While the trip from Flagstaff to Roswell is only routed through two states, it will cover quite a bit of ground. This section of the western U.S. is filled with unique surroundings such as mountains and deserts, with low valleys and high mountain ranges. There are nature preserves, Native American heritage sites, reservations, and historical areas of interest to explore.
There are several national parks you can add to the Flagstaff to Roswell road trip itinerary. One of these is a national icon of epic proportions, and the other is an important display of the research behind the development of the nuclear bomb.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring national parks in the United States. It contains most of the Grand Canyon and 277 miles of the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is a mile deep and 18 miles wide at its widest, and it is a sight that has to be seen in person to truly be appreciated. There are four access points for the Grand Canyon: The South and North Rims, which are managed by the National Park Service; the West Rim, which is managed by the Hualapai; and Havasupai Falls, which is managed by the Havasupai.
There is a multitude of ways to enjoy visiting the Grand Canyon. These include hiking on one of the many trails into the interior, hiking along the rim trail, taking a shuttle along the rim, riding a mule train into the interior, riding a helicopter above and into the canyon, or rafting along the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is accessible and available to all, but careful planning is essential for the best outcome. The National Park Service can provide all the information you need to have a safe and fun trip to Grand Canyon National Park.
Manhattan Project National Historical Park
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park serves to present the history of the Manhattan Project, which was the research effort that produced the world's first atomic bombs used in World War II. The park was founded in 2015 and is located at three different sites in the U.S. Of the three locations, the Los Alamos park is the original site of the development of the bombs. Los Alamos includes three facilities: the V-site, where the Trinity device was built; the Gun Site, where the "Little Boy" bomb was developed; and the Pajarito Site, which was a research area during and after WWII.
Sumner Lake State Park
Sumner Lake State Park is located on the shores of Sumner Lake, which is a 4,500-acre reservoir that was created in 1939 with the building of the Sumner Dam on the Pecos River in New Mexico. Fishing is a favorite pastime, and you can catch bass, channel catfish, walleye, and crappie. The lake is also a winter destination for migrating waterfowl. Visitors will enjoy other recreational activities on the water, such as boating and swimming.
Bluewater Lake State Park
Bluewater Lake State Park, in Prewitt, New Mexico, is on the northern side of the Yuni Mountains and contains stands of pinion and juniper trees around Bluewater Lake. While in the park, you can hike along serene trails, watch for birds, ride horses, and fish in the lake. Anglers especially enjoy catching tiger muskie and trout, and ice fishing is a popular winter activity.
Homolovi State Park
Visitors to Homolovi State Park can learn about the Hopi peoples, dating from their late migration period of the 1200s through the 1300s. You can tour the museum and visitor center, hike on nature trails, and visit the archeological digs as directed. There are also covered picnic areas and pullout viewpoints at various spots inside the park, which has an elevation of 4,900 feet above sea level.
As you travel along from Flagstaff to Roswell, you may want to stop at a few different points of interest along the way. Below is a quick overview of some of the areas you are able to visit.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center houses interactive displays and exhibits that serve to educate visitors on the ancestral Pueblo dwellers (Anasazi) of the Western U.S. The Anasazi, or ancestral Pueblos, are the ancestors to today's Pueblo Native Americans, many of whom live in the Four Corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. You can view collections of art and pottery, watch traditional dances, and buy original artwork in the gift shop. If you are hungry, you should make sure to get a Tewa Taco from the Pueblo Harvest Cafe before leaving.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The Sandia Peak Tramway travels from the northeast edge of the city of Albuquerque up to the peaks of the Sandia Mountains. The tramway is the longest sky tram in the U.S. and runs 12 miles per hour on its route. The trip takes around 15 minutes from end to end, and you will see spectacular views of the city and over 11,000 miles of the state of New Mexico. Once you arrive at Sandia Peak, you can dine at the High Finance Restaurant or go hiking on one of the many mountain trails.
Lockett Meadow is in the Flagstaff District inside the Coconino National Forest and is a beautiful natural preserve with flowering meadows, stands of ash and aspen, and the backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks. If you're planning on visiting in the fall, you'll be treated to a fantastic view of the changing leaves. While in the park, you may want to take the Inner Basin Trail, which is a 3.9-mile hike that winds along a dirt road and offers views of ancient flows of lava. You have a good chance to catch a glimpse of the park's wildlife while walking.
Your trip from Flagstaff to Roswell will, at first, take you through several larger cities but will end with a long stretch of lonely highway between the small town of Vaughn and the city of Roswell.
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, and it features an exciting combination of modern urban life and historic districts. The city began as a Spanish colony and has many original adobe buildings in Old Town Albuquerque, and you can visit museums, parks, the San Felipe de Neri Church, and The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. There are multiple shopping and dining options, and you can easily find original Native American hand-crafted products and souvenirs. Route 66 RV Resort is near historic Route 66, and you will find lots of fun amenities and large RV sites. If you need to use a dump station, you can find one nearby.
Gallup is located on historic Route 66 and is home to both historical and natural sites of interest. You will find multiple venues for exploring Pueblo heritage, and the city is surrounded by red sandstone cliffs to the east. You can visit the historic downtown district, tour several museums, learn about the local history, and see demonstrations of ceremonial dances during the summer. The city is nearby several Native American reservations and ancient pueblos, state parks, and national monuments. Of course, you can shop and dine at various spots around the city. High Desert RV Park is a comfortable facility that offers family-friendly amenities and has a car-care center. You can find convenient dump stations in the surrounding areas.
The city of Vaughn is 96 miles from Roswell and is the last town of any size that you will see on highway 285 between Roswell and Flagstaff. The town is small and only has a population of around 500, but it has fuel stations and a few restaurants. Spring River RV Park is one of the campgrounds that is located just out of Roswell and it has a convenient dog park so that you take your pups out to exercise. You can find dump stations around the city of Roswell as well.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Flagstaff to Roswell 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 Flagstaff to Roswell.