There is nothing like a road trip from Salt Lake City to Tucson, especially if you can take the time to relax and enjoy the stops along the way. You will encounter national parks, national monuments, and state parks that you should set aside some time for on this trip. In addition to parks, you will pass through large cities like Phoenix. This city is the capital of Arizona, and there are many museums and historical sites to check out right in the area. You will begin this trip by traveling south on I-15, but before you leave, don’t forget to take in the sites in Utah’s state capital. You could even head up to the Great Salt Lake and enjoy some time on one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is a secluded national park with scenic drives, hiking trails, and much more to explore. The park preserves the Waterpocket Fold, a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust that is 100 miles long. These pockets are similar to reefs that you would find in the ocean. Some of the views to see in the park include Panorama Point, Sunset Point, and Goosenecks Overlook. Hiking here can give you a bird’s eye view of the canyon below, and there are 15 trails that you can enjoy; tackling them all will require several days in the park.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Have you ever heard of a hoodoo? They are red rock pillars that can be found in Bryce Canyon National Park, which is why this is a national park that you will not want to miss. While you are visiting, make it a point to visit views such as Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunset Point, the Natural Bridge, Sunrise Point, and Fairyland Point. You can also see some stunning cliffs and rock formations when you hike the Navajo Loop Trail, The Rim Trail, the Mossy Cave Trail, and the Queen’s Garden Trail.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a majestic park that has canyons, cliffs, rivers, and more to explore. If you enjoy hiking, check out the Emerald Pools Trail, a hidden oasis in the cliffs with stunning waterfalls that the entire family will love. There is also Riverside Walk, Canyon Overlook Trail, and Pa’rus Trail to explore as well. If you are up to taking on a bucket list hike, then The Narrows, a 16-mile hike through a river, can be found in Zion National Park as well.
Grand Canyon National Park
Another iconic place to stop during this Salt Lake City to Tucson RV road trip is Grand Canyon National Park. In the park, you can explore the popular south rim and the less-crowded north rim, so be sure to decide on the sites you most want to see before entering the park if time is limited. The park covers 1.2 million acres, and there are hiking, kayaking, biking, and rafting adventures that you can experience. You can also ride a mule down into the canyon or take a helicopter ride high above the canyon walls.
Saguaro National Park
If you are exploring the desert to see cacti, then Saguaro National Park is a place that you will want to see because of the unique Saguaro cactus that grow here. There are plenty of scenic drives and trails to enjoy that will give you a great view of the park. Trails range from the Mica View Loop, a 3.7-mile hike with lots of wildlife and very little shade, to the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail, a 20-mile gradual incline with some stunning views of the city below.
Utah Lake State Park
Utah Lake State Park is only about 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, so it is one of the first stops that you should include on your road trip itinerary from Salt Lake City to Tucson. There are several trails available for hiking and biking, but since this park is located on one of the largest freshwater lakes in the western United States, water activities like swimming are frequently enjoyed. You can easily put boats in the water, and there are plenty of options for those who prefer to fish from the shore.
Yuba State Park
Yuba State Park was opened as a state park in 1971, and many come to swim in and explore the park’s stunning blue water. Fishing is also an activity that many love to pursue here. One of Yuba State Park's unique features is that there are ziplines that you can ride to give you a bird’s eye view of the park. There are also several hiking trails available.
Picacho Peak State Park
Picacho Peak State Park is a particular highlight that is located between Phoenix and Tucson. If you can visit the park in the spring, you will have a chance to see the area in full bloom with moderate temperatures and plenty of wildlife. There are five hiking trails in the park, but if you are looking for a challenge, then attempt the Picacho Peak Trail to encounter more terrain types and some of the park's incredible views.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is the site of a volcanic eruption that changed the land's topography in this area. Bonito lava flows and other volcanic features can be seen at this spot today, and the rim of the volcano is still red and covered with ash. There are also hiking trails at the monument that are quite popular.
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument is an area with a river and a canyon that may invoke memories of the Grand Canyon. In the alcoves of the canyon, you can find approximately 25 dwellings once occupied by the Sinagua Indian tribe. The best way to see these is to hike the Island Trail. There are also a few other hiking options at the monument that you can explore.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument was the third national monument dedicated for preservation in the country. The castle is a 20-room building that is nestled into the limestone cliffs that can be found here. The structure is about 70 feet above the ground and is shielded from the rain and the sun. Visitors can only see the dwelling from the loop path because the building is too unstable for people to trek through daily.
Provo is a great place to visit in the winter if you enjoy skiing, but that is not all the city has to offer. There are museums to visit, such as the Bean Life Science Museum, the BYU Museum of Art, and the BYU Museum of Paleontology. If you would like to explore the museums thoroughly, you will need to find a campground in the Provo area. There are also campgrounds with dump stations like the Provo KOA Campground and Lakeside RV Campground, where you can empty your black and gray water.
Flagstaff is sort of an oasis in the desert, so during the summer, it is a great place to visit when the sun is scorching the rest of Arizona. There are three national monuments in the area, an observatory, museums, and more. Make sure to trek through Lava River Cave, and do not forget a jacket because temperatures constantly remain in the 30s and 40s in the cave. There is also an extreme adventure park in the city that you can experience if you are looking to boost your adrenaline. Flagstaff campgrounds are easy to find if you would like to spend more time in the area. Since this is pretty far into your Salt Lake City to Tucson road trip, finding a dump station in the area could be beneficial.
Phoenix, which is the state's capital, is always a great place to visit, but in the summer it gets more sun than any other city in the United States, so bring your sunscreen. Some of the city's top sites to visit include the Phoenix Zoo, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, and the Musical Instrument Museum. Phoenix campgrounds tend to have something for everyone to enjoy. Most campgrounds in the area have pools to help give some relief from the summer heat, and many also have dump stations for your convenience.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Salt Lake City to Tucson, 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 Salt Lake City or Tucson.