Hikers will greatly appreciate a Denver to Minneapolis road trip because of all the fantastic lake, waterfall, mountain and prairie locations where trails are available. If you love outdoor recreational opportunities of all different types, there's plenty of variety available along the way, including zip lines, fishing and swimming. Since there are so many terrific spots to visit, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Windmill State Recreation Area and the Mall of America, you'll want to make this road trip in an RV.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Consider starting your Denver to Minneapolis road trip by going northeast for about 60 miles to visit Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. This park, which covers more than 265,000 acres, is a fascinating place to go hiking. There are many options that allow you to run or stroll alongside lakes while heading to waterfalls and summit peaks. One of the prettiest is the hike to Chasm Lake, which starts at the Long’s Peak Trailhead, runs through subalpine forests, through a tundra meadow, and along a deep gorge. You can go biking, fishing, and climbing and enjoy many other activities at this park.
Windmill State Recreation Area
During your Denver to Minneapolis RV road trip, you'll want to make time for several Nebraska state parks including Windmill State Recreation Area near Gibbon, Nebraska. See the collection of antique windmills at this location. The oldest and one of the most unique is from 1880, and it's used to pump water to passing steam locomotives. The two-mile hiking trail through the park is a great place to view the windmills from several different angles. This location is part of Nebraska’s chain of lakes, and the park actually has six unique lakes. Head to the swimming beach to enjoy your time in the water. This beach also offers a sand volleyball field.
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
It's always a good time to drop by Eugene T. Mahoney State Park near Ashland, Nebraska, regardless of when you make your road trip from Denver to Minneapolis. The Go Apes Rope Course tests everyone’s skills with its treetop adventures. Go for a swim at the Family Aquatic Center featuring diving boards and a zero-entry wave pool. Rent clubs at the park to enjoy playing on the John R. Lauritzen Driving Range or play on the miniature or disc golf courses. Go on a fishing expedition after renting a boat at this park’s marina; you can borrow rods and reels for free. Your children will love completing art projects at the Arts and Crafts Center. Check the schedule to see if you can catch a theater performance in the Denman and Mary Mallory Kountze Memorial Theater. Horse trail rides are available from spring through fall. If it's rainy during your visit, there's an indoor playground at this state park. Many winter activities are also available, including an indoor ice rink, sledding, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.
Prairie Rose State Park
Prairie Rose State Park near Harden is one of the prettiest in Iowa thanks to the nearby scenic hills. Start your visit in the northwest corner of this 422-acre park by following the interpretative trail to see this park’s unique natural features. Two boat ramps make it easy to launch your vessel on a 218-acre lake, and this park is a fantastic place to go bass fishing. Everyone will love playing on the swimming beach and taking a swim in the lake. In the winter, the park is a popular destination for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Ledges State Park
The four miles of hiking trails running across the rocks at Ledges State Park near Madrid, Iowa, are a great place to see wildlife and plants. The paved Lost Lake Trail is relatively flat. The rock formations are also a fantastic place to go rappelling. Take off your shoes and splash in the low-water crossings.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
While you might be anxious to finish your road trip from Denver to Minneapolis, be sure to save time for some Minnesota state parks as well. Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a fantastic place to go for a hike through an old-growth forest. While hiking, watch for the Minnesota dwarf trout lilies along the path as this park is in the only region where they grow. This flower that seldom grows to be over 3 inches tall has a beautiful purple nodding flower when it blooms in the spring. This park is also a fantastic place to see trees in the autumn, and the waterfall makes for a stunning sight at this park.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Top-name entertainers often bring their live shows to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, located just 15 miles west of Denver. The outdoor venue features incredible natural acoustics. This park is also a fantastic place to go hiking, and you can join a twice-daily tour to learn more about its history. Stop and grab a bite at the grill and visit the interpretative center to learn more about this area's unique geology.
Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari
Be sure to include a stop at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Nebraska, on your road trip itinerary from Denver to Minneapolis. Walk to the American Bison viewing platform to stand at eye level with the largest mammal in North America. View gray wolves and American black bears in Wolf Canyon before following the short trail to the eagle aviary. This park's drive-thru portion allows you to see elk and deer grazing in meadows or taking a long nap. Stroll through the Pelican Wetlands to see birds that were injured to the point that they can no longer fly but are provided safe haven here. Laugh at the antics of the prairie dogs. A favorite part of the park for many is the Hands-on Corral, where you can help take care of farm animals.
Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption
While you'll have to drive a little to the west to get to West Bend, Iowa, it's worth seeing the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption, the largest manmade grotto in the world. It's also the most extensive collection of minerals, fossils, shells and petrified natural objects globally. Stop at the museum to see the collection of rocks and semiprecious stones gathered from around the world.
Mall of America
Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the United States. This venue has room for 500 stores and 60 restaurants. You'll also want to play at its Nickelodeon Universe theme park, which covers more than 7 acres. Lastly, don't leave without visiting the SEA LIFE Aquarium and playing a round of miniature golf.
There are many terrific things to do in Lincoln, including visiting the Sunken Gardens, Museum of American Speed and Pioneer Park Nature Center. You can find great Lincoln campgrounds, like Camp A Way, Pawnee State Recreation Area and Pine Grove RV Park. RV dump stations in Lincoln are available at Wagon Train Lake State Recreation Area, Blue Valley Campground and Eugene T.
Omaha is a fantastic city with many attractions that you'll want to visit, including the Henry Doorly Zoo, The Durham Museum, and Joslyn Art Museum. Haworth Park, Louisville State Recreation Area, and West Omaha KOA are fantastic campgrounds in Omaha. Find RV dump stations in Omaha at Bob Hardy RV Park, Walnut Creek Lake Recreation Area, and Louisville State Recreation Area.
Des Moines, Iowa
While visiting the Iowa State Fair is always loads of fun, there is a variety of things to do in Des Moines throughout the year. You may want to explore Gray’s Lake and Pappajohn Sculpture parks and take in a ballgame at Principal Park. Staying in a Des Moines campground, like Griff’s Valley View RV Park & Campground, Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground, or Des Moines West KOA Holiday, makes it easy to explore all Iowa’s capital city has to offer. RV dump stations in Des Moines are available at Marion County Park, Pattee City Park, and Walnut Woods State Park.
Home to the Iowa State Cyclones, Ames is a unique city to spend time in with great venues to visit. Consider exploring the ISU campus and taking in sporting events there. Outstanding Ames Campgrounds, like Whispering Oaks Campground, Ledges State Park, and Hickory Grove Breezy Bay, make the process even more appealing. RV dump stations in Ames are available at Water Pollution Control Facility, Hickory Grove Breezy Bay, and Twin Anchors Campground.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Denver to Minneapolis, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Denver or Minneapolis.