Sacramento to Denver Road Trip Guide

Introduction

For a wonderful RV trip that's fun for the whole family, a seven-day trek from Sacramento, California to Denver, Colorado will not disappoint.

Sacramento is one of California's premier cities and is also the capital of the state. It rests at the meeting point of the Sacramento and American Rivers.

There is much to see and do in this charming city. The section of town known as Old Sacramento pays homage to the area's role in the Gold Rush days and is still home to wooden walkways and wagon rides. Also found in this area of the city is the California State Railroad Museum which provides a visual timeline of the efforts expended to build the Transcontinental Railroad, a very important technological achievement in the country's history.

Sacramento has a thriving arts community. For those that enjoy the fine arts, events performed by the Sacramento Ballet, the Sacramento Opera, and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra are held throughout the year at the Sacramento Convention Center Complex.

The world-renowned Tower Records was established in Sacramento and remained in operation there until it closed. The area also plays host to the Sacramento Music Awards each year. The city is famous for being a popular ground for Dixieland jazz bands including an important festival named the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee which takes place each Memorial Day weekend.

For movie buffs, the Sacramento French Film Festival is well worth a visit each July. The city is also famous for being home to what is known as the Trash Film Orgy, an event that occurs each summer with the purpose of paying homage to unusual films including such genres as horror, monster, and exploitation. Throughout the years, many actors have resided in Sacramento including Eddie Murphy and Greta Gerwig.

Sacramento is also home to a prosperous foodie community. It is the heartland of the farm to table movement, encouraging families to pursue healthy eating. In addition to its plethora of excellent restaurants, Sacramento offers visitors a vast array of hip cafes to choose from. Among the most popular coffeehouses in the city are Temple Coffee, Insight Coffee Roasters, and Identity Coffees.

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Sacramento delivers big. From beautiful beaches to stunning state parks, hiking trails, national monuments, and more, Sacramento has got it all.

Sacramento is a city with an excellent transportation system, making it easy for families to park their RV in a public lot or at their campground and travel into town via tram, taxi, or bus to explore the sights and sounds on foot. Among the most popular camping facilities in the area are SacWest RV Park and Campground and Placerville KOA.

Share this road trip guide

Details

60'
Max RV length
60'
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Denver Broncos Game

The very last leg that takes RV campers to the city of Denver is only 67.6 miles. After a seven-day road trip, what could be more fitting than enjoying a Denver Broncos' game? This professional football team calls Denver their home.

The Denver Broncos were founded in 1960 and became a part of the National Football League in 1970. The home games for this popular football team take place at the Empower Field at Mile High, a facility formerly referred to as Invesco Field at Mile High.

The parking areas outside the stadium are not large enough for RVs, so it is recommended that campers park in a public lot or at their campground and take public transportation to the game.

Though tickets can be purchased at the door, ordering them online in advance provides the best opportunity to score some great seats.


Horsetooth Reservoir

It's just a short drive at only 63.2 miles to the next destination en route to Denver: Horseshoe Reservoir. This property is home to six and a half miles of crystal clear lake and over 1,900 acres of land, affording families the perfect place to enjoy outdoor recreation in a tranquil setting.

Among the activities families can enjoy at Horseshoe Reservoir are fishing, boating, swimming, diving, picnicking, rock climbing, and water skiing. To enjoy the facility, families must obtain a permit.

Camping is allowed year-round, but a license is required for all stays.

Dogs are permitted on the grounds but must remain leashed at all times.

There is an information center situated on the southern side of the Horsetooth Reservoir. Here, families can pick up maps of the property and learn more about the attractions found in nearby Fort Collins.

Camp on the grounds or consider an RV stay at Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday.


Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

The next leg of the route towards Denver is quite long at 306 miles. However, a visit to Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is well worth the hours spent traveling in the RV to reach this destination.

The Wyoming Territorial Prison is a facility that is owned by the federal government. It sits on property in Laramie, Wyoming. The building was constructed in 1872 and is considered one of the most aged in the state.

Between the years of 1872 and 1890, the prison was a federal penitentiary. Its purpose changed to that of a state prison between 1890 and 1901. Following this time, the facility was donated to the University of Wyoming who made use of the property as a station for agricultural experiments. The university ceased operations on the grounds in 1989.

The year 1991 saw the building reopen for the public to explore. In 2004, the facility was declared a state historic site.

The prison has an interesting history. A fire occurred in 1873, destroying much of the premises. Following this, there were several escape attempts by prisoners. There were a total of 44 prisoners in custody in 1873, and of this number, 11 of them managed to stage successful escapes.

By the year 1877, overcrowding had become a major problem. The prison soon became disreputable in the eyes of the courts seeking a place for convicts to be rehabilitated. It then fell into disuse. In 1889, the facility was renovated with additional cells added to house more prisoners including five spots for women.

One of the most famous people to ever serve their time here was Butch Cassidy. He spent from 1894-1896 at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

Thinking a good night's sleep is just what the doctor ordered? Park the RV at Laramie KOA Journey or Meadows Campground for the night.


Bear River State Park

For families looking to enjoy some R&R in a tranquil setting, Bear River State Park will not disappoint. Just 79.2 miles outside Salt Lake City, the property consists of 324 acres in total. One of its most unique features is that it houses herds of both bison and elk.

For those that enjoy hiking, this recreational area is sure to be a delight. There are many miles of trails found on the grounds, many of which are fully paved. Also found on the grounds is a Visitor Center which features information and exhibits on the many types of animals that make this park their home.

There is a picnic area with tables where families can enjoy a packed lunch on the grounds. Other amenities here include ample parking for RVs, drinking water, a waste disposal station, barbecues, bathrooms, and picnic tables.

Pets are welcome to join their families here but must remain leashed at all times.

After an invigorating day exploring nature, why not park the RV for an overnight stay? Consider spending the night at Bear River Campground or East Fork Bear River Campground.


Hogle Zoo

The 128 miles to Salt Lake City will just fly by with the excitement of spending the day at Hogle Zoo on the minds of RV campers. This popular attraction consists of 42 acres in total, ensuring families get in an excellent workout while exploring the grounds.

A hallmark of the zoo is its many different ecosystems, allowing it to display a wide array of unusual and diverse animals. The zoo itself is found at the entrance to Emigration Canyon.

Hogle Zoo was first opened to the public at its current locale in 1931. The land for the zoo was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. James A. Hogle. Prior to its move to this location, the zoo was housed in LIberty Park in the heart of the city.

One of the zoo's most well-known animals was an elephant named Princess Alice. Princess Alice was originally an animal in a traveling circus act. She became the mother of the very first elephant born in captivity in the state. Sadly, her child, named Prince Utah, passed away at just 11 months of age.

For hours of operation, tour schedules, and any associated fees, check the zoo's website.

Tired out from spending the day enjoying the company of the animals at the zoo? Book an RV stay at Salt Lake City KOA Holiday or VIP Campground.


Wendover Will Neon Cowboy

Though a long drive at 321 miles from Lovelock, RV campers won't want to miss the chance to stop by this unusual monument in West Wendover. In 1952, a gentleman named William Smith made the decision to develop a casino which he named the Stateline. The Stateline rested along the Nevada-Utah border.

To help set his casino apart, Mr. Smith made the decision to employ a Mr. Pat Denner to develop a statue similar to the well-known Vegas Vic neon cowboy to set his establishment apart from the competition. The statue was intended to welcome visitors to the town and his gaming haven. Wendover Will takes its name from the town of West Wendover, the town in which the casino rests, and its founder, William Smith. To give the statue a little additional cachet, Mr. Denner made him taller than the Las Vegas version. Wendover Will is 63 feet in total height. The statue is recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records as the Largest Mechanical Cowboy in the world.

Feeling tired out from a long day of driving? Spend the night at Wendover KOA Journey.


LoveLock Cave

103 miles from Reno is an interesting spot known as LoveLock Cave. The property is believed to once have been home to a tribe of Native Americans known as the Paiutes. It has long been told that these indigenous people shared stories regarding a race of red-haired, white-skinned "barbarians" that once frequented the area. The name bestowed upon this people group was "Si-Te-Cah." In 1882, this fable was put down on paper by an author named Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, a daughter of a Paiute chief.

In this tome, the Si-Te-Cah were pictured as a violent group of people that were not only aggressive but also cannibalistic. The story details an important fight that was set in an area known as the LoveLock Cave. It is during this battle that this barbaric race was completely eradicated. Though some believe this ancient tale is untrue, there have been many artifacts unearthed which seem to support the veracity of the legend.

LoveLock Cave goes by several other names such as Bat Cave, Horseshow Cave, Sunset Guano Cave, and Indian Cave. It is easy to find just outside the town of Lovelock, Nevada. In 1984, LoveLock Cave was declared a national historic site.

After a day of exploring the cave in Lovelock, an overnight RV stay is an excellent idea. Consider spending the night at Candy Beach Campground.


Circus Circus Reno

Just 134 miles from Sacramento is Circus Circus Reno, a popular attraction located in nearby Reno, Nevada. Circus Circus Reno is in the downtown core of this metropolitan city. It sits in the center of a grouping of hotels and casinos, including the Silver Legacy Reno and the Eldorado Reno. The facility consists of a hotel with 625 rooms in total and a large casino. The property takes its name from the fact that it permits circus acts to perform on the premises during the day time. The facility also houses 33 carnival-style games for families to enjoy.

Circus Circus Reno has earned the distinction of being the second biggest hotel located in the downtown portion of the city. Founded in 1957, this hotel and casino have changed hands several times throughout the ensuing years. It was originally housed on the grounds of a former department store that was incinerated during an explosion that was later replaced by a newer, larger, and more modern version. In 1977, the store was broadened to include additional levels, hotel rooms, and a casino known at the time as Camp 14.

Over the years, the facility has undergone a number of expansion efforts and renovations to reach its current size. After a day of gaming fun in Reno, an overnight stay might be just what the doctor ordered. Consider parking the RV at Reno KOA at Boomtown Journey.


California State Capitol Museum

Before hitting the open road en route to Denver, it is well worth taking the time to visit the California State Capitol Museum. Found on the grounds is a single building that houses both a museum and the state's official government office.

When the area regained control after years of Mexican domination, residents began to work towards being declared a state in their own right. To this end, a gathering occurred in 1849 to create a constitution and elect a state capital, the town of San Jose.

Shortly following this, California's first Legislature took place in a small hotel in its newly determined capital city. At that time, San Jose was comprised mostly of huts, tents, and cobbled together buildings.

In an effort to establish a more cosmopolitan capital city, the legislators decided to declare Vallejo the new premier city of the state. Here, a building was built for all government buildings. Since housing did not exist in Vallejo at the time, each official stayed a steamship known as the Empire.

However, Vallejo was not the ideal locale either for the seat of government. It was at this time that Sacramento become the capital city of the state, a decision that would remain even until today.

Sacramento had many amenities that made it well suited to becoming the legislative center for the state. It was home to a courthouse that was the ideal spot for hosting all official government meetings.

The initial construction began on the Capitol building in 1860 with it being completed in 1874. Once finished, the Capitol required no additional work until 1949 when renovations were undertaken to expand the property.

1976 saw the building completely renovated to provide vital supports to its weakening foundation. The entire work was finished in 1982, restoring the old building to its former glory.

For hours of operation, tours, and any associated fees, contact the museum's website.


Summary

After seven days on the road, the metropolis of Denver, Colorado will definitely be a most welcome sight for RV campers. A city that enjoys a pleasant climate year-round, Denver is a great place for families to enjoy outdoor recreation, excellent cuisine, cultural events, and much more.

Denver is the jewel in the crown of the state of Colorado. A booming metropolis and the capital city of the state, Denver has that Old West charm as evidenced by its Larimer Square. The city is home to many incredible buildings built in the early 19th-century design. Its many attractions include the Denver Art Museum and the former impressive home of Molly Brown, the well-renowned survivor of the Titanic.

Denver provides a helpful gateway to many of the most popular ski resorts in the region. It is a haven for outdoor activities including such beloved activities as hiking, cycling, picnicking, camping, and cross country skiing.

Denver is easy to explore; whether on foot or through the use of its efficient transportation system. The city boasts of taxis, trains, and even bikes for rent. But Denver also earns bonus points for being a spot that is easy to explore on foot as well.

For families that enjoy sampling new culinary delights, Denver will not disappoint. It is a haven for many different food trucks, markets, and trendy eateries. There are also several cocktail bars that have earned an excellent reputation for their bewitching elixirs.

There are many great places for families to park their RVs for a night or even an extended stay. Consider stopping by Cherry Creek Park State Campground or Indian Paintbrush Campground.

Share this Road trip guide