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Denver to Seattle Roadtrip: Best Stops and Sites to See

Updated: May 21

There's honestly nothing I love more than planning a trip and watching it execute exactly how you envisioned in your head. For my Denver to Seattle roadtrip this past summer I tried to maximize my time and see as much as I could with what we had. I put together a few tips and things we fit in along the way! We stopped in Jackson, Boise, Bend, and the Oregon Coast.

Stop 1: Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming is a great place to visit in the winter or summer. We were there in early June, so there was still some snow in the Tetons and cooler temperatures. We stayed slightly outside of the town since it was cheaper at the Togwotee Mountain Lodge. It was super cozy and picturesque, the backside of the hotel opened up to the mountains and a hiking trail. It was safe and a great place for us to bring Sora and leave her somewhere safe while we hiked the national parks. We did about 6-7 miles of the Cascade Canyon trail in Grand Tetons National Park.

Be sure to carry bear spray and ask a park ranger if you don't know how to use it! There was a grizzly spotting on that trail the morning we hiked it. I'd also recommend taking the scenic boat ride across Jenny Lake; you can buy tickets directly there and the line wasn't too long for us! There weren't many trails that allowed dogs, but even just walking alongside the scenic overlooks are still breathtaking. Lost lake was a nearby hike that was short and dog-friendly; just be sure to watch out for wildlife with your pups to keep them safe!

When you're done hiking for the day and ready to explore the town, you can check out the Million Dollar Cowboy bar. This bar is classic and iconic to the culture there.

Even as COVID had just been starting to end with everyone vaccinated, the bar was in full swing. People were dancing, enjoying whisky cocktails and taking in the full experience. It was a super fun way to spend a night out in the middle of nowhere. For some dinner and beer, we checked out the Roadhouse Brewing; make reservations in advance if you can.

A really great photography spot is Mormon Row and Schwabacher Landing. These are easily accessible from the main highway, so you can drive up for sunrise or night shoots if you are brave enough! I chose for just the middle of the day. They give expansive views of the Tetons and lots of wildlife.

Other spots I did not have the time to visit were Green River (about 2 hours from Jackson) where you can ideally get some great drone photography. I also wanted to try the Wedding Tree, but didn't have time.

Stop 1.5: Boise, Idaho

We didn't end up staying the night here, but we did stop for some french fries and beer along the way! We grabbed Boise Fry House to-go and headed to The STIL for ice cream and a flight of beer. The food was delicious and it was a great pick-me-up en route to our next destination!

Stop 2: Bend, Oregon

Bend is an outdoorsy person's heaven. This town is tucked away in the mountains of Eastern Oregon - they've got enchanting forest full of Douglas fur trees, snow covered peaks, and dry desert. The city consists of young adult families with active personalities. You can start your day mountain biking on a trail and then skiing down Mt Bachelor. There's no limit to what you can do here! We stayed at an Airbnb in the suburbs and found it very easy to get around.

One of the most beautiful hikes i've ever done was the Tamolitch Blue Pool - the river resurfaces at the base through porous lava to create the intense blue color of the pool. However, it's freezing, so don't swim without some kind of dry suit and use caution with your pups. The hike isn't very long and is mostly flat, but it will take an additional 30 or so minutes to find your way down to the water; it's not very clear where to hike, but we circled around it and found a path down eventually. It rained on us the entire hike, but the rainforest-like trees are so dense that it didn't even get us wet, and the made its way out when we reached the end, so the drone could come out!

We also checked out Smith Rock State Park (about 30 minutes from Bend) and did the main trail next to the parking lot. Dogs are allowed here, but it was honestly too hot for Sora in June. I'd recommend doing Misery Trail earlier or later in the year for cooler temperatures. Also about 20-30 minutes from Bend, is Tumalo Falls. This is easily accessible and doesn't require any hiking. We tried to find a trail, but couldn't see where it started, so we just took in the views of the breathtaking falls and got up close and personal to it!

For some good eats, the obvious choice is the Ocean Rolls from Sparrow Bakery - I also loved their croissant sandwich. The last Blockbuster is also still in Bend, so if you grew up in the 90's and early 2000's, it's a must-see and very nostalgic! For a delicious dinner, head to Pine Tavern Restaurant and/or the Bend Brewing Company right next to it. These are in the heart of downtown area and right along the river, so the views are great.

Stop 3: Cannon Beach, Oregon

The Oregon coast is incredibly breathtaking. The beach is so wide and flat that you don't feel crowded and you can find some space to be alone and enjoy the ocean smells and views. I stayed in Seaside since I was traveling alone with Sora here, and needed an affordable accommodation. The Hi-Tide hotel was pet-friendly and right on the beach; I felt very safe as a female solo traveler, so would definitely recommend! When you're traveling alone, you can opt for takeout options; there was a cute and tasty fish shack called Grizzly Tuna that was delicious.

If you're looking to get some exercise, you can hike at Ecola State Park. This hike literally feels like you're in an enchanted forest from a movie. Everything from the moss-covered trees to the way the sun rays shine through the leaves to create cool shadows along the trail; it felt magical and whimsical. The trail allows for some beautiful beach views too towards the end, so you get some gorgeous scenery. You can take the trail all the way down to the beach as well to watch the surfers.


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

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