The route from San Jose to Santa Fe will take you through California, Arizona, and New Mexico and will also be very near the southern border of Nevada, which is just above Arizona. Some of the more spectacular natural aspects of the Western U.S. are present on the way, and you will be able to see forests, mountains, rivers, and many types of desert landscapes. There are several national parks along your path, and you have the opportunity to take advantage of their proximity and add them to your San Jose to Santa Fe road trip itinerary.
Joshua Tree National Park
As you travel on your road trip from San Jose to Santa Fe, you will pass several national parks and forests. One of these must-see national parks is Joshua Tree National Park, a large 790,636-acre park that is approximately the size of Rhode Island. Joshua Tree was originally designated a national monument in 1936 and was declared a national park in 1994. The park is named for the Joshua tree, a unique variety of the yucca subspecies of the agave tree. Ancient peoples harvested it for the edible seeds and flowering buds and for materials to make footwear and baskets. The park has parts of both the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, and the San Bernardino Mountains border the southwestern areas of the park. The Sonoran is a hot and arid "low desert" with creosote bushes, cholla cactus, and ocotillo, and the Mojave is a more humid "high desert" with a greater amount of vegetation. There are numerous hiking, biking, and equestrian trails throughout the park.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is truly a unique national park. With an elevation of 282.2 feet below sea level inside Badwater Basin, it has the lowest altitude of all the national parks. Death Valley enjoys the distinction of being the largest, hottest, and driest national park in the contiguous U.S. Popular sites inside the park include the Telescope Peak Trail, the hundreds of rattlesnakes of Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and the salt mounds in Devil's Gold Course. The landscapes are predominate of deserts, with tall mountains, deep valleys, and scattered oases.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S., and it is named after the largest canyon in the country. The gorge is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide at its widest, and more than a mile deep on average. The Grand Canyon can be accessed via the South and North Rims, which are managed by the National Park Service, and by the Grand Canyon West Rim, which is owned and managed by the Hualapai Nation. Numerous trails lead down into the interior from the rims, and there are several campsites at various levels of the gorge. At the bottom, there is a dorm-style ranch. The Colorado River runs through the canyon, and the beautiful waters of Havasupai Falls (managed by the Havasupai Tribe) are well worth a visit. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a cantilever bridge with a walkway made of glass that extends out over Eagle Point in Grand Canyon West. The Skywalk is managed by the Hualapai and requires a separate fee for use.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is in the Santa Cruz Mountains and contains 4,650 acres of forests and open meadows. Inside the park, an old-growth forest is home to several ancient redwoods, the oldest of which is 1,500 years old and stands 277 feet high and 16 feet wide. Visitors can hike on a 0.8-mile loop trail and read correlated information about the trees with a self-guided brochure from the visitor center. The Fall Creek Unit is a second-growth stand of redwoods that has 20 miles of hiking trails, a river canyon, and various remnants of an old lime-processing business. Other sites at the park include the Garden of Eden, a popular swimming hole on the San Lorenzo River, and the Freemont Tree, where you can stand inside the tree.
Homolovi State Park
You can experience the painstaking research that is undertaken at this legitimate archeology dig at Homolovi State Park, a site that teaches and preserves the history of the Hopi people. Visitors can view the dig sites, tour the visitor center and the museum, hike along the trails, and stop at the pullouts that reach elevations of 4,900 feet.
Bluewater Lake State Park
Bluewater Lake State Park is next to the Yuni Mountains and is known for its beautiful juniper and pinion trees that surround Bluewater Lake. Everyone enjoys the excellent fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout and catfish. Bird-watching is also a popular activity, and approximately 70 species of birds are either residents of the park or pass through on migratory routes. Hiking, biking, and riding horses is available on the numerous trails in the park.
Golden Gate Bridge
You will begin your travels in San Jose, which is very close to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. There is no better way to start your San Jose to Santa Fe road trip than by visiting this iconic symbol of San Francisco. Built in 1937, the bridge was considered the longest and tallest suspension bridge of that time. Today, visitors can see this engineering marvel at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and hike along the trails, tour the visitor center, and walk on the bridge. There are walking tours every Thursday and Sunday that are offered by city guides, and you can also take a self-guided stroll on the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is a fine example of Art Deco architecture that adds to the experience.
Hoover Dam is a National Historic Landmark that is listed as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in the Black Canyon, and it lies across the state border between Arizona and Nevada. At the time of being built, it was the largest dam in the world. Hoover Dam provides sufficient water to irrigate 2 million acres and enough electrical energy to power 1.3 million homes. The dam is a beautifully executed design of power encased in Art Deco imagery, and you can take various types of tours of the dam and tailor your experience accordingly. The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is a recent addition to the dam and is the world's tallest concrete arch bridge, rising 880 feet over the Hoover Dam. The bridge is 1,905 feet long and connects both Nevada and Arizona roadways. Visitors can walk across the bridge and view Hoover Dam and the Black Canyon below.
Bakersfield is located north of Los Angeles on the Kern River. If you stop in the city, you can see many interesting sites, such as the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and the California Living Museum. There are also many trails inside the nearby Sequoia National Forest. If you need the services of a dump station before going too far down the road, there are several options available in the area. Bakersfield River Run RV Park is near the downtown area of Bakersfield and is within walking distance to many amenities and tourist spots.
Flagstaff is a great place to visit on your San Jose to Santa Fe road trip. Besides being near the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon, it is also located on historic Route 66. Flagstaff is the gateway to the tallest mountain in Arizona, Humphreys Peak, and has many fine examples of Native American pueblo cliff dwellings. There are convenient dump station locations for your use. Mormon Lake RV Park and Campground is a nice midpoint stop on your San Jose to Santa Fe RV road trip, and there is an on-site steakhouse and opportunities to fish for trout.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, and it features contrasting elements of modern city life and historic elements from its 1706 founding as a Spanish colony. Some of the places you will want to visit include the San Felipe de Neri Church, several museums, and a variety of shops that sell local Native American crafts. You can also tour the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Albuquerque is located near the endpoint of your trip, and you may need to use one of the nearby dump stations in the area. Balloon View RV Park is underneath the Sandia Mountain range and offers beautiful scenery. It has a pool and other amenities for your stay and is close to the downtown area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Jose to Santa Fe, 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 San Jose or Santa Fe.