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If you are traveling around Colorado, you will most likely take a drive from Denver to Grand Junction, the largest city on the Western Slope of Colorado.
The road trip from Denver to Grand Junction shows you just how diverse the Colorado is. You begin your road trip along Colorado’s Front Range, traverse through the heart of the Rockies and arrive at the high Colorado desert. All within a couple of hours.
I’ve done a drive from Denver to Grand Junction several times, and have some of the best memories along this highway. In this article, I will share how you can take this trip.
✅ Check my complete guide to the best Denver tours
Denver to Grand Junction distance
The distance from Denver to Grand Junction is 243 miles (391 km). However, the exact distance also depends on your starting point. Denver metro area is pretty big, so your distance could be different depending on the point of your departure.
How long does it take to get from Denver to Grand Junction?
The time of your trip depends on the mode of transportation. The quickest way to get from Denver to Grand Junction is by taking an airplane, while the longest is by taking a bus. I recommend renting a car for your road trip between Denver and Grand Junction, as you can enjoy the incredible Colorado landscapes.
How can I get from Denver to Grand Junction?
The fastest way to get from Denver to Grand Junction is by taking a short flight from Denver. The main airlines that serve this route are United Airlines. You can take a flight daily, but the sooner you book your tickets the best rate you will get.
Click here to check the price range of airplane tickets from Denver to Grand Junction.
These prices will fluctuate depending on the time of the year. Summer is the busy season in Colorado when many people come here to enjoy the scenery and hit the hiking trails. During this time, Grand Junction sees a lot of travelers who stop here as part of their Southwest Colorado road trip.
Expect prices to be higher during summer and early fall.
You can save money by flying from Denver to Grand Junction from late fall through most of the spring.
How long is the flight from Grand Junction to Denver?
The flight from Denver to Grand Junction is about 40 minutes. Arrive at the airport no less than 2 hours before your flight, as you have to check in your bags and go through security. Denver International Airport (DEN) can get busy, especially during the holidays and weekends.
What’s the closest major airport to Grand Junction?
Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) is the largest airport on the Western Slope of Colorado. It’s just three miles away from Grand Junction. It has direct flights to Denver, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Mesa, Arizona.
The airport is fairly easy to navigate, as it has only one terminal and a big parking area. You can also rent a car at the Grand Junction Airport to explore southwest Colorado and visit some of the best places near Grand Junction like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument and Colorado National Monument.
Denver to Grand Junction bus
If you are traveling on a budget, the best way to get from Denver to Grand Junction is by taking a bus. Greyhound.com is a platform where you can buy tickets online. Buses from Denver to Grand Junction depart daily and the price range depends on the day and time. Sometimes, you can take advantage of seasonal offers and special prices.
Denver to Grand Junction Bustang
Another option to get from Denver to Grand Junction is by taking Bustang, a bus service that connects Colorado’s capital with cities along Interstate-70 and Interstate-25.
Bustang buses to Grand Junction depart daily from the Union Station in downtown Denver. You can check Bustang schedule online.
Denver to Grand Junction train
You could also take an Amtrak train from Denver to Grand Junction. Trains depart from the historic Union Station in Downtown Denver. Train tickets were slightly more expensive than buses the last time I checked. Since I have never taken a train, I can’t give you any perspective on what it’s like. You can check prices at Amtrack.com
If you are traveling from the Denver Airport, include transportation costs to Union Station into your travel budget.
Denver to Grand Junction by car
Renting a car is a popular way for many travelers who want to get from Denver to Grand Junction. When you have a rental car, you can stop at any landmarks or points of interest along Interstate 70, and let me tell you, there are quite a few of them!
The highway connecting Denver and Grand Junction offers some of the best views around the state.
If you rent a car, I suggest spreading your road trip over a couple of days, so you could see some of the best Colorado mountain towns and take advantage of the many hikes along the way.
Check my complete guide to renting a car in Denver to save money
When is the best time to travel between Denver and Grand Junction by car?
Summer is the best time to drive from Denver to Grand Junction as the roads are clear from ice and snow, and you don’t have to worry about a snowstorm or blizzard hitting you while you are on the road. The views are spectacular and you get to enjoy the sunny summer days in Colorado.
Portions of Interstate 70 can also get congested on holidays and weekends during winter as many people leave Denver to hit the ski slopes. If you drive from Denver to Grand Junction in winter, rent a 4×4 vehicle with winter tires.
Always check the weather forecast before hitting the road!
Colorado weather is notoriously unpredictable and it’s not uncommon to see snow in summer at higher elevations.
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How long does it take to get from Denver to Grand Junction?
It takes about 4 hours to get from Denver to Grand Junction by car if you don’t make any stops along the way.
What is the drive like from Denver to Grand Junction?
The drive from Denver to Grand Junction is my favorite Colorado road trip. You pass by some of the most spectacular places in Colorado like Vail, Glenwood Springs, and Idaho Springs. Driving through the heart of the Rockies is a special experience, and I think every traveler should do it at least once.
What is there to see see between Denver and Grand Junction?
Many travelers drive from Denver to Grand Junction as part of their Colorado road. Some of the best stops between Denver and Grand Junction are Idaho Springs, Breckenridge, and Glenwood Springs.
The best part about taking this route is that you can enjoy some of the best places in Colorado without veering off course. Not only you can stretch your legs and grab a bit, but you can also enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way.
- Idaho Springs – Home to Indian Hot Springs where you can soak in mineral-rich hot waters, and a number of superb hikes such as St. Mary’s Glacier (there’s technically no glacier here), Idaho Springs also provides quick access to Mt. Evans Scenic Byway as well as Mount Bierstadt, one of Colorado’s most popular “fourteeners.”
- Georgetown – Georgetown deserves a stop on your Colorado itinerary because it is one of the best-preserved mountain towns in Colorado with a rich gold mining history that you can learn by touring its famous museum.
- Another famous landmark, Georgetown Loop Railroad offers a spectacular train ride to nearby Silver Plume where many miners lived back in the day.
- Lake Dillon – Located just off Interstate 70, Lake Dillon is popular for kayaking and paddle boarding. It’s a perfect stop if you want to get some exercise after a few hours on the road.
- Aspen – One of the best places to visit in Colorado, Aspen is known for its stunning scenery like the iconic Maroon Bells.
- Vail – Although many people skip Vail on their Colorado in favor of other mountain towns, Vail is worth a stop because it offers a combination of gorgeous scenery, great shopping, and dining.
- Glenwood Springs – Located on the Western Slope of the state, Glenwood Springs is a year-round destination where you can enjoy rafting on the Colorado River, bicycling on trails, and soaking in some of the best hot springs in Colorado.
- Palisade – Located just to the east of Grand Junction along Interstate 70, Palisade is the heart of Colorado’s wine country where you can tour several wineries and walk among the lush vineyards.
Denver to Grand Junction: Final thoughts
The ways outlined above are the best options for getting from Denver to Grand Junction. Of course, you can also hitchhike, but I’ve never done it, and due to safety concerns can’t recommend it.
The fastest option for getting from Denver to Grand Junction is flying, and the most economical one is taking a bus. The best way to get from Denver to Grand Junction is with a rental car. I have taken this drive numerous times and loved every second of it. I’m sure you will too!