This road trip from Phoenix to Little Rock will take you through a large section of the American West and Midwest as it winds through five states. You will find a wide variety of landscapes on your trip that encompass rivers, lakes, mountains, prairies, and deserts. Your trip begins very near the Grand Canyon and ends in Arkansas, which is home to many beautiful lakes and rivers. The trip is a long one and will take at least two days, and if you can take more time and see some of the sights along the way, you will be able to see both natural and historical features of these states.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is so much more than its parts. The Grand Canyon National Park is a mile deep, 18 miles wide at points, and 277 miles long. The park contains most of the canyon. Visitors can hike into the canyon interiors, hike along the rim, ride a mule into the interior, ride a helicopter over and into the canyon, and raft on part of the Colorado River at the bottom. The access points of the park are the South Rim, the North Rim, the Grand Canyon West Rim (managed by the Hualapai), and Havasupai Falls (managed by the Havasupai). Visitors can stay at campgrounds, a hostel, and various lodges while at the park. Good planning is essential, and many of the hiking trails require advance permits, but it is all worthwhile in order to successfully add this ultimate adventure to your Phoenix to Little Rock itinerary.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park has the distinction of being the oldest national park in the U.S. It was set aside as a natural preserve in 1832 before the National Park System came into existence, and it became a national park in 1921. The park is centered around the historic city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and contains Bathhouse Row, which is a National Historic Landmark of bathhouses built in the Gilded Age architectural style. The park also is home to part of downtown Hot Springs and has walking trails, mountain vistas, and the spring water for which it is named. Two of the original bathhouses are still in use.
Homolovi State Park
Homolovi State Park is both a natural preserve and a research facility that seeks to preserve and inform on the history of the Hopi peoples. The primary period focuses on the migration period of the Hopi from the 1200s through the 1300s. The park contains current archeological digs, hiking trails, a museum, and a visitor center and has elevations that reach upwards of 4,900 feet in places. While in the park, you can stop at various pullouts and watch for the abundant wildlife that roams free throughout this 4,000-acre park.
Lake Thunderbird State Park
Lake Thunderbird State Park is the home of Lake Thunderbird in Oklahoma and is almost 2,000 acres. There are two marinas, two swimming beaches, and nine boat ramps for convenient access to the lake. You can also practice archery at the archery range, picnic around the park, and play on several playgrounds. The Discovery Cove Nature Center offers natural interpretive exhibits, and you can hike and bike on various multi-use trails and ride horses on special equestrian obstacle trails. Bowhunting for deer and waterfowl hunting in the appropriate seasons are allowed in designated areas of the park.
Petit Jean State Park
Home to Petit Jean Mountain, Cedar Creek Canyon, and Lake Bailey, Petit Jean State Park is the oldest park in the Arkansas state park system. The park has a multitude of buildings and trails that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and is especially noted for Mather Lodge, which has 24 rooms, a lobby, meeting rooms, and a restaurant. Many of the available existing cabins were also built by the CCC and retain their original rustic charms. Visitors can view many beautiful natural sites of interest, including Natural Bridge, Bear Cave, and the Grotto. You can also swim in the two swimming pools, boat on the lake, and play on the tennis and basketball courts during your visit.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The Sandia Peak Tramway is located near Albuquerque and is the longest aerial tram in the U.S. It also possesses the third-longest single span in the world. The beginning of the tram ride ascends from the city and reaches the 10,378-foot peak of the Sandia Mountains, where visitors will explore the park and surrounding areas. The views of the city below and the mountainsides and forests alongside are breathtaking in scope and impact.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is part of the Myriad Botanical Gardens of Oklahoma City and is the rightly named centerpiece of the complex. The conservatory contains two distinct habitats of tropical wet and desert biomes and has a total of more than 750 species of plants. While inside this uniquely designed building of translucent acrylic, visitors can walk along a sky bridge and beside the cascading waterfalls.
Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is named for the second-largest canyon in the U.S., Palo Duro Canyon, which is the focal point of the park. You can hike down into the interior of the canyon via the trail, which descends 800 feet to the bottom. Besides this canyon interior trail, there are a total of 30 miles of nature trails and 16 miles of paved roads. The park is also known for the red sandstone rock formations throughout the park, and many of the original buildings that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s are still standing. The Canyon Gallery was built by the CCC of natural stone and today houses displays, video productions, and local crafts. From the gallery, visitors can see beautiful views of the canyon.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city, and it is located in the high desert. This large urban center is a unique combination of historic adobe buildings in Old Town Albuquerque that date from its Spanish colonial beginnings and the more modern venues and centers in the newer parts of the city. There are numerous museums, shops, and restaurants, and the Indian Pueblo Center offers a comprehensive perspective of native history. Balloon View RV Park is conveniently located near downtown Albuquerque and has a pool and a covered pavilion. You can find various opportunities to use a dump station in the area before you travel very far on your Phoenix to Little Rock RV road trip.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
A long-time oil boomtown, Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma. It has a prolific livestock market and is the 11th largest city in the Southern U.S. There is a large cowboy influence here, but there are also many other cultural and recreational venues, including the Myriad Botanical Gardens and the Oklahoma Zoo. Tinker Air Force Base is located in Oklahoma City, and there are multiple parks and nature trails in and around the city and the Oklahoma River. If you have time, be sure to visit the state capital in downtown Oklahoma City. Roadrunner RV Park is close to downtown Oklahoma City and has many comfortable and convenient features. You can also find nearby dump stations for your use.
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith is on the Arkansas River and was formerly a frontier military post. Fort Smith has many interesting historical sites, including the Trolley Museum, the Fort Smith National Historic Site, the Italianate mansion the Clayton House, and the Fort Smith Museum of History. William O. Darby RV Community is close to Fort Smith and offers a quiet and peaceful stay. There are also many available dump stations in the nearby areas so that you can keep your rig clean on your Phoenix to Little Rock road trip.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Phoenix to Little Rock, 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 Little Rock.