Taking a road trip from Little Rock to Gallup will lead you through the four states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. Your route will expose you to a varied landscape, beginning in the humid and green state of Arkansas and continuing through Oklahoma, which has 10 eco-regions that range from Rocky Mountain foothills to cypress swamps and include almost everything in between. The northern panhandle of Texas is hot, dry, and flat, and New Mexico is even hotter and dryer. This area of the U.S. is home to many sites in the National Park System, and you will have ample opportunities to take side trips to some of these natural and historical preserves.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park was established as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 by Congress. This was the first time that land had been set aside by law just for recreation. It was designated as a national park in 1921. It is located near Hot Springs, AR, and visitors today continue to enjoy the warm springs provided in a beautifully maintained historic setting. There are two original bathhouses in "Bathhouse Row" that operate as spas with treated water brought in from Hot Springs Mountain. The park also has several walking trails and mountain views.
White Sands National Park
Located in the northern section of the Chihuahuan Desert, White Sands National Park is the largest gypsum dune field in the world. The entire dune field is approximately 275 square miles, of which 115 square miles are part of the White Sands National Park. The rest of the dunes are not available to the public and are on military land. The fields are dynamically active, with the most active moving at a rate of up to 30 feet per year. The gypsum sands originate from an ephemeral lake and are blown onto the dunes when the water eventually evaporates. While in the park, visitors can hike on a number of hiking trails and even sled down the dunes.
Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park was the first Arkansas state park to be designated as such. This much-visited location is home to Cedar Creek, Lake Bailey, and Petit Jean Mountain. The park contains several buildings and other structures that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, including trails, roads, bridges, cabins, and Mather Lodge. The lodge has a lobby with a fireplace, 24 rooms, a restaurant, and scenic views of Cedar Creek Canyon. You can fish and boat on the two lakes, and there are two swimming pools, sports courts, playgrounds, pavilions, and a boat launch. You can rent fishing boats, kayaks, pedal boats, tandem kayaks, and water bikes at the bathhouse. There are several nature trails inside the park that lead to natural formations of interest.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the U.S., and it's located in its namesake state park, Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The canyon is around 120 miles long and 20 miles wide and is up to 800 feet deep. There are 30 miles of hiking trails and 16 miles of paved roads. The park contains unique red sandstone rock formations, including several "hoodoos," which feature a larger rock balanced on top of a smaller rock. The Canyon Gallery, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, affords great views of the canyon. There are other structures built by the CCC that you can tour as well.
Bluewater Lake State Park
Bluewater Lake State Park offers excellent fishing in Bluewater Lake, which is stocked with tiger muskie, cutthroat and rainbow trout, and catfish. Over 70 species of migratory and resident birds have been observed in the park, and bird-watching is a big draw to many visitors. There are numerous multi-use trails, and you can ride horses on the Prewitt side of the lake. There is also an equestrian boarding area just outside the park and across from the main entrance. Bluewater Lake State Park is next to the Yuni Mountains and affords beautiful views of the mountains and of the resident juniper and pinion trees in the park.
Big Dam Bridge
Big Dam Bridge stretches between Little Rock and North Little Rock and is the longest pedestrian and cycling bridge in the U.S., reaching a total length of 4,226 feet. The bridge rises to 90 feet above the Arkansas River and is 30 feet above the dam. The bridge is a popular pedestrian attraction and serves to connect not only the city regions but to also provide access to various hiking and biking trails. There are venue spaces that are available for staged events, such as races and gatherings.
Crystal Bridge Conservatory, Myriad Botanical Gardens
The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is part of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The conservatory contains 750 species of tropical and desert plants. The unique design features 3,028 sections of translucent acrylic panels that cover an area that is 70 feet in diameter and 224 feet long. There are two climate areas: the Tropical Dry Zone that receives water from April through September and is followed by drought from November through March and the Tropical Wet Zone, which gets water daily. Visitors can walk along a sky bridge and enjoy the many waterfalls throughout the 13,000 square feet of space.
Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway
Taking the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway to the 10,378-foot summit of the Sandia Mountains is an ascension that delivers a thrilling ride. The trip lasts approximately 15 minutes and presents great views on the way. Once you are at the summit, you will be able to see a panorama of more than 11,000 square miles below from the observation deck. There are restaurants both at the bottom of the tram ride and at the top, and visitors can access more than 100 miles of hiking trails from the Tram Boulevard at the top of Sandia Peak.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma and is about five hours into your road trip from Little Rock to Gallup. The city has a rich history of cattle ranches and oil wells and today is one of the largest cities in the southwestern U.S. Tinker Air Force Base is located in Oklahoma City as are the Myriad Botanical Gardens/Crystal Bridge Conservatory, the Oklahoma Zoo and Botanical Garden, two amusement parks, and the Oklahoma River. The capital district has many buildings that possess interesting architecture, and you can easily experience the city from the conveniently located Roadrunner RV Park. There are various choices of dump stations located nearby.
Amarillo is located in the Texas Panhandle of north Texas. The city is a prime access point to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is home to the second-largest canyon in the U.S. There are several interesting sites in Amarillo, like the Cadillac Ranch, which contains a number of graffiti-decorated cars that are partially buried in the ground; many Spanish Revival and art deco buildings; the U.S. Route 66 historic district; and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Amarillo is a little over halfway on your Little Rock to Gallup RV road trip, and you may want to utilize a dump station while in the vicinity. The Amarillo KOA is located just off historic Route 66, and the family will enjoy the heated pool, playgrounds, and other amenities.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and was founded in 1706 as a Spanish settlement. It is an exciting mixture of historical elements and modern city life and is a great place to add to your Little Rock to Gallup road trip. While here, you can tour the San Felipe de Neri Church, visit several museums, explore the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and shop in stores that display and sell Native American artworks and crafts. The Balloon View RV Park is located below the Sandia Mountains, and you will enjoy the resulting scenic views from the RV park. This may also be a good time to use a local dump station for your RV.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Little Rock to Gallup, 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 Little Rock or Gallup.
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