that packs vintage vibes and modern comfort into a sophisticated overnight experience. We highly recommend checking it out. Cost per night: from $160

Where to eat in Boise

  • Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro ($$): With an impeccable menu of breakfast and brunch choices, Goldy’s is the perfect place to fill up before you hit the road. Try the malted waffle—it’s not as weird as it sounds!
  • Boise Fry Company ($$): If there are better burgers anywhere along this Denver to Seattle road trip route, we don’t know where they are. Boise Fry Company uses locally-sourced, farm-to-table ingredients in all six of their locations around Boise. They have fantastic vegan and beef options, but we can’t describe how good their bison burgers are without using “OMG” in the sentence.

What to do in Boise

The jail cells inside the darkened Old Idaho Penitentiary.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
  • Aquarium Boise: Boise’s aquarium is open year-round, featuring marine life, birds, reptiles, and more. It’s affordable, too—adult admission is just $12, kids ages 7 to 11 are $9, and kids ages 3 to 6 are $7. Kids under three are free.
  • Old Idaho Penitentiary: This nifty museum may be small, but it boasts a big dose of local, regional, and national history. Built in the 1870s, this defunct prison is definitely worth a visit. Children ages 6 to 12 gain admission for $3, while everyone 13+ gets in for $6. Seniors get a $2 discount, too. There are guided tours, as well, for an additional $2 per person.
  • Freak Alley: This free, open-air gallery features impressive graffiti art painted onto buildings in alleyways. You shouldn’t visit Boise without going on a free walking tour through the space.

Boise to Kennewick, Washington

288 miles, 4.5 hours
Kennewick is the smallest town to make our list, but it’s a nice town that is perfectly located if you’re looking to break up your drive. 
To get here from Boise, continue on I-84 E. 

Where to stay in Kennewick

  • The Clover Island Inn: This nicely-equipped hotel is built on an island in the center of the Columbia River. The Clover Island Inn has nice rooms, an onsite grill, and plenty of amenities for those traveling solo or with their families. Cost per night: From $199
  • The Red Lion Inn: The Red Lion keeps things simple with clean, modern, affordable rooms in an easily-accessible location in the heart of the town. Cost per night: From $133

Where to eat in Kennewick

  • Hops n Drops ($$): This small chain has locations in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. It offers a vegetarian-friendly menu and plenty of options for adults and kids alike. This is a great choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Hubby’s Pizza ($$): Looking for the best pizza in Kennewick? Some locals will tell you it can only be found at Hubby’s. Hubby’s dishes up reasonably priced thin-crust pizza, sandwiches, and salads. Kids can enjoy the playground, and kids and adults will love their fun arcade, too.

What to do in Kennewick

The Hanford reach on a sunny day with dry grass and blue water.
Hanford Reach
  • The Gesa Carousel of Dreams: Hardcore carousel aficionados probably think of New York as the carousel state, especially if they’ve been to Binghamton and Buffalo. But the Gesa Carousel of Dreams gives those eastern carousels a circular run for their money. Restored in 2002, this carousel is a must-see attraction for families. Rides cost $3, and it’s worth every cent!
  • The Hanford Reach: Looking for some outdoor fun? The Hanford Reach is a beautiful “involuntary park” on the outskirts of Kennewick, where nature and wildlife are free to reclaim the land. Once a part of the Manhattan Project, the few buildings that exist here used to house atomic weapons, but that ended the Second World War.
Pro Tip: The Hanford Reach doesn’t have any amenities, like bathrooms or places to eat. Please don’t feed or harass the wildlife here!

Kennewick to Seattle, Washington

225 miles, 3.5 hours
We’re on the final stretch! This last leg will take you across most of Washington state, from Kennewick to Seattle. 
Seattle is one of America’s most famous cities. It’s a cultural hotspot, with deep ties to music, technology, history, and more. Like Denver, Seattle is a city that you could easily spend a week exploring and still not accomplish your full agenda.
The directions here are straightforward. Simply take Interstate 82 West until Interstate 90 West, which will lead you all the way to Seattle. Along the way, you’ll drive through beautiful mountain passes and past crystal clear lakes. It’s a truly breathtaking drive. 
Pro Tips:  Fans of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy will be upset to learn most of the show isn’t really shot in Seattle. But with some internet sleuthing, you can find some locations where outdoor scenes were shot.

Where to stay in Seattle

Seattle is a major American city, so finding a great hotel here isn’t much of a challenge.
  • The Belltown Inn: Cheap, clean, and centrally-located, with rave reviews—that sums up the Belltown Inn. This is a highly affordable hotel with better-than-you’d-expect amenities within walking distance of the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, and Pier 66. If you can book a room here, you won’t be upset with your stay. Cost per night: From $94
  • Hotel Sorrento: Built in 1909, Hotel Sorrento is a Seattle landmark with beautifully decorated rooms, featuring turn-of-the-century furnishings. This regal hotel is surprisingly affordable and earns rave reviews for its clean, sophisticated quality. Cost per night: From $125
  • The Edgewater Inn: (from $170) From the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Foo Fighters, the Edgewater Inn has provided rest to countless famous musicians who toured through Seattle. Led Zeppelin stayed here on every one of their North American tours, and today it’s a mecca for “Zep Heads.” Cost per night: from $170
  • Four Seasons Seattle: The Four Seasons Seattle is one of the well-known hotelier’s finer offerings. Four Seasons Seattle is located just a short walk from the waterfront, and it is arguably the nicest hotel in all of Seattle. If you’re willing to pay a premium for your stay, the Four Seasons Seattle won’t disappoint. Cost per night: From $500

Where to eat in Seattle

Seattle is one of those cities every foodie hopes to visit one day. While it’s impossible to list off all the amazing restaurants you should try, we can at least list a few of them here for you!
  • Lowell’s ($$): Since 1957, Lowell’s has been serving up breakfast and lunch, featuring ingredients sourced from Seattle’s famed Pike Place. This is a great diner for the whole family, with some of the best lox you’ll ever spread onto a bagel.
  • Lecosho ($$): This stylish eatery features a blend of American and European meals—perfect for lunch or dinner. Peruse their affordable menu in their elegant, wood-trimmed dining area that’s welcoming to adults and kids alike.
  • The Pink Door($$$): Another one of Seattle’s more famous eateries, the Pink Door isn’t just known for its excellent Italian-American food, but it’s famous for its entertainment, as well. Visitors at the Pink Door are treated to live music, cabaret performances, tarot card reading, and trapeze acts. The Pink Door isn’t especially family-friendly—it might be a little too loud for younger kids.
  • AQUA by El Gaucho ($$$$): El Gaucho is a world-renowned restaurant. AQUA was founded years later and brings El Gaucho’s world-class food and service to Seattle’s Pier 70. With what many consider to be the best seafood in Seattle, AQUA is a great option for those looking for an upscale, refined dining experience overlooking the Puget Sound.

What to do in Seattle

Where do you even begin listing off all the things to see and do in Seattle? You’ll definitely want to do some research to find places to visit in this incredible city, but here are a few of the big-ticket items to get you started.
The top of The Space Needle breaks through a line of low-hanging clouds.
The Space Needle, Seattle
  • The Space Needle: We hope you’re not afraid of heights. Standing at 605 feet tall, the Space Needle is one of the most famous buildings on Earth, and it features glass floor views that will challenge the most surefooted among us. General admission costs $26 for children 5 to 12, $35 per adult, and $30 per senior.
  • The Seattle Art Museum: The Seattle Art Museum oozes culture—with local, national, and international works on display, as well as temporary installations that change regularly. Children 14 and under are free, teens ages 15 to 18 are $12.99 each, and adults are $19.99 per general admission. There are discounts for seniors, students, and military members, as well.
  • The Museum of Flight: Kids and adults with aircraft obsessions will lose themselves in this brilliant museum that takes you on a tour through the history of manned flight. Tickets for adults are $25 each, and children ages 5 to 17 are $17 each, with discounts for seniors.
  • The Gum Wall: Okay, this one is a little…different. One of Seattle’s strangest attractions, the iconic Gum Wall isn’t something germaphobes will want to visit—it’s an alleyway where the walls, and even the windows, are plastered in chewing gum. It’s cooler than it sounds, and it’s worth stopping at on your way to other attractions. Just don’t lean on anything.

The Alternative I-90/ I-25 Route Back to Denver

If you’re heading back to Denver after visiting Seattle, you have a couple of options for the route back. You could just reverse what we laid out here, maybe hitting up some of the destinations you missed. Or, if you’d like to carve out your own path, there’s an alternative route.
Take I-90 East out of Seattle clear across the state, through Northern Idaho and Montana, and into Wyoming. From there, Interstate 25 South will take you down to Denver.
If you decide to take this alternative route back, consider planning stops in Spokane WA, Butte MO, Billings MO, and Casper WY. That will break up the driving, and you won’t have a hard time finding nice hotels, restaurants, or attractions in any of those cities. You could easily plan a detour to see Yellowstone National Park, too!

Why you need good roadside assistance

This weeklong Denver to Seattle road trip takes you along some of the Pacific Northwest’s most mesmerizing roads. But all this driving is going to put quite a lot of strain on your car. You’ll want to invest in comprehensive roadside assistance to keep you covered on the road.
Jerry is an app that saves its users oodles of time and money on car insurance. How much money, you ask? Jerry users save an average of $879 per year on car insurance… so, a lot! But, did you know Jerry also offers cheap, dependable roadside assistance?
With fuel delivery, jumps, tire services, lockout services, towing, rentals, and more, Jerry’s roadside assistance will help you out of any jam you might encounter on a Denver to Seattle road trip. It’s surprisingly cheap, especially given how much it covers, too.
Don’t let a stressful roadside emergency ruin your epic road trip. Jerry’s roadside assistance will be a phone call away should you need help getting your road trip back on track.
“I heard about Jerry through a podcast and decided to try it out. My 2008 Range Rover Sport was costing me $168/month before Jerry found me the exact same coverage for $84/month under Plymouth Rock. I’ll definitely keep shopping for insurance with Jerry.” —Eileen P.

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