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How Far is California from Colorado: Distance from Colorado to California

how far is california from colorado

Moving from Colorado to California is an exciting adventure! Whether you are planning a vacation or a permanent move, knowing the distance between these two states is important. In this article, we’ll explore the distance from Colorado to California and give you all the information you need to plan your trip.

Overview of the Distance

The distance from Colorado to California can vary depending on your starting and ending points. If you measure the direct distance (also called the “as-the-crow-flies” distance), it’s about 1,000 miles or 1,609 kilometers from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California. However, the driving distance is different. When driving, the distance is usually longer due to the roads and highways you need to take. For example, the driving distance from Denver to Los Angeles is approximately 1,016 miles or 1,635 kilometers.

Major Routes and Travel Options

how far is california from colorado

Driving Routes

There are several major routes you can take when driving from Colorado to California. One popular route is to take Interstate 70 (I-70) west from Denver. You can then merge onto Interstate 15 (I-15) south, which will take you into California. This route takes you through beautiful landscapes, including the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave Desert. Another common route is to take Interstate 25 (I-25) south from Denver, then merge onto Interstate 40 (I-40) west. Both routes offer scenic views and various attractions along the way.

Flight Routes

If you prefer flying, there are many flight options. You can fly from Denver International Airport to major airports in California such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The flight distance from Denver to Los Angeles is approximately 860 miles or 1,384 kilometers. A direct flight usually takes around 2 to 3 hours, making it a quick and convenient option.

Train and Bus Routes

Traveling by train or bus is also an option. Amtrak offers train routes that connect Denver to California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. The train journey can take around 24 to 36 hours, depending on the route and stops. Greyhound and other bus services provide affordable and comfortable travel options between the two states. Bus travel time can vary from 18 to 30 hours.

Travel Time

Driving Time Estimates

The driving time from Colorado to California depends on the specific route and traffic conditions. On average, it takes about 16 to 20 hours to drive from Denver to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that factors like traffic, road construction, and weather can affect your travel time. It’s a good idea to plan for rest stops and overnight stays if necessary.

Flight Time Estimates

Flying is the fastest way to travel from Colorado to California. A direct flight from Denver to Los Angeles takes about 2 to 3 hours. However, you should also consider the time spent at the airport for check-in, security, and boarding, which can add a few more hours to your total travel time.

Cost of Travel

Driving Costs

Driving from Colorado to California involves several costs. You’ll need to pay for gas, which can vary depending on the type of car you drive and current gas prices. As of mid-2024, the average price of gas in the U.S. is around $3.50 per gallon. If your car averages 25 miles per gallon, the fuel cost for the trip can be around $140. Tolls and accommodation (if you need to stop overnight) are other expenses to consider. Overall, driving can be an economical choice, especially if you are traveling with family or friends.

Flight Costs

The cost of flying can vary based on the airline, time of booking, and season. On average, a one-way ticket from Denver to Los Angeles can range from $100 to $300. Booking in advance and flying during off-peak times can help you find cheaper flights. Keep an eye out for deals and discounts to save on your flight.

Train and Bus Ticket Prices

Traveling by train or bus is often cheaper than flying. Amtrak tickets from Denver to Los Angeles can range from $100 to $200, depending on the class and time of booking. Bus tickets are usually even more affordable, with prices ranging from $50 to $150, depending on the service and time of booking.

Popular Stops and Attractions Along the Way

There are many interesting places to visit between Colorado and California. Here are some popular stops and attractions you might enjoy:

National Parks and Scenic Spots

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Located in Colorado, this park offers stunning mountain views and outdoor activities like hiking and camping. It’s a great place to start your journey.
  • Arches National Park: Located in Utah, this park is famous for its unique rock formations and beautiful landscapes. It’s a fantastic stop if you’re taking the I-70 route.
  • Death Valley National Park: Located in California, this park is known for its extreme temperatures and unique desert scenery. It’s an interesting and memorable stop if you’re traveling through the Mojave Desert.

Historical Landmarks and Cultural Sites

  • Hoover Dam: This impressive dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona is a great place to learn about engineering and history. It’s a popular stop on the way to California.
  • Route 66: Known as the “Main Street of America,” this historic highway passes through several states and offers a glimpse into America’s past. Portions of Route 66 can be explored if you take the I-40 route.

Tips for Planning Your Trip

Best Time of Year to Travel

The best time to travel from Colorado to California depends on your preferences. Spring and fall offer mild weather and fewer crowds, making them great times to travel. Summer is popular for family vacations but be prepared for higher temperatures and more tourists. Winter can be challenging due to snow and ice in the mountains, so plan accordingly.

Packing Essentials for Different Seasons

When packing for your trip, consider the weather conditions in both Colorado and California. If you are traveling in the winter, bring warm clothing, including jackets, hats, and gloves. For summer travel, pack light clothing, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Comfortable shoes are essential for exploring attractions and hiking.

Safety Tips for Long-Distance Travel

Safety is important when traveling long distances. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your car is in good condition if you are driving.
  • Plan your route and check for any road closures or construction.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car, including a first-aid kit, flashlight, and extra water.
  • Stay hydrated and take breaks to rest if you are driving for long periods.


1. What is the driving distance from Colorado to California?

The driving distance from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California is approximately 1,016 miles (1,635 kilometers).

2. How long does it take to drive from Colorado to California?

It takes about 16 to 20 hours to drive from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California, depending on traffic and road conditions.

3. How much does it cost to fly from Colorado to California?

A one-way flight from Denver to Los Angeles typically costs between $100 and $300, depending on the airline and booking time.

4. Are there any scenic routes to take when driving from Colorado to California?

Yes, you can take Interstate 70 west through the Rocky Mountains and merge onto Interstate 15 south, offering beautiful scenic views.

5. What are some popular stops between Colorado and California?

Popular stops include Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, Hoover Dam, and portions of the historic Route 66.

Moving from Colorado to California is an exciting journey, whether you are traveling for a vacation or a permanent move. By understanding the distance and planning your trip, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Remember to consider the different travel options, costs, and attractions along the way.