A Sacramento to Denver road trip is a wonderful RV trip that begins at the capital of California and ends at the capital of Colorado. During your trip, you can pay homage to California’s gold rush days, enjoy some time at the Great Salt Lake, or jam out with Denver’s music scene in The Mile-High City. For the majority of the trip, you will be taking I-80 east, so you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding your way on the road. In addition, make sure to stop by some of the national forests along the way, especially if you are an avid nature lover.
Rocky Mountain National Park
If you like to hike, Rocky Mountain National Park has a 30-mile trail in the middle of the park that divides it into the east and the west sides. In addition to the Continental Divide Trail, there are several others in the park that are worth trekking. Trail Ridge Road, a paved road, reaches the highest point in the park, which is over 12,000 feet. Hidden among the trees and trails, there are fields of wildflowers and alpine lakes that you can enjoy. In fact, the park has 156 lakes, 48 of which contain trout.
Donner Memorial State Park
Once you get to the Lake Tahoe region of your road trip itinerary from Sacramento to Denver, you are going to want to make a stop at Donner Memorial State Park. In the park, you will find a pedestal commemorating the Donner Party who died en route to California during a harsh winter. The monument is 22 feet tall, and there is also a museum that tells more about the history of the area. Donner Lake is stocked with trout throughout the year, so this is a great place for anglers to spend some time. There is also a beach for swimming, and if you prefer to stay dry, there is hiking is available as well.
Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park is another stop that you will want to make during your trip. It is a bit north of your path, but this short detour is well worth making. The park is located within the Great Salt Lake, and in 1981, it was officially named a state park. It’s the largest of the 12 islands found in the lake, and since it is an island, water activities are common in the park. The park is 28,000 acres, and 20 of those acres are trails that you can explore. There is also a historic ranch in the park that allows you to take a step back in time to see how a home looked in the mid-1800s. Horseback riding and bird-watching can also be enjoyed in the park.
Bear River State Park
Bear River State Park is a state park in Wyoming that is located near Evanston and is a stop you will want to add during your Sacramento to Denver RV road trip. The park spans 324 acres, in which there are three miles of trails to explore; 1.2 miles are paved while the remainder is gravel. There are also many animals in the park, such as bison herds and elk, that you can see as you hike the trails.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
The last state park that you will encounter during this trip is a Colorado state park. Eldorado Canyon State Park is a great stop to make if you enjoy climbing, as this park has world-class climbing locations that mountaineers come from all over to explore. In fact, there are over 500 climbing routes that can be attempted in the park. If you are not one for climbing and prefer to stay on solid ground, then you can go biking or hiking on one of the many trails that have you trekking through the canyon or around the rim. You are also able to fish and hunting is permitted in the park after Labor Day.
Tahoe National Forest
Tahoe National Forest is a great place to hike and explore. The forest is located to the northwest of Lake Tahoe and is 871,495 acres in size. There are river canyons to admire as well as 195 miles of trails that you can hike and explore. There are ample wildlife and vegetation in the forest, and hunting is permitted with the appropriate license and tags.
Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge
Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge is an area that is 1,166 acres. It was first established in 1932, and it’s part of the Big Basin, which is a 4,000-acre natural depression. Mammals and birds are plentiful in the refuge, but public access to the area is often limited.
Estes Park is a great place to explore and enjoy nature. There is a tram that you can ride up the mountain to get a gorgeous panoramic view of the park. You can take a kayak out on Lake Estes and even do some fishing if you’d like. If you are interested in horror, then make sure to visit the famous Stanley Hotel from “The Shining.” There are even tours offered in the hotel. If you enjoy taffy, make sure that you try some of the unique flavors at the Purple Mountain Taffy Company.
Elitch Gardens is an amusement park in Colorado that hosts much more than just roller coasters, making it a must-see stop along your journey. It is home to one of the first zoos west of Chicago, and it is the location of the first botanical garden in Denver. In 1998, the park was purchased by Six Flags, and it became Six Flags Elitch Gardens. However, in 2007 the park switched ownership and changed its name to Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park.
Reno is one of the first cities you will encounter during your road trip from Sacramento to Denver. It’s known as "The Biggest Little City in the World," and it’s the perfect place to do some gambling and enjoy a few adult indulgences during your trip. If you have the option of staying in Reno for a few days, you can spend several days exploring Lake Tahoe and some of the museums in the area.
If you need to find a place to rest, there are plenty of Reno campgrounds to consider. River Rest Resort is conveniently located right off of I-80, and Shamrock RV Park is close to the Sierra Safari Zoo if you want to visit the animals during your stay here. Reno dump stations are also very easy to find, so you can unload your gray and black water before continuing on your trip.
Salt Lake City, UT
On a road trip from Sacramento to Denver, you will want to make a stop in Salt Lake City. The city is known for picturesque mountain vistas, beautiful architecture, and vibrant culture, but there is plenty more to explore while you are visiting. Take a stroll through Liberty Park, visit the Clark Planetarium, or stop and see the animals at Hogle Zoo.
Check out some Salt Lake City campgrounds in the area to find a place to stay. The Pony Express RV Resort and Campground is just a few minutes away from the city, and it has a life-size chessboard that is lots of fun. If you need a dump station in Salt Lake City, there are several in the area that you can use without paying a fee.
Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins is a major Colorado city that you are going to pass through during your adventures. It’s not that far from Denver, so you may want to make the most of your last nights outside of the big city. The downtown area is quite historic; you can walk in the shoes of a 19th-century resident of the town. If you enjoy breweries, there are more than 20 that are located in Fort Collins, so if you want to get a taste of the local ale, find a Fort Collins campground to stay at for the night. There are also dump stations that may be available along your route to this destination.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Sacramento to Denver, 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 Sacramento or Denver.