Colorado RV Trip: 1-2 Week Travel Guide

Sep 14, 2021

In the summer of 2021, our move to Japan was delayed by over two weeks. With our life in Texas already packed up and our cars sold, we needed to find something to do nearby to Texas to keep us and our dog, Avicii, occupied. We've always dreamt of living in the mountains, so we decided to rent an RV and see what Colorado was all about. We were lucky to have friends along our route, some of which we stayed with. I kept notes and took videos throughout, but that was before I started travel blogging. I apologize in advance for the messiness and the lack of detail.

We rented a compact RV from Cruise America! I absolutely loved that we had a full kitchen, full bathroom, and two beds. The total length was 20 feet, which allowed us to still drive on narrow/windy roads without any restrictions! It was the perfect way to travel with a dog, although Avicii didn't love when the RV was in motion. I was able to cook some pretty decent meals in that tiny kitchen. We had a nice mix of camping with hookups and boondocking (camping without hookups), which allowed us to stay full on water, take showers, empty our tanks, etc. We did have to call my dad, a previous RV owner, a few times to help us figure some stuff out, but overall, it was easy to manage this compact RV. We had so much fun on this trip and I cannot wait for more RV adventures in the future.

The video at the top takes you through the entire trip in Colorado, starting with an RV tour. Although the video is long, I'd definitely recommend watching it if you want to do your own RV trip. Again your plan may look different, as we had friends we visited for the first few stops in CO. 

  • Monday July 26- Drive San Antonio to Dallas, pick up RV
  • Tuesday July 27- Drive Dallas to Amarillo, stay at friend's place
  • Wednesday July 28- Drive Amarillo to CO Springs, stay at Goldfield Campground 
  • Thursday July 29- Hike in CO Springs (Garden of the Gods and the Broadmoor Seven Falls), stay at friend's place in Denver 
  • Friday July 30- Hike in Golden (part of Nightbird Gultch), stay at friend's place in Golden
  • Saturday July 31- Hike in Evergreen (Chief Mountain Trail), stay at friend's place in Evergreen
  • Sunday August 1- Stay at friend's place in Evergreen
  • Monday August 2- Hike in Nederland (Lost Lakes trail), stay at Estes KOA
  • Tuesday August 3- Drive through RMNP, hike The Lock, stay at Stillwater RV Park
  • Wednesday August 4- Hike Watanga Lake, drive through Independence Pass, stay at Weller Campground
  • Thursday August 5- Hike Maroon Bells, hangout in Aspen, stay at Difficult Campground
  • Friday August 6- Drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, stay at South Rim Campground
  • Saturday August 7- Drive to Telluride, hike Jud Wiebe trail, camp at Sunshine Campground
  • Sunday August 8- Drive the Million Dollar HWY back towards Texas to return RV and move to Japan! 

Colorado Springs

  • We stayed at Goldfield Campground
  • Garden of the Gods: 7am-9am
    • Hike the Garden of the Gods early AM to beat the heat and crowds. We did a loop that went off the paved trail, about 3-4 miles… there are so many trails you can create your own loop! 
  • The Broadmoor Seven Falls: 10am-1pm
    • After Garden of the Gods we headed straight to the Seven Falls visitor  parking lot. Visitor parking is at 1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd located at Norris Penrose Event Center, where there is a shuttle service to the park entrance.
    • Parking and shuttle transportation are complimentary; Seven Falls patrons will park at 1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd.  The shuttle parking lot is located about 4 miles from the park entrance. People were lining up  early for the shuttle! Once you get to the park, you must buy entry tickets, the entrance fee is $16.50pp. 
    • There is a lot of walking, but all on paved trails or stairs.
  • Manitou Springs: 2-4pm
    • After the 7 falls we drove to Manitou Springs and walked around the cute downtown area. We had burgers and beers at Manitou Brewing Company
  • Other things to do in CO Springs: walk around historic CO Springs, hike the manitou steps, drive up to pike’s peak (14er), swim in the springs 
  • Drive to Denver: 4-5pm
    • We stayed here for only one night due to the heat, and our trip was more hiking focused. There is plenty to do in Denver!


  • We crashed with friends here, spending one day and one night in Golden. You are more in the mountains than in Denver and it’s a few degrees cooler.
  • We hike part of the Nightbird Gultch and Mount Galbraith Loop
  • Walked around downtown, had lunch at Buffalo Rose, and brewery hopped (Mountain Toad and Golden City)
  • We walked by the river and there were a ton of people floating or picnicking by the water! That looked like a great option for the hot weather 


  • We crashed with other friends here for two nights. More mountains and much cooler!
  • We hiked Chief Mountain Trail- unfortunately it was very cloudy so we didn’t get the beautiful overlook, but the trailhead starts at a higher elevation. The road to the trailhead is steep and windy. Another nearby trail head is for Squaw Mountain- both are recommended, check all trails for difficulty level. 
  • Then headed to lunch in the town of Evergreen- another cute downtown. We had pizzas at Campfire, also recommend checking out the Lariat Lodge and Little Bear Saloon
  • The next day we hiked a portion of the Three Sisters, a highly recommended hike. Beware the trailhead gets busy on weekends


  • The drive from Evergreen to Estes is very scenic! We stopped in Nederland and did the hike to Lost Lake. Avicii loved it! A beautiful hike to an alpine lake, great for doggo swimming!
  • In Estes, we stayed at the KOA. Another cute downtown. We walked around the lake, where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards. We checked out Avante Garde Brewing and Lumpy Ridge Brewery 

Rock Mountain National Park

  • The most important thing for RMNP is the timed entry! You must book an entry time (only $2). They sell some tickets in advance, and when those are sold out, they release more at 5pm the day before. We had the page loaded and account ready so that at 5:00pm on the dot we were able to purchase. The 300-400 spots they had sold out within 10-15 minutes. Make sure you know which road you want to enter through when booking!
  • We snagged an entry time between 7am-9am on Bear Lake Road.  We ended up entering at 7:15am and the trailhead for the hike we wanted was already full, so we went up to the next trailhead and hiked an extra 0.8 miles RT. They also offer a shuttle from the larger trailhead parking 
  • We hiked The Loch - challenging but beautiful!
  • NO DOGS can hike in national parks! We kept Avicii in her crate for this
  • Enjoy the drive through RMNP- we had lunch at one of the higher scenic viewpoints (panorama point)

Stillwater (just outside of RMNP)

  • We camped at Stillwater RV park, beautiful on the lake!
  • We hiked Watanga Lake and it was amazing! The longest hike of the trip. Read the alltrails info if you plan to do this. Gorgeous views all around, but a lot of elevation gain.

Heading towards Aspen

  • The drive through Independence Pass is epic! Definitely go out to the continental divide view point
  • We camped at Weller Campground- first come first serve, there are many FCFS campgrounds in the area! 


  • Hike Maroon Bells! MUST book the shuttle ahead of time! We parked at the Aspen Highlands and took the shuttle from there. We booked it for 10am, but ended up arriving at 8am. They offer standby to hop on an earlier shuttle. Very pretty, but can be busy. We hiked to Crater Lake
  •  After the hike we came back to the Aspen Highlands and had a beer at Highlands Alehouse
  • After hiking we headed to Aspen downtown. We stopped at Aspen Brewing Company, Whitehouse Tavern, off-leash park, shopping is very expensive here!
  • We stayed at Difficult Campground that night, just 20 minutes outside of Aspen 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • We found first come first serve camping at the South Rim campground, loop C. We did the Rim Rock trail to the visitor center and lookout points. 
  • This park is hot! We ended up just driving up to the lookout points. Sunset point was my favorite! I was surprised with how awesome the park was!
  • It is also a dark sky park protected by International Dark Sky Association. We did a nighttime constellation tour and it was by far the most unique experience we’ve had at a national park. We learned all about the importance preserving the dark sky and how to prevent light pollution.


  • We stayed at Sunshine campground (first come first serve)
  • The free gondola is amazing!!! Dog friendly, incredible views
  • We hiked Jud Wiebe, the trailhead is walking distance to downtown! 
  • Downtown is super cute, stunning views! We had beers at Smugglers Brewery, cocktails at The Butcher and The Baker, and then got beers and sat at a town square with live music.

Drive the Million Dollar HWY towards Albuquerque

  • Million Dollar Highway is a very famous route to drive. It’s beautiful! Our trip was filled with so many other scenic byways, I don’t think I would have missed this if we skipped it. If it’s on your route, definitely do it. If it’s more than 60 minutes outside of your route, skip it.
  • We also drove through Palo Duro Canyon State Park and stopped by Cadillac Ranch, both outside of Amarillo, TX.

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