While many say that the roads west of Austin, Texas, are monotonous, you can prove them wrong by going on a road trip from Austin to Phoenix. You'll find so many fantastic things to do along the way, like hiking in Big Bend National Park or exploring the cave at Carlsbad Caverns. If you're interested in Old West history, be sure to add the Buggy Barn Museum or O.K. Corral Gunfight Site to your itinerary. You will also find fascinating cities, including El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona, waiting to be explored along this route.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established in 1972 to protect the world’s largest Permian fossil bed. Today, this park near Salt Flat is known for being home to the four tallest peaks in Texas. While many go hiking along the shorter paths, others come to this park to test their skills on the 8.5-mile Top of Texas Trail that gains 3,000 feet in elevation before reaching the summit of Guadalupe Peak.
Big Bend National Park
Another terrific national park to go hiking in is Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. A favorite hike at this remote park is the Chimneys Trail, where you can see prominent volcanic dike formations. Almost all yearlong, you can paddle your canoe or kayak on the Rio Grande, passing along stunningly beautiful canyon walls. This park is also a fantastic place to go fishing on the Rio Grande. It will be a roughly 90-minute detour off your main route.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Stroll through the show cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park as its chamber is the largest main room in any cave in North America. You can use an elevator entrance to access this cave easily or use the natural entrance. Then, hike on many of the trails to see the southern New Mexico landscape and wildlife. There are benches near many of the paths to make hiking and enjoying the park’s scenic beauty even better. Finally, during the warmer months, watch as thousands of bats emerge from the cave as the sun goes down to hunt for their daily food.
Guadalupe River State Park
Suppose your idea of a perfect vacation is kicking back and floating down a lazy river. In that case, Guadalupe River State Park near Spring Branch, Texas, is an ideal stop to include on your road trip itinerary from Austin to Phoenix. Stop at the Discovery Center to see the natural exhibits featuring plants that live in this region of the Lone Star State. Thirteen miles of hiking trails with many outstanding river views make this a favorite place to go hiking.
Monahans Sandhill State Park
Rent a sand disc from the park’s office at Monahans Sandhill State Park near Pecos, Texas, to slide down the sand dunes. Then, climb up them and do it all again. There are over 800 acres of dedicated horseback riding territory at this park, too. Feel free to hike anywhere in this park as the wind will blow the sand right back over your footprints.
Leasburg Dam State Park
If you love to play on the water, then stopping at Leasburg Dam State Park near Las Cruces, New Mexico, needs to be part of your Austin to Phoenix RV road trip plan. The north day-use area is a fantastic place to go swimming. Launch your canoe for some paddling fun on the Rio Grande. Bring along your camera to capture images of birds along the hiking trails. You'll also want to take pictures in the native plant garden. Stick around until evening as the night skies are usually beautiful when viewed from this state park.
Catalina State Park
You'll find the variety of trails at Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona, amazing, and you can follow most of them on foot, on a horse, or on your bike. This 5,500-acre park contains more than 5,000 saguaros, and a great way to see some of them is by following the Sutherland Trail. This trail that also crosses into Coronado National Forest, including the Desert Bighorn Sheep Management Area, provides you with a great way to explore the foothills. Depending on local rainfall, the Romero Canyon Trail can be fun to hike as it passes through several shallow pools.
Lost Dutchman State Park
If you love a good mystery, put Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction, Arizona, on your Austin to Phoenix road trip master plan. Legend records that a large group of gold miners was killed near this location by Apache Indians while trying to get their large find of gold into Mexico in the 1840s. Then, John Waltz supposedly discovered the hidden loot in 1878, but he was killed trying to bring it out. Others have searched for it and met unfortunate deaths. You can search for the gold by following the trails at Lost Dutchman State Park if you dare. Even if you are unsuccessful in finding the treasure, you'll still discover amazing scenery, desert wildlife, and more at this state park.
Buggy Barn Museum
See over 200 19th-century buggies at the Buggy Barn Museum, including ones used while filming "True Grit" and "Deliverance Creek." Each buggy at this museum near Blanco, Texas, has its own story to tell, and no two are alike.
International Women’s Foundation Building 98
Building 98 on the former F.A. Russell Army Base near Marfa, Texas, was used to house World War II German prisoners of war. During their time at this camp, the POWs used paint created at the base to create two large murals showcasing life in West Texas. The International Women’s Foundation has restored the building to how it looked during World War II.
Gain a deeper understanding of the different cultural groups in Southern Arizona by visiting the Amerind Museum at Dragoon, Arizona. Listen to ingenious storytellers share about their past and present their hope for tomorrow. See many exhibits in the galleries created locally over time. Visit the outside gardens to learn more about native plants. Watch performances by Native American dance groups, and listen to folk songs sung by various tribes.
O.K. Corral Gunfight Site
The 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral may have been the most famous one in American history, and you can see it reenacted when you stop at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. The complex also contains 1880s stables with saddles and buggies to see, along with a blacksmith shop. You can also learn more about 19th-century medicine by visiting the O.K. Corral Office Museum and early photography at the boarding house and photography studio.
Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum
Learn how one of the largest copper mines in America helped shape the country’s future by viewing the historical displays at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. This museum in Bisbee, AZ, features many interactive exhibits, including old copper mining cars.
El Paso, TX
When you get to El Paso off the I-10, you'll want to check out the El Paso Zoo and ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway. Many El Paso campgrounds, like Franklin Mountains State Park and Desert Oasis Park, feature beautiful scenery. You can find El Paso RV dump stations at El Paso West RV Park, Sunland Racetrack & Casino, and other Texas locations.
Las Cruces, NM
There are many reasons that Las Cruces is the perfect stopping point for a break on your Austin to Phoenix RV road trip. For starters, both the I-10 and I-25 run through the city. While visiting, check out the Museum of Nature and Science and the Railroad Museum. Consider Las Cruces campgrounds like the Coachlight Inn & RV Park and Siesta RV Park if you want to stay overnight. Las Cruces RV dump station options include the TA Travel Center.
Golfing, shopping, and hiking trails can be found at many places in and surrounding Tucson. You may also want to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Top campgrounds in Tucson include the Crazy Horse RV Park and Cactus Country RV Resort. You can locate Tucson RV dump stations at Speedway and Giant gas stations.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Austin to Phoenix, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Austin or Phoenix.