Colorado to Washington Road Trip

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This 20-hour road trip from Colorado to Washington is perfect for a weekend adventure. The following itinerary is a three-day trip covering the best stops in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Washington. You can take the I-84 (fastest route) or the scenic route via I-70, which adds 30 minutes to your trip.
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Ready for a grand adventure, Wild-West style? Pack your swimsuit and let’s get into it. Here is an itinerary for a three-day road trip between Colorado and Washington.

Day 1— Colorado to Utah

Travel time: This leg of your trip will take six to eight hours nonstop, depending on where you’re leaving from and where you stop. Denver to Salt Lake City, for example, will take eight hours.
Where to stop: On I-70: Vail, Glenwood Hot Springs, Grand Junction, and Provo Canyon. On I-84: Rock Springs, WY.
Where to eat: Grab a bite in Vail before you leave Colorado. Up the Creek or Sweet Basil are great choices for lunch or dinner. Farlaino’s Cafe in Price, Utah, serves up big portions of diner-style food at a good price.
Where to sleep: Sleep in Provo or Salt Lake City if you can make it there. Another option is camping or car camping in a national forest in southern Utah.
What to do: Glenwood Hot Springs is three hours west of Denver on I-70, and it’s a great place to soak your muscles alongside the Colorado River. Day rates are $35 and it’s worth it.
Go another hour and a half west and you’ll reach Grand Junction, a town at the base of the Colorado National Monument Park. Drive another four hours to reach Provo Canyon in Utah and enjoy the waterfalls and canyon before the sun goes down.
On I-84, pull over at the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Here you can see, you guessed it, wild horses.

Tips

It’s worth taking the scenic route on this leg. The Colorado mountains offer stunning scenery and more activities than the northern route. However, bad weather can make for treacherous driving conditions. Research road conditions ahead of time to make an informed decision.
Key Takeaway City-lovers can push on to Salt Lake City, but you can also camp out in one of Utah’s state parks.
A variety of boxy buildings stand near Union Station against an overcast sky in Denver, Colorado.
Denver, Colorado
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Day 2—Utah to Idaho

Travel time: This route is five hours nonstop from Salt Lake City, Utah to Boise, Idaho.
Where to stop: The Great Salt Lake on Antelope Island and Bruneau Dunes State Park.
Where to eat: If you’re hungry, head to the Copper Onion in Salt Lake City for a refined but solid meal. If you need a weekend breakfast before you hit the road, swing by Avenues Proper and they’ll treat you right.
Once you’re in Idaho, Twin Falls is a good stopover to grab a bite. Try Elevation 486 or Twin Falls Sandwich Company.
Where to sleep: The Riverside Hotel in Boise is a chic option, located right on the river just off the highway near downtown. For a more artsy experience, try Modern Hotel. It’s close to everything with plenty of onsite entertainment and creative decorations.
What to do: Before you leave Salt Lake City, go to Temple Square to marvel at the Mormon church. A short hike in the nearby Wasatch Mountains is easy to squeeze in, especially if you get up with the sun. On your way out of town, set aside an hour or two to explore Antelope Island.
Just outside the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, is Shoshone Falls, an incredible waterfall that’s actually taller than Niagara Falls. An hour outside Boise is Bruneau Dunes, the perfect place to go dune boarding and breathe in some fresh air before arriving in the city.

Tips

The best attractions on this leg of your trip are natural. Pack your walking shoes and sunscreen, and challenge yourself to get outdoors. Whether it’s the canyons of Utah or the waterfalls of Idaho, you don’t want to miss out on anything Mother Nature has to offer.
A river winds across rugged rock and around a dam before it tumbles down the cliff of Shoshone Falls, Idaho.
Shoshone Falls, Idaho

Day 3—Idaho to Washington

Travel time: Eight hours nonstop, from Boise to Seattle.
Where to stop: Pendleton, Tri-Cities, and Snoqualmie.
Where to eat: Yakima’s Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Ice Bar or D&J Taco Shop in Baker City are guaranteed to fill you up. Save room to eat at the Lounge at the Attic in the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, which offers a gourmet menu with waterfall views.
Where to sleep: Gaslight Inn in Seattle is an adults-only B&B with a pool in the back. The Ace Hotel is another trusted destination for stylish travelers.
What to do: After driving through the Umatilla National Forest for several hours, you’ll arrive in the mountain town of Pendleton, Oregon. This town is the home of the famous Pendleton brand, where you can visit the factory or buy a stylish woolen jacket right from the source.
An hour north in the agricultural hub of the Tri-Cities, Washington you can pick up some locally made wine to enjoy at your final destination, or some farm-fresh vegetables as a snack to keep you fueled up for your trip over the Cascades.
Make sure you stop in Snoqualmie, Washington at the peak of the pass to enjoy the view.
In Seattle, it’s worth visiting the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP), Pike Place Market, and the International District. The original Starbucks is also here, but the lines are usually quite long. If you have some extra time, head 45 minutes north to Whidbey Island or west to Bainbridge Island.

Tips

The mountain pass over the Cascades is beautiful in every season. However, extreme winter weather requires chains. Sometimes the pass even closes if the conditions are too dangerous, so be sure to check ahead. Driving in Seattle can be confusing, so keep your eyes on the road!
Key Takeaway The landscape changes dramatically from Colorado to Washington, so stay alert for changing road conditions.
The foamy water of Snoqualmie Falls, Washington stands out against a backdrop of black rock and a lone green tree.
Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
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FAQs

Can I drive from Denver to Seattle in one day?

The drive takes 20 hours nonstop, so theoretically, yes! Make sure you pull off the road to rest if you get sleepy or take turns driving with a friend.
Distracted driving is dangerous—it’s much smarter to park at a rest stop overnight than to keep driving if you’re tired.

Are there a lot of hot springs in Colorado?

Yes! Your route has a ton of naturally occurring hot springs. You may have to veer off your route to explore the less populated hot springs, but there are plenty to choose from. Make sure you have roadside assistance if you plan to do any off-road adventuring.
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