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San Francisco To Denver Road Trip: The Ultimate Guide

Note: This guide was last updated 1 year and 2 months and 22 days ago. If you've spotted anything that seems a bit out-of-date or if you have some killer tips to share, we're all ears! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Traveling from San Francisco to Denver is one of the best journeys you can experience in the USA. The 1,252 miles of road trip from San Francisco to Denver takes around 18 hours and 28 mins of driving without stops.

This article includes 22 top tips that turn your Denver trip into an unforgettable journey. So if you’re looking for the best hotels, restaurants, and places to visit on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver, take your coffee and keep reading!

8 Best Hotels On The Way From San Francisco To Denver

On the way from San Francisco to Denver, you may want to stay at some points on the way. Here are the top eight hotels on the San Francisco – Denver route!

  1. Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo: Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo is one of the best hotels where you can stay on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver. Driving from San Francisco to Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo might take around 1 hour and 29 mins. This Courtyard is clean and up to date, with comfortable beds, thick towels, a decent TV, good spaciousness, and nice extras like a mini fridge, good coffee, and excellent quality mini toiletries. Check the Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo, one of the best hotels in Sacramento, California, on TripAdvisor and Booking.com for recent reviews, prices, and availability.
  2. Grand Sierra Resort and Casino: Another top hotel where you can choose the stay on the road trip to Denver from San Francisco is Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Located in Reno, Nevada, the hotel is 221 miles away from San Francisco, and it would take 3 hours and 34 mins to drive. The Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is located in the heart of Reno/Tahoe. All employees, from the Head of Security to Housekeepers, are a pleasure to deal with. It is absolutely the best place to stay in Reno. If you want to learn more about the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Booking.com.
  3. Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn: Didn’t our first two hotel suggestions interest you? So we would like to introduce you to the Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn. Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn is located in Winnemucca, Nevada, and it’s 382 miles away from San Francisco. You can arrive there in 5 hours and 46 mins of non-stop driving. The property was well-kept, and the accommodations were reasonable, with very comfortable beds. The room was well soundproofed. The breakfast offerings were decent. I appreciated that my well-behaved dog was welcome. The front desk staff was great. Check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn for more information.
  4. Esquire Inn: If you are taking the road trip from San Francisco to Denver, Elko, Nevada, it is must have a place you should visit. Plus, Esquire Inn is one of the best hotels in town. It is Esquire Inn, 506 miles from San Francisco, and it would take 7 hours and 35 mins to drive. Esquire Inn is an excellent budget-friendly choice for travelers visiting Elko. Many helpful amenities are offered to enhance your stay, including free wifi, flat screen TV, refrigerator, and air conditioning in rooms. Guests of Esquire Inn are also welcome to enjoy complimentary breakfast on site. The inn offers free parking for travelers arriving by car. It is a cute, historic motel that is very clean and updated. It is easy to find. The front desk helped find local places to eat. It has a refrigerator and microwave. If you need more info about the price and availability of Esquire Inn, check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages.
  5. Grand America Hotel: Our next hotel is Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City. It will take 10 hours, and 45 mins of car ride o reach this hotel from San Francisco. Grand America Hotel is a popular choice among travelers visiting Salt Lake City. The hotel offers a romantic atmosphere and many helpful amenities to enhance your stay. The hotel’s impressive decor makes you feel as if you are inside a European castle. The Coffee place, Bonne Vie, is fabulous. Laurel restaurant is also perfect. Gibson Bar has a very English style. The Spa is one of the best I have ever been to in terms of service, services, and premises. The rooms were decorated like in the 1800s and reminded me of my grandma’s living room. However, they were very spacious, clean, and comfortable. Check the Grand America Hotel on TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Grand America Hotel for reviews, prices, and availability.
  6. Best Western Dunmar Inn: Another hotel you can accommodate on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver is Best Western Dunmar Inn. It’s possible to arrive at this hotel in Evanston, Wyoming, within 11 hours and 58 mins drive from San Francisco. This hotel has a lot of character and excellent curb appeal, and breakfast is in the restaurant instead of a lobby/breakfast room. The staff is fantastic, the hotel is clean, and it was a great stay. There is a water fountain in front, grass, and mature trees. Before making the reservation, we suggest you read the latest reviews on TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
  7. Hampton Inn Rawlins: Another hotel that deserves to be on the list is Hampton Inn Rawlins. It’s located in Rawlins, Wyoming, and is 1,028 miles from San Francisco. You can arrive there within 14 hours and 59 mins of car drive. The Hampton Inn Rawlins hotel in Wyoming includes 78 rooms with an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness room, business center, and laundry facilities. Each room has a coffee maker, hair dryer, 32-LCD HDTV, cable, and an iron and ironing board. The hotel was clean and inviting. The room was clean and comfortable. The breakfast had a nice variety of hot and cold food items. All staff was friendly and courteous. Everything seemed to be well taken care of, indoors and out. If you need further information, you can check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Hampton Inn Rawlins.
  8. Hilton Garden Inn Laramie: Located in Laramie, Wyoming, Hilton Garden Inn Laramie is another hotel where you can stay on the San Francisco to Denver road trip. Hilton Garden Inn Laramie is 1,127 miles from San Francisco and will take 16 hours and 29 mins of non-stop driving. The Hilton Garden Inn Laramie hotel is just two hours from Denver, Colorado, and 30 minutes from the Snowy Mountains. The hotel is clean, modern, and well manned at the front desk. The public areas are well maintained, and the room has modern amenities and more excellent decor than we expected. Parking is easy. This is a safe and friendly place. Check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Hilton Garden Inn Laramie for more information.

In this part, we explained eight different hotels you can stay at on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver. You can pick one of them that suits your taste. Don’t forget to share your experience by writing a comment to this post. It will help people who will take the same San Francisco to Denver route.

Now, it’s time to discover the best restaurants from San Francisco to Denver. We have eight restaurant recommendations worth your attention.

8 Best Restaurants On The Way To Denver From San Francisco

If dining is a pleasure, some restaurants will please you on your San Francisco to Denver road trip. This section lists the eight restaurants to dine at on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver. Stay hungry and enjoy!

  1. The Waterboy, Sacramento: We would like to start our restaurant recommendation list on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver with The Waterboy, Sacramento. The Waterboy, Sacramento, is located in Sacramento, California, and is 88.3 miles from San Francisco. It would take 1 hour and 29 mins of driving. The drive from Sacramento is well worth the fresh seafood at this restaurant. The main room and outdoor sidewalk seating are in a quiet, residential area. The oysters are some of my best, and the duck and pork belly are also excellent choices. This restaurant is more fancy than most, but that’s part of what I enjoy about it. For more information about The Waterboy, Sacramento, you can visit the TripAdvisor or Google Maps pages of The Waterboy, Sacramento.
  2. Atlantis Steakhouse, Reno: Another top restaurant you can choose to eat at on the road trip to Denver from San Francisco is Atlantis Steakhouse, Reno. Located in Reno, Nevada, Atlantis Steakhouse, Reno is 223 miles from San Francisco and would take 3 hours and 37 mins of driving. We had a fantastic time at Atlantis Steakhouse. We recommend the pork belly appetizers that were excellent. The food was beautiful, and the wait staff was attentive and charming, making you feel special. If you want to learn more about Atlantis Steakhouse, Reno, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
  3. Chihuahua’s Grill & Cantina, Winnemucca: Another restaurant that can be preferred by those who are fond of food is Chihuahua’s Grill & Cantina, Winnemucca. It will take 5 hours and 49 mins of car drive to take 383 miles from San Francisco to Chihuahua’s Grill & Cantina, Winnemucca, Winnemucca, Nevada. The food was excellent. The carnitas were some of the best I’ve had. The service was friendly, and the menu was extensive. You can check Chihuahua’s Grill & Cantina, Winnemucca, on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
  4. Coffee Mug, Elko: Coffee Mug, Elko deserves to be on our list. It is one of the most recommended restaurants in Elko, Nevada. The restaurant offers a great breakfast, Prime Rib, Turkey Sandwich, and soups. The menu is casual and homey, with excellent food and generous portions. This is a great diner experience. Coffee Mug, Elko is 507 miles from San Francisco, and it would take 7 hours and 36 mins of non-stop car driving. If you want to learn more about Coffee Mug, Elko, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
  5. Log Haven, Mill Creek: If you enjoy dining, Log Haven, Mill Creek, would be an excellent choice in Salt Lake City. It’s 749 miles from San Francisco and would take 11 hours and 1 min of car driving. Log Haven is a restaurant located in a historic log mansion in the Wasatch National Forest, minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. The atmosphere is cozy, with a log cabin and fire burning, and the food is terrific. The nachos are a great starter, with delicious homemade chips. The salmon is a great main course, cooked perfectly and served in a large portion. If you want to learn more about Log Haven, Mill Creek, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
  6. Jody’s Diner: Another restaurant we recommend you to visit on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver is Jody’s Diner, Evanston, Wyoming. It will take 11 hours and 59 mins of driving to reach Jody’s Diner from San Francisco. This is a good option if you want a place to have a meal in Evanston, which is not a fast food restaurant. However, the food is delicious, and the service is fast, friendly, and affordable. For more information about Jody’s Diner, you can check the TripAdvisor or Google Maps pages of the restaurant.
  7. Buck’s Sports Grill: Ranked seventh on our list, Buck’s Sports Grill appeals to those who want to turn their Denver vacation into a memorable experience. Located in Rawlins, Wyoming, 1,025 miles from San Francisco, it’ll take 14 hours and 59 mins to drive. The food and drink menus were both unique and remarkable. The pizza was delicious, and all of the lettuce was fresh. The fries were too. Be sure to get their secret sauce, and it’s excellent. The atmosphere was great, with fun decor that added to the good time had by all. The service was excellent and friendly! If you want to learn more about Buck’s Sports Grill, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
  8. Sweet Melissa Cafe, Laramie: Log Haven, Mill Creek, is an excellent restaurant that is 1,125 miles away from San Francisco. Log Haven, Mill Creek is located in Salt Lake City, and you can reach there after 16 hours and 26 mins of car driving. The food at this establishment is varied and of good quality. I ordered the Lentil Loaf and Mashed Potatoes with mushroom gravy, which were both delicious. They have a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options available. The service was friendly and efficient. If you want to discover the menu and more information about Sweet Melissa Cafe, Laramie, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.

This section lists our eight restaurant recommendations for you to eat on your road trip from San Francisco to Denver. We hope these suggestions will help you turn your 1,252 miles journey into a feast of taste. Of course, you can choose a suitable restaurant from the list according to your preference. Remember, like you, people planning a Denver road trip need your opinion. Therefore, we kindly ask you to share your experience with us in the comment field at the end of the blog post.

In the next section, we list the destinations worth seeing along the route from San Francisco to Denver. Keep reading.

6 Places To Visit On The Way From San Francisco To Denver

A unique experience awaits you in Denver. However, some unique destinations like Sacramento, California are on your road trip. We want to explain the top six destinations we recommend on the Denver route.

  • Old Sacramento: Old Sacramento will be the first destination we recommend you to stop by on your San Francisco to Denver road trip. Located in Sacramento, California, Old Sacramento is 87.6 miles away from San Francisco, and it would take 1 hour and 26 mins to drive. The Sacramento waterfront is brought to life by the restored buildings, museums, and novelty shops in Old Sacramento. This historic area consists of several blocks with shops and restaurants. It’s an exciting place to wander around, and you can take a boat or train ride there. If you want to learn more about Old Sacramento, you can check it on TripAdvisor or the official website.
  • National Automobile Museum: National Automobile Museum, Reno, Nevada, is one of the destinations we recommend you to stop by on the San Francisco to Denver route. It’s 220 miles from San Francisco, and it’ll take about 3 hours and 32 mins to drive. The National Automobile Museum is one of the top Reno attractions. The museum has more than 225 rare, one-of-a-kind antique and collector cars with authentic street scenes and sounds that bring displays to life. The collection of cars tells the story of the automobile from the late 1800s onward. If you want to learn more about National Automobile Museum, you can check it on TripAdvisor or their website.
  • California Trail Historic Interpretive Center: One of the stops you should not neglect to stop by when you take the road trip from San Francisco to Denver is Elko, Nevada. And if you’ll visit Elko, Nevada, we suggest you visit California Trail Historic Interpretive Center. You can arrive at California Trail Historic Interpretive Center after 3 hours and 23 mins of driving. The California Trail Interpretive Center offers visitors an immersive experience of the history of Western Expansion in the United States. The museum is approximately 12 years old, though it appears brand new due to its well-kept condition. The murals, wagon area replicas, and dioramas are excellent in their accuracy and presentation of information about the arduous journey many took across America in search of gold during 1841-1969. You can visit TripAdvisor and the official site of the California Trail Historic Interpretive Center for more information.
  • Big Cottonwood Canyon: Do you also like to travel and experience new things? Then, it would be best to visit Big Cottonwood Canyon and Salt Lake City on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver. Big Cottonwood Canyon is 759 miles from San Francisco, and you can arrive there after the 11 hours and 13 mins of drive. Despite the challenging hikes, the views of Mt. Wolverine Cirque were stunning and very rewarding. Except for Lake Mary and Catherine Pass areas, few hikers were on the more challenging routes. In addition, you should check TripAdvisor and the official website of Big Cottonwood Canyon before going there.
  • Bear River State Park: Located in Evanston, Wyoming, Bear River State Park ranks fifth in our list of tourist destinations on the Denver road trip. You must take 12 hours and 0 mins of driving to arrive at Bear River State Park. The park was beautiful, and we saw many animals while riding our bikes through it. We could walk or ride in this park every day. The bison and elk were up close, and the binoculars set up were great. The visitor’s center can be skipped unless you like dead things, but going out back gives you another view of the bison. If you want to learn more about Bear River State Park, you can check it on TripAdvisor or the official website.
  • Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site: Another attraction you can visit on the road trip from San Francisco to Denver is Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Laramie, Wyoming. Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is 1,123 miles from San Francisco, and it would take 16 hours and 23 mins to drive. The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site has a rich history. It operated as a federal (territorial) and state prison from 1872 to 1903 and then became the Agricultural Experiment Station for the University of Wyoming after the State Prison relocated to Rawlins. The site is now operated as a Historic Site by the State of Wyoming. The 90-minute tour was informative, but we read more of the displays, especially the one on Butch Cassidy. For more information about Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, you can check their TripAdvisor page or official website.

FAQ of the Road Trip From San Francisco to Denver

Here we are answering the frequently asked questions about the San Francisco to Denver drive.

How Long Is The Road Trip From San Francisco To Denver?

  • With ideal traffic and weather conditions, the road trip takes approximately 18 hours and 28 mins to drive. The distance between San Francisco to Denver is 1,252 miles.
  • If you want to make the San Francisco to Denver road trip by bike, the time you spend on the road will be four days and 12 hours.
  • If you are crazy enough and plan to walk the San Francisco-Denver route, you will have to walk for 16 days and 10 hours.

Where Do You Stop On Driving From San Francisco To Denver?

There are many beautiful pit stops along the way to Denver. Here we list six of them. For more information about the best places on the San Francisco to Denver journey, you can check the 6 Best Places To Visit On The Way From San Francisco To Denver part.

  1. Old Sacramento: 87.6 miles / 1 hour and 26 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,169 miles / 17 hours and 10 mins of driving to Denver.
  2. National Automobile Museum: 220 miles / 3 hours and 32 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,035 miles / 15 hours and 3 mins of driving to Denver.
  3. California Trail Historic Interpretive Center: 210 miles / 3 hours and 23 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,141 miles / 17 hours and 3 mins of driving to Denver.
  4. Big Cottonwood Canyon: 759 miles / 11 hours and 13 mins to drive from San Francisco | 526 miles / 8 hours and 2 mins of driving to Denver.
  5. Bear River State Park: 818 miles / 12 hours and 0 mins to drive from San Francisco | 435 miles / 6 hours and 32 mins of driving to Denver.
  6. Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site: 1,123 miles / 16 hours and 23 mins to drive from San Francisco | 130 miles / 2 hours and 10 mins of driving to Denver.

Where Should You Stay On The Road Trip From San Francisco To Denver?

There are many excellent hotels during your San Francisco to Denver road trip. We have selected eight hotels for you. These hotels are listed below. Remember, you can find detailed information about these hotels in the 8 Best Hotels On The Way To Denver From San Francisco section.

  • Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Cal Expo: 92.0 miles / 1 hour and 29 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,162 miles / 17 hours and 3 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Grand Sierra Resort and Casino: 221 miles / 3 hours and 34 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,034 miles / 15 hours and 3 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn: 382 miles / 5 hours and 46 mins to drive from San Francisco | 870 miles / 12 hours and 45 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Esquire Inn: 506 miles / 7 hours and 35 mins to drive from San Francisco.
  • Grand America Hotel: 736 miles / 10 hours and 45 mins to drive from San Francisco | 519 miles / 7 hours and 50 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Best Western Dunmar Inn: 816 miles / 11 hours and 58 mins to drive from San Francisco | 438 miles / 6 hours and 35 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Hampton Inn Rawlins: 1,028 miles / 14 hours and 59 mins to drive from San Francisco | 226 miles / 3 hours and 33 mins of driving to Denver.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Laramie: 1,127 miles / 16 hours and 29 mins to drive from San Francisco | 142 miles / 2 hours and 14 mins of driving to Denver.

Where To Eat Between San Francisco to Denver?

If you are thinking of taking a break and having a nice meal on your San Francisco to Denver journey, you can consider the eight restaurants we have chosen. In addition, you can read detailed information about the restaurants in the section titled 8 Best Restaurants On The Way From San Francisco To Denver.

  1. The Waterboy, Sacramento: 88.3 miles / 1 hour and 29 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,165 miles / 17 hours and 10 mins of driving to Denver.
  2. Atlantis Steakhouse, Reno: 223 miles / 3 hours and 37 mins to drive from San Francisco | 1,037 miles / 15 hours and 6 mins of driving to Denver.
  3. Chihuahua’s Grill & Cantina, Winnemucca: 383 miles / 5 hours and 49 mins to drive from San Francisco | 870 miles / 12 hours and 44 mins of driving to Denver.
  4. Coffee Mug, Elko: 507 miles / 7 hours and 36 mins to drive from San Francisco | 746 miles / 11 hours and 1 min of driving to Denver.
  5. Log Haven, Mill Creek: 749 miles / 11 hours and 1 min to drive from San Francisco | 515 miles / 7 hours and 49 mins of driving to Denver.
  6. Jody’s Diner: 818 miles / 11 hours and 59 mins to drive from San Francisco | 435 miles / 6 hours and 31 mins of driving to Denver.
  7. Buck’s Sports Grill: 1,025 miles / 14 hours and 59 mins to drive from San Francisco | 228 miles / 3 hours and 37 mins of driving to Denver.
  8. Sweet Melissa Cafe, Laramie: 1,125 miles / 16 hours and 26 mins to drive from San Francisco | 129 miles / 2 hours and 10 mins of driving to Denver.

Conclusion

So, there you have it- a complete guide to planning a road trip from San Francisco to Denver. We have listed eight hotels, eight restaurants, and six places to visit on the way. We have also given you detailed information about each place so that you can make an informed choice about where to stay, eat, and what to see. We hope this guide has helped make your road trip from San Francisco to Denver as enjoyable as possible.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you ever taken a road trip from San Francisco to Denver? So, it would be perfect if you shared your experience with other travelers who want the same experience. You can share your thoughts about the road trip from San Francisco to Denver and your recommendations about this route by using the comment field below.

Video: Denver Road Trip Vacation Travel Guide

We suggest you to watch Denver vacation guide to get the most out of your Denver road trip.




Ece

Hi, I'm Ece. Join me in navigating memorable road trips around the USA, Europe, and Australia. I provide valuable tips and destination guides, sometimes enhanced by AI. Let's hit the road and make memories!

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