A road trip from San Francisco to Denver weaves you through four states, where you’ll travel more than 1,200 miles from start to finish. Fortunately, you don’t have to traverse this 18-hour drive in one sitting. You have plenty of destinations that are worth visiting along the way. As you design an itinerary for a road trip in your RV rental from San Francisco to Denver, consider these spots to stop, sightsee, and tour along the way.
After you depart San Francisco, your first major city pit stop will be the state capital: Sacramento. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, metropolitan activities, or a bit of both, the city has something to offer every visitor. Tour the city on bike by weaving through the city’s 32 miles of trails. If you’re visiting Sacramento in the fall or winter, bird watching is a must. Millions of migratory birds, including Canada geese, snow geese, and tundra swans, flock to the city during these seasons. For additional wildlife viewing, visit American River Parkway, a 30-mile stretch dotted by parks and wildlife like deer, coyotes, and salmon.
Sacramento isn’t just nature activities, however. The city is surrounded by different wine regions, making a day spent in a vineyard achievable during your stay. Select from more than a dozen wineries in the Sacramento area. If you’re road tripping with kids in your RV rental, check out William Land Park, which is home to the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town, which both deliver hands-on fun for the entire family.
Tahoe National Forest
Drive another 3 hours from Sacramento to Tahoe National Forest, where you’ll enjoy an array of outdoor activities. This national forest boasts a range of historical sites and hiking opportunities. If you’re a fan of history, check out The Boca Townsite Trail, which takes you a step back in time in this recreated historic town. Learn about the Gold Rush and mining at The Kentucky Mine. If it’s stunning scenery you’re looking for, there’s no shortage at Tahoe National Forest. Visit Placer Big Trees, where you will see the northernmost naturally occurirng Giant Sequoias. In Granite Chief Wilderness, you’ll see alpine meadows, forests of fir trees, and rugged cliffs. So, during your trek to Denver, get out of that RV and explore Tahoe National Forest.
After you check out Tahoe National Forest, drive your RV another 2 hours to Reno, where you’ll enjoy another city worth exploring. First, experience surfing in the heart of downtown Reno. The Truckee River offers up some unexpected waves to catch in a most unique location. Bicyclists can enjoy the 14-mile trek on the Flume Trail, which offers expansive views of Lake Tahoe. Explore nature on the Rubicon Trail. If you take a hike at dawn or dusk, you can take in the stunning sunrise and sunset from Emerald Bay. For a taste of local culture, stroll through downtown and check out The Nevada Museum of Art or The National Automobile Museum.
Salt Lake City
After you enter Utah, set your sights on Salt Lake City, where you can get out, stretch your legs, and explore. Metropolitan amenities abound in Salt Lake City, allowing you to take in local nature, arts and culture, and dining during your visit. If you’re going to do just one activity outdoors during your stay, make it a trip to the Great Salt Lake. This lake is the largest lake west of the Mississippi and the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. If you have more time to explore, you have plenty of area to cover. Go hiking or biking through canyons during the summer or skiing or snowboarding in the winter. Soak up local culture by visiting the Utah Museum of Fine Arts or the National History Museum of Utah. Stroll through local art galleries or take in a local festival as you enjoy everything Salt Lake City has to offer.
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
Located about 6 hours away from Salt Lake City and just 3 from Denver, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is a conveniently located final pit stop on your journey from San Francisco to Denver. This national forest stretches across 2.9 million acres and offers year-round outdoor activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing. You’ll find dozens of campgrounds in this national forest with a variety of amenities, so you can even stay in the park as your final stop on your way to Denver.
A road trip from San Francisco to Denver in your RV rental weaves you through national forests and metropolitan areas. As a result, you can create a unique itinerary that blends outdoor adventure with exploration of local arts and cultural scenes. So, pack up your RV and kick off your adventure that will take you through four states as you create plenty of memories.