Roadtrip with RVshare Joshua Tree to Flagstaff

You will not believe the otherworldly sights that you can see between Joshua Tree and Flagstaff. Start by viewing the Joshua trees at the appropriately named Joshua Tree National Park and then head toward Toprock Maze to see the geoglyphs created over 600 years ago. Go on down the highway a bit to view the 20-room Montezuma Castle, which was built about 1,000 years ago. Hike a dormant volcano before seeing ancient cave dwellings. Finally, hop on a train for a ride to the Grand Canyon. There are also fantastic recreational opportunities at state parks along your route from Joshua Tree to Flagstaff.

Joshua Tree to Flagstaff Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 5.5 hours
  • Mileage: 354 miles
  • Fun Fact: Joshua Tree National Park was a national monument for 58 years before becoming a national park in 1994.

Nearby National Parks

Joshua Tree National Park  

You can almost hear the cattle rustlers rounding up their herds and driving them into the Hidden Bowl when you take the short one-mile hike through this area of Joshua Tree National Park near Joshua Tree, California. If you love to climb, the Great Burrito in the Hidden Bowl area is a great boulder to climb. On a clear day, drive up to the Coachella Valley, where you can see Mexico, the Sultan Sea and other interesting geographical features. The 1.3-mile hike around Beaver Dam is a great place to view large Joshua trees and see some birds. Drive along Cottonwood Spring to see the natural Cholla Cactus Garden at sunset when their needles often appear to be glowing in the afternoon sun. While you need to make reservations, take the 90-minute informative tour to see Keys Ranch, which originated around 1910. 

Petrified Forest National Park  

Unlike most national parks, Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona’s Navajo and Apache counties is open for day-use only. This park about 100 miles east of Flagstaff is divided into two parts. The northern area contains the Painted Desert, and activities there focus on human development while the southern part contains more petrified wood. You will want to see both areas of this park, though. Drive north about six miles from the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center to get to Crystal Forest. Explore this area, which has the widest variety of petrified wood, on the short paved walking trail. Head about four miles further down the road to arrive at the Blue Mesa Trail. You will want to hike this trail to see the petrified red and yellow wood covering the ground. Then, head to the north end of the park to take the one-mile hike around the Painted Desert’s Rim. You will not believe the varied amounts of color seen in the rocks at this location. Make it a point to see the Agape House built in Navajo style from petrified wood. 

Grand Canyon National Park  

Grand Canyon National Park is less than 85 miles north of Flagstaff, so a Joshua Tree to Flagstaff RV road trip should include seeing the park. You can explore this park in many ways. Great hiking options leave from the north and south rims. Alternatively, join a park ranger for a guided rim hike. There are also outstanding bike trails leaving from both rims, and you can ride on any road open to cars. Long and short floating trips through the Grand Canyon leave from nearby towns. Leaving from Paige, Arizona, is a popular option. A favorite with many tourists is taking a mule ride at this location.

Nearby State Parks

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near Borrego Springs, California, is a gorgeous place to explore. It is the largest desert state park in the contiguous United States. The sunrise at Font’s Point is stunning as you can watch the sun peak over the horizon clear beyond the Sultan Sea. Follow the many hiking trails at this park. Over 550 different types of fossils dating back 6 million years have been found at this park. The area features over 110 miles of horseback riding trails. Many of them connect to even longer options, including the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trail. 

Lake Havasu State Park  

Shortly after you pass through Powell, Arizona, follow Arizona 95 South to reach Lake Havasu State Park. Launch your vessel to play on the Colorado River. A variety of vessels are available to rent. You can go swimming anywhere along the shoreline if a boat ramp is not nearby. There are also several fantastic beaches at this park. The 19,000-acre impoundment of the river is a terrific place to go bass fishing. 

Dead Horse Ranch State Park  

Consider extending your road trip from Joshua Tree to Flagstaff by about 65 miles so that you can play at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood, Arizona. There are 20 miles of mixed-use trails in this park, with most connecting to longer options in the Coconino National Forest. Horseback riding and mountain biking are terrific ways to explore these trails. Another popular choice, especially for mountain bikers, is to start at this park and follow the Lime Kiln Trail running along an old wagon trail for 15 miles to Red Rock State Park. 

Red Rock State Park  

You may also want to go to Red Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona, on your adventure. You will need to drive about an extra hour to reach this location south of Flagstaff. Three family-friendly hiking paths offer stunning views of the red rock escarpments. Early morning bird walks are hosted at this park twice each week. Cathedral Rock, one of the most famous red rocks in all of Arizona, is located in this park, so take the opportunity to see it.

Along the Way

Toprock Maze  

The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe designed this iconic site about 600 years ago. Some Mojave Native Americans believe the geoglyph consisting of intricate patterns and paths to be where bad souls get lost and good souls find the portal to the other side. See this site that is quickly disappearing because of wind erosion and human destruction. 

Grand Canyon Railway  

Be sure to include a stop at Williams, Arizona, to ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. As you head north, cowboy poets and musicians will entertain you. There may even be a few antics on this train. Then, ride the train home after enjoying a three-hour layover on the Grand Canyon's south rim. 

Montezuma Castle National Monument  

Extend your Joshua Tree to Flagstaff road trip by about 65 miles to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde, Arizona. Marvel at the rooms built into the limestone cliff by the Hohokam and other indigenous people between 1100 and 1425 AD. The five-story structure that native people used for three centuries contains approximately 55 rooms. 

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument  

Take the one-mile hiking path around the volcanic crater at Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument in Coconino County, Arizona. One of the best ways to explore this volcano that last exploded in 1085 is on a guided ranger talk along the Lava Flow Trail. 

Walnut Canyon National Monument  

Hike along the Island Trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument on Flagstaff's outskirts to see the 25 pueblo cave dwellings that dwellers abandoned about 700 years ago. Then, follow the short Rim Trail to see the demonstration garden containing plants used by the Sinagua indigenous people.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Needles, California  

Needles lies on the Colorado River's western banks in the Mohave Valley, and you can find plenty to do there, including visiting the nearby Havasu Wildlife Refuge, learning about the city’s history at the Needles Regional Museum and playing at Moabi Regional Park. Campgrounds in Needles include Desert View RV Resort with its beautiful swimming pool, Needles KOA Journey with its fantastic programming and Needles Marina Resort. In Needles, RV dump stations are conveniently located nearby, including at El Rio Waterfront Resort, Lake Havasu State Park and Calizona RV Park. 

Kingman, Arizona  

Kingman capitalizes on being on Old Route 66 with lots of fun activities to explore. You can find great campgrounds in Mohave County, including in Kingman, with its beautiful settings that take advantage of this area’s outstanding recreational opportunities at Lake Havasu, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Kaibab National Forest. Consider camping at Crossroads RV Park, Happy Together RV Resort or Snowbird RV Park. There are excellent RV dump stations in Kingman at Adobe RV Park, Blake Ranch RV Park and Fort Beale R.V. Park. 

Williams, Arizona  

Billing itself as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, Williams offers many fun things to do. You will also come across some beautiful campgrounds in Williams, as well as others around the Grand Canyon. Consider Ten-X Campground, Grand Canyon/Williams KOA and Williams/Exit 167/Circle Pines KOA. You can also find RV dump stations near Williams at Love’s Travel Stop, Railside RV Ranch and the Grand Canyon Railway’s headquarters. 

Find Adventure from Joshua Tree to Flagstaff

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to Flagstaff, 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 Joshua Tree or Flagstaff.

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