The road stretches out before you in a meandering line, your wheels turning as the miles tick by. On your right, the Rocky Mountains tower up toward the sky. This is what it’s like to drive along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a common sight if you’re planning a drive between Casper and Denver.
Unlike their mountainous western counterparts, eastern Wyoming and Colorado are part of the Great Plains, and a few of the cities in this region of these states are common travel destinations. That’s why I’ve put together a guide for the drive between Casper – the second-largest city in Wyoming – and Denver. Whether you’re driving through for work, pleasure, or a bit of both, this guide will teach you the basics of the route between Casper and Denver, and help you make the most of the trip if you choose to enjoy the drive rather than rushing it.
TL;DR: How long is the drive between Casper and Denver? The direct drive from Denver to Kansas City is 275 miles (443 km) and should have a drive time of 4 hours in normal traffic.
This post was originally published in May 2021, and was updated in May 2022 for the upcoming road trip season!
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, hinono’eino’ biito’owu’ (Arapaho), séstho’e (Cheyenne), Ndé Kónitsąąíí Gokíyaa (Lipan Apache), and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Interactive Map for Your Casper to Denver Drive
Casper to Denver Distance
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 225 miles between Casper, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado. But, of course – and unfortunately – we can’t travel as the crow flies! Instead, we’ve gotta drive, and that’s a little bit further.
It is roughly 275 miles between Casper and Denver, depending on your start and end points within each city.
Casper to Denver Drive Time
In terms of travel time by car, the 275-mile drive between Casper and Denver takes roughly 4 hours. Again, your final drive time between Casper and Denver depends on where you start in Casper and end in Denver – but planning for a four-hour drive is a good estimate to start planning.
The entire drive between Denver and Casper is on Interstate 25; the average speed limit is 70-75mph but it slows down a few times along the way, which is what explains the drive time. Additionally, 275 miles is a little bit less than one tank of gas, so you can actually do the Casper to Denver drive straight through if you choose. If you’d rather make a stop or two to stretch your legs, the next section covers some of the places you can do that.
Stops to Make on Your Drive From Casper to Denver
Perhaps your drive between Casper and Denver is utilitarian – you need to get there as fast as possible, no extraneous stops required. Fair enough!
If you’re road tripping along I-25 or down the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and want to enjoy the drive a bit more, here are the stops I recommend.
1. Ayres Natural Bridge Park
Ayres Natural Bridge Park is actually located 45 minutes east of Casper, so you won’t be on the road long before taking this stop. It’s one of Wyoming’s most popular tourist attractions and among only three natural bridges in the U.S. with water beneath. It also has a scenic park ideal for unwinding and outdoor recreation, with hiking paths, fishing spots, and a picnic area.
2. Glendo State Park
I’m not saying you need to take an overnight stop on your drive between Denver and Casper, because it’s pretty short – but if you did want to plan a camping pit-stop along the way, Glendo State Park is the place to do it! This huge public recreation area has over 500 campsites, plus miles of mountain bike trails and access to the Glendo Reservoir for fishing and other water sports.
3. Wyoming State Museum
The Wyoming State Museum is located in Cheyenne, the state capital. It was established in 1895 to preserve the heritage of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West. Inside the exhibit halls, you’ll find artifacts dating back to before Wyoming was a state. They focus on the livelihoods and lifestyles of Wyoming pioneers and residents throughout the centuries, and provide an interesting chance to learn about the place you’re driving through.
4. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Also located in Cheyenne, the Botanic Gardens are a good stop to make if you want to stretch your legs outdoors with a bit more structure. There are gardens, a conservatory, and a children’s space if your car contains littler humans who need to burn off some energy.
5. Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Factory
For a completely different type of cultural pitstop, the town of Fort Collins, Colorado invites you to their largest tourist attraction (literally!): the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Factory – and it’s open for tours! There are two tour options: a basic facility tour and a VIP option where you get to meet the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. Oh, and they have a biergarten if you want to enjoy a drink – but remember to designate a driver so you can drink responsibly!
6. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
I *love* a good science museum, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery totally fits the bill. From natural sciences like biology, physics, and aeronautics to more fascinating fields like mental health, food science, and history – this family-friendly museum covers it all! Give yourself a few hours’ break on your road trip if you plan to visit so you can really enjoy it all.
7. Rocky Mountain National Park
Okay technically Rocky Mountain National Park is not along the route between Casper and Denver – but you might think it’s worth the detour! (It adds about 2 hours of driving time, plus however long you spend exploring the park.) There’s a ton to due in RMNP, from hiking to wildlife-spotting; I have an entire guide to maximizing one day in Rocky Mountain National Park on my other blog.
Other Tips for the Drive Between Casper and Denver
Here are some final tips to help you plan your drive between Denver and Casper:
- The route from Casper to Denver takes you through two states: Wyoming and Colorado.
- The major cities along the route between Casper and Denver are Cheyenne and Fort Collins.
- The halfway point between Fargo and Omaha is a little bit south of Wheatland, Wyoming. This is the best place to stop if you need a mid-point spot to stretch your legs.
- Cheyenne is also the best place for an overnight stop if you decide to make the four-hour drive from Casper to Denver across two days.
- There are several rest stops on the southbound drive from Casper to Denver: Orin Junction Rest Area, Dwyer Junction Rest Area, Chugwater Rest Area, Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, and one in Poudre. All of these are also accessible if traveling northbound.
- There are plenty of gas stations and truck stops along I-25 if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Casper and Denver Instead?
It’s always tricky having to choose between these two means of transportation; however, it usually boils down to two factors; time and cost.
As mentioned above, it takes four hours to make the drive between Denver and Casper, and covers 275 miles. Flying the same route usually takes 1 hour 12 minutes; flights are offered on United Airlines. Flying is obviously faster. If you have a time constraint, then flying from Casper to Denver is better. Driving from Casper to Denver is relatively cheaper when compared to flying; the gas estimate for this route is just $40.
In the end, it’s up to you; it’s really all about the priorities you have for your trip between Casper and Denver.
If you’re continuing south on I-25 to Santa Fe, be sure to read our road trip guide for the Denver to Santa Fe too!
Have other questions about the drive between Casper and Denver? Let me know in the comments!