Dallas to Colorado Road Trip
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- Dallas, TX
- Chillicothe, TX
- Amarillo, TX
- Capulin, NM
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Denver, CO
- Quick route
- Scenic route
- Roadside assistance
The route between Dallas, TX and Denver, CO is 12 hours nonstop, but we suggest that you take things a bit slower and plan two full days to allow yourself some time to explore the natural beauty and quirky stopovers. You’ll also be switching time zones while on this route, saving yourself an hour in transit.
Before you embark on this Dallas to Colorado road trip, double-check that your car insurance is up to date.
Jerry generates quotes, finds discounts, and helps drivers cancel and register for new policies. It’s totally free, it only takes 45 seconds, and you don’t have to fill out any lengthy forms or phone calls to get car insurance.
Ready for some jaw-dropping scenery? Here’s your road trip guide for Dallas to Colorado.
Start in—Dallas, TX
Sleep here: If you will be sleeping over in Dallas, Texas before heading out, check out the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The Rosewood is located near major Dallas attractions and has a resort-style swimming pool and stunning restaurant onsite.
This iconic destination is pretty costly (i.e. upwards of $500 per night), but you’ll remember your experience here forever—and you’ll be well-rested on day one of your road trip.
Eat here: Go to Jose on Lovers Lane to enjoy some fresh, flavorful Jalisco food before you hit the road. With a tiled fountain on the patio and hand-painted ceramics throughout the space, contemporary Mexican food has never been so satisfying.
Look at this: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens offer a delightful garden tea service amongst the artwork and the plants.
If you’re in a rush, opt for a quick wander through the sculpture garden and breathe in the fresh air before you spend hours cooped up in a car. It’s not too far from downtown.
Try this: History lovers should set aside time to retrace the steps of Bonnie & Clyde in Dallas. You can walk past the house where the two famous criminals supposedly met, as well as Clyde’s childhood home. You can visit Bonnie & Clyde’s gravesites in Dallas, too.
Stop in—Chillicothe, TX
Sleep here: Only three hours away from Dallas, you probably won’t need to spend the night in Chillicothe. There are limited options for lodging here and you’re better off continuing another two hours to Amarillo. But drivers who need to catch some zzz’s can find chain motels in nearby Vernon or Quanah.
Eat here: Grab a bite to eat at Bevo’s Drive-In, serving up classic diner-style burgers, Texas footlongs, onion rings, and shakes since 1971. The Turquoise Coffee Stop is a good choice for breakfast or a caffeinated beverage if you need a bit of fuel to stay focused on the road.
Look at this: If you’re interested in ghost towns, check out the abandoned Medicine Mound schoolhouse in Quanah. There’s a museum for history buffs, but the eerie skeleton of the building provides plenty of food for thought. Be mindful that the older buildings are not up to code and cannot be entered safely.
Try this: Don’t leave Chillicothe without stopping at Valley Pecans! This is a cute roadside stop that is half candy shop, half deli. You can sample desserts made from Texas pecans, all while sitting beneath the shade of statuesque pecan trees in the yard. How’s that for an authentic souvenir?
Key Takeaway Texas has it all, from kitsch to ghost towns.
Stop in—Amarillo, TX
Sleep here: You’re about halfway through your road trip once you arrive in Amarillo, making this town the perfect place to stop for the night. The Big Texan Motel is a shoo-in. You can’t miss it—the outside of the Motel has colorful facades. Guests can take a dip in the pool and revel in delightfully Texan aesthetic touches (i.e., it’s very Instagrammable).
Eat here: Just around the corner (literally) is the Big Texan Steak House. Fill up on traditional Texan BBQ and enjoy the kitschy atmosphere. Hungry drivers may want to attempt the free 72 oz. steak challenge. It’s a tourist attraction, but the food is good quality and affordable.
Look at this: One hour from Amarillo is Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second-largest canyon in the United States. Stretch your legs on a quick trail with a view of the canyon, or set aside half a day to hike the iconic Lighthouse Trail. You will need a day pass, so be sure to reserve yours in advance.
Try this: Amarillo’s most famous roadside attraction is Cadillac Ranch, just west of town. It’s a bizarre field of 10 half-buried Cadillacs in the middle of the desert, now covered with paint. This work of art is free and open to the public 24/7, but it’s not lit at night, so try to pass through during daylight hours. Bring some spray paint if you want to contribute.
Cadillac Ranch, Texas
Stop in—Capulin, NM
Sleep here: Three hours from Amarillo is Capulin, New Mexico, a teeny desert town that serves as the gateway to multiple state parks. You’ll have to press on 30 minutes to Raton, NM, or 60 minutes to Trinidad, CO, to find good accommodation. Trinidad has fun Victorian architecture, and there’s a lot more to do and see there than staying near Capulin.
Eat here: Your only option for snacks here is the Capulin Country Store. For a more gourmet meal, head to Raton and check out the Historic Icehouse or Los Chanquis Mexican & Seafood.
Look at this: Find the small church in town on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, and learn more about the historic friendship of Texan rangers Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. The two men fought bravely for their beliefs in a free Texas in the 1800s. Upon Loving’s death, Goodnight honored him by carrying his body and sitting with it for days.
Try this: Capulin Volcano National Monument is an extinct volcano just 10 minutes off your route. It’s a short scenic drive up a winding road, and you can walk around the volcano’s rim at the top. Did you even know that there were volcanoes in this area?
Key Takeaway Roadside art and architecture are special features on this route between Dallas and Colorado.
View from the Capulin Volcano, New Mexico
Stop in—Colorado Springs, CO
Sleep here: Colorado Springs, Colorado is only an hour and a half from Denver, but it’s worth spending the night here to enjoy all the incredible activities on offer. You can also go 15 minutes west off the main route to Manitou Springs, where historic hotels and mountain-side attractions abound.
Eat here: Restaurant 1858 offers delicious authentic Colorado fare in a rustic setting. Dine outside to have a view of the natural box canyon. You’ll also be able to listen to the thundering waters around you.
Look at this: Up in Manitou, learn more about the Indigenous cliff dwellers and see some of their 800-year-old structures. An hour south of Colorado Springs, take a detour to the town of Rye where you can explore a modern man-made marvel: Bishop Castle. The owner is said to have a bit of a foul mouth, so take caution if you’re bringing young children along.
Try this: Garden of the Gods is a must-see in the area. Red shards of rock angle up toward the sky, and you could lose yourself in the glowing red hills. You may want to set aside time to stay and explore the trails thoroughly, or you can plan to spend more time on your way back. It’s free!
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
MORE: How to live in your car
Arrive in—Denver, CO
Sleep here: There’s nothing better than a cozy bed after a long road trip, but Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast takes it up a notch with a stately retreat in the heart of downtown and mouth-watering gourmet breakfasts.
For those on a lower budget, check out the Ember Hostel. There are private rooms and dormitories, but every guest can enjoy access to the fire pit and hot tub. Your muscles will thank you for the hot soak!
Eat here: The Comal Heritage Food Incubator trains aspiring restaurateurs who are primarily immigrants from Latin America, Ethiopia, and the Middle East. The menu is varied, but you can expect a ton of international flavor and high quality. Philanthropy never tasted so good!
Look at this: Colorado is a mecca for adventurous types, but it’s also a haven for music lovers. The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater combine these two themes into a stunning natural stage nestled in the Colorado mountains. Even if there’s not a concert scheduled, you can still visit and have a spiritual experience.
Try this: Denver’s Five Points neighborhood is the perfect place to learn about the Black history of Denver. After your boots-on-the-ground experience, head to the Black American West Museum to see artifacts and hear stories about the African Americans who shaped early settlement in Colorado.
MORE: Road trip essentials
The fast way back
If you’re doing a roundtrip, the fastest way back to Dallas is the same way you came (I-25 South). You can stop for another bag of pecans at Valley Pecans in Chillicothe, too!
The scenic way back
If you have a little more time on your hands, go east through Kansas on I-70 and then take the 283 south to Oklahoma City. Then, get on I-35 until you reach Dallas. This route adds one more hour to your trip if you drive nonstop, but you can zip through the first five hours to WaKeeney without missing much.
MORE: Can my parents temporarily add me to their car insurance so I can use their car for a weekend road trip?
Jerry’s roadside assistance program
You’re not a pioneer from the 1800s, so why act like one? You actually know a lot about the trials and tribulations you might face on the route between Dallas and Colorado—like flat tires, tornadoes, broken windshields, and more.
Take action to protect yourself from the dangers of the road (or your own mistakes, like locking your keys out of the car) by getting roadside assistance.
For less than $10, you can join the emergency roadside assistance program with Jerry. This program offers you vehicle towing, jump starts, tire changes, fuel delivery, lockout help, and even Uber credits. Jerry even offers a $1,000 reward if your car gets stolen.
To put it another way, your great-great-grandparents would probably roll over in their graves if they knew you could spend a paltry $10 to access emergency roadside assistance. Sure, you may not be traveling in a covered wagon, but accidents can happen to even the most modern vehicles and adventurers. Get roadside assistance with Jerry before you go.
“Quick and easy! So happy and relieved with my experience, thank you Jerry.” - Satisfied Jerry user
How long is the road trip between Dallas and Colorado?
The route takes 12 hours if you drive nonstop. However, most people find that two days offers a more relaxed driving experience, plus more time for adventuring.
Is it better to rent a car for a long road trip?
Renting a car can be a fun way to create a memorable road trip! Consider what types of activities you plan to do on your trip. Offroading is not usually a good fit for a rental car. Make sure you look at the rental company’s car insurance policies before you decide, too.
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