Trade your flip-flops for a great pair of cowboy boots before starting on a Tucson to Denver road trip. You are likely to feel the Old West spirit as you roll along in your modern RV on this trip where you can go horseback riding in the Grand Canyon, spot wild horses at Tonto National Forest, and climb canyon walls like the first settlers in state parks. Before you finish the trip, you may have a whole new appreciation of the Old West, especially when you visit The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. While listening to the songs of cowboy musicians on the Grand Canyon Railway may set the tone for your entire trip, you may find yourself singing your favorite country-folk tunes as you roll along in your RV.
Grand Canyon National Park
One of the first places you will want to visit is Grand Canyon National Park as you start on your Tucson to Denver RV road trip. There are three different trips you can take to explore the Grand Canyon. You can leave from the South Rim and ride to the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon's bottom or take rides along the canyon's North Rim. You can also opt to leave from the North Rim to ride a short way into the canyon. You can find many other activities to do at the Grand Canyon, including going on paddling adventures, hiking on the scenic trails, and watching shows. Sunset and sunrise are gorgeous times to be at the Grand Canyon.
Capitol Reef National Park
Exploring the wrinkle in the earth's surface, called the Waterpocket Fold, is an experience you do not want to miss because of the natural arches, cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges found there. A great way to experience the Capitol Reef National Park backcountry is to arrange to go on a guided adventure. While visiting this park which runs for about 100 miles near Torrey, Utah, you may also want to go rock climbing, bouldering, canyoneering, biking, and hiking.
Arches National Park
You will not believe your eyes when you see the natural red rock arches at Arches National Park, located near Moab, Utah. Exploring this park from the back of a horse allows you to easily see sights that others miss when they do not ride through the washbasins. You can also go biking and hiking. Be sure to bring along your camera, including your astrophotography gear, as this park is a fantastic place to watch the night sky. Canyoneering is a great way to get your thrills at this park, and you can find nearby guides who will teach you and supply the needed safety equipment.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Legend records that the gold mine at Lost Dutchman State Park, located about 40 miles east of Phoenix, remains lost to this day. You and your traveling buddies will want to stop and look for it on your road trip from Tucson to Denver. Be forewarned that when most were looking for the mine in 1847, foul play often met them before making their discovery known. This park in the Superstition Mountains is a fantastic place to go hiking.
Picacho Peak State Park
Hike along the incredible network of hiking trails at Picacho Peak State Park near Eloy, Arizona, to explore the Sonora Desert. While this park has several easy-and-moderate courses, the 2-mile one to the top will challenge your abilities. Gloves are recommended to grab the steel cable. Your reward will be fantastic views of the entire area from the peak.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
Birds flock to the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park near Albuquerque, New Mexico, and you will want to stop and visit them on your road trip from Tucson to Denver. Some of the best locations for seeing them are from this park's wildlife viewing blinds. You will also want to stroll along the short interpretative trails to learn more about the animals, plants and birds that call this area home or spend part of the year at this location. You may also want to visit other New Mexico state parks in the area.
Lake Pueblo State Park
If you love to go fishing, then Lake Pueblo State Park near Pueblo, Colorado, is a stop you will want to include on your Tucson to Denver RV road trip. The 4,600-surface-acre lake is a fantastic spot to throw a baited line into the water. You do not even need a boat because the park has over 60 miles of shoreline to fish from. There are plenty of other activities you can do too, including sailing, swimming and hiking.
Castlewood Canyon State Park
If you are looking for a place to go climbing, then Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado, is the perfect stop for you to include in your road trip itinerary from Tucson to Denver. Depending on where you choose to climb in the park, you may need to climb during particular seasons because areas are routinely closed to let raptors take care of their young. The abundance of wildlife that lives in this park makes it an ideal spot for nature photography. The amphitheater and gazebo are prime spots for picnics. There are also many other Colorado state parks you may want to check out if time allows.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
This 21-acre facility located just outside Tucson, Arizona, features gardens containing more than 2,000 plants that grow in the Sonoran Desert. You can also touch stingrays and see salt and freshwater fish at the aquarium. See reptile and invertebrate in their own exhibit area. Then, enter the manmade cave at the Earth Science Center to examine minerals found in the desert. Numerous areas at this park contain animals, including bears, mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats. End your visit by visiting the two aviaries. One contains hummingbirds, and the other contains over 20 species of native birds.
Tonto National Forest
The elevation changes from 1,300 feet to 7,900 feet in the 2.9-million-acre Tonto National Forest, located near Payson, Arizona. If you have always dreamed of seeing wild horses, then head to the Salt River where the animals gather at dawn and dusk to get a drink. There are other great activities that you can do in this park, including floating on the river, swimming at the beach, swinging from the rope swings, and having a barbecue.
The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Learn more about the life of Buffalo Bill by stopping at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave near Golden, Colorado. Numerous objects related to the Wild West are on display, including Sitting Bull's bow and arrows. Pay tribute to William F. Cody by visiting his grave on Lookout Mountain while enjoying the fantastic views.
Plan some urban fun by stopping in Phoenix, Arizona, where you can visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, and the Phoenix Zoo. There are many great campgrounds in Phoenix, like Covered Wagon RV Park and Desert Sands RV Park. Check out RV dump stations near Phoenix, like Lost Dutchman State Park and Holt’s Shell RV Park.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
There are many fun things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including visiting the American International Rattlesnake Museum, the Turquoise Museum and the Albuquerque Museum. There are lots of places to shop, especially in Old Town. Albuquerque campground options include Balloon View RV Park, where the sunsets are often stunning, and El Rancho RV Park, which is centrally located to many attractions you may want to visit. Consider using Albuquerque RV dump stations at Giant Service Stations and the Flying J Travel Plaza.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods are both easily accessible from Colorado Springs, Colorado. You may want to consider campgrounds in Colorado Springs, like Pikes Peak RV Park, located near the road leading to Pike Peak's top or Golden Eagle Campground, where you can enjoy many miles of hiking trails without leaving the campground. Colorado Springs RV dump station options include Goldfield RV Park and Pikes Peak Traveland.