A drive from Denver, Colorado to Jackson Hole, Wyoming makes for a classic western road trip! This itinerary takes you through the north-central region of Colorado, right along the Rocky Mountain range. Once you leave Colorado, you’ll be driving through Wyoming, where you’ll quickly feel like you’ve been transported into an old Western film.
This is the perfect road trip itinerary to follow if you flew into the Denver airport to get to Jackson. Flying into the Jackson Hole airport is pretty expensive, so this is really the best way to get there anyways. You might as well stop and see a few things along the way!
The drive from Denver to Jackson can be done in one day, but breaking it up allows you to see more of what these two beautiful states have to offer. It includes mountains, national parks, cool towns, and a giant dose of scenery. This 5 day Denver to Jackson Hole road trip itinerary is an accumulation of my past trips to the area, and my own road trip from Denver to Jackson.
To keep this itinerary relatively short, each day will include a little bit of driving in the morning, with the rest of the day left to see the next place on your trip. One day in each destination is plenty, and you can spend as much time as you want in Denver before starting the road trip, and as much time as you want in Jackson Hole once you arrive.
Keep reading to get all the details from this 5 Day Denver to Jackson Hole Road Trip Itinerary.
5 Day Denver to Jackson Hole Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1 // Denver
You’ll be starting this 5 day road trip in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. A lot of the typical things to do in Denver include day trips to surrounding areas, but you’ll get to see all of that later in this road trip, so you can dedicate this day to exploring the city. Check out the museums, restaurants, and breweries, and get a good dose of city life before heading out.
Things to Do:
- Denver Museum of Contemporary Art
- Stroll through the Denver Botanic Gardens
- Spend some time in Larimer Square
Read Next: See more from Denver
Day 2 // Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park
The drive from Denver to Estes Park takes about 1 1/2 hours, but the entire drive is so pretty, you won’t want it to end. You might even see some mountain goats along the way! Estes Park is a cool little town to visit, even if you’re not headed into the National Park. There are lots of little shops and restaurants to try out, plus the scenery is amazing. And of course a day at Rocky Mountain National Park is a must while you’re up here! You can drive through the mountains, do some hiking, and take in the views.
Things to Do:
- Explore Rocky Mountain National Park
- Go on a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel
- Stroll through town and check out the shops
Read Next: Estes Park Photo Diary
Day 3 // Fort Collins
Fort Collins is a small college town north of Denver and Boulder, Colorado. If you stayed the night in Estes Park, the drive to Fort Collins will be short and simple at just a little over one hour. Fort Collins definitely has a laid-back, young, progressive feel about it (college town!), but it’s still quite sleepy. This is a great place to drink beer, eat vegetarian food, and spend a little more time outdoors!
Things to Do:
- Check out the breweries (there’s a lot in the area!)
- Explore Horseshoe Reservoir
- Annual Flower Trial Garden
- Walk around town for shopping & restaurants
Day 4 // Laramie or Cheyenne
Laramie is about 1 hour from Fort Collins if you take the scenic route (which I definitely recommend). If you stick to the main highways, it’s more like 1 1/2 hours. You could also opt to stay in Cheyenne instead, which is about 45 minutes from Fort Collins. Both towns are pretty much what you would expect from Wyoming. They’ve got a classic western feel, with a lot of attractions focusing on that heritage. Cheyenne is the larger of the two, and has a bit more to do. Of course, you could always make time for both!
Things to Do:
- See the Wyoming State Capitol, the State Museum, & the Botanic Gardens in Cheyenne
- Check out the Wyoming Penitentiary, Plains Museum, & American Heritage Center in Laramie
Day 5 // Jackson Hole
To get from Laramie to Jackson, you have a choice between two routes. They both take about 6 hours, so it’s up to you which one seems more interesting. You can continue west on I-80 to Rock Springs and then head north. Or you can jump off I-80 near Rawlins and pass through Lander and Dubois before continuing to Jackson. I took the former route, so I can’t speak to the latter.
The entire Jackson Hole area is one of the most beautiful places in the country. You’ve got the town of Jackson, Grand Teton National Park (and Yellowstone a bit further north), and the surrounding mountains. It’s easy to spend a full week here, but you could probably get away with 2 days if you are short on time.
Things to Do:
- Explore Grand Teton National Park
- Spend some time in Teton Village
- Go for a hike…there are so many trails in the area
- Enjoy the town of Jackson and it’s many restaurants
Read Next: More from Jackson Hole
And that wraps up this 5 day Denver to Jackson Hole road trip itinerary! It’s short but sweet, with plenty of time to see what this region has to offer. Colorado and Wyoming are both such scenic places, and it’s more than worth it to spend a week exploring. Like I said earlier, this drive can be done in one day if needed, but I’d recommend finding an at least one extra day to make some quick stops.
Want to see the previous leg on this road trip? Check out my 2 week Seattle to Denver road trip itinerary. Or continue on from Jackson to Seattle with this road trip.
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Hello there. very well done. I’m looking into flying into Jackson Hole area July 27 and seeing the area. Any suggestions?
I love Jackson Hole, I hope you enjoy your time there! Spend as much time as you can in Grand Teton NP. Bridger Teton National Forest is really beautiful too. Lots of hiking in the area. You can spend a bit of time in town, or over at Teton Village for restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
Here are some recommendations:
Jackson Hole Restaurant Guide: https://traveldaze.co/2015/11/08/jackson-hole-restaurant-guide/
What to Do in Grand Teton NP: https://traveldaze.co/2017/05/22/things-to-do-in-grand-teton-national-park/
Thank you for all the great information. My husband an I are going from Denver to Vancouver Washington back to Denver. Was glad to see how you mapped it all out. The major concern for us is the weather. We are leaving Denver late October.
I’m glad I could help. The weather will definitely be something to keep an eye on during that time of year! I hope you have a great trip!