You may be trying to escape Cedar Rapids’ cold winter weather, needing to go to a business meeting, or just looking for a terrific vacation idea. If so, a Cedar Rapids to Phoenix road trip can hold plenty of memory-making experiences. Once you arrive, you can find a lot to do in Phoenix, including visiting the Musical Instrument Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, and the Herd Museum. There are many hiking trails in the Phoenix area, like the ones running up Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, and Hole in the Wall. Regardless of what you want to do when you get to Phoenix, stop and enjoy amazing parks and attractions along the way.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Once you get to Tucumcari, New Mexico, consider getting on U.S. Highway 285 South and going about five hours south to cross back into Texas, and visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park near Salt Flat, Texas. This park is a fascinating place to go hiking because it offers desert and mountain opportunities. Climb the natural staircase and hike between the deep canyon walls on the Devil’s Hall Trail. This trail and others offer outstanding opportunities to go birdwatching. Since this park is in an isolated location, you will love the stargazing.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
You may also want to go south from Tucumcari, New Mexico, for about four hours to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This location near Carlsbad, New Mexico, is located only about 60 minutes west of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. One of the main reasons that people go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park is to see the main cave. While the park area was underwater during the middle Permian era, sulfuric acid formed this cave, which the Native Americans may have used as early as 14,000 years ago. Before the cave and the area surrounding it were a popular tourist attraction, people came here to collect bat feces, or guano. The cave is still home to 17 different bat species. You can learn more about them during the summertime bat presentations at sunset when the bats are leaving the cave to hunt for their meals. Explore the hiking trails before leaving this park. Watch for pictographs left by early Native Americans in the area as you hike.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is home to the deepest canyon in the United States. There are lots of ways that you can explore this location. On your Cedar Falls to Phoenix RV road trip, consider visiting the north rim first. Only about 10% of all tourists going to the park visit this location, but you will want to be one of them so that you can stroll along the half-mile Bright Angel Point Trail to see the canyon. Then, drive along the North Rim Scenic Drive to view the canyon. The North Rim is a fantastic place to start a hike to Phantom Ranch at the canyon’s base if you love hiking. Another fabulous place to visit at the Grand Canyon that many people miss is the Toroweap Overlook, which is on top of a 3,000-foot vertical wall with the Colorado River at its base. A great way to access the scenic drive in this area is to start 6 miles east of Pipe Spring National Monument and to follow County Road 109 into the park. There are many other activities besides hiking and scenic driving to do here, including canoeing, mule riding, and biking.
Rock Creek State Park
Rock Creek State Park near Kellogg, Iowa, is a great place for a boating adventure. You can also relax on the beach and swim in the lake, which is one of the largest manmade lakes in the state. This park offers over 15 miles of shoreline for fishing. Hikers will love exploring the hiking trails that are running around the lake.
Perry State Park
There are over 20 miles of horseback riding and hiking trails through the gently rolling hills at this Kansas state park near Ozawkie. Over 1,250 acres of this 26,500-acre park is on Perry Reservoir’s shores. Catch crappie and channel catfish in the reservoir and the creeks feeding it. This park is divided into two areas with part of it being left as wilderness where people can hunt seasonally. The Perry Wilderness Area is a fascinating place to go birdwatching because water is piped into the area when necessary to ensure a proper habitat for the birds.
Caprock Canyons State Park
Be sure to include a stop at Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas, on your road trip itinerary from Cedar Rapids to Phoenix. There are over 90 miles of trails with many running across prairie land where bison roam freely. Many of the trails are also open for horseback riding and mountain biking. Go wakeboarding, fishing, and swimming on the 120-acre Lake Theo. A great way to explore this park is on a scenic drive. This park is also a fantastic place to try geocaching.
Bluewater State Park
Bluewater State Park near Grants is another excellent New Mexico state park to stop at for water sports. Bluewater Lake is a terrific place to go muskie fishing. You will love hiking and horseback riding on the trails lined with pinyon and juniper trees. The lake’s clear waters attract many species of birds to this New Mexico state park.
Homolovi State Park
You may think you hear a Hopi Native American talking in the background when you visit Homolovi State Park near Winslow, Arizona. This park is filled with the ruins of seven Anasazi pueblos that the tribe used about 1300 C.E. After visiting the ruins, hike along the trails running along the Little Colorado River. Many of the trails allow you to see ancient petroglyphs.
Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center & Museum
In Lawrence, Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University was started as a Native American boarding school and has transformed into a university. You will want to view the exhibits at their cultural center and museum. You can also view cultural items dating back to 1864 at this location.
Coronado Quivira Museum
Learn more about the Native Americans and early settlers of Rice County, Kansas, by touring the Coronado Quivira Museum in Lyons. Learn about Quivira, Coronado’s journey north from Mexico in 1541. This small history museum has been collecting the area’s history since 1923.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Experience some of the 19 pueblos making up New Mexico by stopping at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The museum contains many historical artifacts, and the staff is very knowledgeable. Watch Native American dancers perform dances in traditional clothing on the plaza. Sample Native American foods at the café, and shop in the bookstore.
Get your ideas of how and where America started with a visit to the Acoma Pueblo, which is located about 60 miles west of Albuquerque. This location is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Tour the community where about 50 tribal members live year-round without running water or electricity. Learn the story of how men carried massive logs to build the gigantic San Estévan del Rey Mission in 1640. View Pueblo pottery and Southwest Indian artwork at the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City lies on both sides of the Missouri River, and you may want to visit both sides of this city. There are awesome campgrounds in Kansas City, like the Worlds of Fun Campground at the amusement park or Stadium Park & Campground located only 1 mile off the interstate. Find Kansas City RV dump stations at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park, where you can see a historic textile factory, and at Basswood Country RV Resort, where you can enjoy a fun meal in the pizza parlor.
Beat the summer heat at shaded Topeka campgrounds, like Deer Creek Valley RV Park and Sycamore Acres RV Park. These facilities, and others like them, are also great places to camp when the wildflowers are in bloom or when the leaves are turning colors. Find Topeka RV dump stations at Topeka Hilltop Campground.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque has so many exciting things to do, like riding the Sandia Peak Tramway and exploring the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, that you need to include this stop on your Cedar Rapids to Phoenix road trip. With all the fun that you can have at Albuquerque campgrounds, such as swimming in the pool at Balloon View RV Park and participating in the special events at Albuquerque Central KOA, you may never want to leave your campsite. RV dump stations are available at Giant Service Station 3 and Flying J Travel Plaza, making it easy to dump your tanks when buying gas on your road trip from Cedar Rapids to Phoenix.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Cedar Rapids 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 Cedar Rapids or Phoenix.