There are many great places to visit on an Albuquerque to Phoenix RV road trip, and you will see fascinating sites along the way. If you are a hiker, then you will adore the hiking opportunities that lie in the national and state parks in New Mexico and Arizona. There are enough points of interest to visit that you can build memories to last a lifetime. When planning your road trip itinerary for Albuquerque to Phoenix, consider the stops listed in this guide.
On your Albuquerque to Phoenix RV road trip, take time to see some peaceful views at national parks in the South. With RVshare's national parks guide, you can learn more about these scenic spots.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
If you love remote country hiking and biking, then visiting Chaco Culture National Historical Park on your road trip itinerary from Albuquerque to Phoenix is perfect. Trails range from 3 to 8 miles long and allow you to see beautiful mesa landscapes. Consider taking the 1-mile Una Vida Trail from the visitor center's northwest corner to see one of the great houses in a near-natural state. The Native Americans built these great houses using unusual building techniques that you can learn more about in the visitor center. These large public buildings that were built between 850 A.D. and 1050 A.D. contain larger rooms than those previously built. Notice the petroglyphs as you look at the great house. Hungo Pavi is one of the best-preserved great houses. You can also see many others on the 9-mile-loop drive through this national historical park. Depending on the weather, consider staying late to participate in the star shows that happen at night.
Grand Canyon National Park
The possibilities of things to do at Grand Canyon National Park are almost endless. Consider hitting the Bright Angel Trail. This 5-mile trail allows you to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back up, but you may want to camp the night at the bottom to prepare for your climb back out. Many people choose to go kayaking or canoeing in the canyon on the river. If this is a new sport to you, then consider a guided kayak adventure going from Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry. While you will have to leave your RV for a night, consider hiking with a local guide to the inner canyon, which is secluded from many visitors, allowing you to have a more intimate experience when visiting the area.
Petrified Forest National Park
Consider going on a scenic drive through Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. This drive, which is 28 miles long, takes about one hour to complete if you do not stop along the way. You can hike along several trails. Think about hiking along the 0.3-mile Puerco Pueblo Trail to see the remains of a hundred-room pueblo and notice the petroglyphs on the walls. You can see some of the best examples of petrified logs along the 0.75-mile Crystal Forest Trail. Hike along the 2-mile Agate House Trail to see a pueblo that archaeologists believe is over 700 years old.
Bluewater Lake State Park
Bluewater Lake State Park near Grants, New Mexico, is a great spot to go tiger muskie fishing. The short trails through the pinon-juniper landscape offer many scenic views of the Zuni Mountains. This 3,000-acre New Mexico state park is also a favorite sailing location. You can watch the sailboats while playing on the beach.
Lyman Lake State Park
The 1,200-acre Lyman Lake State Park near St. Johns, Arizona, surrounds Lyman Lake. This reservoir is fed by runoff from the second- and third-highest mountains in the state. The northern end of this lake is a great place to go fishing for walleye, catfish, and largemouth bass. Swimming and water skiing are popular summertime activities.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a favorite among hikers who use the park’s northern trails off Flycatcher Road to access the Coconino National Forest. The Lime Kiln Trail connecting Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Red Rock State Park is open to bikers and hikers. A historic kiln where limestone was burned to make lime is located along this trail. Anglers regularly catch largemouth bass and rainbow trout on the Verde River, which runs through this park in Arizona.
Slide Rock State Park
This park uses a unique irrigation system built about 1910 when the area was part of one of the first homesteads created in the region. You can see some of the cabins used by early homesteaders. The main reason that most people come to Slide Rock State Park in Arizona, however, is to slide down the huge rock into the cool water below. The Travel Channel chose this site as one of the top 10 U.S. swimming holes. Narrow trails within the park allow you to pass through Oak Creek Canyon with its high sandstone bluffs.
People have lived at Acoma Pueblo since about 1150 A.D., making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in America. Stop at the visitor center to see examples of the pottery that the early inhabitants created before boarding buses to go on a tour of the city near Albuquerque.
Navajo Interactive Museum
Accompanied by a Navajo guide, you will be taken on a journey within the 7,000-square-foot Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City. Here, you can learn about the history of the Navajo people, hear their legends, and be told their version of the creation story. Stop next door to see the small display showcasing the important work of the Navajo Code Talkers, including the tools that they used.
Navajo Nations Museum
See textiles, jewelry, and ceramics created by Navajo tribal members at this museum in Window Rock. Take part or watch tribal members perform contemporary activities. Exhibits here also include photos, videos, and sound recordings documenting the stories of the Navajo people. Before leaving, be sure to shop in the outdoor area for souvenirs to take home.
Museum of Northern Arizona
Walk along the rim of the Rio de Flag or use the paths at this museum to connect to the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. Stroll through the garden area, which includes a passive solar greenhouse, and learn about medicinal plants used by Native Americans. See how native plants are growing on the roof of this museum. Then, head inside to see many exhibits that change regularly.
Gallup, New Mexico
You can find many exciting outdoor activities near Historic Route 66, which runs through Gallup, New Mexico. Five Native American tribes in the region produce about 70% of Native art in the United States. Consider staying at USA RV Park or Red Rock Park. Gallup RV dump stations are available at Baggett's Gallup 76 and Babe Ruth Park. Leave time to see the neon signs and visit the trading posts along Route 66 in this community.
Holbrook, Arizona, is located only 50 miles from the Grand Canyon and 18 miles from Petrified Forest National Park. You can find lots of things to do and many places to visit in this community, including Rock Art Canyon Ranch. You may want to stay a couple of days in Holbrook campgrounds. The options include Putter’s Paradise RV Park, located near Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, and OK RV Park, which has a dump station. You will especially love exploring the Native American historical sites near Route 66 as you come into and leave this community.
There are several parks and monuments within 80 miles of this friendly community, including Wupatki National Monument, Oak Creek Canyon, and Sunset Crater. Consider camping in Flagstaff at Fort Tuthill County Park or Bonito Campground, which both have beautiful natural settings. Options for dump stations in Flagstaff include Black Bart's RV Park and Flagstaff KOA Campground. This community and the surrounding area on Historic Route 66 take more than one day to explore.
Going on an Albuquerque to Phoenix road trip allows you to see and do many things. For much of your route, you will be following Route 66 and leaving big cities behind. You will visit several Native American reservations and have many interesting experiences hiking along routes that were first established almost 1,000 years ago. An RV is a perfect way to experience this part of the country. If you do not have one, then rent one in Albuquerque or Phoenix on RVshare.