When you take a road trip from Phoenix to Coronado National Forest, you could easily do all the driving at once and arrive quickly. But since there's so much to enjoy along the way in southern Arizona, you'll probably want to expand your trip to take in more of the scenery and sights. Whether or not you decide to stop for hiking, photos, and sightseeing, you'll experience stunning views of Arizona's natural beauty on your trip. You'll notice that most of the desert landscapes in southern Arizona are set within a backdrop of beautiful mountains. In fact, the big cities of Phoenix and Tucson are surrounded by mountains. The unique geology and vegetation of the desert will make your Phoenix to Coronado National Forest road trip unforgettable.
Saguaro National Park
Located right along your trip route, Saguaro National Park is home to many of the Sonoran Desert's famous saguaro cactus. Hiking trails in the park are popular, and you can find trails that are rated easy, medium, or hard. The park's cactus gardens are a popular attraction, highlighting the Sonoran Desert's unique vegetation. Petroglyphs and prehistoric rock art can also be seen at Saguaro National Park. And, even if you're just in the area for a short while, you may want to stay around for some of the amazing sunset views in the park.
Petrified Forest National Park
About three hours northeast of your starting point on your Phoenix to Coronado National Forest road trip itinerary, you may want to add time in your trip for a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park. You can hike in the park or drive to one of many scenic overlooks. Petrified Forest is one of the best places to see the impressive effect of wood that's been turned into sparkling, shiny stone over time. And you won't want to miss getting great views of the Painted Desert badlands.
Grand Canyon National Park
An Arizona road trip would hardly be complete without seeing the Grand Canyon National Park. Visiting the Grand Canyon would be a little distance from your main route to Coronado National Forest since it would mean traveling 3.5 hours due north from Phoenix. But because the Phoenix to Coronado National Forest RV road trip is a short one, it's definitely worth considering a visit to one of America's most famous national parks. If you want to hike or camp in the Grand Canyon, you can. But even if you only have a short while to spend, you can certainly drive to one of the many Grand Canyon scenic overlooks and take some great photos. Portions of SR-64 are designated Desert View Drive, where you can drive along the rim of the Grand Canyon and stop at multiple overlooks.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Just east of Phoenix is Lost Dutchman State Park. Recognizable by its distinctive peaks, the park is a popular spot for hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and picture taking. The park is named for a famous gold mine from the Old West although the mine's exact location remains a mystery.
Picacho Peak State Park
Between Phoenix and Tucson, the landscape is punctuated by plenty of mountains and peaks; among them is a distinctive 1,500-foot-high peak and the park that bears its name: Picacho Peak State Park. This peak has been a landmark since ancient times, and the park is known for its various hiking trails and picnic areas. Seasonal wildflowers are also a popular attraction at Picacho Peak. Whether you stop at the park or just drive nearby and give a nod to the landmark, this is one of the great places to see on your trip.
Oracle State Park
If you travel a short distance to the east of your main road trip route, you can visit Oracle State Park. The park contains 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Oracle State Park has also been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, which means that the stargazing opportunities are known to be impressive.
Catalina State Park
Located near Tucson, Catalina State Park is one of the great places to see Arizona's famous giant saguaro cactus species. Hiking is a visitor favorite at Catalina, and the park has over 100 campsites that are open year-round. For many years, Catalina State Park has had a popular monthly concert series on the first Saturday of each month.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Known for its impressive caverns, Kartchner Caverns State Park is a great destination for cave tours and more. In addition to seeing awesome cave formations in the caverns, many visitors enjoy stargazing at the park, since Kartchner Caverns State Park is one of the International Dark Sky Parks.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
If the mysteries of ancient history fascinate you, you'll want to stop by Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Here, you can see and study evidence of the lives and farming communities of people who lived long ago before recorded history.
Pima Air and Space Museum
Full of history and science, Pima Air and Space Museum is a great place to see more than 400 aircraft, including military planes, private planes, unique and unusual planes, and a variety of air and spacecraft exhibits. Since it's located in Tucson, the museum is on the way to Coronado National Forest.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
One of the places to see the diverse natural wonders of the desert is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Multiple specialty gardens will delight you with displays of cactus and succulents, butterflies and orchids, seasonal art exhibits and more.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
This mostly outdoor museum is a well-known destination for tourists and locals alike. Its zoo and botanical garden offer a variety of exhibits, landscape displays, animal habitats and art galleries. The museum has tens of thousands of plants as well as more than 230 animal species on nearly 100 acres of beautiful landscape.
When you're starting off on your road trip from Phoenix to Coronado National Forest, you may want to stay in the Tempe area to take in some great attractions. The many popular places to see include Sea Life Arizona Aquarium, ASU Art Museum, the Arizona Science Center, and the Desert Botanical Garden. There are numerous campgrounds in the Tempe area, most of which offer full RV hookups for your convenience. And you can find various dump station locations in the greater Phoenix area, including Tempe and nearby Mesa.
Casa Grande, Arizona
Casa Grande is a nice midpoint on your Phoenix to Coronado National Forest road trip. The area has several historical sites and museums as well as several popular parks and recreation areas. You can find outdoor adventure at a local aquatics park or enjoy one of the area's golf courses. The Casa Grande area is a popular place for RVers and campers as evidenced by the many campsites in Casa Grande.
The big city of Tucson offers a wealth of options for your road trip. There are plenty of sights to see, places to stay, and convenient shopping and entertainment options. If you love the desert scenery, you may want to drive the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway or take a walk in Sabino Canyon. Tucson's museums are popular, too, so be sure to stop by one, such as the Arizona State Museum, or one of the many nature and history museums. Campgrounds in the Tucson area are plentiful; here's our list of Tucson campgrounds. If you just need to find convenient RV dump stations in the area, those are easy to find, too.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Phoenix to Coronado National Forest, 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 Phoenix or Coronado National Forest.