On this unforgettable Grand Canyon to Rocky Mountain road trip, see three national parks, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, and Great Sand Dunes in one and end up in Estes Park, Colorado.
Road Trip Map
Start: Phoenix, Arizona
Get Centered in Sedona
Sedona’s Seven Secrets
Sedona is just a 2-hour drive from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Hike or bike 100 red rock trails, visit a spiritual vortex in the mountains, or browse one of 40 art galleries. Read about four gems plus three places to refuel on our sister website www.mygrandcanyonpark.com/road-trips/sedona-arizona.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
You’ll barely scratch the surface of this national park in three days, but that’s just enough time to check off a few must-do activities: hike or ride a mule to the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon (with an optional overnight at the historic Phantom Ranch cabins); photograph sunrise and sunset from one of many South Rim viewpoints; learn about the Big Ditch’s geology through ranger talks and a visit to the Yavapai Geology Museum; and visit Ancestral Puebloan ruins at the Tusayan Museum. Head to MyGrandCanyonPark.com for info on the park, lodging, and activities; interactive maps; and a free trip-planning kit.
Mesa Verde National Park
48 Hours in Mesa Verde
Only have 48 hours to explore Mesa Verde National Park? Stick to our detailed itinerary to hit all the most important stops. There’s more to do beyond the main attraction of touring ancient cliff ruins. Take a hike, gaze from a fire tower or have dinner with a view.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Twelve miles from Mesa Verde, this national monument often falls off travelers’ radar screens, making it a fantastic place to discover solitude and ancient history.
Best of the West in Durango
You’ll find a mix of hip restaurants and Old West charm in Durango. In its heart is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad which attracts 200,000 passengers per year.
Stop in South Fork
Don’t let this sleepy town tucked into the folds of the mountains fool you. South Fork’s small size is counteracted by the extraordinary amount of energy its 350 year-round residents generate through outdoor recreation.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
48 Hours in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Make your time in the park count with our detailed itinerary! This other-worldly park boasts the tallest sand dunes in North America.
A Local Taste of Alamosa and San Luis Valley
Base in Alamosa to explore Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and dine in a farm-to-table restaurant.
4 Places to Shoot in Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
It’s hard to understand this park’s scale. But don’t be daunted—we asked professional photographer Andre Costantini where to approach the dunes for the best photos.
Stones that Hold Secrets
Discovered in the sands of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, oddly shaped stones play rock music.
Spring into Fun at Colorado Springs
4 Adventures in Colorado Springs
From Bigfoot sightings to summiting a 14,000-foot-peak by car, Colorado Springs is a place to spend several days. The bonus? Many of our favorite attractions are free.
Hidden Colorado Gems in Central City
Strike gold in Central City, a historic Gold Rush town south of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Estes Park Locals Share Their Favorite Spots
Perched at 7,200 feet and 90 miles away from Denver, Estes Park is a fantastic basecamp for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern side.
Read about three local entrepreneurs who share their recommendations and why they love their town next to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park
These web pages are full of ideas of what to do during your two days in the park. Whatever you decide, don’t miss a cruise up Trail Ridge Road, a hike to a lake or mountain summit, and wildlife-watching in the meadows.
GyPSy Guide Tour App
Download the Rocky Mountain National Park tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.