Dallas to Colorado Road Trip

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The route between Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado 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.
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Ready for some jaw-dropping scenery? Here’s your road trip guide for Dallas to Colorado.

Key trip details

Distance: 817 miles
Driving time: 13 hours and 29 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 2 to 5 days
Though you could make the trip in one very long day, we recommend you take your time and get the most out of every stop. You can also add time to any city on the way there or back.
Road trip map from Dallas to Denver.
Dallas, TX to Denver, CO

Itinerary

  • Dallas, TX— 1 to 2 days
  • Chillicothe, TX— Half a day
  • Amarillo, TX— 1 to 2 days
  • Capulin, NM— 1 day
  • Colorado Springs, CO— Half a day
  • Denver, CO— 1 to 2 days

Start in—Dallas, TX

Dallas has become the cultural and entertainment capital of Texas. From spectacular performing arts venues and museums in the Arts District to the buzzing nightlife and live music in Deep Ellum—Dallas has something for everyone.

Where to stay in Dallas

  • Rosewood Mansion: Located on Turtle Creek, the Rosewood is near major Dallas attractions and has a resort-style swimming pool and stunning restaurant onsite. This iconic destination is pretty costly but you’ll remember your experience here forever—and you’ll be well-rested on day one of your road trip. Cost per night: from $600

Where to eat in Dallas

  • Jose ($$): Head to Jose on Lovers Lane to enjoy some fresh, flavorful Jalisco food before you hit the road. With a tiled fountain on the patio and hand-painted ceramics throughout the space, contemporary Mexican food has never been so satisfying.
  • Cattleack Barbeque ($$): Timing is everything, as this popular BBQ spot is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and the 1st Saturday of every month. Cattleack’s smoked meats, traditional sides, and juicy brisket definitely make it worth visiting (if you plan properly)!

What to do in Dallas

A colorful hand-painted open house structure stands in the shade of exotic plants at the Dallas Arboretum.
Dallas Arboretum
  • The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens ($): These gardens are not far from downtown, they and 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.
  • Bonnie and Clyde tour: 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, see Clyde’s childhood home, and you can even visit Bonnie & Clyde’s gravesites.

Stop in—Chillicothe, TX

206 miles, 3 hours
After leaving the hustle and bustle of Dallas, Chillicothe is the perfect quaint town to make a quick pit stop in. It’s known as the “Iris Village” because of the lush amount of irises gracing the town.
To get to Chillicothe, take US-287 N to S Ave H/Ave H South.

Where to eat in Chillicothe

  • Bevo’s Drive-In ($): Grab a bite to eat at Bevo’s Drive-In, serving up classic diner-style burgers, Texas footlongs, onion rings, and shakes since 1971.
  • Turquoise Coffee Stop ($): If you’re looking for gourmet coffee and homemade breakfast, this family-run cafe is a great place to stop if you just need a bit of fuel to stay focused on the road.

What to do in Chillicothe

Focused close-up of red flowers in front of a brick wall that says "Chillicothe".
Chillicothe, TX
  • Medicine Mound Schoolhouse: If you’re interested in ghost towns, check out this abandoned spot in nearby 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.
  • Valley Pecans ($$): 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?
Pro Tip You probably won’t need to spend the night in Chillicothe, but if you need to catch some zzz’s, you can find chain motels in nearby Vernon or Quanah.
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Stop in—Amarillo, TX

158 miles, 2.5 hours
Amarillo combines rugged cowboy culture and big-city sophistication. It’s home to many well-known theatres and art shows, and the Historic Route 66 District lets you uncover treasures of a bygone era.
To get to Amarillo, follow US-287 N to E Amarillo Blvd/U.S. Route 66

Where to stay in Amarillo

  • Big Texan Motel: 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). Cost per night: from $95

Where to eat in Amarillo

The bright yellow exterior of the Big Texan Steak House, Amarillo, with Texas flags flying above.
Big Texan Steak House, Amarillo
  • Big Texan Steak House ($$): 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.

What to do in Amarillo

  • Cadillac Ranch (Free): 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 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!
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park ($): It takes around an hour to drive from Amarillo to Palo Duro, the second-largest canyon in the U.S. 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.

Stop in—Capulin, NM

185 miles, 3 hours
Our next stop takes us over state lines and into beautiful New Mexico! Capulin is a teeny desert town that can be the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs.
To get there, you’ll just have to take US-287 N and US-87 N to Santa Fe Ave in Capulin.

Where to eat in Capulin

  • Capulin Country Store ($): Even if it’s your only option for snacks, this little store has a good selection of food, drinks, and even features local art. For a more gourmet meal, head to Raton and check out the Historic Icehouse or Los Chanquis Mexican & Seafood.

What to do in Capulin

A brown wooden sign for the Capulin Volcano National Monument in front of a green field.
Capulin Volcano National Monument, Capulin
  • Goodnight-Loving Trail (Free): 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.
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument ($): Capulin Volcano 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?
Pro Tip To find good accommodation, you’ll need to drive a bit further. Raton is 30 minutes away, while the town of Trinidad is 1 hour away. The latter has fun Victorian architecture and a lot of things to do and see.

Stop in—Colorado Springs, CO

177 miles, 2.5 hours
We’ve landed in Colorado—almost at our final destination! With its location at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and its many trails and parks, Colorado Springs is a place worth stopping.
To get there, get on the I-25 N in Raton and follow through to S Nevada Ave in Colorado Springs.

Where to stay in Colorado Springs

  • The Cliff House at Pikes Peak: A short 15 minutes west off the main route to Manitou Springs, this refined Victorian hotel combines classic charm with exceptional service. It has beautiful mountain views and there are plenty of natural spots to visit nearby. Cost per night: from $215

Where to eat in Colorado Springs

  • Restaurant 1858 ($$-$$$): This spot 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.
  • Juniper Valley Ranch ($$): Founded over 70 years ago, this adobe-style restaurant has become an icon in the area. It features delicious fried chicken, baked ham, and all the fixin’s. The menu changes depending on the day of the week and reservations are a must!

What to do in Colorado Springs

A sign made of rock announces the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, with rock formations towering behind it.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
  • Bishop Castle (Free): 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.
  • Garden of the Gods (Free): This 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.
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Arrive in—Denver, CO

70 miles, 1.5 hours
You’ve reached your final destination—Denver, Colorado! The city itself has countless things to do, with over 50 museums, a bustling downtown area, and a number of fantastic restaurants and breweries. And just outside Denver, you can find countless trails, hikes, and gorgeous mountain views.
To get here, follow the I-25 N to US-287 S/US-40 E/W Colfax Ave in Denver.

Where to stay in Denver

  • Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast: There’s nothing better than a cozy bed after a long road trip, but Capitol Hill Mansion takes it up a notch with a stately retreat in the heart of downtown and mouth-watering gourmet breakfasts. Cost per night: from $220
  • Ember Hostel: 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! Cost per night: from $176

Where to eat in Denver

  • The Comal Heritage Food Incubator ($): This restaurant 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!
  • Somebody People ($$): One of Denver’s only vegan restaurants also happens to be one of its coolest. It has an array of seasonal dishes, such as charred broccolini with roasted eggplant or scape-and-scallion farinata topped with skordalia. The restaurant is done up in hues of turquoise, pink, and yellow, making it a feast for the eyes as well.

What to do in Denver

A view looking down at an outdoor stage at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Denver
  • Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre (Price varies): Colorado is a mecca for adventurous types, but it’s also a haven for music lovers. The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre 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.
  • Five Points: This neighborhood in Denver 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.
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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.

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}(https://getjerry.com/signup). 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
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