From Phoenix to Denver A Journey through the Majestic Southwest to the Vibrant Mile-High City


The Ultimate Guide to Traveling from Phoenix to Denver

Traveling from Phoenix to Denver is a popular route for both leisure and business travelers. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, exploring vibrant cities, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty along the way, this guide will provide you with all the information you need for a memorable journey.

phoenix to denver
Phoenix to Denver

Getting There: Transportation Options

When it comes to traveling from Phoenix to Denver, there are several transportation options to consider.

Air Travel

One of the most convenient ways to reach Denver from Phoenix is by air. Major airlines like Southwest, American Airlines, and United offer direct flights between the two cities. The average flight duration is around 2 hours, making it a quick and efficient option. Prices for flights can vary depending on the season and availability, but it’s recommended to book in advance to secure the best deals.

Road Trip

If you prefer a more scenic and flexible journey, a road trip from Phoenix to Denver is a fantastic option. The most popular driving route is via Interstate 17 and Interstate 40, which takes approximately 12-13 hours, depending on traffic and stops. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore stunning attractions such as Sedona, with its red rock formations, Flagstaff, known for its charming downtown and proximity to the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley, famous for its iconic landscapes and cultural significance. Make sure to plan your stops and consider spending a few days at each location to fully enjoy the experience.

Train or Bus

If you prefer to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery without the hassle of driving, you can also consider taking a train or bus from Phoenix to Denver. While there are no direct train routes, Amtrak offers services from Phoenix to Flagstaff, where you can then connect to a train heading to Denver. Greyhound and other bus companies also provide transportation options, but keep in mind that the journey may take longer compared to flying or driving.

Exploring Phoenix

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, serves as the departure point for your journey to Denver. Before embarking on your trip, take some time to explore the attractions this vibrant city has to offer.

Desert Botanical Garden

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the desert at the Desert Botanical Garden. Home to thousands of desert plants, this botanical garden offers stunning displays, educational exhibits, and scenic trails.

Heard Museum

Discover the rich Native American culture and art at the Heard Museum. With its extensive collection of artwork and artifacts, this museum provides a unique insight into the history and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Southwest.

Camelback Mountain

For outdoor enthusiasts, a hike up Camelback Mountain is a must. This iconic landmark offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding desert. Choose from different hiking trails based on your skill level and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way.

Must-Visit Stops on the Road

If you’re taking the road trip from Phoenix to Denver, there are several must-visit stops along the way that you shouldn’t miss.


Located about two hours north of Phoenix, Sedona is famous for its stunning red rock formations. Spend some time exploring the hiking trails, taking in the breathtaking views, and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of this unique destination.

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As you continue your journey, make a stop in Flagstaff. This charming mountain town offers a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. It’s also a perfect base for visiting the Grand Canyon, which is just a short drive away.

Monument Valley

Further along the route, you’ll come across the iconic landscapes of Monument Valley. This Navajo Tribal Park is known for its towering sandstone buttes and mesmerizing vistas.


Another stop worth considering on your road trip is Durango. This historic town offers a charming downtown area filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate the abundance of outdoor activities available, such as hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting. Take a ride on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a scenic and nostalgic experience.

Denver: The Mile High City

As you reach your destination, prepare to explore the vibrant city of Denver, also known as the Mile High City due to its elevation. Denver offers a mix of urban attractions and outdoor adventures.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

Start your Denver exploration by visiting the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. This natural amphitheater, surrounded by stunning red rock formations, hosts various concerts and events throughout the year. Take a hike or enjoy a yoga session while enjoying the breathtaking views.

Denver Art Museum

Art enthusiasts should not miss the Denver Art Museum, which houses an extensive collection of art from around the world. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, the museum offers a diverse range of exhibits to explore.

Larimer Square

For a taste of Denver’s history and vibrant nightlife, head to Larimer Square. This historic block is filled with charming Victorian buildings that house a variety of restaurants, boutiques, and bars. Enjoy a delicious meal, shop for unique souvenirs, or simply soak in the lively atmosphere.

Exploring the Rocky Mountains

One of the highlights of visiting Denver is the opportunity to explore the majestic Rocky Mountains. Here are some nearby destinations and outdoor activities to consider.

Rocky Mountain National Park

A short drive from Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park offers breathtaking landscapes, alpine meadows, and abundant wildlife. Explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, go wildlife spotting, or simply take a scenic drive through Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States.

Estes Park

Located at the eastern entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a charming mountain town known for its picturesque scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visit the historic Stanley Hotel, go fishing in the nearby lakes and rivers, or enjoy a stroll along the Riverwalk.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Embark on a scenic drive along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which takes you to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s highest peaks. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and alpine tundra as you ascend to over 14,000 feet above sea level.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to travel from Phoenix to Denver?

The best time to travel from Phoenix to Denver is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant and the landscapes are vibrant. Summers can be hot in Phoenix, while winters in Denver can be cold with the possibility of snow.

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How long does it take to drive from Phoenix to Denver?

The driving time from Phoenix to Denver is approximately 12-13 hours, depending on traffic and stops along the way.

Are there any direct flights between Phoenix and Denver?

Yes, major airlines like Southwest, American Airlines, and United offer direct flights between Phoenix and Denver.

What are some affordable accommodation options in Denver?

Denver offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. Some affordable options include budget hotels, motels, and vacation rentals.

Are there any tolls on the road trip from Phoenix to Denver?

Yes, there are tolls on certain sections of the road trip from Phoenix to Denver. Make sure to carry cash or have a toll pass for a smoother journey.

Can I rent a car in Phoenix and drop it off in Denver?

Yes, many car rental companies offer the option to pick up a car in Phoenix and drop it off in Denver. However, it’s always best to check with the rental company beforehand to ensure they allow one-way rentals and if any additional fees apply.

What are the must-see attractions in Denver?

Some of the must-see attractions in Denver include the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Art Museum, Larimer Square, and the Denver Botanic Gardens. Additionally, exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods, such as LoDo (Lower Downtown) and RiNo (River North), offers unique experiences.

Are there any hiking trails near Denver suitable for beginners?

Yes, there are several hiking trails near Denver suitable for beginners. Some popular options include the Bear Creek Trail, Chautauqua Park in Boulder, and Mount Falcon Park. These trails offer beautiful scenery and manageable distances for hikers of all skill levels.

How far is Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver?

Rocky Mountain National Park is located approximately 70 miles northwest of Denver, making it easily accessible for a day trip or a longer stay. The drive takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic and the specific entrance you choose.

Are there any guided tours available for exploring the Rocky Mountains?

Yes, there are several guided tour options available for exploring the Rocky Mountains. These tours offer informative guides, transportation, and the opportunity to visit popular attractions and hidden gems. Consider joining a hiking tour, wildlife tour, or scenic drive tour to make the most of your Rocky Mountain experience.


Traveling from Phoenix to Denver offers a diverse range of experiences, from exploring the vibrant city of Denver to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you choose to fly, embark on a road trip, or take public transportation, this guide has provided you with all the necessary information to plan your journey with confidence. From the stunning attractions along the way to the must-visit stops and outdoor adventures, your trip from Phoenix to Denver is sure to be an unforgettable experience.