LA to Denver, 10-day Roadtrip- part 1: LA –> Grand Junction, A Rather Pleasant Drive


I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the day then by starting in LA, where the weather really is perfect and ending in Colorado where the scenery is larger than life and the outdoors calls your name with an irresistible voice like no other.

It takes an early start if you want to be settled in by 8pm.

Dani's car packed for her LA- Colorado Springs move

Dani’s car packed for her LA- Colorado Springs move

We began our trip at 4:30am;

McDonald’s is the early morning option, the route is easy,

from LA make your wway to the I-15 or as they say in LA, “the 15”.

Head north.

We drove through Barstow, CA; which is much more of a city than Cheryl Crow made it out to be. I say stop for gas or a drink, I mean it was worth a song lyric.

We were passing through Vegas by 9:30am and then on to Arizona and into Utah.

We stayed on “theh 15” and the dessert of Nevada set a good stage for the gulches, mountains and rivers of Arizona. Without getting off the interstate there is lots for your eye to enjoy.

Exit 40 off of I-15 is Kolob Canyons Visitor Center in Zion National Park.


Buy an America the Beautiful year season pass to NP’s and drive the short 5.2 miles to Kolob Canyons viewpoint.

Kolob Canyons Zion NP, Timber Creek Overlook Trail

Kolob Canyons Zion NP, Timber Creek Overlook Trail

The road ends at a decent size parking lot with toilets (no running water) and a view to make you realize photos do nature no justice.

The Timber Creek Overlook trail head is off the parking lot.

It’s a 1-mile round trip hike and a great way to stretch your legs and get some energy out, don’t forget a small backpack with water.

Since this is a road trip detour I suggest you limit your time at Kolob Canyons to 2 hours, I mean stay longer by all means, but I suggest a 2-2.5 hour stop.

Once your done, potty it up and it’s back to I-15 north.

Exit 132 off I-15 is I-70 east and your ticket to Colorado. This stretch of interstate was a pleasant surprise for these road trippers,

the scenery is diverse, beautiful and unlike any we’d seen.

Somewhere on I-70 east in Utah

Somewhere on I-70 east in Utah

This section is through the San Rafael Swell, a very unique geological area of the country.

We didn’t stop at any of the pull-offs but we should have,

so pull over at a few.

Look for:

  • -Ghost Rock
  • -Devil’s Canyon
  • -“reef” area
  • -Goblin Valley area

Your time from Zion to Grand Junction is approximately 5 hours.

We stopped at exit 160 in Green River, Utah and ate dinner at Subway.


Our original plan was to make it to Montrose, CO but by the time we hit Grand Junction it was time to get out; this leg of our trip was day 4 of a fairly busy 4 days.

We stayed at the Clarion in Grand Junction with an indoor pool, hot tub and nice free breakfast in a large common area.

A 10-hour drive.

5 states,

1 National Park

and memories to last forever;

why not go?


We took this route when we moved our niece, from Los Angeles, California to Colorado Springs, Colorado; I’d modify it and suggest you fly into Las Vegas and start your road trip from there, it shaves off 5 hours.

With the 5 hours you could visit Arches NP. 


One thought on “LA to Denver, 10-day Roadtrip- part 1: LA –> Grand Junction, A Rather Pleasant Drive

  1. Pingback: So, you’re going to Las Vegas… | the frugal travel mom

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